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Back to School Meal Planning: Easy and Nutritious Recipes

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As we gear up for the back-to-school season, many families face the challenges of transitioning back-to-school routines. These Back-to-School Meal Planning tips can help! One aspect of this transition is meal planning, especially for busy families juggling work, school, extracurricular activities, and more!

From early mornings to homework schedules, getting back into the swing of things requires adaptation and planning. The shift from relaxed summer schedules to a structured school day can overwhelm parents and children. Read our tips below!

Meal planning ensures families maintain a healthy diet despite their hectic schedules. It saves time, reduces weekly stress, and helps make nutritious choices for every meal.

The Importance of Meal Planning

Families can set themselves up for success during the school year by investing time in thoughtful meal preparation, ensuring everyone stays nourished and energized.

  • Save Time: Planning meals in advance eliminates the need to figure out what to cook daily, saving valuable time during busy weekdays.
  • Eat Healthier: With a plan in place, families are more likely to make balanced and nutritious meal choices and avoid last-minute unhealthy options.
  • Manage Budgets: By planning meals, families can create grocery lists based on their planned recipes, helping them stick to their budget and reduce food waste.
  • Reduce Stress: Knowing what to prepare for each meal reduces the stress of last-minute decisions, especially after a long day of work and school.

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The following items can be found in my kitchen here at Miller Manor. Simply click the image that interests you – yes, they do contain affiliate links.

5-Ingredient (or less) Breakfasts for Busy Mornings

Starting your day with a healthy breakfast is essential for fueling your body and mind. For busy mornings when time is of the essence, quick and nutritious breakfast options can significantly affect how you feel throughout the day.

Here are some delightful 5-ingredient (or less) breakfast recipes that are both delicious and easy to prepare:

Beginning your day with a nutritious breakfast sets the tone for healthier eating habits. A balanced breakfast provides essential nutrients and energy and helps improve cognitive function and mood.

Shop My Printables

These printables are great for meal planning and organizing! Simply click the image to check out my shop products!

Creative and Healthy Lunchbox Ideas

Creativity and nutrition go hand in hand when packing school lunches for kids. Offering various appealing and healthy options can ensure that children look forward to their midday meal while getting the nutrients they need to stay focused throughout the day.

Here are some fun and nutritious lunchbox ideas that are easy to prepare and kid-approved:

To ensure that your child’s lunch stays fresh and safe until lunchtime, consider the following tips:

  • Use an insulated lunchbox or bag with ice packs to keep perishable items cool.
  • Opt for leak-proof containers to prevent spills and keep foods separated.
  • Pack crunchy items like crackers or veggies separately to maintain their texture.
  • Encourage your child to wash their hands before eating and to discard any uneaten perishable items after lunch.
  • Rotate lunch options regularly to keep things exciting and prevent food fatigue.

Bentgo® Glass Lunch Box - Leak-Proof Bento-Style Food Container with Airtight Lid and Divided 3-Compartment Design - 5 Cup Capacity for Meal Prepping, and Portion-Controlled Meals for Adults (Gray)EcoPreps Glass Bento Box Containers with Bamboo Lids, 3 Compartment Glass Meal Prep Containers【3 Pack】100% Plastic Free, Eco-Friendly, Freezer Safe Glass Lunch Containers, Glass Bento Boxes for Adults3 Pack 33.8oz Bento Box Glass Meal Prep Containers 3 Compartments Glass Food Storage Containers with Lids Meal Prep Bowls Lunch Box Glass Food Prep Containers Lunch Container Oven Microwave SafeGC GENICOOK Glass Food Storage Containers Glass Lids with Silicone Sleeve- Bento Box Set Lunch Box- Meal Prep Containers-stackable,microwave and freezer safe,(5 Pack, 22 Ounce), Plastic and BPA FreeVITEVER [6 Pack] Salad Dressing Container To Go, 2.7 oz Glass Small Condiment Container with Lids, Dipping Sauce Cups Set, Leakproof Reusable Sauce Containers for Lunch Box Work Trip.C CREST Glass Meal Prep Containers, [10 Pack] Glass Food Storage Containers with Lids, Airtight Glass Bento Boxes, BPA Free & Leak Proof (10 Lids & 10 Containers)


Combining creative lunch ideas with proper food safety practices allows you to create enjoyable and nutritious meals that your kids will love to unpack and devour at school.

