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Queen of Free's back-to-school meal plan strategies

The queen shares her strategies for effective and efficient meal planning for school nights.

INDIANAPOLIS — Families are suddenly busy again with kids back in school and activities revving up through the week and on weekends.

Through it all, parents and kids still have to eat, but hectic schedules can cause mealtime to turn chaotic, too. 

"But your wallet and your waistline can’t afford for you to hit the drive through every night of the week," said Cherie Lowe, the Queen of Free. In her weekly visit with WTHR's Gina Glaros on 13 Sunrise, the queen shared her strategies for effective and efficient meal planning for school nights.

Start with a list of meals your family likes because you don't have to waste on new or experimental dishes. "Odds are good you’ve forgotten some family favs," the queen wrote in her blog, where she also lists meal plans from ALDI that save time and money.

Adjusting the meals to the family's schedules will be important. Not every night allows for a sit-down dinner, so try to be flexible. "On many nights of the week, you might not have time to do much more than toss together sandwiches," said Cherie. "Nights with more margin could allow you a little more time and space to put together a more involved meal."

One of the queen's favorite meal hacks is "Sunday night chop" where she spends about an our on partial meal prep by chopping up vegetables and preparing side dishes and snacks while watching TV or listening to a podcast. Pre-cooking ground beef or chopped chicken will also save time and money later in the week.

Making a grab-and-go breakfast casserole or breakfast sandwiches and setting the coffeemaker the night before will also pay off the following morning.

Watch Cherie's full Sunrise segment in the video player.


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