Does your fall meal plan need a refresh? Check out this list of fall inspired breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas! There’s even a free printable at the end for you to print and use!
For several years now I’ve been making meal plans seasonally. Meal planning for me is less about the task of putting good food on the table (though that certainly plays a big part), and more about why I want to put good food on the table.
I meal plan so that I can connect with my family around the table. For it is at the table that we share conversation. It is at the table where important questions are asked and answered, where we feast on food and the living Word of God, where we share the burdens and joys of the day.
Meal planning means we’re more likely to connect together as a family, and that’s why it’s important to me to faithfully do this task day-in and day-out.
Creating a seasonal meal plan helps me to think, to plan, to consider how I can give life to my family around the table.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that our table can grow stale with monotony. Seasonal meal planning gives me a chance to refresh my table with new foods, seasonal produce, and memory making traditions.
Today I’m sharing with your my fall inspired meal plan ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’ve even included a free printable at the end of the post you can download and use to make your own list of fall family favorite meals.
First up, BREAKFAST! It’s my favorite meal of the day, and it’s arguably the most important meal of the day, so let’s start there.
For us, breakfast is when we most consistently connect as a family. It’s when we do our family devotions, set the tone for our day, and overall seem to be in the best moods.
Life with younger children means dinner time can get a little crazy, so breakfast is an anchor for us right now. Plus with older children, evening activities cause things to get a bit squirrelly.
For us, breakfast needs to be full of protein and healthy carbs. However, we also like a little seasonal flair 1-2 times a week. Here is what I have planned for our fall breakfasts.
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Fall Breakfast Ideas for Your Fall Meal Plan
General Breakfast Ideas (I use for all seasons!)
- Eggs (Scrambled, Fried, Omelette, Quesadilla, Burrito)
- Breakfast Casserole/Quiche/Sandwiches
- Yogurt & Granola
- Smoothies/Protein Shakes
Fall Inspired Breakfast Recipes
- Broccoli & Potato Frittata
- Easy Quiche Recipe (recipe from Spend With Pennies; we change out the meat with what we have one hand)
- Breakfast Cookies
- Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls (recipe from This Pilgrim Life)
- Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes (recipe from This Pilgrim Life)
- Sweet Potato Oatmeal Bake (recipe from Natural Fertility & Wellness; I’ve used this recipe for MANY years. I substitute pumpkin often and increase the amount of cinnamon.)
- Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal (recipe from Eat Yourself Skinny)
- Ezekiel Waffles (recipe for Ezekiel mix from this cookbook)
- German Pancakes (recipe from Pretty Providence; another recipe I’ve used for MANY years.)
Fall Inspired Breakfast Add-Ons (for when you really need to bulk up the table)
- Instant Pot Grits (recipe from This Pilgrim Life; these really help bulk up a breakfast & so easy to make)
- Cinnamon Swirl Bread (recipe from this cookbook)
- Fresh Apple Loaves (recipe from this cookbook)
- Apple Cinnamon Muffins (I recipe from this cookbook, but these Oatmeal Date Apple Muffins from This Pilgrim Life also look good.)
- Cinnamon Toast (bread recipe from this cookbook)
LUNCH seems to be my struggle these days. My older boys are growing and eating faster than I feel like I can keep up. Therefore, I spent some extra time coming up with fall lunch ideas that would fill their bellies and save my wallet.
My kids make their own lunches. They have to put a protein, carb, fruit, and vegetable on their plates each day. They have free rein to choose from what’s on hand to make their lunches, and it’s one meal I don’t have to overthink. However, I’ve found that they either a) aren’t putting enough on their plates, or b) they simply cannot fill up with what’s on hand.
As a result, I’m implementing some changes to our lunch routine this season:
One of the changes I am making this fall is to increase the number of pre-prepped protein components to choose from, and spend some time teaching them to increase portion sizes so they feel satisfied at the end of the meal (without resorting to more bread/unhealthy carbs).
I’m also going to offer meatless soups 1-2 times a week. These don’t always work well for us at dinnertime, but I’m thinking they will be a great way to increase nutrition and help fuel them midway through the day. I like this idea from This Pilgrim Life to make big batches of soup and freeze them in pint-size portions. Tucking this idea away for later this fall (if soups seem to be helpful at lunchtime).
Finally, This Pilgrim Life shared on Instagram that her children are in charge of their breakfasts (much like mine are in charge of lunch). But instead of free rein, she has a schedule they use to make breakfast each day. You can read what she wrote here. The idea of the schedule is to give some additional guidance to the children as they make their meals to ensure their diets stay varied and to decrease the mess of many meals being made at once.
I think this might be a good solution for us at lunchtime, so I’ll be posting a lunch menu in addition to our dinner menu each week. I’m going to give this a shot this fall and see if it helps our lunchtime woes!
I’m eager to see how these changes go!
Fall Lunch Ideas for Your Fall Meal Plan
- Salad Bar (IP Easy Chicken, boiled eggs, & cold lunch meats are good protein options, apples & pecans will add a nice fall flair to the lineup.)
- Deceptively Delicious Potato Soup
- Hearty Fall Vegetable Soup
- Hamburger Vegetable Soup
- Chicken Caesar Wrap
- Simple Quesadillas (recipe from The Humbled Homemaker)
- Homemade Pigs in a Blanket (recipe from This Pilgrim Life)
- Garlic Orzo with Bacon & Greens (recipe form This Pilgrim Life)
- Fancy Grilled Cheese (recipe from my 20 Minute Meals Cookbook)
General Lunch Components (available in all seasons)
- Sandwiches/Roll-Ups (deli meats & peanut butter/jelly)
- Tortilla Pizzas
- Chicken Nuggets
- Snacky Lunch:: pretzels, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, crackers, fruit, veggies
Fall Inspired Lunch Add-Ons (for when you really need to bulk up the table)
- Chewy No-Bake Granola Bars (recipe from Money Saving Mom)
- Homemade Cinnamon Apples (I need to have my son, Timmy, share his recipe; he makes our apples!)
