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Teacher Meal Prep Made Easy - Fast, Quick, and Healthy Food Ideas for Busy Teachers

Teacher meal prep does NOT need to be a challenge. Here are some great ideas to make meal prepping easy, help you save some money, and eat a bit healthier in the process. You'll be less stressed and you can maintain a healthy weight. Teachers at all grade levels will love the tips and ideas shared here!

Juicy watermelon, hot dogs on the grill, fresh bbq corn on the cob, oh how sweet summer meals can be! If you’re like me, you eat some amazing and delicious meals during the summer because you finally have the time to enjoy it! We can be more aware of what we’re eating because we have time to plan out meals, go to the grocery store whenever we want, and have the energy to cook a meal that requires more than just a microwave.

When the back-to-school season starts, I dread thinking about how on earth I’ll be able to come home from work and cook for my family every night on top of running to the grocery store because I forgot some main ingredient in the dinner that I planned. I either deal with that stress, or I just give in and we have take-out (which turns into extra money spent, extra calories, and extra pounds that I don’t want or need).


One solution to this is meal prep! There are many ways to meal prep for your work week including creating a menu, freezer meals, or portioning out larger meals across many days. Pinterest is a great resource for finding ideas on how to meal prep so it fits your lifestyle, but since you’re here, let me share with you a few tips that will help you plan food ahead of time to make your school year less stressful:  


  • Many people spend one entire day a month preparing meals to freeze. This is beneficial because you only need to make one big grocery trip (that alone will save you time and money) and spend one day prepping foods, cooking, and washing dishes. This plan works best if you have large freezer space to fill.
  • Some find it nice to team up with friends and each take responsibility for a few meals. Coordinate who will make what so you have variety. Each person prepares enough freezer meals for everyone in the group. For example, you may be responsible for preparing six lasagnas to distribute to five friends, but in return you get five different meals to put in your freezer. For added fun, you can plan a potluck where everyone brings a cooked version of their meal to sample as well as the frozen version for friends to take home. This would be great to do with a group of teachers from your school. Not only do you get to socialize, but you get to eat a delicious meal and take one home for later!
  • What I find works very well for me is to make a triple batch of a dinner. We eat one for dinner and freeze two for future nights. This works fantastic because over time I build up a nice collection in the freezer. The inventory rotates frequently and we have meals available for most weeknights. Pull out and heat in the oven while you rest your feet from a tiring day.
  • As a family, create a menu of what you’ll eat for dinner each night (do this a week ahead of time). List out how much of each ingredient you’ll need and head to the grocery store. When you get home, have the menu posted and organize your groceries by meal so it’s easy to grab and cook. If you have a plan for what you’re going to make, it will take away some of the stress as you drive home thinking about what your family will want for dinner.
  • Packing your lunch in the morning before work can be stressful as you’re trying to get out the door, so lunches can be a part of your meal prep too! On Sunday, use tupperware containers to pack your five lunches for the week. Include the healthy items that you know and love, so you’re less likely to grab sugary cookies midweek because you “just need it”. Healthy lunches, no extra stress in the morning, no wondering what you’ll be eating the next day.
The trick to meal prep is to be organized and prepared. You do all the work ahead of time, so during the workweek, you don’t have to think about food and can focus your energy on other important areas of your life. We all have other things we need to worry about, so don’t allow the stress of meals to be one of those!
Teacher meal prep does NOT need to be a challenge. Here are some great ideas to make meal prepping easy, help you save some money, and eat a bit healthier in the process. You'll be less stressed and you can maintain a healthy weight. Teachers at all grade levels will love the tips and ideas shared here!


Grocery Shopping on a Budget for Teachers While Saving Time Too

Teachers, The tips will save you a lot of time at the grocery store. They will make it easy for you to grocery shop on a budget. Best of all they will put an end to the habit of getting dinner at a drive-thru after staying too late at school. Click through for ideas!
If you are a teacher, you are a busy person. All too often, a late day in the classroom results in takeout on the way home. Not only does this make it hard to stay healthy, but it also ends up costing you a lot of money. I’ve compiled my tried and true strategies for grocery shopping on a budget by making the process of getting groceries so much easier!


