By Jennifer Anderson
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When the school year is in full swing, you and the kids are often pulled in a dozen different directions at once: school, work, sports, music lessons, and more. Keeping up with a packed schedule can be challenging, and so can feeding everyone -- just when you need nourishment the most, you have the least time to think about it.

But with a bit of strategy, it's totally doable—and even fun!—to fit a meal plan for the week into your busy life so you can skip the drive-through and get tasty, nutritious meals ready for everyone, no matter how hectic your schedule. These recipes and tips will help you and your family thrive all week long on terrifically delicious, well-balanced breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners.

Tip: Double Your Recipes, Cut Your Kitchen Time

When you're planning your meals for the week, choose recipes that freeze well and then double them. For hardly any additional effort, you'll have double the meals. For dinners, think soups, stews, curries, pasta sauces, meatloaf, lasagna, enchiladas, and casseroles. For breakfasts, it's all about the quick breads and muffins, frittatas and individual omelet cups, and breakfast burritos. Pick and choose from these go-to freezer favorites.

More make-and-freeze recipes to try:

Tip: Pack Make-Ahead Snacks for the Car

When you're on the run and just need to appease hungry, cranky, grumbling tummies (including your own!) at a moment's notice, whip up some make-ahead snacks with a long shelf life that you can keep in the car, a purse, or a backpack. Check out our favorite recipes for breakfast cookies, granola bars, beef jerky, and fruit and vegetable chips.

More make-ahead snacks for the car:

Tip: Pack Up a Meal to Go for the Car or Sidelines

On those nights when everyone is just too hungry to wait until you get home to eat, there are plenty of delicious dinner ideas that are perfect for eating in the car or on the sidelines. Because nobody wants to spend time scrubbing ketchup off the upholstery, we avoided foods that are gooey, drippy, and crumbly. Here are some meals that can be packed in tightly sealed lidded containers and that are easy to eat with a fork or just your hands, with a minimum of mess. (But pack wet wipes just in case.)

More meals-to-go:

Tip: Avoid Hungry Homecomings by Using Your Slow Cooker

The moment you pull into the driveway with a car full of hungry kids is not the ideal time to start planning dinner. Aren't you glad you put something in the slow cooker this morning? (OR that you thawed the chili you made a double batch of last month? You genius, you.) These are some of our best "set it and forget it" slow cooker recipes.

More slow cooker recipes to come home to:

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