“Mom, what’s for dinner?” Four simple words Moms hear almost every day. Hungry kids want something to eat, fast. Yet, many times we don’t have an answer. Part of the challenge to the question is that every day requires a new answer every day. Busy moms don’t always have a quick answer. What’s the solution? Meal planning.
Do you struggle with planning meals or having a healthy meal for dinner every night? Sometimes it seems like going through a drive-through is the fastest and easiest answer for dinner. Don’t fall into the fast food/drive-through trap.
You might be surprised, but even busy moms can do meal planning. Remember, meal planning saves time and money.
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5 Tips to Simplify Meal Planning
Set a time each week to do your meal planning
Meal planning requires a weekly or monthly time commitment. To be successful with meal planning, you need to set aside time every week or every month to plan your meals.
If you just think, I will plan the meals on Friday, but don’t set a time, you will get busy and your meal planning will not get done. If meal planning is a priority, it’s important to set an exact time each week when you write on your meal plan.
Bonus tip: keep your weekly meal plans. Once you have 8-12 weeks of meal planning done, just rotate the plans. Then you don’t have to keep creating a new meal plan each week or month.
Keep Weekday Meals Simple
Weekdays are busy. Picking up kids from school, getting to practice, homework, and before you know it, it’s bedtime. To reduce stress and time life easy, you want to keep your meals on the weekdays simple.
Simple meals can still be healthy. You can include steamed veggies, salads, and fruit which are all fast and easy to prepare.
Use a Crockpot
A crockpot can be a huge help to busy moms. You can put everything for dinner in the crockpot before you leave in the morning and set it on low and have a healthy meal when you get home (see also the tip below on Freeze cooking. Freezer meals are great for crock pots).
When you have been busy all day, it’s a relief to come home and have a meal ready for your family. Don’t forget to use your crockpot.
Freezing Cooking is not as Hard as You Think
Freezer cooking allows you to always have a meal ready to go. You can prepare freezer meals for the week after your weekly grocery shopping trip or you can do a month of freezer meals on one big prep day.
Freezer cooking doesn’t have to be complicated. Many times you don’t have to cook the food first, you must put all the ingredients in a freezer bag and just freeze it. You can learn how to make your own freezer meals with My FreezEasy membership.
Have Your Fancier Meals on the Weekends
It’s nice to have a “fancier” meal sometimes. This might be a roast and potatoes or cooking out on the grill, but these “fancier” meals take extra time. The weekends are the perfect time for these meals. If you are putting the extra time for a special meal, you also want to be able to enjoy the meal (not feel rushed to get homework done right?)
Plan to have special meals on the weekends.
Simplify your meal planning with these tips: set a time every week/month to create your meal plan, keep weekday meals simple, use a crock pot, freezer cooking is a big time and money saver, and save the “fancier” meals for the weekend. Now you can get started with meal planning too.
If you need a meal planner to get started, download your FREE Smart Mom Meal Planner here.
How do you save time with meal planning?