Sun Basket’s Justine Kelly Shares her Strategies for a Smooth Start to the School Year

Summer is winding down, and Chef Justine is getting back into a routine with her daughter, Stella. Here are her tips for meal planning, back-to-school shopping, and enjoying the last few days of the season. 

Get back on schedule 

About two weeks before school starts, I gradually shift Stella to an earlier bedtime. I make sure that she gets to bed about 15 minutes earlier every night for two weeks so that she’s well-rested and ready to learn when the first day of school comes. 

Inventory our lunch supplies 

In preparation for packing a lunch every morning, I inventory all my reusable containers. I make sure I have matching lids for every piece, recycle anything that’s cracked, and upgrade our supplies as needed. 

Make weekly meal plans

A few weeks before school begins, Stella and I sit down and decide which Sun Basket dinner, snack, and lunch options she’s excited about. I know from experience that she’s more likely to eat a lunch that she has a say in making. And this year, with our new unlimited dinners option, we can select meals for nearly every night of the week. And then extras for lunches if I know we’ll have a particularly busy week. Planning, shopping, and cooking together are some of the ways we stay connected as our schedules get busier. 

Clean out the closet

Stella and I save an afternoon for sorting through her clothes. We find the ones that no longer fit and donate them, then we make a budget and go shopping for anything new that she needs.

Squeeze the last bit of fun out of summer 

I always try to make sure we have a little extra fun planned in the last few weeks before we get back to our routine. I may sneak out of work to pick Stella up early from camp so we have time for a long hike with the dog. On another day I’ll plan an evening picnic with my sister and nieces. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. We just like to have some time to spend together.