Sample weekly meal plans are here to show you the way when it comes to planning dinners for your family that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This sample collection of back to school meal plan recipes uses the meal planning by calendar framework outlined in my Family Meal Planning Strategies post.
Back to school week is a hectic one for our family. Everyone is getting used to new schedules! In our district the first week is full of half days; it's so tough to plan around!
I know that my kids will be tired, cranky, and hyper-emotional in the first weeks of school. This is not a time to introduce new foods or make complicated dinners.
When I'm trying to plan dinner meals for a week like this, I like to take out the calendar and identify those "pinch points". These are nights when our schedule will be hectic or when I know I'd default to ordering in a pizza if I didn't have something better planned.
Working with the calendar to meal plan
On the first day I know the kids are going to want to have a good reason for coming in from playing outside, so the dinner has to be kids' choice to entice them.
One night of the week we have back-to-back after school activities, so I need a meal that is no-cook and easy to prepare ahead so that I can just grab it from the fridge and get it on the dinner table.
Finally, we need a special occasion meal to look forward to at the end of the week to celebrate!
Pulling that all together, I estimate we will need a kid's choice meal on Monday, a 30-minute meal on Tuesday and Wednesday, a no-cook dinner on Thursday, and we'll go out for dinner on Friday. For the weekend I'll need one additional meal and we'll eat leftovers on the last day.
This is a great example of using the calendar to build out the meal plan. We know which days are pinch points and now we can just fill in the slots with meals that fit the bill.
Dinner meal plan for the week
Put this back to school meal plan in action by choosing a meal that fits each of the requirements above and you are all set.
A great kids' choice dinner is this flavorful Pad Kaprow. My kids love it with ground pork or turkey and they each want a fried egg on top.
The next two dinners are 30-minute meals that don't skimp on flavor. Both of these meals are hearty and delicious!
Having all of the ingredients to this Antipasto Chopped Salad ready to go in the fridge will make this a 5-minute meal when you need it. Add some sliced bread and you are ready to go!
On the weekend, take a bit more time to bring something delicious to the table with this Pan Seared Salmon. The peach and mango salsa is perfect for a shoulder season meal.
I'd love to hear what dinners would make the back-to-school week a success in your home. Leave your favorite kids' choice dinner in the comments, or tag me on Instagram or Facebook @planeatpostrepeat the next time you make your go-to 30-minute meal!