Guest blog: Back to School Time by Aoife Hearne

Guest blog: Back to School Time by Aoife Hearne

Aoife Hearne shows you how to swap sandwiches for healthy potato lunch box alternatives.

The new season crop of Roosters potatoes have just arrived in the shops and their bright pink skins are a welcome sight once again.  Of course, it’s also that time of year again; when those lazy days of summer are drawing to a close and all of sudden you have to get back into the school routine and quick! Just like with many things in life, the thought of getting back into the school routine can seem worse than it actually is. 

Organisation and preparation are key when getting back into the routine.  Here are some tips to help you on your way.

1.            Planning ahead for easy breakfast and lunch choices will make this transition easier:

  • Think of dinner meals that can work well for leftovers lunch the next day
  • Take time at the weekend to prepare vegetables and potatoes for evening meals
  • Have raw vegetables peeled and chopped and ready to go in the fridge 
  • Have salad potatoes or small potatoes in your vegetable press so that a quick, easy and healthy carbohydrate is always ready for dinner
  • Likewise, having fruit chopped and stored in single serving containers will make it quick and easy to grab for snacks mid week

2.            Easy breakfast options will make the start of the day much smoother. Think about having cook ahead / prepare ahead breakfasts to limit preparation time in the morning.  Having egg muffins frozen in the freezer can work really well for quick options in the morning. Adding potatoes and tomatoes to these egg muffins can make them an all in one meal and a great filling start to the day. See other options in the recipe section such as:

  • Spanish Tortilla
  •  Potato and mushroom omelette
  • Mexican huevos rancheros

3.            Preparing lunch the night before can really save time and stress in the morning

4.            Lunch Box ideas can sometimes be tricky when you are getting back into the swing of the school schedule.  Potatoes are a great filling and comforting option to add to lunch. Here are some ideas in the recipe section to get you started:

  • Potato and tuna salad
  • Potato and courgette salad
  • Potato, ham, spring onion and chive soup
  • Thai beef and potato salad
  • Leftover roast lunch hash
  • Hearty potato and vegetable (e.g. leek) soup in a flask

5.            Easy Kitchen Appliances. A great investment for quick meals is a slow cooker / crock pot.  Another good idea is to get an air fryer for healthy homemade chips.  Many of the recipe meals from the campaign are suitable to make in a slow cooker, with stews and casseroles working particularly well.  A slow cooker makes meal preparation at the weekend so quick and easy you’ll wonder what you ever did without it.

6.            Watch our video below on how easy it is to make low fat potato wedges for a real Friday/ Saturday night treat: http://www.potato.ie/recipes/mexican-chilli-wedges/

Healthy eating is all about enjoying your food and eating the right amounts to maintain a healthy weight.

It means eating some food more often than others, such as fruit and vegetables on a daily basis, but having other things as a weekly treat. Find out more in our 'Eat Well' section.

Try to have at least five portions of fruit and/or vegetables a day.

Choose from fresh, frozen, dried, or canned (in juice) and remember a glass of pure juice (limit to 150ml) and a serving of beans (3tbsp), liked baked beans, counts as a portion (but only one a day!).

Add fruit and vegetables to each meal such as chopped or dried fruit with breakfast cereal, salad with a pizza, chopped raw vegetables like carrots and cucumber in a lunch box and remember fruit makes a quick and healthy snack.