How I Create My Weekly Meal Plans
As a mom, you already have so much on your plate, that you might think you absolutely have no time for that meal planning! After all your kids are eating out your whole time of the day, aren’t they?
Truth to be said, meal planning can look like a lot of work to do in addition to your regular everyday chores + work + kids with all that meal prep thing, but believe me it’s worth your time and hard-work once a week when you get more and more free time through out the week!!
Imagine you are coming home from work at 5:30 in the evening or you’re taking care of your little one whole day along with the regular household chores and when you glance up at the clock it’s already 6 pm and time for dinner before you even realize it BUT you don’t have to struggle with your brain about what to cook for dinner because you’ve already decided that at the start of the week. And when you arrive home, everything is ready and prepared, all you have to do is grab those prepped ingredients from fridge and start cooking instantly!! Life saving, isn’t it? No more tensing over the hungry kids and your low energy at the end of the day!
Bonus : You manage to get some free time just for yourself to do whatever you want!!
With following tips and steps you can absolutely rock at meal planning moms!
Ok, first things first, when you’re meal planning, you need to decide a menu for the week that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and if you want then snacks too!
Create a 5-day menu for the week by deciding what you’re going to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner + snacks for the evenings. following steps will help you out with deciding the menu for the week.
1. Create a recipe binder
When it comes to deciding 10 – 15 meals for the week, you are going to need something to refer from. So create a recipe binder!
Include all the recipes that you know in that binder. If you want to try some new recipes then look into cookbooks, magazines or pinterest and add them to your binder! It will provide you a nice and personalized resource to look for while deciding the meals and make it easy for you because you can find it all in one place!
2. Consider your family’s favorite meals
It will be easy for you to decide the meals that your family loves for the weeks menu.
You know the recipes already, you know the required ingredients, that makes it super easy for you to meal prep and every one is happy to eat their favorite meals through the week!!
This is a great option if you’re just starting to try meal planning.
3. Keep it simple
While deciding the menu choose meals that have simple recipes and limited amount of ingredients. Because you are going to need space in the fridge to store all that prepped veggies.
So keep it simple. With simple meals, meal-prep will also be easy for you and less time consuming which I think is the most important need of yours as a mom!
4. Be realistic about time
Now think about your plans of the week before deciding meals. May be you need to attend some program in the middle of the week or maybe it’s your husband’s birthday in that very week and you are planning to go out for dinner that day!! Then you don’t have to meal-prep for that particular day right? and you can (happily) skip one meal from the menu!
If you’re going to be late from work on a particular day of the week then you need to assign a simple meal for that day as you’re not going to have enough time to cook any lengthy meal.
Think about your plans and the time you’re gonna have in your hand and decide the meals accordingly.
Make a list for GROCERY shopping
Once you’ve decided the meals, make a list of all ingredients required for those meals.
Then make a list for grocery shopping. Consider following points while making the list :
1. Look for what you already have
You don’t want to buy something that you already have at home but you forgot that you had it, right?
Look into fridge, pantry and all the storage places before you add any item to your shopping list. Also check expiry dates of those ingredients (very very important)!
2. Choose finite amount of ingredients to use in a given week
Choose finite amount of ingredients and veggies for the week as you need to store them in the fridge and frankly speaking your fridge has limited space!!
Also they need to last through out the week and for that you need to store them properly (like airtight jars and containers) and it’d gonna take more space in your fridge. So it’s best to keep these things in mind before you make the menu for the week and a grocery shopping list!
3. Time to meal prep
Once you’ve done the grocery shopping, now it’s time to chop those veggies, batch cook and store them in the fridge!
It’s the most important, time consuming (but rewards us later), and essential step of meal planning!!
Following are the essential tips for meal-prep
1. Use of right tools and equipment
You don’t need any fancy gadget to do the meal prep. All you need are some basic and right tools and equipment. It depends on what you use in your kitchen and what you’re more comfortable with but following are some basic tools required for meal prep.
- Chopping board
- A good knife
- Veggie peeler
- Measuring spoons and cups
- food processor
- Frying pan
- A large pot
To storage you may need
- Air tight containers
- Glass jars and glass containers
- Wraps like beeswax wrap or aluminum wraps
- Mesh bags for veggies
2. Get chopping and cooking done
Now you have all the ingredients , it’s time to start actual meal prep.
According to your menu you may need to
- Slice, dice or chop the veggies like carrot, onion, garlic or any other ingredient.
- Wash and dry the veggies and store them just like that to chop them fresh just before you cook.
- Make some purees like tomato puree or onion puree and store them in the fridge.
- Batch cook some lentils or veggies like potatoes and store them.
- Prep some basic salad dressing
Once you have chopped and batch cooked, you need to store them properly so it lasts through out the week!
for that you need to use right containers and right places in your fridge!
Meal-prepping can take a couple of extra hours of your day but after done you don’t have to spend your time chopping all the veggies and grinding purees when you come home tired from work or already tired by chasing your kids around your home!! The main work is done and you need to just cook them and turn them into your dinner or lunch!!
Plan a break
Now, yes , this is also a part of meal planning!!
Taking break once in while helps you to stick to the meal planning and not to burn out your energy!! Cooking everyday the whole month can make it feel really boring and you might not want to do that. You already have so much to do, and a break from cooking sounds really good, doesn’t it?
So plan a break, treat yourself, go out for dinner or order something home and enjoy some family time! It’s the key to actually sticking to the meal planning!! And you deserve this break moms!!!
Be flexible and have a plan b ready
Whenever we are planning something and expecting ourselves to stick to the plan and make it happen, we also need to be flexible. Because….. Life happens !!
Always be flexible to the unexpected situations or changes in our lives and make changes to the plan. Don’t stress over these changes, it won’t help. Instead keep your plan B ready for such situations! May be sometimes life surprises us like you can get a promotion at your work and then obviously you want to celebrate your win, so you plan to go out for dinner!!
May be sometimes you catch the flue or something and are not in condition to cook, so, you ordered something to eat! Or may be there was a lot left over after dinner and you had to have the same meal for lunch the next day!
So, just be flexible and adjust to the situation! And continue to meal plan!!
Invest in good cookware
We do the meal planning to get the cooking done fast and have it on the table quickly! A good cookware helps us to achieve this goal!!
I would recommend to use good cookware and storage containers to gain the benefits of meal planning. So, investing in a good cookware is equal to investing for some more free time, as cooking with these cookware becomes easy and quick and also mess free!!
A few examples of good cookware are:
- Stainless still/ non-stick/ceramic cookware sets
- A good chopper
- Pressure pan by Prestige
- Pressure cooker by Prestige
- Airtight containers
- Glass containers
Invest in cookware according your meal types and needs. It will surely serve you well!!!
This is all about meal planning. Now you have a clear view about what meal planning is and how to do it. So pick a day of the week and start meal planning and meal prepping. I mostly like to meal prep on Saturday as it’s day off from my blogging work, and my husband is also at home on Saturdays so I can use some help from him during the meal prep!
So, pick your day, ask your family members to help you out with the meal prepping and do the meal planning work! Your kids can also help you if they are old enough, to put the chopped veggies in containers, or put the containers into fridge!! It will be a fun game for them!
So moms, I hope you find this post helpful and it’ll be easy for you to start meal planning and save some time for yourself through out the week. Do you have any other tips and points to consider while meal planning? I would love to hear them, let me know them in the comments below.