In addition to not needing to schedule pee breaks at specific times, one of the nicest benefits to summer vacation is having the luxury of grocery shopping when it is less crowded. Hello Grocery Store at 9am on a weekday with no lines! This blog post will provide you with tips for saving time at the grocery store that will not only save you time, but also make it easy to stick to grocery shopping on a budget.


Here are a few tips for saving time and money when grocery shopping as a teacher:


  • Make a Checklist: Make a list of foods you buy regularly. Keep it handy and check off items as you run out. It’s always smart to have a pen and paper close to the refrigerator to keep an ongoing list of things you have run out of. I know that if I tell myself “I need to pick up salsa at the grocery store” and I don’t write it down immediately, I will not remember to pick it up the next time I go to the store.
  • Map Out Your Grocery Store: I did this about five years ago and it has been an invaluable time saver for me. I grabbed a notebook and went to the store we always shop at. I started at the beginning of the store and made a list of what items were found in which aisle. I obviously didn’t write down each and every item, but I did make sure to include any category I may (at some point) purchase. When I got home, I typed up the list in a word document and printed a bunch of copies. I use this as my grocery list by simply highlighting the items that we need to buy. This prevents me from needing to go back and forth for items on the list that I forgot to grab. This is beneficial if your grocery store keeps things consistent, but always try to update your map at least once every few months.
  • Organize the list and divvy it up: I took it a step further and reformatted the list so that the first half of the store is on the top of the page and the second half of the store is on the bottom of the page. This is helpful when my husband and I go to the store together. We grab two carts, rip the list in half, start on opposite sides of the store and meet in the middle. Making your grocery list organized by where you’ll find it in the store will save you precious time and prevent you from having to suffer from “road rage” when you’re trying to read the signs on the aisle, but someone has stopped randomly in the walkway.
  • Stock Up: Making a menu and knowing which items you use often or need for specific recipes will allow you to buy nonperishable products in larger amounts. I noticed we were buying some items (oatmeal, cereals, pasta, etc.) often. This meant that I was adding it to my list weekly, finding it in the store, checking out with it, and making room in the pantry for it regularly. By buying enough for the month once, I didn’t need to think about it weekly. This tip will also help you with your meal prep!

  • Use a Grocery Delivery Service: Some stores offer services that allow you to order and pay online and either have the groceries delivered to your door or brought out to your car. Some services are free and others have a small fee. Do the math because while it may seem like an unnecessary luxury, the cost is probably far less than what you will spend on impulse buys when in the store. This option is also helpful in keeping you on track with healthy eating. A side note with this one though, I would recommend picking out your own fresh produce to ensure you get the freshest and most appetizing looking produce you want. You can’t assume that the employee picking out your groceries cares that you like firm peaches because they’re just going to grab what’s quick and easy. If you’re interested in trying this out, but don’t want to pay for a delivery service like Amazon Fresh or from a regular grocery store, look into the free grocery pick up offered by Walmart. I tried it myself and found it to be very quick and easy. I opted to get meats and produce elsewhere, but it was perfect for getting the boxed items, cleaning products, and canned goods I needed without the hassle of fighting the crowds that come with a typical Walmart trip.
Teachers, The tips will save you a lot of time at the grocery store. They will make it easy for you to grocery shop on a budget. Best of all they will put an end to the habit of getting dinner at a drive-thru after staying too late at school. Click through for ideas!

Teacher Health Tips and Wellness Ideas That Are Easy Enough to Actually Do

If you're looking to boost your overall wellness as an educator, you're going to love these teacher health tips. These are great ideas and reminders to help you become what makes you be the best teacher possible - YOU! In order for you to be at your best, you must keep your health and wellness at the forefront. Try them out today!

We all have reasons we want to get and stay healthy. As a teacher, it’s important that we take care of ourselves, so we can be there for our students when they need us. In order to be healthy, we must develop healthy habits, which can take a while to master. Below, you’ll find some tips on what it really requires to be considered healthy and how you can develop these healthy habits to be your best self.


