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Set your family up for easier meals this month with 4 weeks of healthy family meals to share with the kids. Each of these recipes is full of delicious and nutritious ingredients—and uses budget-friendly ingredients too.
Easy Family Meals
Here we are in a new month and I feel right on the line between excitement about all of my kids going back to school (YES!) later this month and also a little bit of sadness that summer is coming to an end. And since I know many of our afternoons—and likely yours—will be spent outside enjoying the weather, this meal plan is here to help.
My goal with my monthly meal plans is to help you use a simple system to plan meals so you are never standing in front of the fridge staring and wondering what to make.
And to offer recipe inspiration for seasonal, yet affordable, ingredients that are appropriate for everyone in the family. I can’t guarantee that each of these will be a hit with your kids, but if you plan to add 1-2 simple sides to most meals, you can approach feeding your family with a little more confidents. (I hope anyway!)
How to Use this Meal Plan
This plan is built on the idea of themes, so there are general categories that rotate throughout the month. This builds in familiarity for the kids and narrows down the decisions that we have to make. Which is so much easier for our brains!
You can use my plan, make your own, or pick and choose as you like. There’s no one right way!
TIP: My Happy Family Meals ebook is a full guidebook with grocery lists, tips, and schedules. Check that out if you need more guidance!
Easy Mac and Cheese Bites (aka Mac and Cheese Cups)
Learn how to make quick and easy Mac and Cheese Bites for an easy kids lunch or dinner. These bites are fun and a nutritious kids meal that can easily double as an appetizer! You can even add in veggies like broccoli for the most delicious mac and cheese cups.
This is an epic of a basic muffin recipe that you can then add flavor to in all sorts of ways—from fruit to veggies to chocolate chips. The batter is packed with protein too, so the muffins are great for breakfast or snack. (The allergy-friendly substitutions are listed in the Notes section at the bottom.)
You can use whichever type of rice your family likes best. We rotate through short grain brown rice, basmati, and jasmine. Adults may want to top their portions with shredded fresh basil and/or crushed red pepper.
Roll up a few simple ingredients to make this delicious Turkey Wrap recipe in minutes. It's a great lunch wrap for home or school, and you can easily adjust the ingredients to suit the preferences of your child. This makes one wrap, so scale up as desired.
With about 10 minutes of prep time, you can make the most delicious homemade granola bars to last for many snack times to come. These bars are easiest to slice after chilling a bit, so plan to let them firm up in the fridge before you cut them.
Scale this up or down according to how many servings you're planning to make. The directions here are for one small toddler-size serving. (It's okay if your kiddo wants more or doesn't eat a whole serving though!)
This slow cooker tomato sauce method is the easiest way to transform fresh tomatoes into delicious sauce. Scale the recipe up or down for a smaller or larger slow cooker. You don't have to be precise! And the chopped tomatoes can be very roughly chopped.
These easy quesadillas can be made with pumpkin puree, sweet potato puree, or butternut squash puree. You can also skip it and just go with beans and cheese! I make these as half moon shapes since it helps contain the mess a little when feeding these to kids.
You can double this recipe and use 2 pounds of chicken if desired. Just do your best to spread it into an even layer in the instant pot. (Note: The nutrition facts will vary based on the bbq sauce that you use.)
These fluffy pancakes are a yummy way to serve vegetables for breakfast and use up zucchini should you find yourself with extra. These can be served plain or with a side of yogurt or applesauce to babies and younger eaters, or with maple syrup—they are very versatile!
Learn how to make homemade Yogurt Drinks to save money, customize them just for your kids, and make a nutritious breakfast or snack to share with the kids in under 5 minutes. See the Notes at the end for the 6 flavor options.
The base recipe makes a large amount so you can use it throughout the week. Feel free to cut it in half to make less, or just make one serving at a time using the instructions in the NOTES section below.
The Best 2-Ingredient Pancakes (Baby and Toddler Approved)
This recipe makes one small batch of super tender 2-Ingredient Pancakes. It usually makes 1-2 little-kid-size servings. To make more, simply double the recipe. These are delicate pancakes with a texture that's sort of custardy like French toast, so be gentle when flipping them. See the NOTES at the bottom for the flavor variations.
This makes 6 rolled up tacos, so you can adjust this as needed for your family. Taste the refried beans before you make the roll ups and adjust the salt and/or cumin if needed. You can also serve the ingredients in separate bowls and let your family serve themselves.
This recipe make enough for 2-4 servings of yogurt, depending on the appetite of your child. See the Notes at the bottom for storage tips if you have leftovers. You can also cut the recipe in half to make a smaller amount.
If you use larger cookie cutters, you may need to bake on the longer end of the baking time—and mini cookie cutters on the shorter end. This makes a relatively small batch, so double it if you want extras to last all week!
Finish the adult servings (and more adventurous kid plates!) with a squeeze of fresh lemon and maybe crushed red pepper. Note that you’ll want to reserve some of the cooking water, so plan to take some out in a cup before you drain the pasta!
The combination of vegetables listed below delivers really nice flavor and consistency to the sauce, but if you want to simplify, you can just use 2 of the options. This recipe was updated in September 2019 to add an Instant Pot option.
Taste the hummus and adjust for salt as needed. You may need more depending on whether or not you started with canned beans, and sometimes after the hummus sits in the fridge, it needs another sprinkle of salt.
You can use any sliced bread that you like. I typically use whole grain or sourdough. You can also bake full slices of bread, then cut into sticks with kitchen scissors. See Notes for allergy-substitutions.
Transform fresh (or frozen) peaches into the most delicious peach sauce with this simple method. It's a delicious fruit puree to share with a baby or toddler that you can serve on its own or mixed with yogurt or oatmeal.
Try serving some of these meals family style to give the kids the chance to decide what to put onto their plates.
Easy Ratatouille with Pasta
This recipe makes enough for two meals. You can cut it in half if desired, but I like to make the larger batch and keep on in the freezer for a future meal—it's the same amount of cooking effort, so why not!
You can add some of the ingredients to some of the areas—leaving the spinach off, adding more salsa or spice—to customize for everyone at the table. I usually leave about a ⅓ of the pan for the kids with less greens and salsa and then pile it on for my husband and I.