I love the new trend of meal planning cookbooks. Crafting a menu plan each week is one of the best ways to save you money, time, and energy all week long in the kitchen.

Some cookbooks take a seasonal approach to meal planning, and others create plans based on how much time you have to make dinner. There is something for everyone, so I’m going to share my favorites with you and share a little of my own meal planning system.

Meal Plans in Cookbooks

Grab one of your most recent cookbook purchases. Check out the table of contents. How is it set up? Is it by season, type of meal, or something else? Now, check the end of the list. Is there a meal plan section? This is where you will find most meal plans in cookbooks. I read about 10 different cookbooks each month (thank you, library!), and many follow this new trend.

menu plan in cookbook

Menu plan ideas from Let Me Feed You.

Why is this helpful? Well, in every new cookbook, you may find 100 new recipe ideas. It can be overwhelming. A suggested meal plan is a great way to hone in on a few recipes at a time. The author has already done the hard part of deciding what to pair together and for which meal of the day. If there’s one thing we all can use help with is making fewer decisions every day. (A decision diet is probably the only diet trend I’ll ever get excited about.)

 

Meal Planning Workbooks

As someone who has been meal planning for twelve years, I like to consider myself a pro for myself and my coaching clients. Not perfect, but I have years of experience now testing out a variety of meal planning methods. (and here’s a big secret…there is no “right” way to meal plan. you have to find your own system.)

Hands down, the best way for me to maintain a meal plan each week is to write it down on paper. And have it displayed in a visual location in the kitchen.

If you’ve been with this blog from the beginning, you may remember my chalkboard meal plan in our first home. I shared those meal plans weekly, and you can still find the original posts with loads of recipe ideas in this meal plan collection of posts. (thank goodness my photo editing skills have improved since then! here’s a throwback to my chalkboard menu I made myself, circa 2013! )

You can use a whiteboard, chalkboard, notebook, or planner. But there are some additional options, like a meal planning workbook. Here’s a look at my favorites.

100 Days of Real Food Meal Planner

This little workhouse offers a ton of tactical tools to keep meal planning organized for you. It includes some awesome recipes and a workbook section for you to write out your meal plan and your shopping list. You can tear it out or keep it in the book. (I’m a fan of keeping track of your meals, so you have a starting point when meal planning down the road.

Meal-Planner-Template

The 100 Days of Real Food Meal Planner at the grocery store.

This book from 100 Days of Real Food founder Lisa Leake also includes a fabulous laminated lunch meal planner for all of us packing school lunches. (though I’m totally letting my kids eat the free school lunch this year when they are actually in school…which is only 40% of the time.)

Got more questions about the meal planner? Check them out over here on Lisa’s page.

Love & Lemons Meal Record and Planner

I’ve had this little gem since 2018. It’s still a favorite, yet I forget to use it sometimes. But, it has space for all meals, not just dinner. For years, I have used it to keep track of all of our entertaining events like Thanksgiving menus, First Communions, and birthdays.

I’ll also make note of the evening events as I map out my meal plan for the week. Then I know if I’ll be driving around doing carpool during the meal prep time. (those nights are usually slow cooker meals!)

Love and Lemons Meal Plan cookbook

Love and Lemons Meal Plan cookbook

The Love and Lemons Meal Planner set also comes with a grocery list notepad so you can take notes as you meal plan.

The key thing with any of these systems is actually to USE ITYou can keep it simple and use a notebook. No matter which meal planning system you try out, I really think it helps to write down in advance and keep a journal of what happens in real life. You may see trends after keeping track for a couple of months.

Maybe you are never motivated to cook on Thursdays, so try to plan that night as leftovers or a slow cooker night. By keeping a meal planning record, you can figure out what’s working for you and what’s not. (that’s where I come into play teaching clients how to make changes that work for them.)

So which Meal Planning Cookbook is right for you?

Want an all-in-one guide? Then grab the 100 Days of Real Food Meal Planner.

Want more blank space? Choose the Love and Lemons option.

Ready to keep track in real-time? Grab a pretty notebook.

A little effort in meal planning can go a long way? Ready to get started? I’m cheering you on as meal planning is one of the BEST ways to achieve your health goals.

meal planning cookbooks

Everyone can use help learning how to simplify meal planning. These are five tips to make meal planning and meal prep simple and easy for any family.