Quick and Nutritious Dinner Solutions

Preparing a wholesome dinner for the family in a short amount of time is not only achievable but also essential for busy households.

Below are some delicious and nutritious dinner recipes that can be whipped up in under 30 minutes, perfect for those hectic evenings when time is of the essence:

Strategies for Meal Prepping and Batch Cooking

To streamline dinner preparation and make weeknight meals even more manageable, consider the following meal prep and batch cooking strategies:

  • Plan Ahead: Create a weekly meal plan to streamline grocery shopping and preparation.
  • Prep Ingredients: Wash, chop, and portion out ingredients in advance to save time during cooking.
  • Batch Cook Proteins: Cook large batches of proteins like chicken, beef, or beans for multiple weekly meals.
  • Freeze Portions: Freeze leftovers or pre-cooked meals in portions for quick reheating on busy nights.
  • Invest in Time-Saving Tools: To expedite cooking times, use tools like a pressure cooker, slow cooker, or air fryer.

Crock-Pot 7 Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel (SCV700-S-BR)Reynolds Kitchens Slow Cooker Liners, Regular (Fits 3-8 Quarts), 6 Count (Pack of 2), 12 TotalHeavy Duty Non Scratch Scouring Pads and Pot Scrubbers (2PCs) - Mesh Dish Cloth, Durable Netted Dish Scrubbers - No Odor Dishwashing, Pan Cleaner, Netted Dish Cloth, Scouring Cloth - Korea Made


Snacks and Treats that Fuel the Brain

Snacks provide sustained energy and nourishment, especially for active kids. Eating brain-fueling snacks can support cognitive function and keep children satisfied until their next meal, whether enjoyed after school or packed in lunchboxes.

Here are some nutritious snack ideas along with simple homemade recipes that kids can assist in preparing:

You should also use this time to help the kids make snacks. This fun family activity will help them gain confidence in the kitchen.

Here are a few super simple recipes to make with the kids!

Fruit Kabobs


  • Assorted fruits (strawberries, grapes, pineapple chunks)
  • Wooden skewers


  • Thread fruits onto skewers in a colorful pattern.
  • Enjoy as a fun and interactive snack option.

Energy Bites


  • Rolled oats
  • Nut butter
  • Honey
  • Chia seeds
  • Mini chocolate chips


  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  • Roll into bite-sized balls and refrigerate until firm.
  • Perfect for little hands to help shape!

These snacks are delicious and fuel the brain, keeping kids energized and focused throughout their day.

Benefits of Meal Planning During the Back-to-School Season

Meal planning is pivotal in managing the hustle and bustle of the back-to-school season, offering many advantages for busy families.

  • Time-Saving: Meal planning saves time during the week by reducing the need to make last-minute decisions on what to cook for each meal.
  • Healthier Choices: Planning meals allows families to make more nutritious choices, ensuring balanced and wholesome meals are served.
  • Budget-Friendly: By creating a grocery list based on planned meals, families can stick to their budget and minimize food waste.
  • Reduced Stress: Knowing what to prepare eliminates the stress of deciding on meals after a long day, promoting a more relaxed evening routine.
  • Variety and Creativity: Meal planning encourages trying new recipes and incorporating various foods into the family’s diet, fostering culinary creativity.

Encouraging Children in Meal Planning:

  • Life Skills Development: Involving children in meal planning teaches them essential life skills such as organization, decision-making, and cooking.
  • Quality Family Time: Planning meals together creates opportunities for quality family time, fostering communication and bonding over shared responsibilities.
  • Ownership and Empowerment: Allowing children to contribute to meal planning gives them a sense of ownership over their food choices, empowering them to make healthy decisions.
  • Food Education: Kids learn about different food groups, nutrition, and the importance of balanced meals through active participation in meal planning.
  • Positive Relationship with Food: Engaging children in meal planning instills a positive relationship with food, promoting a healthy attitude towards eating and meal preparation.

Encouraging kids to participate in meal planning sets the foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating habits and fosters a positive and interactive approach to food within the family dynamic!

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Tuesday 10th of September 2013

What a cute back to school menu planner! I've pinned it to my back to school board =)

Thanks for linking up to TGIF! Have a great week!