Plan ahead to feed your family well this month with 31 days of healthy family meals to try. Each is kid-friendly and parent-approved and includes straight forward ingredients and easy methods…because I know we can all use as much help as we can get these days!

october-family-meal-plan-featured

Easy Family Meals for Fall

I hope this meal plan helps give you some ideas for what to feed your family this month. There are ideas for each meal of the day, and a simple system to reduce your mental load in the planning process too.

My goal with my monthly meal plans are to offer ideas that might work for this time of the year, and to share my approach of using a “meal rotation” as a way to simplify the process.

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!

october-week-1-meal-plan

October Week 1

I always aim to have 1-2 foods on the table that the kids usually likes to ensure a happy dinner for everyone…even if that’s just a simple side of a fruit they like. So round these meals out with simple sides (and condiments!) as needed for your crew.

Breakfast Ideas

Fresh Apple Pancakes
These apple pancakes are hearty and filled with freshly shredded apples and oats, so expect them to have a lot of texture!
Get the recipe
stack-of-apple-pancakes
Easy Pumpkin Oatmeal
You can make this in about 15 minutes on any morning, or make the whole recipe ahead and simply warm right before serving. See the Notes for variations to make it with other types of oats.
Get the recipe
pumpkin-oatmeal-in-white-and-pink-bowls
Healthy Pumpkin Bars Recipe
These bars are tender when warm out of the oven, so do be sure to let them cool completely before slicing.
Get the recipe
sliced pumpkin bars on cutting board

Lunch Ideas

Vegetarian Rice and Beans Burritos
You can make and serve these at the same time, or prep them ahead of time and warm up quickly for an easy meal. You can vary the beans in these simple burritos. Serve them with salsa and/or sour cream.
Get the recipe
rice and bean burritos on two plates.
12 Best Easy Sandwiches for Kids
Below is the recipe for the Avocado Egg Salad, with the other ideas in the Notes section for easy reference. Add fresh fruit, an applesauce pouch, canned fruit cup (in 100% juice), easy veggies for lunch, milk, and/or water to any lunch to round it out.
Get the recipe
sandwiches for kids in grid
20 Easy Cold Lunch Ideas For Kids (that Work at Room Temp!)
Below is the recipe for the Sesame Noodles. The rest of the ideas are in the Notes so you can print them all for easy reference.
Get the recipe
cold-lunch-ideas-in-lunchboxes

Snack Ideas

Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (Healthy and Easy!)
These whole grain muffins have delicious pumpkin flavor and just enough chocolate chips. They're moist and a great breakfast or snack to share with the kids. (Adapted from
Eating Well.)
Get the recipe
pumpkin-chocolate-chip-mini-muffins
So Easy Sliced Baked Apples
We like these apples warm or cold out of the fridge, so see what your kids like best!
Get the recipe
baked apple slices on plate
Healthy Sweet Potato Pudding (2 Ingredients!)
You can also use plain Greek yogurt and sweeten to taste with maple syrup.
Get the recipe
healthy sweet potato pudding

Dinner Ideas

One-Pot Pesto Chicken and Rice
With a quick cooking time and easy method, this Pesto Chicken and Rice is a delicious family meal to share. It's flavorful, versatile, and just so delish.
Get the recipe
healthy chicken and brown rice on kids plate
Vegetarian Quesadillas with Beans and Cheese
You can make as few or as many of these easy quesadillas as you like.
Get the recipe
cut up vegetarian quesadillas for kids on plate
Quick Butternut Squash Pasta with Sausage
This easy skillet dinner is super cozy and super versatile. You can use freshly diced butternut squash or precut squash from the store and frozen peas or broccoli according to what you have or prefer. See the Notes for vegetarian options.
Get the recipe
butternut-squash-pasta-in-white-bowl-and-teal-bowls
Favorite Pizza Rolls (with Spinach and Cheese)
Be sure to grease your pan well and roll the dough up fairly tightly around the fillings for best results. (But it's okay if they don't look perfect when they go into the pan!) 
Get the recipe
pizza-rolls-on-kids-plate
Vegetarian Bean Chili (Big Batch)
When serving this to a little one, I like to drain off much of the broth. This makes it a little easier (and less messy) for them to eat. If your family likes spice, add in a dash or two of cayenne pepper.
Get the recipe
vegetarian bean chili in bowls on table.
Easy Cornbread Muffins
Moist and nutritious, these healthy cornmeal muffins are an easy side, quick breakfast, or yummy snack.
Get the recipe
maple corn muffins

