Meal Planning for a Stress-free Back-to-School

Posted by Annette Bellisari on

After a long summer of sun, swimming, and laid-back meals, getting back on a regular schedule can be tough. From whipping together breakfast, prepping or packing lunches, prepping snacks, and figuring out what to get on the table for dinner, it's a lot to plan. These back-to-school tips can help make your family's transition from summer to school year a whole lot easier.

Planning is the secret! Planning ahead will save time and money. Try it for the first week of school, and you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing this all along. Start by taking an hour or so on Saturday or Sunday before that first week to plan your menu for the week. Depending on what your kids like eating for lunch, it’s easy to search the internet for ideas and menus to help create a shopping list before you leave for the grocery store. That's two tasks done.

One great way to cut down on time and effort is to make larger meals for family dinner when possible to use the leftovers for lunch. A good thermos will allow you to send yummy warm soups, pasta dishes, casseroles, and more. Add a piece of fruit, and lunch is made!

When preparing vegetables for dinner, choose options that are good raw too (peppers, cucumbers, carrots, celery, etc.). Then cut extra, and put them in the refrigerator to use for lunches all week. You could put in a little container of ranch dressing to dip the raw veggies in or try one of our easy-peasy dips made with Bellisari’s gourmet sauces and spreads. Buy or make dips that remain flavorful when cold, and toss in crackers, veggies, or pretzels. These dip recipes will get your creativity flowing and help you think of new and different things to add to the lunch box:


Finally, they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so you want to send your loved ones off to work and school having had something delicious and nutritious to start their days. However, mornings can be hectic and time can seem short, so planning and even preparing breakfast items ahead of time can really help. Recipes like these make-ahead breakfast burritos ( are perfect for a hectic weekday morning. I also often make a big batch of pancakes or waffles for Sunday brunch, double the batch, and freeze the extras. You can toast them on a busy weekday morning for a homemade breakfast that is completely stress-free.

Stress-free mornings, lunchtimes, and even family dinnertime are possible. With a little planning and a little bit of work ahead of time, you’ve got this year’s back-to-school in the bag -- the lunch bag anyway! 😉

A pair of lunch boxes packed with healthy snacks, including chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes and avocado. Other veggies surround the lunch boxes.

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