As I write out our Thanksgiving Meal Plan, I thought I would share it here too, along with some recipe links.

We tend to host a larger gathering, this year will be have 20 guests for dinner, and 26 for dessert. We always try to incorporate lots of local produce, farm fresh turkeys, and delicious flavors.

Every year I take notes about what worked, and what didn’t, for the big Thanksgiving dinner. Having a Thanksgiving meal plan you can refer back to year after year is so helpful. (so much so that I want a digital copy by creating this blog post!)

What size turkey should I buy?

What size turkey should I buy?

This was the top question I get about planning the Thanksgiving Meal Plan.
What size turkey should I get for Thanksgiving dinner?

The general rule of thumb is a pound per person. However, I want to make sure we have leftovers. ⁠
I’m ordering an 18-20 lb turkey, AND I’ll cook a turkey breasts separately in the slow cooker so we have extra, AND it makes a fresh batch of turkey stock for the gravy. ⁠Last year we didn’t need to serve the turkey breast, so now I know I can save it for leftovers over the weekend.

thanksgiving meal plan

Where I buy ingredients for my Thanksgiving

  1. Farmers to You: farm fresh ingredients collected from Vermont farms and delivered to drop locations in Massachusetts.
  2. Thrive Market: all my baking staples were restocked via Thrive Market. Having it delivered makes it so much easier to prep for a big dinner.
  3. Whole Foods, Prime Now delivery: after this post is done, I’m finalizing my shopping plan for Thanksgiving. And yes, I’m a huge fan of delivery.
  4. Scout & Cellar Clean Crafted Wine: again, delivery saves the day. I ordered some pinot noir and sauvignon blanc for the dinner hour, plus I have a special Cabernet Sauvignon that will come out as dinner winds down and desserts are served. Grab your four bottle dinner set now for the next round of holidays. Stock up on clean crafted wine and share no sugar added, natural wines for the holidays. 
  5. Volante Farms: I’m picking up my farm raised turkey from the local store tomorrow, and I’ll grab some flowers and apples for decorations.

cranberry sauce for thanksgiving meal plan

Thanksgiving Meal Plan Recipes

I try to plan a few weeks in advance, especially once I know how many guests are joining us for Thanksgiving. Having lists of what was on our meal plan in year’s past is super helpful. This year I even created a binder just for Thanksgiving. There are so many delicious recipes, why should we save them for only Thanksgiving? I plan to use the binder for weekly meal planning during the cold season ahead.

Thanksgiving Meal Plan Ideas

Here’s our Thanksgiving meal plan:

  • 18-20 lb Turkey and a turkey breast
  • Roach family stuffing…sourdough bread cubes with nitrate free sausage, a little homemade cranberry sauce, eggs, butter, onions, celery, and lots of poultry seasoning.
  • Murphy family stuffing….white bread, onions, celery, egg, and Bays seasoning. (old traditions die hard.)
  • Corn bread pudding…my husband just made this request as it’s one of his family favorites. I’ve doctored up the recipe over the years to include only unprocessed ingredients. This corn pudding from Pamela Salzman is very close to the way I make mine now.
  • Cranberry sauce…at least three! I make it from scratch with just maple syrup, gelatin, and orange zest. Last year we made an amazing version with chopped pears so that’s on deck to be repeated this year. (the recipe is from Pamela Salzman’s Thanksgiving ebook. I bought it last year and there were tons of great ideas in it, including what to do with turkey leftovers! (not an affiliate link…I just loved the ebook!)
  • Butternut Squash…last year my dad made it with squash from his garden. This year, I’m making a roasted holiday veggie dish with squash from OUR GARDEN! It’s one of the new recipes that’s been updated in my own Fall Ebook Bundle. 
  • Green Bean Casserole…I’m still looking for the perfect update to the green bean casserole I loved as a kid. Complete with French’s onions. This year I’m testing out the recipe from Live Simply Mom.
  • Mashed Potatoes…last year we accidentally made it with russet potatoes…use yukon gold instead. This year I’m trying it in the Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes recipe to lighten the load on our stovetop. I don’t like to have leftover mashed potatoes, but I will increase the ingredients in this recipe to make sure we have enough.
  • Gravy…my Nana taught me to make it with Wondra flour. This year I’m testing some out with brown rice flour and arrowroot starch to see if I can make myself a gluten free gravy. Stay tuned!
  • Sweet Potato Casserole…love this with orange sweet potatoes…OR PURPLE potatoes. Using this recipe, but I do skip the apple juice concentrate. I think it’s sweet enough with the maple syrup, and I don’t like buying a random ingredient like this for just dish.
  • Something GREEN! This will be a game time decision for either Brussel sprouts or sautéed green beans. I just find I like the balance of having more greens on the table, but yet I don’t always want a salad. If you do make a salad, dress it up with pomegranate seeds and persimmons! So pretty. And use butter lettuce as it will hold up better than super greens.

