This post contains affiliate links to easy meal planning ideas that I use.
Can you believe it is already time to start thinking about back to school? I feel like that we just got into the groove of wearing pj’s half the day. Summertime usually means meal times are more relaxed but the countdown is on to getting back to a much more strict schedule. You have new teachers to meet, new homework expectations, new activities and the last thing you need is to stress about dinner. You need easy meal planning ideas to tackle back to school.
6 Easy Back To School Meal Planning Ideas
1. Meal Planning Made Easy
One of the biggest time and money killers is not having a meal plan! Yes, I know meal planning can get cumbersome and boring but a simple plan can make your week so much easier. I always hated meal planning. I just couldn’t stick with any system I had found. That is the reason I created the Meal Planning Made Easy Kit. It helped me make a huge cut in my weekly grocery budget plus the Master list helps me keep family favorites in the rotation. My meal planning has gone from BLAH! to easy with this printable kit.
2. Meal Planning Hacks
Don’t want to serve cereal every morning? Pick your family’s three favorite breakfasts and rotate them. It keeps meal planning easy and your mornings running smooth.
Do you start out with cute themed lunches then burn out and start dumping whatever you can find in the fridge into your kid’s lunch box? Here is an easy to tip to keep those lunch boxes packed with ease all year long.
Assign each day of the week a theme. Here is an example to help you get started with your lunch box meal planning ideas.
- Monday Sandwich and Fruit
- Tuesday Leftovers from last nights supper or Build Your Own Lunchable
- Wednesday Soup and Crackers (freeze a big pot of soup into serving sizes)
- Thursday Sandwich and Veggies with Dip
- Friday Kid’s Choice
If you don’t have a dinner plan, you are significantly more likely to just decide to eat out. And honestly eating out multiple times a week is killing your budget. Especially when you can make so many meals at home that only cost $1 per serving. Here is a little math encouragement.
Eating Out Cheap for a family of 4 – $30
Eating At Home Cheap for a family of 4 – $5.00
Total Savings of Eating At Home = $25
Just trading 1 cheap meal a week out for one cheap meal at home saves you $25*52=$1,300 a year!
What would you do with an extra $1300 a year?
3. Instant Pot and Crock Pot
One of the secrets to easy dinner time is hands off cooking. The kind of cooking where you simply dump ingredients into a magic pot and walk away while your dinner is cooking. Two must have kitchen appliances for easy dinners is an Instant Pot and Crock Pot. If I only had room or money for one I would choose the Instant Pot because cook times are faster than the Crock Pot. Pinterest is full of amazing quick-prep Instant Pot and Crock Pot meals. Here are two of my boards to follow for lots of inspiration.
4. Freezer Meal Planning Ideas
There are going to be days or weeks when grocery shopping and meal prep is just really difficult. Having a few freezer meals ready to go will make your life so much easier. You don’t have to plan a full month’s of freezer meals to take advantage of the benefits of freezer cooking. A couple hours, great recipes, and an easy to follow plan will help you get 5 or so meals in the freezer and ready for any day when you need it.
I use Once A Month Meals to help me find easy tested recipes with grocery lists and prep tips to help me get in and out of the kitchen quickly. I love their Mini Freezer Meal Lists! You can put together a mini menu in a couple of hours! And yes they have crock pot and instant pot meal lists to make cooking hands off too.
5. Grocery Shopping
Grocery shopping is so much easier with a meal plan. No more wondering around the aisles picking up random ingredients hoping that a meal will just magically come together. A good plan makes for a good list. My number one tip for getting in and out of the grocery store quicker is shop the perimeter of the store as much as possible. Weaving in and out of crowded aisles adds a lot of time to your grocery store trip.
Do you hate to cook because you hate the cleanup? These easy hacks help you keep your sink empty and your clean up quick.
Are you ready to fill up your meal plan with awesome easy meals? Here are great lists our readers love!
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