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Back to school: Meal prep lunches to send with your kids

Prep on a Sunday and manage your crazy back-to-school weeks ahead!

Chef Kat Marris, Fresh and Balanced Meal Prep, takes over our kitchen today to help us say BYE BYE to soggy sandwiches!

Prep those snacks!
Sometimes it’s the snacks that keep you from getting out of the door on time. Prep a snack drawer in your fridge. Show some easy snacks to prep! Fruit packs, turkey, cheese and crackers in a ziplock, yogurts and granola. Organize them in a labeled drawer in your fridge. Snack tip! Put a rubber band around a sliced apple to keep it from browning.

Recipe: DIY Pizza Kits
Makes 4 servings
4 sandwich thins bread
8 tablespoons pizza sauce
8 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
8 slices pepperoni or 16 mini pepperonis
8 tablespoons finely chopped green bell pepper
Toast the sandwich thins the night before or the morning you pack the lunch. Pour pizza sauce into small dressing cups. Portion cheese, pepperoni and green bell pepper into small cups to be stored on the side. Don’t forget to include a small spoon so the sauce can be spread on the sandwich thin!

A fun way to eat broccoli and are very filling. Show how to make the nuggets (rice the broccoli in a food processor, mix in a large bowl with eggs, breadcrumbs etc.. then shape with a cookie dough baller). Discuss fun variations like adding jalapeño if you have kids who like spicy food or try it with cauliflower. Pull a pan of completed nuggets from the oven and show what you can dip them in (marinara, ketchup, mustard).

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Recipe: Parmesan Spaghetti Pasta Salad Makes 6 servings
1 box (1lb) spaghetti, cooked according to package directions and drained
1 bottle Italian salad dressing
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 cucumber, diced
6 slices salami or pepperoni, finely chopped
6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus a little extra for topping

In a large bowl, toss all ingredients together. Add a little extra Parmesan cheese on top before serving. This pasta salad saves well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Recipe: Broccoli Nuggets, Makes 4-6 servings
1 (12 oz) bag of broccoli florets
3 eggs
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons ranch seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
Marinara sauce, ketchup or mustard for dipping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place broccoli florets inside a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Dump into a large bowl.

Add eggs, breadcrumbs, cheese and ranch seasoning to the large bowl with the broccoli. Stir until well combined.

Using a small cookie dough baller or a tablespoon, scoop broccoli nugget mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Gently press down on each nugget so they are all the same height.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops and edges are golden. Allow broccoli nuggets to cool slightly before removing from the baking sheet. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. Store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 4 days. These taste great hot or cold!

About Chef Kat: (as told by Kat, herself)

“I am chef on a meal prep and healthy cooking mission! I run an online meal prep program designed to take the stress out of meal prepping and healthy eating. I teach meal prep cooking lessons and corporate wellness presentations. I am also a food blogger and write about meal prep topics and provide healthy recipes on my blog, Fresh and Balanced. My goal is to help you eat healthier and feel better one meal at a time.”

To learn more, visit:
Instagram: @katmarris
Website: and
Facebook: Fresh and Balanced