Healthy Eating

Time-Saving Back to School Meal Prep Ideas For the Whole Family

Easy-prep breakfasts, packable lunches, and 10-minute family-friendly meals!

By: Lexy Parsons

After a fun and flexible summer, transitioning back into a routine can be tough. For many, the back-to-school and work transition can bring up a lot of stress, anxiety, and feelings of overwhelm. It might feel like there’s lots to do, yet little time to do it. Maybe you’re going back to the office, sending the kids off to school, or going back to school yourself. This means there’s breakfast to be made, lunches to be packed, and dinner to be prepped. While it may seem impossible to prioritize healthy eating habits with a full schedule, a little preparation and planning can go a long way! Trust us — when your calendar is jam-packed, you’ll be overjoyed to have ready-to-go options and easy-prep meals. And to make things even easier for you, we’re sharing a meal-prep menu with simple ideas for all your needs — breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks included! Think: healthy office snacks, allergy-friendly school lunches, and one-pan family-friendly dinners. 

And remember: getting back in the swing of things may take a little time! Transitions are tough, so try to cut yourself some slack. You got this!

RELATED: 12 Healthy Packable Lunches You’ll Actually Love

Back-To-School Season: Meal-Prep Ideas For All Your Needs

Ahead, we’re breaking down must-have meal-prep recipes that will make back-to-school season a breeze. Browse the following categories:

  • Easy-prep breakfast recipes for busy mornings 
  • Healthy office snacks for mid-day energy 
  • Protein-packed post-workout snacks 
  • Allergen-friendly school & work lunches 
  • Quick & easy one-pot meals & sheet-pan dinners
  • 10-minute (or less) family-friendly meals

Easy-Prep Breakfast Recipes 

Sweet Potato Breakfast Egg Muffins

Packed with nourishing veggies and satiating carbs and protein, these easy-prep Sweet Potato Breakfast Egg Muffins are a must-have on busy mornings. Prep a big batch at the beginning of the week so you can grab and go!  


  • 1 tbsp chives (optional)
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg
  • ⅓ cup milk 
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic
  • 4 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • sea salt & black pepper
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1½ cups sweet potatoes, diced


Step #1:  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a standard muffin tin with cooking spray or use liners.

Step #2: Whisk together the eggs, egg whites, skim milk, and chives. Season with salt and pepper.

Step #3: In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sweet potato. Cook for 8 minutes or until softened.

Step #4: Add the garlic, spinach, and nutmeg. Cook for 2 more minutes or until wilted.

Step #5: Let cool for 2 minutes and then mix into eggs. Pour into muffin tin and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Easy-Prep Vanilla Cinnamon Chia Seed Pudding

Chia seed pudding is always a good idea. This Vanilla Cinnamon Chia Pudding is a breakfast that tastes like dessert yet is packed with fiber, plant-based protein, and healthy fats! Customize with your favorite toppings, like fresh or frozen berries and chopped nuts. 


  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp sweetener of choice (such as honey or maple syrup)
  • ½ cup mixed berries
  • 3 tbsp sliced almonds


Step #1: Combine the almond milk, sweetener, and vanilla. Taste and adjust sweetness and vanilla strength if needed.

Step #2: Stir in the chia seeds until well-mixed.

Step #3: Refrigerate for 4 hours. Stir before serving. Add the mixed berries and sliced almonds.

Meal-Prep Smoothie Cubes Smoothie 

Smoothies are always a kick and easy breakfast option, but with a simple meal-prep hack, there’s a way to make them even easier! Enter: meal-prep smoothie cubes. Yep, you can prep your favorite smoothie ingredients ahead of time! All you have to do is pop the cubes into the blender and blend it up with your liquid of choice! How simple?

To make your base recipe, you’ll need:

  • 1 – 1 ½ cups fruit of choice 
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups greens of choice 
  • ½ – 1 ½ cups liquid of choice (to blend)

Plus, optional add-ins such as yogurt, hemp or chia seeds, nut butter, or protein powder. Find the step-by-step instructions here, plus tons of flavor combos!

Cinnamon Apple Muffins

Ready to welcome some fall flavors into your morning? These Cinnamon Apple Muffins are the perfect delicious and nutritious seasonal meal-prep breakfast! Prep a big batch and keep them on hand for you and your kiddos to enjoy. 


  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 apple, grated or shredded
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • almond butter, to serve


Step #1: Start by preheating your oven to 320°F and line a muffin tin with muffin liners.

Step #2: Next, add the almond flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

Step #3: Crack the eggs into a separate mixing bowl and whisk. Add the melted coconut oil, honey, and vanilla.

Step #4: Add the wet mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in the grated apple, lemon juice, and pecans.

Step #5: Pour the batter into the lined muffin tins and top with extra pecans and a sprinkle of coconut sugar.

Step #6: Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool and serve with a dollop of almond butter.

Strawberry Banana Baked Oatmeal 

Overnight oats aren’t the only meal-prep-friendly oat breakfast! Say hello to Strawberry Banana Baked Oatmeal — the ultimate comfort food breakfast that you’d never guess is healthy! Bake a batch ahead of time and serve warm or cold for a tasty morning meal.


  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup strawberry, diced
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • Greek yogurt, to serve (¾ cup per serving) 


Step #1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Step #2: Mix together the oats, chia seed, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl, mix together the banana, milk, eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in the strawberries.

Step #3: Pour into a glass baking dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes until cooked through.

Step #4: Serve with 3/4 cup Greek yogurt.

Healthy School & Office Snacks 

Sweet & Salty Trail Mix

Satisfy your sweet and savory cravings with this simple DIY trail mix recipe! Customize it with your favorite nuts or seeds of choice and any additional mix-ins such as goji berries, freeze-dried fruit, or unsweetened coconut flakes. Portion out servings ahead of time and pack for a healthy school or office snack! 


  • ¼ cup walnuts 
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tbsp dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup cashew
  • 2 tbsp dried unsweetened cranberries or goji berries
  • 2 tbsp dairy-free dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs


Step #1: Mix together all the ingredients, substituting your favorite nuts, seeds, or dried fruit if desired. Store in an airtight container.

Protein-Packed Edamame Snack Plate

It doesn’t get any easier than this protein-packed snack plate. Pack your lunch box with these nourishing ingredients — customize as desired!


  • 1 oz shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp pistachios, shelled
  • ½ cup edamame in pods


Step #1: Arrange everything on a plate or pack in a container for later.

Healthy Cookie Dough Bites

Low in sugar, free from dairy, and made with whole food ingredients. Trust us, these healthy and delicious cookie dough bites will be a staple in your meal-prep menu! Made with oats, almonds, almond butter, and a dash of honey, they’ll keep you satiated and satisfied.


  • 1 cup oats, rolled
  • ½ cup almond
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp filtered water


Step #1: Add all the ingredients to a food processor and pulse. Add a tablespoon of water at a time until the dough comes together.

Step #2: Set in the fridge for 15 minutes and then roll into bite-sized rounds.

Step #3: Store in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoy as a delicious grab-and-go snack!

Mango Black Bean Salad

Have access to a fridge at work or school? This Mango Black Bean Salad is a healthy and flavorful protein-rich snack that will give you a nourishing mid-day boost! Free from common allergens, it’s a great school snack option for your kiddos to enjoy. Double the recipe and keep it on hand in the fridge throughout the week!

Serves: 4


  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ¼ cup cilantro, diced
  • 2 cups mangos, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced (optional)
  • 14 oz canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced


Step #1: Toss together the mango, black beans, red onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, and salt. Taste and season as needed.

Step #2: If possible, let rest for 10 minutes before serving for the flavors to combine. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.

Protein-Rich Post-Workout Refuel Recipes

Forget the processed protein bars and expensive shakes — these protein-packed snacks make the perfect post-workout refuel. 

Peanut Butter Bliss Balls

Made with almond flour, peanut butter, and protein powder, these plant-based PB Protein Balls are the perfect post-workout refuel. Meal prep ahead of time and keep a batch in the fridge!


  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch sea salt


Step #1: Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until the mixture comes together.

Step #2: Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes and then roll into bite-sized rounds. Set in the freezer for 20 minutes before enjoying.

Step #3: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Easy Blender Protein Banana Bread

Healthy banana bread that’s meal-prep-friendly, packed with protein, and made in one bowl (or blender)? Yes, please! Enjoy a slice pre or post-workout to keep your body fueled and nourished. 

Serves: 8


  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 banana, ripe
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, to grease
  • almond butter, to serve


Step #1: Preheat the oven to 320°F and lightly grease a loaf pan with coconut oil.

Step #2: Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth.

Step #3: Pour or spoon the mixture into the loaf pan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the banana bread is cooked through and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Step #4: Allow to cool. Slice and enjoy with a slab of almond butter

Back-to-School Lunch & Office Meal-Prep 

Allergen-friendly back-to-school and work lunches that can be meal-prepped ahead of time to make your day that much easier. Keep your energy high, and your brain fueled!

Mediterranean Hummus Grain Bowl

This healthy and hearty Mediterranean Grain Bowl will keep you nourished all afternoon! Made with quinoa, hummus, and greens for a nutrient-dense meal packed with fiber and plant-based protein.

Serves: 4


  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 2 cups cucumbers, chopped
  • 1 cup hummus
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup olives
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved


Step #1: Assemble the grain bowl by placing the quinoa on the bottom of the bowls and arranging the remaining ingredients on top. 

Step #2: Drizzle with olive, red wine vinegar, or any of your favorite dressings.

Sweet & Savory Salmon, Sweet Potato, and Kale Salad

This meal-prep-friendly Sweet Potato and Salmon Kale Salad dish makes a tasty healthy back-to-school or work lunch. For even easier prep, use canned salmon! 

Serves: 4


  • ½ avocado
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt & black pepper
  • 6 cups kale
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lbs salmon filet
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp mustard, wholegrain
  • 1 tomato, chopped


Step #1: Preheat the broiler on high. Squeeze half the lemon juice over the salmon and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook the salmon under the broiler for 6-8 minutes or until flaky and cooked through.

Step #2: Meanwhile, combine the remaining lemon juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, and mustard. Massage into the kale for 1-2 minutes until the kale begins to soften.

Step #3: Pierce the sweet potato a few times with a fork or knife. Microwave for 4-5 minutes until tender. You can also bake it in the oven. Carefully chop.

Step #4: Toss everything together. Season with salt and pepper.

Cranberry Chickpea Salad

Protein-packed and easy to prep! Sub the mayo for mashed avocado and pack with fresh veggies, rice cakes, or crackers of choice.

Serves: 4


  • 1 apple, diced
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 14 oz chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • sea salt & black pepper
  • ½ cup celery stalk, chopped
  • 3 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp green onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 8 whole wheat bread (sub crackers of choice or chopped veggies)


Step #1: Mash the chickpeas using a fork or potato masher until beginning to combine, but they still have some texture.

Step #2: Mix together the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Fold in the chickpeas, celery, green onion, dried cranberries, and apple. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step #3: Serve on toasted wheat bread with greens.

One-Pot Meal-Prep Dinners 

No time (or energy) to cook AND clean? We got you! These one-pot (or sheet pan) dinners can be made in one pot, pan, or sheet. Easy to prep, easy to clean, delicious to enjoy! 

Sheet Pan Pesto Veggies & Chickpeas

Toss everything on one sheet and bake! When you’re ready to enjoy, simply warm up this plant-based Sheet Pan Pesto & Veggie Bake and serve. 


  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 15 oz chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup pesto
  • sea salt & black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1½ cups cauliflower
  • 1½ cups asparagus, chopped
  • 1 lb sweet potato, chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced


Step #1: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or cover with parchment paper.

Step #2: Toss the sweet potatoes, carrots, and chickpeas with half the olive oil and half the Italian seasoning, paprika, and garlic powder. Season well with salt and pepper. Spread out on the baking sheet in a single layer.

Step #3: Bake for 22-24 minutes until the sweet potatoes are beginning to soften.

Step #4: Meanwhile, toss the asparagus, cauliflower, and red pepper with the remaining olive oil, spices, salt, and pepper.

Step #5: Carefully remove the pan from the oven. Add the remaining vegetables. Cook for 10-15 minutes until tender and crisp. Check that the sweet potatoes are cooked through. Serve with pesto.

Sheet Pan Asian Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry

Love an Asian-inspired stir-fry dish? Make it sheet-pan style! Loaded with veggies and tofu, this meal-prep-friendly Sheet Pan Stir Fry makes for a healthy and nourishing mid-week dinner.


  • 4 cups Asian vegetable mix
  • 16 oz tofu, extra firm
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Asian garlic chili paste (optional)
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1½ tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce


Step #1: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Press the tofu to remove extra moisture using a tofu press or paper towels. Cut into long horizontal slices, about 3/4 inch thick, and then slice into triangles or sticks.

Step #2: Mix together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegar, honey, and garlic chili paste. Add the tofu to the mixture. If you have time, let the chicken marinate in the sauce for 15 minutes. You can also marinate longer if desired. Add the vegetable to the tofu and stir to coat.

Step #3: Spread out the tofu and vegetables onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until tofu is crispy and veggies are tender. If desired, broil the last 1-2 minutes to brown the tofu on top.

One-Pot Vegetarian Lentil Curry

Packed with plant-based protein and satiating fiber, this quick and simple meal-prep recipe will be a family favorite. Store in the fridge and enjoy for a stress-free dinner!


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • sea salt & black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup lentils, cooked
  • ½ tbsp tamari
  • ½ cup baby spinach
  • fresh parsley, to serve


Step #1: Start by heating 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat.

Step #2: Add the yellow onion and garlic and season with sea salt, pepper, and curry powder. Sauté for 3 minutes.

Step #3: Add the tomatoes and the tamari sauce. Continue to sauté for a few more minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

Step #4: Add the cooked lentils, spinach, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir until heated through.

Step #5: Divide between two bowls and serve with fresh parsley. Enjoy!

10-Minute Family-Friendly Meals

These recipes take 10 minutes or less to prep! Make a big batch and store in the fridge or freezer for busy weeknights. 

Easy-Prep Double Bean Veggie Burgers

Plant-based burgers that the whole family will love. Prep these Double Bean Vegetarian burgers and grill them up when you’re ready to enjoy! Serve with veggies, sweet potato fries, or your favorite fixings.


  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs (optional)
  • ¼ cup onion, minced
  • 3 garlic, minced
  • ⅛ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg white
  • 15 oz white beans
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp grill seasoning
  • 15 oz canned black beans
  • ¼ cup cilantro, minced


Step #1: Drain and rinse the beans well. Add them to a bowl with the garlic, cilantro, onion, bread crumbs, salt, and steak seasoning. Mash together the beans using a fork, masher, or food processor.

Step #2: In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and Worcestershire sauce. Add to the beans, and using your hands, combine. Divide the bean mixture into six patties.

Step #3: Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add ½ tbsp oil. Place three of the patties in the pan, moving them around in a circular motion as you put them down (to prevent them from sticking to the pan). Cook for four to five minutes on the first side, and then flip and cook for another four to five minutes. Remove to a plate. Add the other ½ tbsp oil and repeat for the other three patties.

One-Pot Pasta Primavera

This meal-prep Pasta Primavera recipe requires one pot and comes together in 10 minutes! Make it ahead of time and warm it up when you’re ready to enjoy it. Customize the recipe as you wish — swap the whole-grain pasta for a chickpea alternative, add in your favorite veggies or protein, or use a dairy-free cheese substitute! 


  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 4 garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp basil leaves, chopped
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 8 oz wholegrain pasta
  • ½ lemon, zested
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning


Step #1: Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Save some pasta cooking liquid for the sauce.

Step #2: While pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, carrots, broccoli, and red bell pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until they begin to soften. Add the zucchini and cook for 3-4 more minutes. The vegetables should be just tender-crisp.

Step #3: Add the cherry tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Cook for 2 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.

Step #4: Add the vegetables to the cooked pasta. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and about ¼  cup of pasta cooking liquid. Stir to form a creamy sauce. If needed, add more pasta cooking liquid, up to about 1/2 cup.

Step #5: Top with fresh basil and additional parmesan cheese if desired.

Structure Your Week With This Simple Meal-Prep Menu

Now that you have easy-prep breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options, plan your week accordingly! Decide which recipes you’re going to make and schedule your meal-prep menu in advance. Make a grocery list based on what you’re going to batch cook, so you have all of the ingredients ready. And don’t forget to utilize the freezer! To prolong food storage, you can always freeze leftovers. Trust us, it will come in handy during busy weeks! With a little preparation and planning, staying healthy during back-to-school and work season will be a breeze.

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