Your Ultimate Guide to Back to School Meal Planning

August 13, 2019

Get ready for back to school meal planning with these healthy and fun recipes, meal ideas, and tips for kids of all ages.

Get ready for back to school meal planning with these healthy and fun recipes, meal ideas, and tips for kids of all ages. You'll find enough recipes to try for the whole school year! via JessicaLevinson.com | #backtoschool #mealplanning #schoolmeals #breakfast #schoollunch #familydinner #healthymeals #feedingthefamily

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*Originally published September 2017. Updated August 2019*

After a speedy summer, it’s time once again to head back to school!

With the rush to buy notebooks, crayons, markers, and new backpacks, we almost forget to prepare school lunches and snacks in advance. As you know, when back to school meal planning and prep are left for the last minute, meals are rarely as healthy and nutritious as they could be.

While I have been sharing back to school posts on my Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram feeds, it was time to update this post, as I do every year, with the latest recipe ideas and everything you need to make balanced meals for kids.

first day of kindergarten for my girls.

Charlotte & Sabrina ready for their first day of Kindergarten in 2017!

My girls just started Kindergarten – wow, where did the time go?! – and now they are responsible for bringing snack and lunch to school every day. That means more for this momma to plan, and I know I am not alone.

I hope this back to school meal planning roundup helps you feed your kids well (and safely) before, during, and after school and inspires you to think outside of the (traditional) lunchbox!


Strawberry Pancakes @ Don't Waste the Crumbs - Back to School Meal Planning

20 Healthy Fast Breakfast Ideas For Busy School Mornings @ Don’t Waste the Crumbs

Back to School Breakfast and Lunch Favorites! @ The Spicy RD

Healthy Breakfasts to Get Out the Door in the Morning @ Jessica Levinson

30 (Healthy!) Grab & Go Breakfasts @ Byte Sized Nutrition

40+ Quick & Healthy Breakfast Recipes for Back to School @ Jessica Levinson

10 Ways to Get Kids Cooking Breakfast @ Mom’s Kitchen Handbook


Easy Veggie Egg Muffins - a healthy school lunch idea

5 Quick, Easy, & Healthy School Lunch Ideas + 40+ Recipes to Try @ Jessica Levinson

15 Fun Ideas for Lunch Boxes @ Real Mom Nutrition

5 Doable Bento Box Lunches @ Make Healthy Easy

The Low-Stress Guide to Packing School Lunch @ Kitchen Explorers by Caroline Kaufman, MS, RDN

125+ Healthy Lunchboxes for Kids @ Holley Grainger, MS, RD

Fridge Worthy School Lunch Cheat Sheet @ Katie Cavuto, RD.

Pasta Salad Bento Box with Berries @ Kiss in the Kitchen

Healthy Back to School Hacks and Lunches Kids Actually Want to Eat @ Kiss in the Kitchen

Healthy School Lunch Ideas: 20+ Sandwich Spreads @ Family Food On the table

30+ Freezer-Friendly School Lunch Foods @ Back to the Book Nutrition

30 Healthy Back to School Lunch Ideas @ Physical Kitchness

Cracker Stackers @ Teaspoon of Spice - Back to School Meal Planning

Cracker Stackers: 5 Fixes for Healthy Lunches @ Teaspoon of Spice

Building a Balanced Lunch Cheat Sheet @ Kiss in the Kitchen

8 Lunch Box Hacks to Make Life Easier @ Real Mom Nutrition

School Lunch Gear Guide @ Mom’s Kitchen Handbook

3 Sandwich Free Kid Friendly Lunch Box Ideas @ Love & Zest

Don’t Stress Over School Lunch @ Mom to Mom Nutrition

Tips for Packing Better Lunches @ Aggie's Kitchen

5 Tips for Packing Better Lunches @ Aggie’s Kitchen

4 Tips for Packing a Nutritious School Lunch @ The Foodie Physician

In Praise of Boring Packed Lunches @ Real Mom Nutrition

10 Healthy Lunch Box Ideas @ Nutritious Eats

What Nutritionists Pack Their Kids for Lunch @ Food Network’s Healthy Eats

School Lunch: How to Teach and Train Your Child to Make Healthier Choices @ The Nourished Child


Breakfast Tacos for Dinner @ Back to the Book Nutrition - Back to School Meal Planning

50 Healthy Dinners in 30 Minutes or Less @ Back to the Book Nutrition

Dinner: How To Just Do It! 10 Tips @ Champagne Nutrition

20 Easy Healthy Back-to-School Dinner Ideas @ Jeanette’s Healthy Living

25 Healthy Back-to-School Dinner Ideas @ Key Ingredients

After School Snacks

14 Kid Friendly Gluten Free Snack Bites @ Cotter Crunch

Favorite Kid Friendly Healthy Snacks @ Healthy Ideas Place

Apple Peanut Butter Cut-Out Sandwiches @ 360 Family Nutrition - Back to School Meal Planning

10 Healthier After School Snacks @ 360 Family Nutrition

25 Simple Food Allergy Friendly Snacks @ C it Nutritionally

Healthy After School Snacks @ Liz’s Healthy Table

Back to School Food Safety

5 Food Safety Tips for Your Lunch Box @ The Kitchn

Do you have any back to school meal planning tips?

What meals keep your kids energized throughout the school day?

Share with me in the Comments Below!

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    1. Thanks Katie! So glad I could include you – love your content and from one mom to another I know you know the struggles of feeding the kids!

    1. Thanks Holley – you have such awesome posts for families who need help feeding their kids for school. So glad I could include them!

  1. Wow, what a great round-up! You thought of everything. I don’t have kids and I can still use this list! πŸ˜‰

  2. I always end up doing my same “fall back” lunches – thanks for sharing so many fun new and exciting ideas! My kids will love these new lunches!

    1. Thanks Kelly. I really am lost without my meal planning. Last night I made smoothies for this morning and then proceeded to sleep too late, which led to a domino effect of the girls getting up late and not having as much time to have breakfast as usual. Thank god i had those smoothies already made!

  3. This is so helpful for families getting their kiddies back into the groove of things! Thanks for sharing this amazing collection!

    1. Thanks Abbey! I hope it helps lots of families at this chaotic time of year (and all year really, since when is it not busy?!). Most of these recipes are great for people without kids too, so I hope you enjoy them as well πŸ™‚

  4. Definitely going to go through the lunch ideas here! I always need some good lunch inspiration for the meals I pack for my son’s preschool.

  5. This is so helpful for so many! Planning is essential, especially for those darn school lunches (my nemesis!)!

  6. Having a plan is crucial! We’re all about make ahead breakfasts in this house- keeps life simple!

  7. I so love these kinds of posts because I am such a lame breakfast and lunch maker. My creative juices only come out at dinner time! My daughter will be thrilled when I incorporate these ideas.

  8. This is so handy! So many great ideas. I’m not going back to school and I don’t have kids but I can always use more meal planning ideas!

  9. I love all of these Bento box ideas! My son likes variety, so giving him a little bit of everything works well. Thanks for sharing so many awesome ideas!