  • Sleep: If you’re like me, you would love to whack that alarm clock with all your might when it blares it’s tune every morning around 5:15am. I love sleep and would love to get more of it because I rarely feel rested! Of course, we all know it’s important to get our “8 hours of sleep”, but is that really possible as a teacher? It is, and you’re going to want to start working harder to get that consistent 8 hours of sleep. Lack of sleep, or irregularity of sleep, can lead to many health problems including diabetes, heart problems, stroke and obesity. Each time you lose sleep, you’re preventing your brain from reenergizing and preparing you for the day ahead. This can affect your ability to communicate with your students, focus during the day, and even your ability to drive home after work. No amount of coffee can replace the brainpower you lose with sleep deprivation.
    • So how can you get more sleep? Well, start with what we have our kids do. Go to bed at a specific time every night. Be consistent with your bedtime and wake up time to receive the optimal amount of sleep.
    • Also, have a bedtime routine setup that will encourage relaxation (no iPhones playing Candy Crush or checking your emails). Use this time to catch up on some light reading.
    • Although it may sound enticing to take a nap when you get home from work, avoid it! Your body will not be ready to go to bed at your set bedtime if you’ve taken a nap, especially late in the afternoon.
    • Get comfortable! Make sure you have on pajamas that are allowing you to relax and breathe and a mattress that isn’t about to blind you with a protruding spring.

  • Hydration: This can be hard for teachers because it’s sort of a catch-22. We talk and talk all day long and need to keep drinking because of it, however, we need to avoid as many liquids as possible because we can’t just go to the bathroom whenever we want. This one will take some preparation and a good teammate. There is usually someone that can come relieve you for a quick potty break (a teacher across the hall, a teacher walking past your classroom, an office staff member who adores you, etc.), so don’t be afraid to ask! If you’re not comfortable doing that, prepare your body ahead of time (say, summer) for going a few hours without the bathroom. Test out how much liquid your body can hold before you “just have to go”. I call this “training my bladder”. It may seem silly, but hydration is crucial to your overall health. Here are some other tips to helping your body stay hydrated:
    • Snack on fruits and vegetables is a great way to get the hydration without the urgency to run to the bathroom. Items like celery or melons are great for this.
    • Try a straw with your cup of water. You’ll find yourself sipping almost mindlessly and drinking more than you thought you would.
    • Avoid foods that will have the opposite effect: dehydration. Sugary, sweet, salty foods are a staple in almost all teachers’ desk drawers, but they can be making you more thirsty and dehydrated than you should be.
    • Keep your reusable water bottle or cup with you in the classroom. If it’s in your face, you won’t forget to drink it!
    • Not a big water drinker? Try infusing your water with sugar free drink mixers (crystal light perhaps) or with fresh fruit! This will kill your cravings for sweets and keep you hydrated which is a win-win!


  • Exercise: We all know that we’re supposed to exercise and eat right to stay healthy, but do we always do it? No. I come home from work and I’m exhausted and the last thing on my mind is “I need to work out”. This, like everything else in this step, will require time and dedication in order for it to become a habit. The benefits of exercise include sleeping better, lower weight, fewer health problems, and more energy. You can achieve all of those things just by doing 30-60 minutes of exercise a day. Here are some tips to help you get started:
    • Chunk your workout time: It can be hard to find a set 30-60 minutes a day to spend working out, so space it out! Spend 10 minutes in the morning doing jumping jacks, pushups, and situps when you get out of bed. Power walk to the office instead of strolling down the halls to add in another few minutes to your routine. With how many trips you’ll walk to the office or copy room in a day, it will definitely add up! Dance around the living room with your kids while dinner is in the oven (this is a fun way to get your heart rate up and spend quality time together). End the day with some yoga stretching before bed and you’ll be on your way to a more healthy life.
    • Lift small weights while watching TV. Instead of lifting your hand between your box of crackers or cookies and your mouth, lift weights instead! Remember to start small though, so you don’t overdo it.
    • Walk everywhere you can! Park at the farthest spot away from the school or from the door to the store. Those extra steps add up quickly.
    • Look into a device that tracks your steps or exercise. You can program it to sync to your phone and compete in step challenges with friends for “awards”. Exercise is always better when we can share it with friends.