october-week-2-meal-plan

October Week 2

Add a favorite veggie (even warmed frozen peas) to round out any of these easy family dinners.

Breakfast Ideas

Favorite Sweet Potato Smoothie
This quick smoothie is an easy way to serve up a veggie-packed breakfast or snack. Plan to make the sweet potato ahead of time so you can pull this together in minutes.
Get the recipe
sweet potato smoothie in four glasses, two empty.
Pumpkin Chocolate Baked Donuts
Share a batch of flourless chocolate baked donuts for breakfast, snack time, or dessert. They're easy enough that the kids can help make the batter!
Get the recipe
baked pumpkin donuts with frosting
Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal Recipe with Apples
You can make this overnight the and enjoy it for breakfast the following day, or make a whole batch ahead and eat it throughout the week. *To do this overnight, choose the LOW heat option and cook time.
Get the recipe
overnight steel cut oats with apples

Lunch Ideas

Easy Cheesy Rice (with Veggies!)
Choose one veggie to add from the flavor options below according to what you have on hand or what your family likes best.
Get the recipe
cheesy rice 4 ways with veggies
Favorite Salmon Salad Sandwich
This salmon salad is packed with protein, healthy fats, and calcium and can be used as a dip or a spread for sandwiches. We use homemade relish in this recipe, but you can use any that you like the flavor of.
Get the recipe
salmon-salad-on-toast
Easy Butternut Squash Hummus
You can use canned squash or whole squash that you’ve roasted and pureed.
Get the recipe
butternut squash hummus on plate with cucumbers

Snack Ideas

Easy Homemade Granola Bars
We like to have these granola bars as a snack or toddler breakfast with milk or a smoothie—and they're an excellent lunch box component too. You can make them plain or choose a flavor to add!
Get the recipe
stack-of-homemade-granola-bars
Soft-Baked Sweet Potato Cookies
Bake up an easy batch of Sweet Potato Cookies for a fun dessert to share with the kids for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any day of the week.
Get the recipe
sweet potato cookies on baking sheet.
Fluffy Sweet Potato Muffins
Tender and moist, these muffins are lightly sweetened with warm spices. Plan to prepare the sweet potatoes at least an hour—and up to 3 days—before you start making the muffins to allow time to cool. You can make these plain, with chocolate chips, or with lemon zest.
Get the recipe
sweet-potato-muffins-in-pan

Dinner Ideas

20-Minute Stir Fry Noodles
Try this quick family dinner the next time you're craving fresh comfort food—and want to please the entire family! You can add a protein to this dish if you'd like. See the Notes for options.
Get the recipe
stir fry noodles with vegetables
Sweet Potato and Cheese Quesadillas
Serve these quesadillas with salsa, sour cream, and/or guacamole as desired. You can leave them as simple vegetarian quesadillas or add in a protein like chicken or beans.
Get the recipe
sweet-potato-quesadillas-on-blue-plate
Easy Baked Chicken Tenders
These crispy Chicken Tenders are fast and versatile. To make these with panko breadcrumbs, use 1 cup and stir ¼ teaspoon salt into the flour before you dredge the chicken.
Get the recipe
crispy baked chicken tenders on white and blue plate
Easy Red Lentil Soup
With plant-based protein and Vitamin C-rich veggies, this brightly flavored Red Lentil Soup—with sweet potato, ginger, and coconut— is a perfect fast family dinner ready in less than 30 minutes.
Get the recipe
red lentil soup for parent and baby
Easy Snack Dinner (to Share with the Kids!)
You can do a big family-style platter or individual ones for the kids depending on your preference. Add anything else that sounds appealing and know that the nutrition info will vary according to what you use.
Get the recipe
family-style-snack-plate

october-week-3-meal-plan

October Week 3

Try serving some dinners family style and allow everyone to help themselves to the foods they want to eat.

