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August 3, 2015 Back to School Meal Plan

Back to School It’s Back to School Week in our house, at least for our first grader. Our preschooler has one week left until school starts. Our teenage son will be coming to visit us for two-weeks, but don’t tell our little guys, it’s a surprise.

With so much going on this week meal planning becomes even more important. Our son that is visiting is a 6 foot tall athlete who prefers processed food. It will definitely be a challenge to keep him full.

We will also start packing lunches this week, which reminds me. I have a new giveaway coming on Wednesday for a set of EasyLunchBoxes! Stay tuned for more details, or better yet, subscribe (in the right sidebar or below for mobile users) so you don’t miss any posts.

I usually only plan 4-5 items for meals per week. I like to make extra so we have leftovers to eat and it frees us up for last-minute changes. If I plan 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners we will buy too much food and not eat it all. We always have leftover beans, rice and potatoes as well as salad fixings to add to our meals.

Back to School Meal Plan

Plant-Based meal plan

 Plant-Based Breakfasts

I keep gluten-free waffles in the freezer as a back up for crazy mornings.

Plant-Based Lunches

Plant-Based Dinner

We often use our dinner leftovers for lunches. When time is short I can usually throw together a delicious Bean and Grain Bowl or a Chipotle-style salad with our regular refrigerator staples.


Don’t forget to enter the Allerbling Giveaway! Tuesday is the last day to enter! The next giveaway will begin on Wednesday, August 5th.

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3 Back to School Tips

Back to School

Going back to school after summer vacation can be very stressful for both kids and parents. Even if you kids have been in daycare all summer there is still a big transition. In addition to all of your other duties now you have to worry about home work, after school activities, making sure everyone has everything they need when you leave the house in the morning.

Did I sign that folder and the other billion papers the school sent home?

3 Back to School Tips

Back to School Tips

Truthfully, getting started is probably the hardest part. I’ve been handling this back to school dance for over 10 years (remember I have older kids) and have some great back to school tips to make it a little easier for you.

1. Establish New Routines

By the time the first report card comes home you won’t think twice about your daily routine but as school is starting it can get overwhelming. Talk through everything that needs to be done in the morning before you leave for school, after school and at bed time then make lists. Reserve the list for things that are non-negotiable. Then every day you can ask your child, is the morning list done, after school list, bed time list instead of asking about each specific item on the list.

Our morning list would say:

  • Eat Breakfast
  • Get Dressed (with shoes on)
  • Brush Teeth
  • Get Lunch
  • Get Backpack

Your list might be bigger or smaller. We’ve got little boys, they just want to watch cartoons and play. If they get their list done they will have free time. When our older kids lived at home their morning list included morning chores and making their own lunches.

Come up with appropriate list for after school that may include cleaning out lunch boxes or doing homework. You may want them to pick out their clothes for the next day or that may be on their bed time list. It’s a good idea to put things like “find shoes” or “put backpack away” on the bed time list.

Don’t assume that older kids won’t benefit from lists. I don’t know how many calls I’ve gotten from our older kids saying they forgot their lunch, P.E. uniform, homework, etc. When they ask if they can hang out with friends ask them if they have completed their list.

2. Plan Easy Meals

During seasons of change I find it best to stick to simple meals. It’s OK to try new recipes but keep it simple; Lasagna is probably too ambitious but spaghetti is perfect. You may find your kids ravenously hungry or uninterested for a while. They are probably goofing off a lot during lunch and wanting to eat a big snack after school and ignore dinner or they skip snack and are STARVING at dinner time.

If you have Crock Pot meals or Instant Pot meals to rely on that may make it easier. Soup, pasta and casseroles are easy meals at our house but sometimes we end up with sandwiches and cereal. Between working full-time, running a business on the side and being a wife and mommy cereal can be a life saver.

3. Work Ahead and in Batches

I don’t know about you but I feel like I’m running behind a lot of the time. I have to be very intentional about working ahead. You can get your kids help by preparing a week’s worth of snack on the weekend to use during the week. I will buy large bags pretzels and place them in individual containers for the week.. Then each morning I can send my son to the pantry to grab the snack for that day.

You can also do this with you kids clothes for the week. Pick out a full set of clothes for every day so your child can grab their clothes and get dressed on their own. You can even add hair accessories if you do that sort of thing. You can hang the whole outfit on hangers or buy one of these hanging dividers. This can be a great reminder if you child needs to take money on Wednesday for popcorn, just put it with the clothes for that day.

I also like to prepare a few days of lunch ahead of time. I’ll make lunches for up to three days so I can just grab and go. You can do this trick with dinners too. If you are really in the groove make a few dinners ahead or even individual meals.

Do you have a tip to add? What do feel like needs to be done to make the transition back to school a little easier? Don’t forget to follow my Back to School Pinterest Board for more inspiration.

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Allergy Alert Bracelet Giveaway

What better way to kick off this Back to School party than a giveaway.

Back to School

Going back to school can cause a lot of anxiety for kids and parents. If you child has food allergies that anxiety goes thorough the roof, and with good reason. There are a number of things you can do to help your child be safe.

  • Spend time educating your child’s teacher and other staff about food allergies and get a 504 Plan
  • Teach your child to advocate for themselves
  • Pack safe lunches and snacks
  • Wear an allergy alert bracelet

Over the next two months I intend to help you learn more about all of these methods. Starting with a GIVEAWAY!

