Back to School Meal Planning

Planning ahead for a smooth school start!
brown bag lunch and yellow apple

After two months of summer vacation it can be difficult to think about the reality of going back to school. There is so much to do: selecting classes, choosing a career direction, the thought of an overwhelming amount of homework, balancing a job and extra curricular activities, finding a new look and buying new stationary. It comes as no surprise that back to school meal planning is often forgotten or put low on the list of priorities. 

Menu planning can be a very helpful tool to help manage your time, money, and effort. By incorporating a few simple tricks it is possible to pack healthy, balanced meals with minimal time and ease.

Start by creating a routine

Routine doesn’t have to be boring and repetitive. You can follow a routine while incorporating variety. A routine should work about your schedule and personal preferences to ensure success.

  1. Drink two glasses of water in the morning to rehydrate for the busy day ahead.
  2. Prepare lunch the evening before.
  3. Make quick, wholesome breakfasts full of fibre (i.e. eggs on toast with beans or protein shakes).
  4. Stock up on pre-made snacks (cookies, protein bars, homemade granola, dips like hummus) to take to school.
  5. Purchase a good quality water bottle, thermo bottle, containers, cutlery, lunch box and ice pack to properly store meals.
  6. Cook staples like rice, lentils, and beans in large batches so there is always ready-made food in the fridge.
  7. Always make enough for leftovers for easy meal options.

Create a food calendar

A food calendar isn't complicated. It can be a part of your regular calendar and updated each week to include new recipe ideas, shopping lists, and a place to keep a record of how meals made you feel.

The following calendar template and examples will help your back to school meal planning be that much easier!

  Themes Recipes Shopping list How it made me feel
Meatless Mondays


mung beans Hooray for leftovers!
Tuesday Leftovers     Loved it!
Wednesday Pulse Pledge Lentil Cookies


So sweet!
Thursday Adaptogens! Autumnal Adaptogen Soup


Friday Sushi Night Spring Harvest Sushi Rolls nori


Give your kids some control by asking them what they do and don't enjoy can also help in meal planning and avoidance of food waste (to a certain degree! We can't have pizza everyday!). By setting a routine and meal schedule, you can make school lunches a part of the day that flows and not one that makes you want to pull your hair out (because we have all been there before). Once they're old enough, let your kids help with lunch preparation as well! 

Back to school does not have to stress you out, as long as you prepare and stay the course! Good luck!