With a child in preschool, two babies at home, and a nanny who comes over at 9 a.m., I know a thing or two about chaotic mornings. Mine usually start at 6 a.m., a lifetime before I actually begin to tackle my work day. Most days, my husband and I dance a highly choreographed routine that involves packing lunches, changing diapers, feeding babies, making coffee, and yes, showering (priorities!).
Since my daughter’s school starts an hour earlier than it used to, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how I can de-stress my morning routine. Here are a few tips I thought I’d share with you:
Prepare Big Batches of Food for the Week Ahead
My daughter is particular when it comes to lunch, but she’s not averse to routine. We often pack avocado or hummus sandwiches with veggies and fruit—but the best morning starts with the realization that I have a container of leftovers to last several days and require minimal prep.
Some of my favorite big batch lunch combos include:
Rice & Beans: pack in separate storage containers(Opens in a new window). Chop some leftover grilled chicken or pre-sliced avocado(Opens in a new window), and store in a third container; this one(Opens in a new window) is the perfect size. In the morning, all you have to do is assemble. Rice and beans are a fantastic lunch for your baby, too. Just put them through your mash maker to make a nutritious puree.
Soba Noodles & Edamame: Toss pre-made soba noodles with edamame, toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds, and crumble nori on top (if your kid likes nori!). Need a few minutes after work to pull dinner together? Give your baby some leftover soba noodles! They can practice their pinching skills and also nibble off some bites.
Veggies and Dip: Whip up a variety of veggie dips with your One Stop Chop(Opens in a new window). Hummus, white bean dip, and lentil dip are some personal favorites. Pack in these glass round containers(Opens in a new window). (Hint: I’m not averse to using canned chickpeas and beans. Again, priorities!) Kids love foods that are tactile so let them go to town dipping crackers and veggies. They make great snacks or could become a whole meal if you slather some hummus or another dip on bread with crisp veggies—instant sandwich.
Don’t just focus on lunch. Breakfast can be less stressful, too.
Here are a few of my go-to breakfast combos for kids and adults alike:
Morning Smoothies: What kid doesn’t love smoothies? You can even sneak in some spinach or kale ;) The beauty of this breakfast is you can pack it to go for yourself, so if you need to get out the door and haven’t eaten, pour it in a to-go cup. Here are some 3-ingredient combos(Opens in a new window) we love. I also like to boost my smoothies by adding bee pollen, chia seeds, or hemp seeds. Throw in an extra banana to make a thicker smoothie for your kiddo for breakfast while you prep lunch.
8 Piece Smart Seal Glass Round Container Set
Steel Cut Oats: These take forever to cook, but years ago I learned this tip from Heidi Swanson(Opens in a new window): stir steel cut oats into boiling water, top with a lid, and let them sit overnight. They’ll be ready in the morning. Blammo. This is a breakfast you can feed your baby (you may want to put it through your mash maker(Opens in a new window) first) and your toddler. Put it in this bowl(Opens in a new window) and throw on the accompanying lid to save leftovers for tomorrow.
My Last Tip: Coffee, Of Course
Coffee is one of the most important parts of my day, so here’s a tip to ensure you don’t have to fret about your morning coffee: try cold brew. You can prep it the night before using this Cold Brew Coffee Maker(Opens in a new window) and enjoy it first thing in the morning. Bonus: if you’re like me and rarely drink your coffee hot, this will become your new routine.
Photos by Mia Reade Baylor