  • Diet: This goes hand-in-hand with a previous step of meal prep. The right, balanced diet can change your life. The benefits include a healthy weight, more energy, fewer health concerns, and sleeping better. The key word in all this though, is balance. This doesn’t mean you have to give up your Friday trip to Tutti Frutti with the kids, but it does mean that you have to make smarter choices about what food you put into your body regularly. Here are some ways to make sure you’re making smarter, healthier choices (especially at work):
    • Eliminate that stockpile of sweet and salty goodness hiding in your desk drawer. If you NEED a sweet treat one day after school after you’ve eliminated your stash, you’ll have to work for it and walk to someone who has something to offer you.
    • Stick with your meal plans. If you spent time planning out dinners for the week or have freezer meals ready to go, stick to the plan! Changes to meal plans often lead to impulse ordering/purchasing which is detrimental to your diet plan.
    • Keep healthy snacks with you. Prepare ahead of time for cravings that might hit and have a stash of go to health snacks in your desk drawer.
    • Keep it balanced. Make sure your meals have a good balance of fruit, veggies, carbs, protein, and some fats (the healthy kind of course). If you feel deprived, you’re likely to binge on something that you really shouldn’t.
    • Remember that this isn’t about losing weight, this is about changing your life and becoming a healthier you!

  • Other areas that need some healthy habit revamping:
    • Clothing: You may not think your clothing choices affect your health, but what you put on your body can be almost as important as what you put in your body. We all have dress codes at work, and I’m pretty sure no school will allow us to show up in PJs or yoga pants on a daily basis, so you need to choose clothing that works with your dress code that is also comfortable. More importantly, choose shoes that are comfortable! We are on our feet all day and we need the comfort and support of a good pair of shoes. Splurge for those extra supportive memory foam shoes at the beginning of the year and you’ll be happy you did!
    • Less technology: Remember how I said no Candy Crush before bed? Well, you may need to eliminate more than just Candy Crush from your daily routine. Studies have shown that social media like Facebook can actually make you feel more depressed about your life because of your constant need to compare your life to those who are posting about theirs. Unplug more and enjoy better sleep, more family time, and exercise time.
    • The infamous teacher bag: When I leave work (or head into work), I usually look like I’m auditioning to be the next juggler at the circus. I’m balancing a purse, a lunch box, a teacher bag or two, my keys, my coffee cup, and my water bottle. It’s quite a spectacle. However, having an oversized teacher bag filled to the brim with “to-dos” can actually be hurting your health. Think of all the weight you’re throwing over your shoulder while you’re trying to overcompensate for the unbalance by leaning to the side. That’s hurting your back (and we all know everything is connected, so prepare for more pain elsewhere in return). You’re also setting yourself up for additional stress by bringing home work that should be staying at school. How often do you really attack that stack of papers that you lugged home? It’ll still be there tomorrow, so if you’re not on a strict deadline, it can wait, and it can wait for you at school.


As with any habit, these will take time to become a part of your daily life. Your health is worth the struggle and frustration that you’ll have in the beginning as you try to change some of your ways to develop these healthier habits. Just like with everything else in life, we “keep moving forward” (-Walt Disney).

If you're looking to boost your overall wellness as an educator, you're going to love these teacher health tips. These are great ideas and reminders to help you become what makes you be the best teacher possible - YOU! In order for you to be at your best, you must keep your health and wellness at the forefront. Try them out today!

Teacher Emergency Kit Ideas - How to Create a Teacher Emergency Stash for Yourself or as a Gift

There's nothing worse than not having something you desperately need when in your classroom. That's why you need a teacher emergency kit. There are plenty of kits you can buy out there, but I prefer the DIY version. See everything a veteran teacher feels you need to get started. This is a great teacher gift, perfect for back to school or ANY time of year. Teachers at all grade levels will appreciate having one of these on hand.

When you are in a stressful situation, (getting ready to present at open house, welcoming parents to conferences, speaking at a meeting) you do not want to worry about a run in your tights, bad breath, or a headache on top of everything else. As teachers, things like broken nails or lunch forgotten on the kitchen counter at home can’t slow us down. Therefore, having an “emergency kit” in your classroom desk or closet is essential.


The goal of this step is to help you gather a collection of items to bring to school that will help you in case of an emergency...admittedly, a chocolate craving doesn’t warrant a call to 9-1-1, but it certainly will make life better for all parties involved if there is a Hershey Bar available. Below, you’ll find a list that includes items to pack in your “teacher emergency kit” for those moments that arise and we wish we had something to help with it.


