Finding the time to cook up a healthy, homemade meal each day can be extremely difficult when you’re a busy mom! You’re already trying to juggle too many hats just keeping up with the housework, taking care of the kids and trying to provide for the family. So, how on earth are you supposed to fit in a couple of hours to cook on top of that?
The truth is you can’t. However, what if you could serve up healthy home-cooked meals that don’t take hours to prepare? Well, with clever meal planning you can! You may think you simply don’t have the time for meal planning, but you’d be surprised just how quick and easy it can be. Below, you’ll discover 10 meal planning tips exclusively for busy moms.
1. Create A List Of Family-Favorites
Often, one of the main challenges of meal planning is having no idea what to cook. So, why not make it a little easier and create a list of go-to family favorites? Not only will you know what to get and how to cook your family’s favorite dishes, but you also know everyone is going to like it. Whenever you get stuck for ideas in the future, you can turn to your trusty list for inspiration.
2. Introduce Themed Nights
Another fab way to reduce the stress of meal planning, is to introduce themed nights. For example, Pizza Fridays or Spaghetti Bolognese Saturdays. Having these themed nights lets you know what you need to cook and on which days to cook them. It also lets your family know what to expect.
You could even have themed nights dedicated to each family member’s favorite food. That way, everyone gets a turn to eat their favorite food once a week.
3. Create A Grocery List For The Week
The key to effective meal planning and prepping, is a good list! You need to know everything you’re going to need for that week’s meals. When you leave the grocery shopping until the last minute without a list, there’s a higher chance you’ll reach for fast foods, or at least forget a lot of the things your weekly recipes require.
4. Prepare Foods The Night Before
Save time on preparation by doing it the night before. Doing it after the kids go to bed guarantees you can get on with it in peace. The extra effort you put in the night before will be really appreciated the day after!
5. Take Advantage Of Make-Ahead Meals
Make ahead meals are a busy mom’s best friend. You can make a large batch of the same meal, then freeze it ready to be eaten later in the week. Some moms find Sundays are a quiet day, so they cook one to two meals in bulk, ensuring they have plenty of ready to go meals on busier days.
6. Get The Whole Family Involved
Being in charge of the entire meal planning process can be stressful. So, why not ease the burden by getting the whole family involved? Whether you get them to help with planning what meals you’re going to eat, the prepping, or the cooking stage; doing it together as a family can be a lot more enjoyable. It also provides a great bonding opportunity for you and the kids.
7. Get Your Groceries Delivered
Can’t face dragging your reluctant kids to the grocery store? Why not get your groceries delivered? Many stores offer a delivery service, dropping your groceries off right to your door. For busy moms, this service can be a godsend. You just log online, order the groceries you need, choose a delivery date and then wait for it to arrive – simple!
8. Consider Investing In A Slow Cooker
If you struggle to stand and cook for hours, a slow cooker is a great investment. While you’ll still need to prepare the ingredients, the cooking stage is made amazingly simple. Just throw everything in together, set it to the right temperature, then leave it for 6-8 hours.
You can cook a surprising number of things in a slow cooker, so if you need a little inspiration, why not look for slow cooker recipes online?
9. Cook On Quieter Days
If some days are quieter than others, it makes sense to utilize them to cook some of your week’s meals. This will save you a lot of time during the week and ensures you don’t become too stressed while cooking.
10. Consider Using A Meal Prep Service
Did you know there are dedicated meal planning services you can use? Some of these services deliver fresh, pre-made meals directly to your door. You’ll need to shop around to compare prices, as obviously this type of service could prove expensive if you have a large family. However, it’s definitely worth checking them out to see if you can afford it due to the stress and time it would save.
The tips above show meal planning is totally possible when you’re a busy mom. It does take a little more effort, but you’ll be able to rest in the knowledge that you and the family are eating fresh, healthy meals.
Got any more useful meal planning tips other busy moms could benefit from? Share them in the comments below!