purple sweet potato casserole

Okay…I better get off this computer and start cooking.

Oh wait, you didn’t think I would forget dessert?!

Thanksgiving Meal Plan dessert

Thanksgiving Desserts

  • Apple pie (little sister is the pie master!)
  • Pecan pie…also from little sister
  • Pumpkin pie…my task, and my 8 year old just LOVES pumpkin pie.
  • Chocolate and cheese board is from a guest this season, so curious to see it!
  • Tea (no one ever drinks the coffee I make!)

I hope you have some ideas now for your own Thanksgiving Meal Plan! Pin this post to save for years to come as I’ll try to keep updating it with what works! Cheers to a delicious holiday ahead.

thanksgiving meal plan recipes

If you are curious about low carb eating, then these keto diet tips are for you. There’s no other nutrition trend that’s more talked about than the keto diet this year. You may hear it called the ketogenic diet, or just keto diet, for short. I’ll explain what it is, and how to make transitioning to a keto lifestyle successful.

Healthy Super Bowl party recipe ideas for gluten-free dairy-free guests.

As the excitement grows for Super Bowl Sunday, it’s time to plan out your healthy Super Bowl recipes. Now, I hear what you are saying. Is there such a thing as “healthy”Super Bowl recipes? You bet.

Today I’m sharing with you some fun finds that the whole family will love. With the game later at night, there are lots of small bites on this menu round-up. All of these items are gluten-free and dairy-free, so you can wake up in the morning feeling awesome. (Especially if your team wins!)

HealthySuper Bowl Recipes

healthy superbowl sunday recipe avocado citrus ceviche dip

HealthySuper Bowl appetizer recipes

Chipotle Cauliflower Tacos- fun, vegetarian option as a main meal or appetizer from Pamela Salzman.

Avocado and citrus “ceviche”- light and bright from Cookie and Kate. Serve with organic, corn tortilla chips. Better yet, try the new grain-free chips from Siete.

Chicken Pineapple Meatballs- these look super kid-friendly! Recipe from Stupid Easy Paleo

Spinach and artichoke dip- I’ve made this recipe from Robyn at Real Food Whole Life and it’s amazing. Your guests will never know it’s dairy free, and it’s made in the slow cooker! I serve this with a mix of raw veggies, corn tortilla chips, Mary’s crackers, and sometimes pita bread for the kids.

Bacon wrapped cinnamon apples- this looks so fun for pre-game!

spinach artichoke dairy free recipe for healthy superbowl sunday

HealthySuper Bowl entree recipes

Buffalo Chickpea Chili- a cool combo of flavors from The First Mess

Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potato Skins- those sweet potatoes actually help you sleep better at night, no matter what the score it. 

Slow cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup-one of our family favorites

Paleo Teriyaki Chicken Wings- make enough for a crowd with this recipe from Predominantly Paleo. 

Instant Pot Enchilada Chicken- this is on our list for this Sunday, along with the sweet potato skins on the side. Make extra and use it for Monday night’s dinner in tacos!

Roasted Cauliflower Chickpea Pomegranate Salad

 

HealthySuper Bowl Dessert recipes

(just don’t eat too much too late at night!)

Paleo Seven Layer Bars from Danielle at Against All Grain. (Love her Celebrations cookbook!)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brown Rice Crispy Treats

Coconut Oil Chocolate Bark from Oh She Glows

Healthy Super bowl recipes ideas for gluten-free dairy-free guests.

Are you ready for some football?! Enjoy these fun, healthySuper Bowl party recipes. Join us in the private Facebook group and come tell us what you are making. 

 

Ever since we moved back to the US, I’ve been blown away by how many meal delivery service options are available in our area. Not only are there national brands, but also many smaller, niche meal delivery service choices. As an avid cook, I thought it would be cool to give this idea a test run to see if it’s worth recommending them to my clients.

