August is back, and as the end of summer nears, planning for the beginning of school begins. The lists of needed classroom materials are appearing in the mail with reminders of after-school activities starting up again. Along with the school gear shopping, sleep schedules need to be fixed and meals planned again. It’s up to you to make sure that your children are prepared for the school year. Needless to say, whether the kids are heading back to school this week or are planning their last days of freedom until the next break, back to school can be a stressful time of year. 

In addition to pencils, paper and amazing amounts of hand sanitizer, children need lots of energy to work those brains after a long summer away from school. In addition to plenty of sleep and time to play—secretly known as exercise— in their day, you prepare your kids for success with the meals they eat.  

Does that seem like a lot of pressure? 

Southeast Dairy Association - turkey tetrazzini with cheddar and parmesan

Meal plans don’t need to be agonized over. There are plenty of resources to help you create balanced meals without the stress. To create this good habit and simplify your back-to-school routine, try preparing balanced meals with these meal ideas.  

There’s a reason that these meal plans include dairy. It’s the same reason your parents encouraged you to reach for a glass of milk at mealtime: it keeps kids energized throughout their day. When children eat a balanced breakfast containing dairy, it helps them stay focused and energized until lunchtime. Students who eat breakfast are shown to have better memory, attention, and problem-solving skills than those who skip the first meal of the day. With the energy to last until their lunchtime refuel, your children will have a more productive day than if they were to skip a meal. Going back to the basics of three servings of dairy a day make the back to school routine a little easier. 

Dad and Daughter Enjoying Milk

Regardless of if you send the kids to school with special themed lunches or extra money for dessert, you know that the milk served with each meal is helping your kids receive needed fuel for a successful day of learning and creativity. The basics you were raised on will help them grow, too. 

Now that leaves finding a good bargain on graph paper and remembering the dress code. 

For more back to school meal ideas, visit our kid-friendly recipes or browse our school meal Pinterest board.