Do you have the best intentions to meal plan, but you struggle with time? Are you fed up of the panic of trying to feed your hungry family come dinner time?
Wish you could finally crack being more organised, so you can eat more healthily as a family?
I get it – you’re a busy mum, spinning many plates and unless you love cooking (even that isn’t exciting for every day rushed dinners), dinner becomes a chore and the last thing you feel like doing or thinking about. Putting dinner on the table becomes such a mental load.
Picture this …
Walking through your door after a busy day and knowing it’s going to take approximately 20 minutes to warm up the lovely, healthy and fulfilling meal. And you know your kids will eat it. Sound too good to be true?
Well it is good, and it can be true …
Meal planning may feel like it’s reserved for the uber organised busy mums (you know the ones with unicorns who bake all their own cakes too)…but
here are the key reasons I do my best to do it.
- Cuts stress and saves time . No more panic trips to the shops or shoving snacks into your kids mouths while you’re trying to make dinner after a long and busy day.
- Helps the budget. Most people are watching their household budgets and with a bit of planning you can dramatically save on the bottom line.
- Cuts food waste. Ditch the guilt you feel when wasting food and do your bit for the environment. Food waste is mostly due to poor planning, so also think about what you can do with left-overs.
- Helps us eat healthier. Most busy mums want to nourish their families with nutritious food and this can be hard to do when you’re on the hop and rushing about. We grab what’s easiest, not always what we want.
- Variety. Everyone has struggled with a fussy eater (aka kids in general) or find themselves stuck in a rut making the same meals? Meal planning forces you to try new things.
Meal planning has saved me hours during the week and helped reduce my mental load as a mum – I want this for you too!
With a little planning and consistency, this one habit can transform you day-to-day life.
7 meal planning tips to get you inspired and organised:
1. Get organised
- Check what you’ve already got in the pantry and fridge – If you don’t know what you’ve got you tend to overbuy or not buy what you need as clutter creates a confused mind which is less inspired.
- Create an organised cooking space with the essentials you need. Pack stuff away you don’t use and make it a pleasurable experience to cook. Think of it like creating a capsule wardrobe in the kitchen.
- Download a Meal Planning App. Check out The Best Meal Planning Apps for 2020 which are either free or £4 or less…
2. Book time in your diary
- ‘That which gets scheduled, gets done’, so I book time in my diary (usually a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and I’ll batch cook at least 3 family over the weekend and freeze.
- Batch ideas e.g. you can take mince and chop up loads of veggies in it, and then hand blend it down to disguise. You can then use this for a spaghetti (or spiralised carrots or courgettes) bolognaise, and to make a healthy lasagne (with brown rice pasta sheets or butternut sheets) and then add some spice and kidney beans into the last batch for a chilli.
3. Get inspired
- Have themed nights and get the family involved in ideas of them e.g. ‘meat free Monday’ or ‘fajita Friday’. Use Instagram and Pinterest for loads of ideas
- Screenshot these or take pics out of recipe books and magazines and save these into a folder on your phone so that you have them for next time you’re thinking of ideas.
4. Book delivery slots/choose a shopping day
- Book delivery slots in advance – Tesco have a brilliant delivery pass and there’s great availability when you book their 4-hour windows. We get 2 fresh deliveries a week to keep us topped up and stopping rushing to the shops for top ups.
- If you prefer to shop in person, then try setting a day every week which will help keep you on track. Also, download a shared grocery list app. That way if one of you goes shopping, you have an up to date list of what is needed.
5. Buy Seasonal & Organic (where possible)
- Shopping seasonally reduces your risk of produce losing vital nutritional value. And if you can’t do this, consider buying frozen as the veg are frozen at the source, locking in all the goodness. Plus, frozen veg are quick and easy with little waste.
- Buy Organic where possible to cut down exposure to toxins and pesticides on the food. If you can’t afford this, then do your best to buy the “The Dirty Dozen” organic (these are the most chemically laden foods) and consider buying more of the “Clean Fifteen”. Regardless always wash everything.
6. 50% rule
- Make sure to load up your plate with 50% vegetables/salad and the rest with quality protein e.g. legumes, beans, lean meat and carbs.
- Focus on complex carbohydrates which take longer to release glucose (energy) into your blood stream e.g. brown rice, quinoa, squashes and vegetables are a great source of carbohydrate.
7. Double up on your leftovers
- Personally, I love leftovers! Making a bit of extra and having that in the fridge ready for lunch the next day is such a time and money saver. This definitely stops me buying unhealthier lunch options on the go or shopping hungry.
- Whip up a soup or stew, freeze excess fruit to make a smoothie or blitz your vegetables to make a sauce for your pasta.
Having a weekly meal plan is an ideal way to cut the stress as a busy mum. Knowing what you’re going to make ahead of time goes a long way to eliminating that daily stress from your life and saving you money in the long run.
It will also inspire you to cook healthier options, instead of panic buying less healthy options or getting a takeaway. And when you’re organised, you can be assured of having plenty nutritious fruit and veg in your meals.
You’re thinking, these 7 tips are all good and well, BUT, how do I actually do it? I’ve got you covered.
Get my FREE Meal Planning Download
I am excited to give you this meal planner as a tool to assist you with busy mum life.
Click on the image to download.
AND, I’ve got DISCOUNT CODES for:
My top 3 planning hacks
- Feeling uninspired with your meal planning – try Five Dinners for inspiration and recipes done for you, categorised and with a ready made shopping list. All you do is the shop.
I’ve got a discount code! WENDY50 will give you 50% off your first month on FiveDinners.com
- Fill your freezer with healthy frozen dinners from Mindful Chef for those nights where you don’t/can’t/aren’t able to cook. Mindfulchef.com
- Do you struggle to cook from scratch but you aspire to make homemade things? Here are some fantastic and healthy 10 minute quick cook meal kits from Virtuelicious delivered to your door.
Discount code Wendy will get you 15% off your first purchase on Virtuelicious.
If these tips have been helpful, you may find these other blogs useful too?
P.s if you want more guidance on how to create better lifestyle habits as a busy mum?
- Join my Masterclass on Meal Planning – Thursday 10 December
- Subscribe to my newsletter
- Read my other key blogs that hit the focal points on dealing with stress
- Join my free community of busy Mums, all dealing with their stressors (you are not alone!). My FB group “Better Lifestyle Habits for Busy Mums” is a great way to connect, stay motivated and see through those small incremental changes.