First off, I was able to partner with Boston’s Just Add Cooking meal delivery service. They offer ingredients that marry with my food philosophy. This includes using fresh, local ingredients, including meat and produce, as well as balance meals focusing on vegetables first. The meals were not too complicated, nor too basic. As someone who truly loves to cook, it was a good sign that I learned a couple of new food preparation tips as I tested out the meals for two weeks. (One week provided for me, one week delivered by accident…and I’ll explain it later.)

You may have seen a sneak peek via my Instagram stories where I share what I’m cooking in the kitchen on a regular basis. 

Just add Cooking Meal Delivery Service Review Boston area meal delivery

Questions to ask of a meal delivery service?

Regardless of where you live, I thought it would be helpful for you to have a list of questions to help you decide which is the right meal delivery service for you. These are the questions that come to mind if you plan to shop around.

  1. Where are you getting your ingredients? Find out about where the meal delivery service company sources its ingredients. If it’s not readily learned from its website, you may want to keep looking.
  2. Do they offer meals that fit your food philosophy or way of eating? Some businesses cater to Paleo, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, or family friendly requests. Some have a mix, but check to see the menus to get a sense of the variety offered. In January, you can find many meal delivery services that offer Whole30 approved meals. It can be hard to figure out the “rules” in certain eating styles and these companies do the leg work for you.
  3. How many meals are included per week in the meal delivery service? Generally it looks like 3 is a standard. I know some families only prefer two meals, whereas others really like having four meals ready to go. This may be a case of trial and error, but look at how often you cook a full meal now, and hopefully you can add another day by using a meal delivery service.
  4. How much packaging is involved? This was a hot topic when I brought it up in my private Facebook group.  People who have tested out meal delivery services in the past were really frustrated by the overwhelming amount of packaging needed to ship things to stay fresh. I was actually really happy with using Just Add Cooking because of the minimal amount of packaging used. Not only that, but they use a frozen water bottle to keep the food fresh, so even that can be used. I was able to reuse the sturdy boxes to ship Christmas gifts so I had very little waste. Yes, there are small containers of the ingredients, but they were nearly all recyclable.

Can I use a meal delivery service if I have food allergies?

This is a great question. I find the local services are better able to manage accounts that require sensitive handling of ingredients. You may be better served partnering with a holistic chef in your area who can package the meals and deliver them to your home each week.

What's better_ Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, or Just Add Cooking meal delivery service_

This was one of my favorite meals from Just Add Cooking with roasted chickpeas!

How does a meal delivery service work?

In my case with Just Add Cooking, I needed to select my meals for a Sunday home delivery by a certain date and time. There is a reasonable number of meals to choose from. Some were labeled gluten-free so I was able to narrow my choices down quickly.

Once the meals are selected, they are saved for the upcoming week. I received a box Sunday afternoon by the nicest delivery man.

The following Sunday, I was surprised by the delivery man. I had missed the notation that Just Add Cooking is a subscription based meal delivery service. Oops. Here’s the best part though. When I told my husband about my mistake, he asked if it was the same company who provided the meals the week prior. The flavor in those meals were so good he didn’t mind my oops!  Just pay attention to the fine print is my lesson I’ll share with you.

If you are in the Boston area, you can check out Just Add Cooking here.  I may try them again soon as they consistently adjust their menu to include seasonal items. Happy cooking.

How to pick a meal delivery service_

 

whole30 fast and easy recipes for your next challenge. Doing your first Whole30_ Start here.

In light of the newest Whole30 cookbook, I thought I would share a Whole30 Fast and Easy Meal Plan for you. You may be thinking about next month and starting a Whole30. Here’s your chance to get see how fast and easy some Whole30 recipes are to make at home. Keep things simple and use quality, fresh ingredients and you will be inspired to keep your Whole30 going!

The recipes I’ve picked here are often easy to prep ahead, which is where the magic happens if you are planning a Whole30. It’s the “planning” portion that is most important, and often overlooked. You will want to prep ahead quality snacks, make-ahead meals, and easy breakfast options to keep your motivation on tract.

