7 Easy Back to School Meal Planning Ideas That Will Make Your Life Easier

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7 Easy Back to School Meal Planning Ideas That Will Make Your Life Easier


Summer is almost over, even though it feels like it just started! Are you ready to get back into the swing of things?


Back to school meal planning is the perfect way to make sure you stay on budget and on time with everything going on in your busy life.


When you feel like everything in your life is constantly flying by, it’s easy to fall into a slump when it comes to you and your kids’ meals. Sometimes we just don’t have time to get creative when we have people to herd out the door every morning.


However, meal planning on a budget doesn’t need to be hard- or boring. Especially when it comes to packing lunches for school or work.


These easy back to school meal planning ideas will keep your kids (or your lunch bag) happy and make your life easier. Never resort to a plain ol’ sandwich again!



1. Make-Ahead Breakfasts You Can Freeze


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And back to school season means making sure the kiddos have a jump start to get back into the swing of things.


Try some make-ahead breakfasts that you can freeze. Grab and go options make it easier for busy kids and parents to get the right foods to start the day.


These yogurt fruit bars are perfect for a healthy boost in the morning or at lunchtime. You could also get creative and make your own granola bars.


Muffins are also a great make-ahead breakfast you can freeze. However, you don’t need to stick to the traditional kinds. Make breakfast muffins with egg, ham, bacon, or whatever you have on hand, and freeze them for a breakfast that packs flavour and protein.



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2. Pre-Portioned Pantry Snacks


One of the tricky parts of back to school meal planning is making sure that lunches don’t get boring or repetitive. Most parents will agree that kids tend to get sick of things pretty easily.


Making pre-portioned snack stashes will ensure that you can throw in a variety of snacks without the prep time each morning. It’s more expensive to buy convenient sized items in the grocery stores, so doing it yourself will save you a lot of money in the long run.


If you divide them up ahead of time and keep them in the pantry, you can grab them and go during the week. As a bonus, these types of snacks don’t spoil as quickly, so you can make a whole bunch in advance.



3. Leftovers For Lunch


Using dinner leftovers for lunch is a great way to save on your grocery budget and make your food go further.


Now, this really depends on what you made for dinner the night before. If it’s something that’s going to need a microwave, and your kid doesn’t have access to one, don’t send it with them.


When you’re making dinner and you’re making something that could be taken for lunch, make extras and use it as a go-to when you’re in a pinch during the upcoming week.


You could also make extras of just certain parts of your dinner. For example, make some extra chicken and use it for a chicken wrap.



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4. Copycat Lunchables


For many of us, lunchables were a staple of our elementary school meals. However, lunchables are expensive and not always a healthy choice.


These make great school lunch box ideas because they’re a healthier option than the pre-packaged ones.


Make your own lunchables! Kids will love having a lunchable that was specially created just for them, and you can make sure you know exactly what’s in their food.


Here’s how to make the pizza version, which you can also freeze ahead of time. However, it’s also super easy to make the crackers and cheese lunchables at home, or even cooked-ahead chicken nuggets.



5. Lunch-Friendly Dips to Change it Up


Who said you had to make your kids sandwiches all the time?


The good thing is that there are tons of healthy dip recipes out there that will give your kids enough nutrients and protein to stay as full as they would with any other lunch.


Try some of these lunch dip recipes you can definitely make ahead of time. You can also pre-portion the dipping utensils, like crackers, when you portion your pantry items so they’re easy to grab.



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6. Quiche: The Every-Meal Option


One of the staples of your meal plan should be quiche. They freeze well, taste delicious, and hold up in a lunchbox. This dish is so convenient because you can make it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.


Not only is it super versatile, but it’s full of good-for-you ingredients to keep you and your kids full and energized. You can also switch up the ingredients based on your little one’s taste, so it’s perfect for those picky eaters.


Here’s a recipe for crustless mini quiches to get you started.


It’s important to build upon these recipes and create your own versions that are suited to your family’s tastes, and to switch it up every once in awhile to keep things fresh.



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7. Cold Pasta Salads


Making pasta salad is super easy, and one batch can usually last up to a week, depending on what you choose to include. It’s a great way to make an all-in-one meal you could use for dinner if you’re in a pinch.


In addition, it’s also a great way to incorporate a lot of those fresh veggies before the colder weather sets in.


Here’s a delicious recipe for California pasta salad, but you could include whatever you like.



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It’s not just groceries you could earn cash back on, either- check back for offers on everything from toiletries to sporting goods.


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