  • Aspirin: Headaches happen quite often when you’re teaching 25 youngsters who have yet to grasp the concept of “inside voices”.
  • Feminine Products: Accidents happen and sometimes we need to be prepared.
  • Deodorant: For those days when you were rushing to get out of the house and forgot to put deodorant on (or not enough).
  • Nail File / Nail Clippers: If you haven’t broken a nail at work, you’re lucky!
  • Hair Elastics/Bobby Bins: Sure, wearing your gorgeous long blonde hair seemed like a great idea this morning….until the humidity went up to like 1000% and you’ve got recess duty. You’ll need to get your hair up in less time than it takes the kids to run to the slide!
  • A Change of Clothes: For those moments of surprise like paint spilling on you, a kid’s lunch tray that magically found your lap even from 5 feet away, or the rain storm that suddenly hit while you were doing your duty.
  • A Hairbrush: Humidity is no one’s friend and it affects everyone’s hair. A hairbrush can be a life saver when you need to brush out the frizz right before a parent walks in.
  • A Toothbrush/Toothpaste: We’ve all been there: Parent conference week, you get to eat out with your coworkers (which is rare), you try out the new Chinese restaurant that uses 10lbs of garlic for every 1lb of chicken, you get back to school and realize you could scare away 5,000 vampires with your breath….thank goodness you packed the toothbrush and toothpaste because you have just enough time to brush before your first parent shows up!
  • Chocolate: This is pretty self explanatory. We always have those days where a chocolate will solve all our problems….until we get home and can indulge in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
  • A Can of Soup, Bowl, Spoon and Can Opener: For those days when you either forget your lunch sitting on the counter or you packed a cold cut sandwich and the cold weather hit and soup just sounds perfect.
  • A Few Non-Perishable Snack Items: Kids get snack time, so why can’t we indulge in a snack too? This helps on those days where your breakfast just isn’t letting you make it until lunch or lunch won’t help get you to dinner.
  • A Bottle of Water: You should be hydrating at work already (see step 6), but sometimes you drink all of what you brought and need another bottle.
  • Tissues: Sometimes the classroom box of tissues runs out while your nose keeps running.
  • Stain Remover: Not everyone needs to know that you had spaghetti for lunch just by looking at that spot on your shirt or pants.
  • A Pair of Tights/Nylons: Picture it….you’re sitting in a chair at the carpet, reading a story to your kids, when little Billy thinks it’s fun to pull on a teeny tiny strand on your tights….the next thing you know, you have a big gaping run in your tights and you have a parent meeting right after school (and with your luck, it’s probably Billy’s mom).
  • Lint Roller: Whoops! You forgot that you hugged your German Shepherd goodbye this morning, but don’t worry, the dog hair all over your top reminds of you of it!
  • Change for the Vending Machine: When a soda/skittles/bag of chips just sounds sooooooo good!
  • Cough Drops: That tickle in your throat will not get the best of you!
  • Chapstick: Who knew that wind out at recess would dry out your lips so much?
  • Safety Pin: Sometimes, buttons just fly off and straps break.
  • Duct Tape: Luckily, MacGuyver showed us how to fix just about anything with duct tape. From broken sandals to ripped pillows, we can fix anything in a jiffy with duct tape!
**If you are including aspirin or any other type of medicine, be sure to store your container in an area that is not accessible to children.


**If you are including food ideas, you will want to invest in a container that is "critter proof."


Your teacher emergency kit may look different than your teammates, and the items you include will change with experience (I never thought I’d need a change of clothes until I had two separate incidents that left me soggy and uncomfortable...I obviously didn’t learn after the first time). The important thing is that you have a supply of things that you will undoubtedly need at some point. As they say in Girl Scouts, “Always Be Prepared”!

There's nothing worse than not having something you desperately need when in your classroom. That's why you need a teacher emergency kit. There are plenty of kits you can buy out there, but I prefer the DIY version. See everything a veteran teacher feels you need to get started. This is a great teacher gift, perfect for back to school or ANY time of year. Teachers at all grade levels will appreciate having one of these on hand.


By the way, if you are not already subscribed to The Clutter-Free Classroom newsletter I encourage you sign up. Subscribers receive weekly tips for organizing and managing a classroom as well as exclusive free printables. You can sign up here.


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