Quick version of the Whole30

Some of you may have already tried a Whole30, while others have heard about it for awhile. Here’s my general guideline for explaining a Whole30:

  • Fill your plate with a lot more vegetables and fruits, but mostly vegetables.
  • Accent your plate with a quality protein, such as grass-fed beef, pastured raised chicken and eggs, nitrate free pork products, and seafood.
    • Here’s what’s not being explained enough when talking about a Whole30 challenge. The quality of your food makes a huge impact on your health. It’s worth spending the money on the best quality meat you can find. Learn more about why in my post here about sustainable farming. Poor quality meat causes inflammation in the body and it’s the number one issue you want to resolve when it comes to optimizing your health.
  • Add in healthy fats from avocados, coconut, olives, nuts and seeds.
  • Eliminate the following: sugar, gluten, alcohol, caffeine, legumes (beans/lentils/peanuts) and dairy.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Here’s what’s not being explained enough when it comes to a #Whole30 challenge.” quote=”Here’s what’s not being explained enough when talking about a Whole30 challenge. “]

How do I make Whole30 Fast and Easy for me?

My best advice is to plan ahead, and don’t go it alone. Having someone to partner with is great motivation for sticking with the plan. This may be your husband, or maybe it’s your best friend. Staying accountable is one of the keys to success. I also coach clients who need an accountability partner outside the home, and clients appreciate being able to ask the random questions that come up when navigating a Whole30.

One additional suggestion is to be super organized about what you have on hand, and what’s needed at the grocery store. Your success will come from getting the junk out of the house so it’s not tempting you. I rarely buy big tubs of ice cream any more for my kids because I didn’t want it tempting me, lingering in the freezer. Keeping your kitchen clean, clutter free, and organized makes a difference. To make grocery shopping easier when starting a Whole30, you can shop at Thrive Market and order their Whole30 Starter Set. Type it in the search bar and there are two different packages available.

On to the menu items…pick a few new recipes, but remember to keep things simple. That’s the best way to stay on track!

Whole30 fast and easy lunch ideas

Whole30 Fast and Easy Breakfast Ideas

  • Mango Lime Chia Pudding-this is a great recipe if you make your pudding with coconut milk and it’s too rich.
  • Turkey Blueberry Patties– a unique combo to mix up your morning. Bake these ahead of time and reheat as needed. Save the muffin recipe here for post Whole30.
  • Scrambed eggs, layered over spinach, with a side of kimchi or sauerkraut. Remember to add in fermented foods to your routine to improve your gut health.
  • Sweet Plantain Apple Bacon Hash– grab some pink lady apples for this fast and easy Whole30 breakfast.
  • No coffee, remember. Grab this Teechino Dark Roast Dandelion tea that helps support your liver as you detox during this program. It looks like coffee, just drink it black or with almond milk.

Whole30 Fast and Easy Lunch Ideas

whole30-fast-and-easy-meal-plan-recipe-ideas

Whole30 Fast and Easy Dinner Ideas

  • Fajita skewers-this is always a kid-favorite in our house, make extras for lunches the next day.
  • Asparagus Spinach Frittata– I’m a huge fan of breakfast for dinner, and then having leftovers for breakfast or lunch later in the week.
  • Quick Garlic Lime Pork Chops
  • Hamburger served on a grilled portobello mushroom cap, or sweet potato toast.
  • Steak Salad Steakhouse Style– doesn’t that look delicious in the image above?! Make the Whole30 ranch dressing and you can use it on a number of things during your Whole30 challenge.

Whole30 Fast and Easy Snack Ideas

  • Quick note here…snacks are not a key part  of the Whole30, however I think there are times when you need to grab something fast, and these are all easy to find.
  • Epic bars- variety pack sold here. 
  • Chipotle roasted almonds
  • Plantain Chips
  • Seaweed Snacks– look for ones made with olive oil, avoid anything with canola/sunflower/safflower oil.
  • Dry Roasted Nuts- no oils in the ingredient list.

Additional Whole30 Resources

Whole30 Fast and Easy Meal Plan Recipes

Pin this for next Whole30 Fast and Easy Challenge!

For more inspiration, check out years of past dinner plans here, my Pinterest collection here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans.

Vegan Pumpkin Pasta from Pickles & Honey

Over the past few years I have gotten many emails asking for more vegan recipes in my meal plans. This fall I created on full vegan meal plan highlighting the best of autumn’s bounty. Pumpkins, root veggies, fall greens and more take the center stage in my fall vegan meal plan.

