Hello back to school season! It’s time for a new meal plan that will help you save time, plan ahead, and make lunch packing a breeze. Well, that’s the goal anyways. Life tends to get in the way of our grand plans sometimes. Those early mornings are hard, aren’t they? But, it’s easier to start with a plan and adjust when necessary. My back-to-school meal plan can help you fill in the blank of what’s for dinner when you are making the grocery list for the week ahead.
The recipes I’m sharing use real food ingredients, although I too rely on some quality packaged items to round out my kid’s lunch boxes. They are used when time is tight, or it’s the end of the week and we are out of all the prepped goodies. The kids don’t mind when they get the occasional bag of pretzels or beef jerky sticks. I don’t mind either when I’ve taken the time to read through the ingredient list and weed out the junky versions. Eating well needs to be a balance, for everyone in the family. Time is tight and if you are making a couple of new recipes each week to expose everyone to new flavors, you’re on the right track.
In the coming weeks I’ll share with you some additional lunch packing tips that are specifically for kids. After the novelty of the first couple of weeks, we all need a little variety in the lunch packing routine!
Here’s a few recipes to help you get ready for those after school activities and map out your back to school meal plan!
Late Summer Minestrone Soup– one pot meal that’s quick and uses fresh, local ingredients from Aimee at Simple Bites.
Instant Pot Carnitas-from PaleOMG
Cashew Chicken Sheet Pan– another prep ahead option with paleo and gluten free notes included
Thai Basil Turkey Bowls– make this part of your Sunday meal prep for the week. Grab cauliflower rice in the freezer section to save time.
One Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas– quick 20 minute meal from No 2 Pencil
Granola Apple Peanut Butter Crunch Wraps– use my homemade granola listed below and swap in a nut-free butter for school to make this work.
Chickpea and Avocado Salad– from the Natural Nurturer
Chili Garlic Tofu Bowls– look for organic tofu to avoid GMOs.
Sausage Pizza Egg Muffins– from Paleo Running Momma
Banana Almond Chia Pudding– make ahead option from Grits and Chopsticks
Homemade Granola– leave out the nuts and add more seeds (like sesame for calcium!) and then use it as a nut-free school option.
Southwestern Breakfast Bowl -from The Do It All Mama. Make this one for dinner and have the leftovers for breakfast. Mix in some spinach to get in a serving of greens first thing in the morning.
Cranberry Coconut Energy Bites-swap in pumpkin or sunflower seed butter to make it school-safe.
Fruit Leather-use a dehydrator or your lowest oven setting to set.
*Healthy Batch cooking ideas– tons of ideas for all meals of the day. There are lots of ideas here you can add to your own back to school meal plan.
*I purchased the Real Lunches Real Easy III as I love having something new for packing lunches. It’s worth the $10. I’m not an affiliate but think it’s a great product and something you can share with your kids to get their input. I’ll be printing mine at Staples and having it bound together as a true cookbook.
For more inspiration, check out the years of past dinner plans here, my Pinterest collection here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans. Leave a comment with your favorite family recipe to add a back to school meal plan.
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About Emily Roach
Emily Roach is a culinary nutrition expert and works with clients to create a healthy lifestyle design. She loves teaching her kids how to cook, playing tennis and inspiring women to take control of their health. Emily does one-on-one consulting, cooking workshops and speaking engagements.