Making a plan before the start of the school year will help you avoid the chaos that follows. I’m providing tips to make meal planning successful for you.

When it comes to getting ready for back-to-school season, it causes absolute chaos in a household. Class times, different schools, field trips, and homework after-school programs typically rule daily. which can make sitting down for a meal seem daunting and a far-off dream. One way to save time is to prioritize meal planning. Follow these easy breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner tips, and you will be on your way to a great first week and beyond.

Tip 1. Create a Menu Board

Create and display your menu in the kitchen so you can easily see your dinner plan. I recently got a menu magnet for my fridge, so as soon as I get home or walk past the fridge in the morning, I know what the plan is for meals. instead of having to guess what to make for dinner. An alternative is to make a weekly printable and place it somewhere that’s easily accessible.

tips menu idea

Tip 2. Make a list of your family’s favorite meals

Make a list of your favorite meals. When it’s time to plan your menu, you can look at your list for ideas and pick and choose what you want for the week. This will help you in the weeks to come so that you don’t cook the same thing from week to week and get tired of the meals.

tips meal list

Tip 3. Plan around events and activities

When you’re thinking about your meal prep, you want to think ahead of what your family’s events and activities entail. If you know ahead of time that Wednesday is a very busy day, plan a meal that can be in the slow cooker or a freezer meal that can be put in the oven when you get home, or plan that night to be a takeout meal on the menu. We all have those days that get away from us, so it’s good to have something to plan for those kinds of days.

tips plan around activities

Tip 4. Theme nights

Plan a certain theme night each night; this is a great way to break up your meals during the week by having a taco on Tuesday or pasta on Monday. There are a lot of different theme nights you can choose from. You can even do one every day of the week and see how that fits into your weekly schedule. Theme nights or weeks can be a fun way of switching things up. I will even sometimes choose a theme for the week, like Italian food or Mexican food.

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Tip 5. Plan ahead for eating out

Sometimes this option isn’t always something that works for all families, but I still like to put it out there, even though it’s not a budget-friendly option. It’s just very convenient sometimes, even if that means a pizza takeout or Chinese food night. I usually save it for Friday night when I’m done with the week, but it works for a day that’s really busy, and you know it’s going to be, and the last thing you want to think about is cooking a meal.

Tip 6. Freezer meals

If you haven’t given freezer meals a try, it’s a great meal prep option. You can make several meals at once, and then when dinner night comes around, you just need to thaw, heat, and serve, and you have a delicious meal with minimal fuss.

tips freezer meals

Tip 7. Snack Basket

When you buy snacks divide them up into portions and place them all into a basket an then when your making lunches for the family all you need to do it grab them and go.

tips snack basket

Tip 8. Breakfast

I like to make a short list of breakfast ideas or make them ahead of time so you can grab, heat, and go. like yogurt parfaits, egg muffins, smoothies, overnight oats, breakfast sandwiches, or burritos. It can all be quickly put together the morning you need it or made the night before.

tips breakfast

Tip 9. Slow Cooker Meals

Crockpot meals are the best thing for planning ahead. I like that you can put all the ingredients in one dish, turn it on, and let it do all the work. Then the best part is walking through the doors and smelling your delicious meal that is ready for everyone to devour. Depending on your week, you could plan a slow cooker meal every day of the week and not have to ever eat the same thing.


Tip 10. Sheet Pan Meals

There is nothing better than having a meal that will go all on one tray—meat, potatoes, and veggies—and roast in the oven. It takes around 5–10 minutes of prep, and dinner is in the oven.

tip sheet pan meals

Use these tips to help you have the best experience with back-to-school meal prep.

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