If you are unfamiliar with a vegan diet, it’s a plant-centered diet that does not use any animal products. Vegans opt out of dairy from any animal, and also honey made from bees. There can be great benefits from a vegan diet, but it can be challenging to sustain. Often I see a deficiency in B12, a key nutrient that gives us energy. If you follow a vegan diet, you need to have your B12 monitored and supplement with food rich in B12, like spirulina. B12 actually requires intrinsic factor to be absorbed in the intestine, along with the presence of calcium. Some vegans and vegetarians can develop anemia, and may require injections of B12. This is not to scare anyone away from a plant-based diet, it’s important for you to understand how to maintain a healthy balance if you suddenly eliminate a food group from your diet.

As you may have noticed from our trip to the local farms, we do not follow a vegan lifestyle in our home. However, I am trying to mix up what we serve and add more vegetarians options into our routine. We enjoyed an awesome lentil chili last week from The School Year Survival Cookbook. Next up is a chickpea ratatouille from the same book.

Key Benefits of a Vegan Meal Plan

  • increase of fiber can improve digestion and gut health, leading to less inflammation, better skin, sleep, and mood.
  • intake of a wider variety of phytonutrients will support a healthy immune system.
  • lack of animal products can also decrease the amount of inflammation in the body.

Vegan Dinner

Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Pasta– creamy goodness with a boost of probiotics via white miso

10 Minute Peanut Stir Fry-super quick and flexible for what’s in your fridge.

Spiced Vegan Minestrone Soup– from The Glowing Fridge

Chocolate Cinnamon Walnut Chili-also known as Healthy Cincinnati Chili from Nutrition Stripped. Who doesn’t love an excuse for more chocolate?!

Fall Vegan Chili Recipe Meal Plan

Gorgeous chili recipe from Nutrition Stripped. copyright 2015 Katie Newburn Photography

Vegan Lunch

Ultimate Vegan Pumpkin Soup-the color alone is amazing. Plus there’s lots of phytonutrients in pumpkin and squashes to help regulate cell growth, improve your skin’s appearance, and supports your immune system.

Roasted Chickpea Kale Salad and Creamy Dressing-love this one from Joyous Health.

Sweet Potato Apple Turmeric Soup-pop this one into your crockpot for an easy dinner at the end of the day, or prep ahead for lunches.

fall vegan meal plan pumpkin chia seed pudding

Vegan Breakfast

Overnight Pumpkin Chia Seed Pudding-these parfaits from The Flavor Blender are on my to-make list this week.

Breakfast Miso Vegetable Soup-love the addition of gut health supporting miso in this soup.

Vegan Snacks

Vegan Cheez-Its-cool way to enjoy a childhood favorite, without all the preservatives and damaged oils.

Stovetop Popcorn-our family favorite treat

Homemade Apple Pie Larabars– fun fall treat!

 

For more inspiration, check out years of past dinner plans here, my Pinterest collection here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans.

Time to celebrate the beginning of Fall with an Autumn Paleo Meal Plan. I’m so ready for all things pumpkin, plaid, and warm. There’s plenty of fresh goodness at the farmer’s markets so indulge in the end of summer treasures like tomatoes, peaches, and fresh herbs.

What makes a meal plan paleo? I make simple swaps like adding in two vegetable sides with a protein instead of the protein/starch/vegetable that many of us grew up with at the table. Dairy is replaced with nut milks and cheese options, and refined sweeteners are swapped for honey or maple syrup. Simple swaps are a great way to make some lifestyle changes that will become a regular habit over time.

roasted sweet potatoes brussel sprout autumn paleo meal

Autumn Paleo Meal Plan Ideas

Paleo Dinner Ideas

Paleo Pumpkin Chili

Harvest Turkey Meatloaf in Delicata Squash

Pressure cooker Lamb stew-if you have an Instant Pot and wondering what to make with it, give this recipe a try.

Crisp Chicken Legs with Sweet Tomatoes and Basil-adding in meat on the bone is a great plus to your diet.

Garlic and Ghee Roasted Chicken with Carrots

Pumpkin-chili-autumn-paleo-meal

Lunch

Butternut Squash Soup-add some protein using the Great Lakes collagen powder.

Roasted sweet potato and brussel sprout salad with Maple Tahini Dressing.

