5 Tips for the Working Mom Who Struggles to Meal Plan

I love to create and design, especially things that will help me stay more organized and or focused.  Do you have a hard time keeping everything straight? As a working mom, I have to plan meals out, otherwise we won't eat! Haha, not really, but it probably wouldn't be good.  It would either be something from the freezer or fast food. 5 Tips for the Overwhelmed Working Mom Who Struggles to Meal Plan www.somethingsplendiferous.com

Today is the day! If you’ve been following along for a little while now, you know that this year I’m working on making a monthly printable for my subscribers! Want to join in on the freebies? Be sure to subscribe! Don’t worry, I will never send you spam 🙂

I love to create and design, especially things that will help me stay more organized and or focused.  Do you have a hard time keeping everything straight? As a working mom, I have to plan meals out, otherwise, we won’t eat! Haha, not really, but it probably wouldn’t be good.  It would either be something from the freezer or fast food.

Since fast food restaurants aren’t really an option lately due to the fact that I’ve cut out gluten and dairy, I’ve been pretty vigilant about planning out my meals

I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised at how easy it has been.  When I tried to meal plan before, I got discouraged and overwhelmed. I planned too many new/elaborate recipes. I had an amazing Pinterest Board full of delicious looking recipes and I was going to make everything on it…. until it was dinner time.  I was too tired and hungry to spend an hour in the kitchen cooking.  Let’s just say, now I know my limit! I try a new meal once a week rather than 5 days a week!

I love to create and design, especially things that will help me stay more organized and or focused.  Do you have a hard time keeping everything straight? As a working mom, I have to plan meals out, otherwise, we won't eat! Haha, not really, but it probably wouldn't be good.  It would either be something from the freezer or fast food. 5 Tips for the Overwhelmed Working Mom Who Struggles to Meal Plan www.somethingsplendiferous.com

Tip #1

Don’t stress yourself out! It will only make things worse, I promise. I used to beat myself up for not planning things out more and it would only stress me out more! Do yourself a favor, and stop fretting about it.  Breathe in a deep breath, you can do this!

Tip #2

Now, when I plan out meals, I think about the dinners that we’ve had and liked.  Sit down and make a list of all the meals your family likes to eat. I bet you can come up with at least 10.  I know I can, some things we like to eat are:

  • Breakfast for Dinner (this is my son’s personal favorite)
  • Chicken Caesar Salad
  • Grilled Cheese & Soup (easy, yet classic)
  • Fagioi Soup
  • Teiyaki Chicken & Rice
  • Meatloaf & Potatoes
  • Pizza (a little harder for the gluten and dairy free, but possible)
  • Homemade Chicken Nuggets
  • Mexican Chili with Cornbread
  • Tacos (fish, chicken or ground turkey)
  • Spaghetti & Meatballs
  • Salmon & Roasted Veggies
  • Thai Chicken Meatball Sliders

Okay, you get the idea. Once you have your list, sit down and start plugging them into a weekly or monthly calendar. I would suggest starting small, plan out each week as you go.   

We are pretty busy and only eat dinner at home 4 nights a week. My husband is a Youth Minister, so on Wednesdays, we usually eat with the Youth Group.  On Fridays, we eat dinner with our small group from church and on Sundays we have dinner together with my husband’s family.

I write down the days we are going to be gone on our calendar too. This reminds me not to plan! Think about this while you make your plan.  Do you have sports practices on certain nights of the week? Plan something quick and easy like a wrap or hot sandwiches or have that be your one night a week that you plan to eat out.

Tip #3

After you’ve written your list of favorite meals and plugged them into your weekly calendar you will need to go shopping.  Look at your list of meals for the week and think about what you will need for each meal.  Remember the things that you already have on hand, like frozen veggies or frozen meat.  Meal planning will save you so much money and time.  You will also feel less stressed out about what you’re going to make quickly before basketball practice. You will never want to go back to frantically trying to figure dinner out again!

Here are the planning sheets I use to meal plan.

I love to create and design, especially things that will help me stay more organized and or focused.  Do you have a hard time keeping everything straight? As a working mom, I have to plan meals out, otherwise, we won't eat! Haha, not really, but it probably wouldn't be good.  It would either be something from the freezer or fast food. 5 Tips for the Overwhelmed Working Mom Who Struggles to Meal Plan www.somethingsplendiferous.com

Tip #4

When making your list remember to add in all those things you tend to eat for breakfast and lunch.  I always buy some eggs, milk, yogurt, bread, lunch meat, fresh fruits and veggies, etc. I don’t usually plan out lunches, but I always have “lunch” stuff in the fridge or in the pantry.

Tip #5

If you find a new recipe you like, add it to your list for the next time you go to plan.  If you have veggies that aren’t going to be used this week cut them up and freeze them.  I’ve recently started doing this and it’s been such a life-saver!  I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner!

For example, when I need half an onion for a recipe, I just cut up the whole thing and freeze the rest.  I measure it into a Ziploc and write it on the outside, so next time when I need half an onion chopped, I’m already covered!  Before I started doing this, I would put the other half in the fridge only to forget about it until it was too late and it was already rotten.  Save yourself time, you already had to cut half of it up, just continue and save it for your next recipe! 

It’s difficult to plan out meals but so worth it.  Find some time this week and start planning, you won’t ever look back!

Do you have any tips or tricks you would like to share about how you save yourself time and energy when it comes to planning meals? Drop a comment in the box below and let me know!

8 Replies to “5 Tips for the Working Mom Who Struggles to Meal Plan”

  1. I really like your tip about having a go to list! I’ve done this in the past and it’s been super helpful for me! Great reminder!

    1. It has helped me so much! I love that I don’t have to go searching for ideas, because I already have some favorites written down 🙂

  2. These are such great practical tips!! I am just getting my footing with meal planning and these things have been instrumental in helping!

    1. I’m so glad I could help Katie! I have struggled to meal plan effectively for such a long time. Over the last year it just hit me, I needed to stop over thinking it and make a list of everything we know and love and start plugging those into a schedule. Happy meal planning!

  3. My tip? CROCK POTS ARE LIFE!

    1. Hahaha! I don’t use my crockpot nearly as much since I got my Instant Pot! It is the best time saver ever! https://somethingsplendiferous.com/things-cant-live-without/

  4. Your printables are awesome! I especially love your grocery list. The other day my husband alerted me that we needed more of them! Thank you for helping us be more organized and less wasteful as we learn the joy of meal planning!

    1. Oh!! I’m so glad you like them Marisa! They have really helped me too 🙂

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