- Homemade Applesauce (recipe from this cookbook)
Finally, DINNER is the main event, right? But like I said above, it’s also the point in our day when we are exhausted, ready for the day to be done, and the babies are getting fussy. Therefore, dinner for us has to be quick, easy, and very little work.
The dinner ideas below will carry a fall-flare, but most of them will also be quick & easy. I’ve divided the dinner list up into these categories:
- Family Favorites (These will be OUR family favorites; I pull from this list when I need a low stress, no complaints from anyone kind of meal)
- 20 Minute Meals/Easy Meals (These meals require very little energy to make and clean up; This list is inspired by my 20 Minute Meals cookbook.)
- Prep-Ahead/Freezer Meals (These meals are the ones that require more energy up front, but if I make a double batch and freeze one for later, it becomes an easy, filling meal the next time with little effort.This list also consists of meal components to make meal prep easier.)
- Comfort Foods (These are different from family favorites because not everyone loves them; however, enough of us consider them comfort foods to persevere in teaching gratitude to those who may not be as excited about them.)
- Soups/Stews/Chilis (This is self-explanatory, but oh so special to this season!)
- Hospitality (Inviting people into our home is important to us; having a few go-to meals makes it easier!)
- Sides (We have our normal rotation of sides, and then there’s the fall-inspired side items.)
- Desserts (Seasonal desserts are just fun! Keeping a running list helps me incorporate a fun, family treat every now and then.)
- Game Day Foods (We love watching football as a family; having a list of healthier versions of our favorite game day foods means we can still enjoy the tradition without resorting to the frozen foods section.)
Fall Dinner Ideas for Your Fall Meal Plan
- Taco Night (I like Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Taco Meat; I substitute ground beef for chicken regularly.)
- Sloppy Joes (recipe from my 20 Minute Meals cookbook)
- Beef & Bean/Chicken Enchiladas
- BBQ Chicken Thighs on the Grill
- Tortellini Skillet Bake (recipe from This Pilgrim Life)
- Beef/Chicken Skillet Dish (recipe from my 20 Minute Meals cookbook)
- Salmon Patties (recipe from Humorous Homemaking)
20 Minute Meals/Easy Meals
- Simple Spaghetti (I like this marinara from This Pilgrim Life)
- Trouble-free Lasagna (recipe from my 20 Minute Meals cookbook)
- Sheet-pan Sausage & Root Vegetables (recipe from This Pilgrim Life)
- Baked Tilapia (my husband’s recipe)
- Quesadillas (recipe from my 20 Minute Meals cookbook)
- Easy Hamburger Sliders (recipe from This Pilgrim Life)
- Chicken and Rice
- Homemade Frozen Pizzas
- Homemade Pizza Sauce (recipe from Humorous Homemaking)
- BBQ Sandwiches (prep pulled pork bbq ahead of time)
- Whole Chicken in the Crockpot/Instant Pot
- Taco Meat
- Homemade Chicken Pot Pie (variation would be to use beans instead)
- Flavorful Meatloaf (recipe from My Humble Kitchen)
- Pot Roast with carrots & potatoes (I share how I make these in my Easy Meals Highlight on Instagram)
- Beans & Cornbread
- Mexican Chicken Chili
- Homemade Chili
- Maple Pumpkin Chili (recipe from This Pilgrim Life)
- Comforting Instant Pot Beef Stew (recipe from This Pilgrim Life; I also like the Beef Stew recipe in this cookbook)
- Chicken Tortilla Soup (recipe from this cookbook)
- Taco Soup
- Grilled Pork Chops with green beans, apples & grits (Grits recipe from This Pilgrim Life)
- French Dip Sandwiches (I share how I make these in my Easy Meals Highlight on Instagram)
- Taco Bar
- Lasagna & Caesar Salad
- Spaghetti & Meatballs
- Batch Cooked Beans (If I want them faster, I use the recipe from this cookbook)
- Homemade Mac & Cheese (or I use the recipe from this cookbook to make in the Instant Pot)
- Instant Pot Green Beans
- Maple Bacon Brussel Sprouts (recipe from This Pilgrim Life)
- Brown Rice (recipe from this cookbook)
- Perfect Potatoes au Gratin (recipe from this cookbook)
- Cinnamon Apples (my son, Timmy’s, recipe)
- Twice Baked Potatoes (recipe from this cookbook)
- Pumpkin Dinner Rolls (from this cookbook)
Game Day Foods
- Fried Mozzarella Sticks (recipe from this cookbook)
- Whiskey-Mustard Meatballs (recipe from this cookbook)
- Potato Skins (recipe from this cookbook)
- Artichoke Dip (recipe from this cookbook)
- French Onion & Spinach Dip (recipe from this cookbook)
- Homemade Pigs in a Blanket (recipe from This Pilgrim Life)
- ‘Lil Smokies (recipe from This Pilgrim Life)
- Cheeseball (recipe from Raddish Kids box)
- Homemade Pretzels (recipe from Raddish Kids box)
- Maple Pecan Pie (recipe from Simple Bites)
- Carrot Cake
- Apple Pie
- Pumpkin Cookies