Harvest Honeycrisp Kale Salad– omit cheddar to be Paleo compliant…or go for it with an organic, quality cheddar.

Breakfast

Paleo Pumpkin Smoothie

Loaded Breakfast Fries-this recipe makes a great “breakfast for dinner” option too. If you ever wonder if potatoes are really Paleo, this article gives a great explanation. 

Snacks

Nut free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins-still finding zucchini at the farmer’s markets!

Dessert

Pumpkin Spice Truffles

Paleo Peach Cobbler

 

Ok, now there are so many delicious ideas on this week’s Autumn Paleo Meal Plan. Tell me which recipe you want to make first!
For more inspiration, check out years of past dinner plans here, my Pinterest collection here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans.

Hello back to school season! It’s time for a new meal plan that will help you save time, plan ahead, and make lunch packing a breeze. Well, that’s the goal anyways. Life tends to get in the way of our grand plans sometimes. Those early mornings are hard, aren’t they? But, it’s easier to start with a plan and adjust when necessary. My back-to-school meal plan can help you fill in the blank of what’s for dinner when you are making the grocery list for the week ahead.

The recipes I’m sharing use real food ingredients, although I too rely on some quality packaged items to round out my kid’s lunch boxes. They are used when time is tight, or it’s the end of the week and we are out of all the prepped goodies. The kids don’t mind when they get the occasional bag of pretzels or beef jerky sticks. I don’t mind either when I’ve taken the time to read through the ingredient list and weed out the junky versions. Eating well needs to be a balance, for everyone in the family. Time is tight and if you are making a couple of new recipes each week to expose everyone to new flavors, you’re on the right track.

In the coming weeks I’ll share with you some additional lunch packing tips that are specifically for kids. After the novelty of the first couple of weeks, we all need a little variety in the lunch packing routine!

Here’s a few recipes to help you get ready for those after school activities and map out your back to school meal plan!

Sheet-Pan-Shrimp-Fajitas-Back-to-School-Meal-Plan

Dinner

Late Summer Minestrone Soup– one pot meal that’s quick and uses fresh, local ingredients from Aimee at Simple Bites.

Instant Pot Carnitas-from PaleOMG

Cashew Chicken Sheet Pan– another prep ahead option with paleo and gluten free notes included

Thai Basil Turkey Bowls– make this part of your Sunday meal prep for the week. Grab cauliflower rice in the freezer section to save time. 

One Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas– quick 20 minute meal from No 2 Pencil

Healthy-Kids-Lunchbox-Ideas-Back-to-School-Meal-Plan

Great “green” lunch from The Natural Nurturer. The mac daddy of all lunch boxes is the PlanetBox.

Lunch

Granola Apple Peanut Butter Crunch Wraps– use my homemade granola listed below and swap in a nut-free butter for school to make this work.

Chickpea and Avocado Salad– from the Natural Nurturer

Chili Garlic Tofu Bowlslook for organic tofu to avoid GMOs.

Breakfast

Sausage Pizza Egg Muffins– from Paleo Running Momma

Banana Almond Chia Puddingmake ahead option from Grits and Chopsticks

Homemade Granola– leave out the nuts and add more seeds (like sesame for calcium!) and then use it as a nut-free school option.

Southwestern Breakfast Bowl -from The Do It All Mama. Make this one for dinner and have the leftovers for breakfast. Mix in some spinach to get in a serving of greens first thing in the morning.

Snacks

Oatmeal Green Smoothie Muffins– totally making these again this week! Super fast to make with your blender.

Cranberry Coconut Energy Bites-swap in pumpkin or sunflower seed butter to make it school-safe.

Fruit Leather-use a dehydrator or your lowest oven setting to set.

Bonus

*Healthy Batch cooking ideas– tons of ideas for all meals of the day. There are lots of ideas here you can add to your own back to school meal plan.

*I purchased the Real Lunches Real Easy III as I love having something new for packing lunches. It’s worth the $10. I’m not an affiliate but think it’s a great product and something you can share with your kids to get their input. I’ll be printing mine at Staples and having it bound together as a true cookbook.

back to school meal plan with quick and easy recipes

For more inspiration, check out the years of past dinner plans here, my Pinterest collection here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans. Leave a comment with your favorite family recipe to add a back to school meal plan.