Music Teacher Eats: A Week of Easy, Healthy Meals (Fall Edition)

Are you a piano teacher (or independent music teacher of any instrument?) 

Does the schedule of your occupation create obstacles in food planning/meals making you feel like you’re in a rut or frequently in “survival” mode?

Then, this post is for you!

Thanks to my good friend, Christina Whitlock, creator of the Beyond Measure Podcast, I’ve found a fun way to pull food fun into the mix a little more here!

Here’s a snippet into a text between the two of us several months ago (shared with permission 🙂 ).

Can you relate to her sentiments? 🙂

Thanks to her, I’m launching this new blog post series called “Music Teacher Eats: A Week of Easy, Healthy Meals”. You can look forward to a new edition of this series coming out at least once a season (fall, winter, spring, summer) and possibly even some holiday versions.

Before we continue, a few disclaimers:

First, I will do my best to meet Christina’s request of easy, healthy, and can be done in 30 minutes or less after teaching (assuming a little prep work has been done 🙂 – see the post: Food Prep and the Studio Schedule for more on that!)

Second, as we all know, the words “easy” and “healthy” can mean completely different things to different people. I vow to do my best to take an overall general approach to both of these words and will also keep in mind that some of you (unlike me) may be serving families with kids.

Third, all of the recipes I suggest here are ones that I have tried and love. I may not be a recipe website, but I cook A LOT and am really picky about quality recipes. Rest easy that everything I share today is a recipe worth keeping. 

Fourth, while I cook a LOT from the subscription sites America’s Test Kitchen and Milk Street, I avoided including recipes from them. (It was hard though because their recipes are soooo good!) All recipes included can be found for free online.

I hope you find something in this suggested weekly meal plan that’s new, exciting, and most importantly, useful in easing the burden of meal planning as a studio music teacher!

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Friday Finds #219

Self Care: Rest and Renewal

This week is my last full week of lessons. Wahoo!

Next week, while the studio will still be on its regular schedule, students will come in and do a final run-through of their recital pieces (which I plan to record), and then parents will join in and we will have our final evaluation meeting.

I don’t know about you, but my body and mind are extra ready for a breather this year! That makes me extra happy I decided to end my semester one week earlier than usual and give myself a two-week break before Summer lessons begin.

Today is all about taking care of ourselves through rest and (thus) renewal.



Cheers to Acknowledging Rest (Beyond Measure podcast with Christina Whitlock)

“Let’s face it: especially this time of year, rest is HARD for ambitious teachers. Rather than making you feel guilty for not incorporating more white space into your spring schedule, this episode encourages us to acknowledge the rest that comes – intentionally or not – and to embrace it for the benefits it brings.”



What if We Approached Taking Care of Ourselves the Way We Approach Our Jobs? (Shonda Rhimes)

“…what if the only person I’m competing with is the me I was …yesterday?”



Paid Time Off for Piano Teachers (Nicola Cantan | Colourful Keys)



24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life by Matthew Sleeth.

I read this book several years ago and really enjoyed it. There are other similar ones out there with the same name.



Use some of this “slow” time to make some “slow” foods. Here are some suggestions:

Irish Soda Bread (Ina Garten)

The Easiest Bread Recipe You’ll Ever Bake (it really is!) (Williams Sonoma)

Chicken Stew with Biscuits (Ina Garten)

Rhubarbecue (slow-braised ribs in Rhubarb BBQ sauce) (Taste of Home)

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham (The Kitchn)



4 Lessons I Learned from Doing Less (Michelle Cushatt)



A Helpful Guide to Becoming Unbusy (Joshua Becker | Becoming Minimalist)

“Busy” has become the new “fine” – the new “default state” for our lives.



How to Make Your Weekend a WOW Experience: My 5-Ingredient Recipe for Total Rejuvenation (Michael Hyatt)



Finding Sabbath Again (Mike Glenn | Patheos)

“Sabbath gives you the time and space to remember what matters.”



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Healthy Snacks for Long Teaching Days

As teaching hours increase and stress levels spike due to the new online music lesson setting, you may be experiencing the inclination to either stress-eat or have the need for small bits of sustenance to see you through the day.

Here are a few of my favorite healthy snacks and recipes.


Dried Fruit

So far, my favorite dried fruit brands have either been Made in Nature or Trader Joe’s.

Unfortunately, both of these are often either not available on Amazon or not available for as good of a price as you may find in the store.

Generally, I reach for unsweetened, unsulfured, and organic dried fruit. Sweetened dried fruit is almost always way too sweet and sugary (in my humble opinion).

That being said, when it comes to dried apricots, they can be tricky. Half the time the unsweetened, unsulfured ones can be really hard and dry. These ones from Amazon are pretty good.


For the slightly more child-like side of you (or just for a change of pace) try fruit leather (a.k.a. grown-up “fruit roll-ups”)!

Stretch Island Fruit Leather (100% real fruit – no sugar added)

P.S. If you were at N.C.K.P. 2017, I handed these out like candy!



Homemade Granola Bars and Energy Bites

The Best Soft Granola Bars from Pinch of Yum.

P.S. I just made these two days ago. Don’t they look delish? Want to see more of my food photo fun? Follow me on Instagram


Other favorites include:

Chocolate Chunk Granola Bars from Smitten Kitchen

Oatmeal, Almond Butter Breakfast Cookies from Simply Recipes

Almond, Cherry, & Cacao Nib Breakfast Cookies from The Green Life

The Best Energy Bites from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

No-Bake Energy Bites from King Arthur Flour



Of course, we can’t go without mentioning chocolate! I usually go for the little individually wrapped ones such as Dove Dark Chocolate. I also like Lindt 70% Cocoa bars and Dark Chocolate Almonds.




From ARound the World

A couple of years ago, Nicola Canton shared several homemade recipes for super fast and healthy snacks for piano teachers on her website, Colourful Keys. Check those out as well!


What are some of your go-to snacks to keep the energy going? Share in the comments!


10 Products to Make Your Online Teaching More Comfortable

If you’re not already teaching lessons online, many of us will be this week following Spring Break.

I think we can all agree that online teaching can take a little bit (or even a lot) more energy than in-person. Hopefully, the more we do it, the easier it will get!

To help you along the way, here are 10 products I love that can help make your next few weeks feel a little less stressful and a little more comfortable.

Remember, it’s the small things that can bring us joy in stressful times!

Here’s a quick reference guide – descriptions follow!


#1-4 Hydrate and Moisturize

Staying well-hydrated is always important for good health, but we may need to be even more conscious of it now. If we’re not intentionally conscious of it, we may tend to find ourselves talking a little louder than normal which leads to dry mouth and dehydration.

Consider keeping an electric kettle next to you for cups of tea or even warm lemon water. Chef’s Choice Electric Glass Kettle is good quality and well-priced.


One of my favorite teas is The Republic of Tea’s Spring Cherry Green Tea


The individual bags are convenient for on-the-go teaching.

Excess talking can also easily dry out the lips. Don’t forget a stash of chapstick! SW Basics Organic Beeswax Lip Balm


With everyone being more conscious of handwashing perhaps longer and more frequently than before, the skin on your hands may be suffering.

Keep this lovely-smelling EO Body Lotion, Coconut and Vanilla on your desk to enjoy after each hand-washing.

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