Breakfast Ideas

Healthy Breakfast Bars with Jam
Use Sunbutter to make these nut-free. You can cut these into smaller bars if desired. If you want them a little softer, serve them at room temperature rather than chilled.
Get the recipe
breakfast-bars-on-white-cutting-board
Baked Oatmeal Cups
Transform plain oats into a yummy and easy-to-eat finger food with this baked oatmeal cups recipe. You can double the recipe to make more if desired.
Get the recipe
baked-oatmeal-cups-on-plate
Healthy Banana Cookies (to Share with the Kids)
These are an easy whole grain cookie to share with the kids—they're a great baby cookie! Try them for snack, dessert, or as a breakfast cookie
Get the recipe
banana cookies on wire rack

Lunch Ideas

Mini Egg Muffins with Cheese and Veggies
These tender Egg Muffins are packed with protein and vitamins—and can be made ahead of time! Add any veggie you like, whether carrots, butternut squash, broccoli, or spinach.
Get the recipe
egg-cups-on-plate-with-toast
DIY Pizza Lunchables
Have more fun with lunch with this super quick and easy Pizza Lunchable idea. It's one of our favorite copycat recipes that makes it less expensive to recreate Lunchables at home…that you can even customize!
Get the recipe
homemade pizza lunchable on counter.
Roasted Sweet Potato Hash
Try this easy breakfast-for-dinner idea the next time you need a super easy and nutritious family dinner.
Get the recipe
sweet-potato-hash-on-two-plates

Snack Ideas

Soft Roasted Chickpeas with Cinnamon
If you start with dried beans in this salty-sweet snack, make sure to cook them until they are very tender. If making these for a kiddo under one, use maple syrup instead of honey or skip the sweetener all together.
Get the recipe
roasted chickpea recipe
Baked Apple Donuts
Made with minimal added sweeteners and fresh apple flavor, these baked donuts are a nutritious breakfast or snack to share.
Get the recipe
stack-of-baked-apple-donuts
Butternut Squash Muffins
These moist muffins are great on their own or topped with butter, honey, or apple butter. Try them for breakfast, snack, or as a side for dinner.
Get the recipe
butternut-squash-muffins-on-wire-rack

Dinner Ideas

Easy Stuffed Peppers Skillet
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.
Get the recipe
skillet-stuffed-peppers-in-adult-and-kid-bowl
Easy Vegetarian Burrito Bowls
Transform pantry staples into the yummiest homemade Vegetarian Burrito Bowls with this easy recipe. (Prep the rice, beans, and veggies ahead if you can or want to. They store well in the fridge and simply need to be reheated.)
Get the recipe
5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Use your family’s favorite shape and type of pasta in this recipe. (We like elbows or mini shells!)
Get the recipe
butternut-squash-mac-and-cheese-with-shell-pasta
Favorite Alphabet Soup
You can use ABC pasta, orzo, pastina, or ditalini—or any other very small pasta shape in this Alphabet Soup recipe. And you can start with fresh or frozen veggies. See below for options.
Get the recipe
alphabet-soup-in-blue-bowl
Easy Butternut Squash Apple Soup
With a quick cooking method and the creamiest texture, this easy Butternut Squash Apple Soup is a family favorite. It is great for babies on up to adults, is dairy-free and packed with vegetarian protein, and just tastes so good. We love this with buttered toast or crackers.
Get the recipe
Butternut squash soup in various containers.

october-week-4-meal-plan

October Week 4

Challenge the kids to be in charge of setting the table or helping you chop to involve them in the dinner prep.