Allerbling Giveaway Allergy Alert Bracelet

Today I’m giving away 2 Allerbling Kits. Each kit includes two bracelets (one large and one small), one medical alert charm and eight food allergy charms. There is space for 5 charms on each bracelet. Each kit retails for $18.00.

There are a lot of great allergy bracelets available. I did a lot of research but one of the biggest problems I ran into was that I needed a bracelet for my preschooler. He started wearing the small Allerbling bracelet when he was 3. I also bought an adjustable bracelet about the same time.

allergy bracelets

I love that he can take both bracelets off by himself. This is helpful at bath time. We were initially concerned that he would remove it his bracelet and we wouldn’t know. He let him take turns wearing each one and eventually he decided to wear both.

The great thing about the Allerbling wrist band is that it is made of silicone (no latex), that means it is waterproof. Our adjustable bracelet causes some irritation when wet and I have to give it a good cleaning occasionally because it can get smelly.

Allergy bracelets can get expensive, they are worth the investment because they can save a life. I prefer these bracelets when dealing with little ones. They can be replaced as your child grows or if they get lost.

Enter to win an Allerbling Kit. Two winners will be selected on August 4th and notified via email. Winners will have 48 hours to send me their addresses or new winners will be chosen. US only for this giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You don’t have to wait for the giveaway to end to get your own Allerbling bracelet! Visit their website and use the code THKS to get 10% off your order or find them on Amazon. Don’t forget to follow Allerbling on Facebook and Twitter!

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Big Plans, After the Break

After the Break

Breaks are important.

I make a concerted effort to take a little break from blogging every year. I think it is great for creativity and it’s nice to spend that time doing something else.

Today begins my two-week blogging break.

To make up for my absence I want to let you know what you have to look forward to when I get back.

1. Back to School

Each August I focus on all things Back to School — from lunch box packing tips, the best snacks, easy dinner ideas, healthy breakfasts for crazy mornings, well you get the idea. This year August isn’t long enough for everything I have planned so it is stretching into September! You won’t want to miss it.

2. The Giveaways

I have 8 weeks of giveaways planned from some of my favorite products. It’s going to be EPIC!

The list includes:

Plus more! I’ll fill you in after all of the details are finalized. If you have a great plant-based, allergy-friendly product that you’d like to include send me an email at myplantbasedfamily@gmail.com with all of the details. There are a few sponsorship opportunities available.

3. The Plant-Based Diet Starter Guide

Many of you have read my ebook the Plant-Based Diet Starter Guide: How to Cook, Shop and Eat Well

Coming soon (TBA) you’ll be able to get my book in print. I’ll share more details later.


So imagine this time as the calm before the storm. It may seem a little quiet but BIG things are going on behind the scenes. I’m creating, writing, photographing, eating and getting ready for the whirlwind that is back to school.  I may have a few other secret projects too.

Will you miss me? I’ll still be on social media so you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. I’ll be back soon with great back to school tips and tricks, incredible giveaways and more!

Easy Summer Meals in 20 Minutes or Less

20 Easy Summer Plant-Based Meals that are ready in 20 minutes or less

I don’t know about you but I lose interest in cooking when the temperatures are over 90 degrees. I want to cool off, not stand over the stove! In fact, I rarely use my oven between May and October because it heats up my house so much. Occasionally, I use the oven in the morning if I really need to bake. Who want’s to bake when you can buy So Delicious Ice Cream?

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite summer meals that are ready in 20 minutes or less. Many don’t require any cooking at all.

20 Easy Summer Meals

1. Toast with SunButter and Fruit (yes this is an acceptable meal in the summer)

2. Veggie Sandwiches

3. Microwave Baked Potatoes (don’t hate on the microwave, use the Crock Pot if you like but it’s too hot for the oven here)

4. Pancakes, try GF Jules recipe for gluten-free or Happy Herbivore’s for wheat

5. Taco Salad using canned beans

6. Nachos using my Unfried Beans or Unfried Black Beans, these are life changing!

7. Tostadas

8. Pasta Salad, make sure to chop the veggies while the pasta is cooking

9. Veggie and Hummus, yes this can be a meal

10. (Vegan) Yogurt Parfait, yes this can be a meal too. It’s hot people!

11. Smoothies

12. Vegan Pad Thai

13. Quesadillas, using canned beans

14. ChickPea Salad, there is a sweet and savory versions, on sandwiches

15. Quinoa Veggie Bowl

16. Faux Tuna Salad Sandwiches

17. Sun Butter and Jelly Sandwich with fruit on the side

18. Quinoa Tacos or Lentil Tacos (both cook in about 20 minutes)

19.Veggie Wrap or Veggie Stuffed Pitas

20. Black Bean Mango Salad


Not if you have a Crock Pot or Instant Pot you can get a lot of cooking done without actually spending time in the kitchen. Try these recipes!

21. Mexican Casserole Crock Pot version or Instant Pot version

22. Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole in the Crock Pot

23. Potato Kale Soup both versions listed

24. Oatmeal (we love it for dinner) using Jill’s 3 minute approach

25. Your favorite Soups or Chili

There you have it, 20 Easy Summer Meals that are ready in 20 minutes or less plus 5 bonus recipes for the Crock Pot or the Instant Pot!

Now I want to hear your favorite recipes for summer!

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