Sharing some easy meal planning tips for busy moms + a template you can use.
Hi friends! How is your day so far? I hope you have a good morning! Prepare everything for Fit Team (Join us here And get your new workout on the 28th!) and do a podcast interview later today. Thank you so much for letting me know you enjoy more old school conversation type blog posts. I will definitely add them more frequently in the content rotation.
For today’s post, I wanted to talk a little bit about meal planning because it’s SAVIN.OUR.BACON now. (In terms of time and money!) We’re in the midst of evening activities and events, and if I don’t know what we’re going to eat, it leads to random meals or junk food. It’s really worth sitting down every week planning our meals (at least our dinner) and making a menu for one big grocery station.
Taking some time out for a meal plan each week removes the guesswork and stress of last minute dinners from the equation, and it’s a great way to save time, money, and effort. Planning, preparing and cooking healthy meals takes time, and advance meal planning can help us prepare healthy meals for the family on a more consistent basis. It also increases trips to the grocery story and makes mom’s life a little easier overall! I realized it was time to dedicate a post on practical meal planning to my busy mom friends out there.
Easy meal planning for busy moms
Take some time to make a weekly meal plan
Set aside 30 minutes or so each weekend to create your plan for the week. For us, dinner is the most important, but I also have an idea of what I’m going to pack into the girls’ lunch and prepare for breakfast. Plan as many meals as you want during the week, focusing on the weekly dinners and foods.
Create a master list
After you plan your meals, prepare a master grocery list that includes all of the ingredients. Take inventory of your pantry and refrigerator to avoid buying duplicates, unless you want to keep backups on hand.
Keep track of meals that work
If you find a home-run meal for the family, keep it in your heart forever. Until you do it again and they don’t like it next time? (Kids can be a puzzle sometimes, I tell you.) I keep a running cheat sheet in my phone for meals that the kids really loved and I’ll be back for them. We also have some basic dishes (like the ones in this post) that I know will always be a hit.
Asking for help from family members
I like to ask the kids if there’s anything they’d like to have for the next week and use their suggestions when crafting my list. I’ll also put some cookbooks on the table for them to choose recipes that sound good to them. They surprise me sometimes with their choices and I like that it helps shake things up and prevent dinner spoilage.
Create meal plans from the items you have on hand
Before I start our meal plan for the week, I’ll think about any items I have available that I’d like to use. For example, we may have meat from Butcher Box Or vegetables from the garden that I want to use. I will be looking for recipes from fave sources using these ingredients.
Create topics some days
This is huge if you have a schedule that includes extracurricular and after-school activities that end up close to dinner time. On soccer nights, I’ll specifically plan instant pot or slow cooker meals that can either be ready quickly or already waiting for us. If we’re going home later that evening, I’ll choose meals that I can prepare earlier in the day.
I’m a big fan of making anything in bulk or doubling up recipes, so we can freeze or use leftovers for later. I prefer to cook a few things only once a week, so if I know we eat rice twice, I’ll make a big batch and save half. I’m also a big fan of eating leftovers for breakfast or lunch the next day, so it makes planning my lunches a little easier.
Order essential and favorite food items online
This really simplifies the meal planning process for us, because I usually have the basics of meat and pantry on hand. I order almost all of our meat from Butcher Box And I get most of our essential nutrients from The market is booming. (<- Both links give you a discount if you decide to try it! Thrive is 40% off your first order and ButcherBox is currently 30% off + 1 year free chicken.)
This way, I only have to get the freshest ingredients from the store, eggs and dairy. Because Thrive Market and Butcher Box Much less expensive than current grocery store prices, we save a lot of money by doing it this way. I also love shopping at Costco for any of our favorite brands (like Rao pasta sauce, baby salad, organic vegetables and berries, ketchup, avocado oil, syrup, and almond butter).
Prepare protein or anything you can prepare in advance
I like to wash fresh fruits and vegetables, chop up anything I can eat for dinner and snack easily, and prepare a few essential proteins. I usually boil eggs and smoke chickens all week. Anything you can do that you can prepare yourself in advance: do it. I’d also like to mention that if you’re able to splurge on more convenient items that will make your life easier (like already cooked, shredded chicken), do what you need to do to set yourself up for success.
Use the meal planning template
This helps a lot if you are planning meals for the week! Simply print and add your meals and write your grocery list on the other side.
Free Weekly Meal Plan for Busy Moms
Here’s a free weekly template I created for meal planning. If you need more help, enter your email address here and I’ll send you a free copy of our meal prep planner! She has my exact meal planning strategy, along with some new recipes.
Here’s a week’s worth of meals if you’re looking for ideas!
Here’s what we’ll be facing this week:
Sunday: Steak, grilled asparagus, salad set, homemade sourdough
Monday: Chili with gluten-free cornbread and salad
Tuesday: Taco Tuesday (out!)
Wednesday: Lemon and garlic chicken thighs with sweet potatoes and zucchini
Thursday: Greek dishes (rice, chicken, vine leaves, hummus, tzatziki sauce, cucumber, olives)
Saturday: Hodge podge (a mix of leftovers and/or breakfast for dinner)
So, tell me, friends: Do you plan your meals in advance? What’s on the menu this week?
Our easy weekday dinners
5 days of the day eats in one hour