Breakfast Ideas

Easy Breakfast Burritos
With just 4 simple ingredients, these easy Breakfast Burritos can be made ahead and reheated, or made in minutes and served right away. They're a protein-packed breakfast to share with the kids.
Get the recipe
Halloween Breakfast Idea: Easy Halloween Toast!
Halloween Toast is the ultimate Halloween Breakfast. Learn how to make it in just minutes using basic ingredients and a super easy method!
Get the recipe
halloween breakfast toasts
Easy Homemade Granola (Added Sugar Free)
This healthy granola recipe uses applesauce for sweetness and bakes at a lower temperature to lower the risk of burning around the edges. Plus, find an option to make it without added sugar id desired.
Get the recipe
homemade granola in jar

Lunch Ideas

Easy Taco Roll Ups
This super simple riff on tacos takes just minutes to make, is really satisfying, and is great for lunch, dinner, or even snack. (This makes 6 rolled-up tacos, so you can adjust this as needed for your family.) 
Get the recipe
Taco roll ups on kids plate with sides.
Easy Avocado Pasta
With a creamy, veggie-packed sauce, this easy Avocado Pasta is packed with kid-friendly flavor and nutrients. And the whole recipe can be made in about 10 minutes of cooking time.
Get the recipe
avocado-pasta-in-bowls-on-towel
Homemade Veggie Nuggets (with 3 Veggies!)
I like to prep the veggies and rice ahead of time so that the process of making the nuggets is a little quicker. You can of course do it all at once though!
Get the recipe
veggie-nuggets-on-blue-plate

Snack Ideas

Simple Green Smoothie
Frozen bananas give the smoothie a creamy, naturally sweet base, though you can make this with a fresh banana as long as the other fruit is frozen. It’s easy to add whatever berries or fruit you have on hand, so customize it for your kiddo. 
Get the recipe
green-smoothie-in-glass
Favorite Healthy Halloween Treats and Snacks
Try one of these fun ideas for Halloween snack or to share with friends. Below is the recipe for the green smoothie with the face. The rest of the ideas are in the Notes for easy reference.
Get the recipe
halloween-treats-featured
Sweet Spinach Muffins with Banana
These healthy muffins taste like a delicious banana muffin, but with the added nutrition of a big handful of spinach. These store well, so you can make them ahead of time and pull them out of the fridge or freezer to serve.
Get the recipe
spinach banana muffins on pink plate

Dinner Ideas

Vegetable Stir Fry with Rice and Tofu
I like to use vegetables like carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, and snap peas in this easy recipe. Plan to cook the rice ahead of time or to get it started first.
Get the recipe
sesame-tofu-with-veggies-and-rice-in-bowl
Slow Cooker Chicken and Bean Tacos
With a short ingredient list and a veggie-loaded sauce, these Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos are such a delicious family meal. (You can even make it in the Instant Pot for dinner in just 25 minutes.)
Get the recipe
Slow cooker chicken tacos on plate with sides.
4-Ingredient Sausage Pasta (with Broccoli)
This pasta recipe is quick and delicious and the flavor from the sausage is really key. (Just a heads up that you'll need to reserve a little of the pasta cooking water, so keep that in mind BEFORE you drain the pasta.) Chicken sausage is usually leaner than pork, so when making this with chicken sausage, I like to add butter or olive oil before serving.
Get the recipe
broccoli-pasta-in-white-bowl
Easy Sausage Meatballs
This will make at least two dinners worth of meatballs, depending on how many people are in your family. I like to freeze half of the batch to use in a future meal.
Get the recipe
sausage-meatballs-in-tomato-sauce
Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup
Use the crock pot to cook up a hearty and nutritious Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup with veggies and lots of kid-friendly flavor. It's easy, versatile, and a great freezer meal
 
Get the recipe
slow-cooker-black-bean-soup

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This post was first published October 2019.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for this! I love that you grabbed items that are in season-so much butternut squash and pumpkins from our last couple of weeks of our CSA!