Eat Well, Spend Less: Back to School Without Losing Your Mind (or your money)

This post may contain affiliate links, including Your price won't change but it enables free content & supports our family business.

This month’s Eat Well, Spend Less focus is on back to school, so whether you’re sending kids off, hectic in college yourself, homeschooling, or just ready to turn over a new meal planning leaf, you’ll find something fantastic from the talented bloggers on the team.

My post last week shared 10 Tips to Pack Brilliant School Lunches so that food (and your money) doesn’t end up being wasted in the garbage cans in the lunchroom.

While we’re talking food, a quick announcement: the Jovial Foods winner is Sara! (sarapete2003@…) Please email me your mailing address for that awesome package of einkorn products (and if you’re interested in einkorn, a truly ancient grain, read more about einkorn and try an einkorn recipe).

And now for the fabulous ladies of the EWSL series – here’s what they have to say this week about meal planning while homeschooling, hectic weekday suppers, easy hot breakfasts, and more!


Hot Breakfast, Cool Effort

from Carrie of Denver Bargains

imageI’ve been trying to make sure we have some sort of decent breakfast.

Usually, that means making something hot, but I’ve learned that “hot breakfast” doesn’t mean cooking for 30 minutes every morning. Here are four hot breakfast ideas that require very little effort in the morning.

Read all four, including freezer muffins that bake when you want them, right HERE

Meal Plan for a Whole Month

from Mandi of Life…Your Way


As part of my commitment to simplifying for fall and putting some better routines and discipline in place for our family, I decided to go back to menu planning for a full month at a time rather than doing it weekly like I’ve done for the past year or so.

When I did this before, I was struck by how much easier it was to just plan for four weeks at a time and duplicate that plan from month to month, and I can’t honestly say why I stopped doing it!

With that in mind, I sat down last week and created a four-week menu plan for September, and — as I expected — it really didn’t take much longer than creating a meal plan for a single week.

Read the rest right HERE

Check out Mandi’s excellent new eBook, Easy. Homemade. with tons of recipes for homemade pantry staples and time-saving techniques.

Quick Meals for Busy Nights

from Jessica of Life as MOM

imageWith a little creative planning and a handy list of go-to meals, you can make quick meals for busy nights. You’ll avoid fast food, eat well, and spend less!

A quick glance at the calendar makes my eyes go buggy. When I think about how much time I’ll be in the car, I’m a little tempted to cry. Or hyperventilate.

But, no. I can do this.

We are not a go-go-go family. In fact, when my kids were all younger, I got out of the house maybe once or twice a week. Life just changes as your kids get older. I get to be a homebody no longer!

We’re not a big “activity” family, but we are a big family. That means that lots of kids in a few things equals lots of things for the parents. It could get overwhelming quickly.

However, I don’t like to sit by and let life happen to me. I’ve still got a little bulldog in me — even at 40. I will not go quietly.

So, we put some plans in action to help this school year and all its running around go a little more smoothly.

Read the rest right HERE, including 5 minute meals, 10 minute, 20 minutes, and slow cooker options…

Meal Planning for Homeschoolers

from Amy at Kingdom First Mom

Our family homeschools, and while our back-to-school transition looks different from yours, we all have one thing in common: we gotta eat. And if you are anything like me, just because you are at home during the day does not make planning meals easy. It is definitely something I have to stay on top of, or it will quickly get away from me, and before I know it our supper is oatmeal. Again.

So if you (like me!) have become lax on the meal planning and prepping after a summer break, let’s begin this school year on the right foot. And if you (unlike me!) have faithfully continued your meal planning throughout the summer, hopefully this will give you some fresh ideas… or at least a pat on the back to know you’ve got it all down much better than I have! {grin}

Read the rest right HERE

Getting Back in the Menu Planning Habit

from Aimee of Simple Bites


As much as I have been crushing on summer lately, it will be a relief to get into a fall routine. The last month has been deliciously scattered, with more waffle breakfasts than I can count, but I also can’t match one. single. pair of socks. We need some order restored.

This week begins our entry back into school. I’m packing Noah off to Grade 2, Danny out the door to work, and dropping Mateo at French-immersion preschool three afternoons a week. What Clara and I are going to do with our girl time remains to be seen. Perhaps we’ll whip this household into shape. Perhaps not.

At any rate, restoring order to our meals is my first priority. I kinda blew the food budget for my recent birthday dinner/harvest party (totally worth it) and am planning a lean September, which shouldn’t be that hard, considering produce prices are at their lowest right now and I have a well-stocked pantry of dry staples.

Cracking down and spitting out a weekly menu plan is also part of my plan to save money this month, as well as help us stay organized for busy school days. I’m no stranger to the menu plan, but it kind of goes out the window over the summer weeks.

Get inspired with the rest right HERE

School Night Dinner Ideas

from Katie of Good Life Eats 

imageSchool is back in session and I can’t tell you how good it feels to have time to cook dinner again. Our summer was spent at the pool and we rarely made it home in time to prepare a nice dinner before it was time to eat.

Suddenly it doesn’t sound like I’m going to have much time on my hands for preparing a nice dinner, or enough people home to enjoy it. Luckily, there are plenty of quick school night dinner ideas as well as many recipes that can be assembled ahead of time and cooked when it is time to eat. Here are a few that I’m sure will be gracing our table this fall.

Find 5 great ideas and variations on the them right HERE

ABCs of School Lunches – Ideas Galore!

from Shaina of Food for my Family

image I pull the white cotton sheet over my head and pretend the world does not exist. Being woken up to the sound of my husband’s alarm blaring at 5:45 a.m. after having just crawled into bed at 2:17 a.m. is a painful reality. If I can just keep my eyes shut.

Slowly I succumb to the inevitable. School is back in session. There will be no snooze buttons if I am to get four kids moving in the morning, three with lunches in their hands.

Today was easy, though. Leftovers had been packaged the night before. The only things left to do were fill in with appropriate sides and preheat containers with boiling water so they are ready to be tightly packed with food for the masses. By this time next week, maybe even by tomorrow, I’ll start feeling like I’m packing the same things over and over again. I will stare into the cupboards and the refrigerator and strain to think of lunch possibilities.

It’s for those days when I can’t seem to think, when I’m standing at the grocery store and thinking that individually-packaged crackers and cheese are a good idea, when I just want things to be easier than they are that I am creating this list. A list of ideas to fall back on when packing lunch seems exceptionally difficult for people who have no had morning coffee, who would rather sleep for a few more hours, and who are doing it all while reminding the kids to brush their teeth, their hair, put socks on, grab their library book, and to please, please, please remember to pick up the signed field trip slip this morning.

Read the rest, which honestly has the WHOLE ABCs with school lunch ideas, HERE

Don’t miss the monthly installments of this Eat Well, Spend Less series: be sure to sign up for a free email subscription or grab my reader feed. You can also follow me on Twitter, get KS for Kindle, or see my Facebook Fan Page.

See my full disclosure statement here.

Click here for my disclaimer and advertising disclosure - affiliate links in this post will earn commission based on sales, but it doesn't change your price.

Take a Bite (of conversation)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *