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Back to School Countdown


Yes, it’s sad, but we’re down to the last couple weeks of summer.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your summer as much as we have – we took a few small family vacations and did some fun outings with friends here and there, and also had a lot of much-needed downtime, too. (Oh, and did you read about our son’s dream birthday vacation?!)

But alas, it’s time to start thinking a bit about fall schedules and new routines. Maybe you’ll even want to implement some healthier habits with the start of this school year.

If so, here are some lists to help get your brain rolling…

  • Healthy Breakfast Ideas – many of these can be made ahead for busy mornings.
  • Healthy School Lunches – try to avoid hot lunch if at all possible! On the rare occasion that they want hot lunch, I take a breath and let them, but thankfully it’s not often. To make things easy, we stay in the habit of making lunches the night before. Even our kindergartener made her own lunch – they can do it if you just take the time to teach them. (I always check it, though, obviously!) I just decided that each year a couple weeks before school starts (yikes, I can’t believe that’s NOW), I need to sit down with the kids and go over this list (and the links and comments there), ask what their ideas are and what they’d like to take in their lunches, and then I can shop and be ready to go that first week of school. :)
  • Our Version of Fast Food – we all know how crazy school nights are with homework and activities, these ideas can help you avoid the temptation to zip into the dreaded fast food joints.
  • Where to get Safe sippy cups, water bottles, a stainless steel food thermos, (and baby bottles, too) like the ones in the picture above – for the best deals, scroll down at that link to find the ones that say free shipping. (After you spend $25.)
  • How to easily and quickly make big batches of cookies or other school lunch foods ahead of time! (More tips on making extras.)
  • Why come up with a Family Favorites Meal List? It’s very helpful, you’ll see why at that post.
  • Here’s my Real Food Ingredient Guide to help you know which foods to avoid and what their Real Food alternatives are. Many have told me that they want to buy better foods, but are confused as to what they are. Hopefully this will become your “go-to guide” to help you quickly and easily plan meals and work your way through the grocery store aisles.
  • Share your keep-your-sanity tricks for the school year in the comments!


  1. Lol, in Louisiana we’ve already started school a week ago! Good to know some people actually start at a normal time instead of crazy early like here!

  2. Amanda/DD, yes, our kids here go 2 full days and one half for Kindergarten. Our youngest is in ps this year and Kind. next – it’s going too fast, though, I get all tense when I think of how quickly time passes and I won’t have him with me every day!

  3. Being homeschoolers you’d think the “back to school” thing doesn’t affect us, but it really does! I often get elbow-deep in microscopes, salt maps or Cuisinere rods and suddenly realize it’s almost lunch time and I haven’t started anything! My oldest boy is coming back home for his senior year of high school, so no more cafeteria lunches for him (YAY!)

    It really does go too quickly. When John graduates this year, three of my children will be graduates and three will remain with us for a few more years. I try not to think that far into the future for fear of getting misty!

  4. I love love love this website and have been reading for months without commenting. Since the topic of cereal is mentioned I need to ask…
    What do you think about Ezekiel cereal? It’s sprouted and baked and tastes like Grape Nuts.

  5. Thanks Kelly, for all these great tips – we started back to school last week and already I am scarmbling for lunch ideas – I am trying to cut as much wheat and other grains from our diet as possible so the ole stand-by sandwich is only once or twice a week ! …I am have enjoyed reading ALL of you posts (well, the ones I have gotten to so far) as I reaquaint myself with the “right way” to eat – fell off the wagon a while back and now I am getting back on !!!
    thanks :)

  6. You miss the most obvious solution–not having them eat lunch at all. The three-meals-plus-snacks thing is very new. Give your kids a good breakfast high in protein and fat and they won’t need to eat again until dinner.

  7. Brooke, I’m glad to know that at least one person will be interested in it! (I’ll probably charge a small fee for the download.)

    Peggy, I’ve got one graduating this year, too. Thank God he’s going to CC for a couple years and staying home or I’d be a MESS.

    Kristin, I’m so glad you’ve finally said hello!! The Ezekiel cereal is a good choice except for two problems (in my opinion): 1. It’s very expensive, and 2. I think it tastes nasty! :)

    Liz, it is hard avoiding grains with kids isn’t it? Thankfully, my kids are happy with this type of lunch: an organic whole milk yogurt, a fruit, maybe some carrot sticks, cheese, a water, and sometimes a homemade cookie.

    Trish, funny you should say that – we’ve been doing that schedule a lot this summer since the kids have been getting up later. (Breakfast, a healthy snack here and there that they get themselves, then a big dinner.) At school it would never fly, though. Not when all the other kids are sitting there eating their lunch. Not to mention that it is a loooong time between an early breakfast and when they get home. I don’t mind sending lunch with them – it’s sad when I’m there at lunchtime, though, and see what is in most of the other lunches: a lot of foods with ZERO nutrients…


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