Easy Back to School Hacks with Katie Wells of Wellness Mama

July 26, 2019

Katie Wells’ mission is clear: help moms create healthier families through practical tips, real-food recipes, and natural remedies. As an award-winning blogger, author, podcaster, and real-food crusader, Wells has grown a highly dedicated community of Wellness Mama families. In addition to her prospering businesses, she also home schools her six children. A real-life wonder woman? We think so.

Here, she’s sharing how you can get back into an easy, healthy routine this fall. From her favorite daily rituals to tips on meal prepping for the entire family, her advice will get you excited for the start of a new season.

What does getting “back in session” mean to you?

For me, getting back in session starts with creating a rotating meal plan for the fall. I compile our favorite healthy recipes and make a 3-week meal plan that rotates. This way, I can make a shopping list for each meal plan and have the list ready to go each week. I also focus on easy-to-prepare and time-saving recipes that I can batch cook or make in the Instant Pot to save time when things start getting busy.

Our family also resets our bedtime routine once school starts. During the summer, the kids all stay up later, but when school begins, we get back to our routine of baths, books, and family time before an earlier bedtime (for the adults, too).

What are your favorite daily routines?

My favorite daily routines are the simple ones that make a big difference over time when I stick to them. Every morning, I try to spend at least half an hour outside within an hour of waking up. This was recommended to me by Dr. Alan Christianson and Dr. Michael Breus, who both explain that exposure to outdoor light in the morning helps support circadian rhythm and better sleep at night. This is always a great time to sip some coffee or tea, talk to my husband, or spend time with the kids.

Movement is also a big part of my daily routine, but it’s rarely the same day to day. I love activities like walking, bike riding, or paddle boarding, but also mix it up with yard work, gardening, playing outside with my kids, or weight training at the gym. I also do a program called CARS from Hunter Fitness each day.

At the end of the day, I love to wind down with reishi and a good book before bed, and I find that my sleep is much better when I make it a priority to get to bed by 10 or 10:30 p.m.

What are the daily routines you want to get better about (or want to try) in the fall?

This fall, my goal is to get better about a more regular training schedule at the gym, and prioritize outdoor time with family. When school starts, it can be tough to find quality time as a family. One of our solutions is to have dinner together as a family every night and all take turns answering questions like:

What are you grateful for today?
What hard questions did you ask today?
What did you fail at today and how did you learn from this?
Highlights of the day?

How does Thrive Market make it easy to stick to a new routine?

Thrive Market is a huge part of sticking to these routines! With my meal plan and pre-planned shopping list, I can easily order everything I need from the Thrive Market app and make sure it’s there when I need it. Add in some fresh veggies from the garden, and I save so much time by not having to go to the store and fight traffic! It’s so convenient to make sure we always have our pantry staples, household goods, and other products on hand.

As a homeschool mom, how are you preparing for back-to-school season?

As a homeschool mom, this time of year is a little busier for me as I work on lessons plans for the year, scheduling activities and travel, and writing out objectives for our year. As a family, we brainstorm places we’d like to visit during the year and skills or experiences we’d like to learn or explore and make this part of our learning. One year, we all worked on learning Spanish together as a family and took a family work trip to Costa Rica at the end of the year. The kids loved being able to speak to the locals and barter on their own for produce and souvenirs at the local shops. We’ve also done things like handstand challenges as a family— we like to have fun goals as a focus.

What are the snacks and treats that you always keep on hand?

In general, we don’t do a lot of snacks, as we try to eat mainly at mealtime and limit food in between. That said, sometimes it’s necessary to eat on the go or have snacks, and my kids are always so excited to get the box from Thrive Market with all of their favorite treats. I make sure to stock filling, high-protein options like nuts, seeds, tuna, sardines, and green drinks. These are always available, and if the kids are hungry, they can grab these anytime they want, along with some fresh veggies. For treats, we also love Sauerkraut Chips from Farmhouse Culture, Simple Mills Crackers with homemade hummus, and Plantain Chips and Almond Butter from Thrive Market Goods.

What recipes do your kids love and crave throughout the school year?

I have hundreds of our favorites on and in my cookbook, but a few that stand out as kid favorites are:

Pakistani Kima
Beef Rice Bowls
Miso Soup
Coconut Chicken Curry
Tuna Casserole

What are your top tips for planning out meals for the week?

Compile your family’s favorite 20+ recipes and write them on index cards. This makes it easy to arrange and sort into weeks. Then, compile a shopping list for each week of meal plans. Order the ingredients through the Thrive Market app, and grab any fresh local ingredients you need. I like to bulk prep on the weekend so most meals can be reheated or cook in under half an hour on busy nights.

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Lily Comba

Lily Comba has never met a baked good she didn't like. When she's not baking, you'll find her writing, taking a Pilates class, or collaborating with the editorial and social team as a Senior Content Writer at Thrive Market.


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