Updated: May 11
Being a woman is today's world is a liberating yet challenging affair. Here are 5 meal planning hacks for the busy mom to help you plan those meals better! This is something I personally do and it saves me so much time!
So, how does a mom who loves her family, job and home provide healthy and nourishing meals for her family? How does she balance the time between cooking, cleaning, house and kids? Meal planning is especially important in this case.
1. Choosing the right meal plan:
No matter what the couisine, every meal plan can be tweaked to serve your family. When short on time, choose one main ingredient for the week, that you can turn into different dishes. I prefer to buy 2 different proteins for the week. For example, I buy a plant based protein like Lentils, Tofu or Indian cottage cheese and one animal protein like chicken or turkey.
Lets go with the chicken for this example. I buy a whole chicken. I boil it for a few hours to make a yummy broth. I take the meat off the bones. I use the bones to further boil it down for a deeper flavour and shred the meat to use in tortillas, chicken salads, pastas etc.
the broth can be used to add to any soup you want. So, you essentially get four different dishes in the week with the same chicken. Do this for the rest of the meal plan and see the difference it makes time and money wise.
2. Prepare your vegetables for the week:
I usually do not like to cut a whole lot of veggies for the week as they loose a lot of nutrition. When you are short on time you can either go ahead and prep all your veggies, or you can buy frozen vegetables. I feel the frozen vegetables are a better choice in terms of flavour when compared against one week old chopped veggies.
The other option could be to finish cooking and freeze your meals for the week.
Either which way you decide, you will need a few hours once per week, say on a Sunday to prep for the week.
Choose meals that are wholesome and nourishing. It doesn't have to be fancy and instagram ready. The fact that it is easy on the budget, healthy and not too time consuming is worth it.
For example, make a big batch of salsa sauce for your spaghetti and freeze most of it. Keep a jar's worth outside and all you need to do would be to boil your spaghetti, throw on some shredded cheese and some fresh cherry tomatoes and basil, and you're done.
4. The slow cooker:
This is one of my favourite kitchen buys. You can dump things in the slow cooker before you leave for work and it is ready to serve when you get back. We make a lot of Bolognese with our slow cooker and it is excellent for BBQ pork ribs as well.
If you want to eat fresh and warm meals everyday, then I suggest tweaking your meal plan to prep for slow cooker meals. This involves putting everything in food grade ZipLocks and freezing them.
I do not recommend keeping either raw or cooked food in the freezer for more than 2 months.
5. Be consistent :
By being consistent, I mean keep on top of all your inventories. Check your pantry, freezer and refrigerator before you shop. Make a regular shopping schedule for once a week. If you have a hectic workweek, do your shopping on a Thursday night or a Friday afternoon. See what you can make with what you have and base your meal plan around that.
You can download my meal planning printable for free:
You can find more free printables here!
I love hearing from my readers. If you have a suggestion that would be helpful to someone else, then please comment down below. I am always open to new ideas and new ways of doing things.