Back-to-school happenings are in full force around here, and it'll be the holiday season before you know it. We're preparing our home for one heck of a busy season, as several family members have moved recently and that means lots of visitors are headed our way. We're bracing ourselves for a little stress, a bit of busy-ness and a guest room inevitably full of germs. Time to batten down the hatches and load up on ALL the supplies!

Preparing your home for busy season

We're working with Ralphs, and we love to load up on their Simple Truth brand essentials to keep our house fully-stocked from the beginning of fall all the way through fa-la-la.

Prep for Back-to-School, House Guest Germs and Holiday Happenings

Waffles and macaroni

Meal must-haves

We believe that nothing keeps colds at bay better than a little comfort food! Seriously, meals with family can brighten your mood and battle away the winter blues in a flash so we stay well-stocked with gluten-free versions of classic favorites for a healthier version of everyone's favorites. Waffles and macaroni can keep you covered from breakfast to dinner and straight on through an occasional midnight snack. Sometimes I even use these gluten-free waffles in place of bread for a breakfast sandwich that's out of this world, and macaroni can be whipped into a meal that adult and kid visitors will love equally. I add a little tuna in there for a protein punch, and I've been known to throw in some peas and spinach on occasion to keep things varied and get all our greens in.

Afterschool snacks

Snacks for days

I like to bulk-buy healthy snacks that can double as a side dish or recipe add-in so we're always prepared with flexible ingredients. Apple sauce is classically served up alongside pork chops or dried cranberries can be thrown into a salad – and both of them can rock a school lunch at a moments' notice. Simple Truth makes the BEST organic apple sauce!

Vitamins

When we have guests come over, it's not uncommon for me to plop a big bottle of Vitamin C smack dab in the middle of the kitchen table and tell them to help themselves. In preparation for the season, now's a good time to get immunizations updated at the Ralphs pharmacy, too. It's super-convenient to stop in while you're grabbing groceries.

Sauces, mixes and seasonings

Sauce, seasonings and mixes

Meals that are healthy AND tasty enough for a varied crew are always a bit of a challenge. You can almost always scrounge up some meat from the freezer, but then the real challenge lies in dressing it up and making it suitable for visitors. We keep some all-purpose flour on-hand (gluten-free, again, so people with allergies can take part) to spruce up everything from ground beef for alight and easy meatloaf to whipping up some quick dumplings for chicken noodle soup. Italian seasoning can also spruce up just about any meal, and basil and oregano makes it have a ton of antibacterial properties so it's a favorite meal component for us to reach for during flu season. Ranch dressing is another one of my go-to picks to always have on-hand, too. Pair it with some vegetables or create a ranch-crusted chicken breast for a tasty (and healthy!) snack or dinner in no time flat.

Getting ready for busy season at home with lots of paper products

Paper products

It's never fun to run out of the basics when you're in the middle of a busy week! Now is the perfect time to stock up on paper towels and tissues so you can wipe surfaces down and nip the spread of germs in the bud. Go on and grab some toilet paper and refill those Q-tip dispensers and cotton ball jars while you're at it, and top off all the soaps so nobody's left scrounging. I also like to stick little hand sanitizer bottles in each room too, as a gentle hint that people should keep on top of it if they feel like they're coming down with something.

What are your must-have healthy household items?

Preparing your home and stocking the pantry for busy season. #homemaking