How I Create My Weekly Meal Plans

I know we moms want to provide healthy food to our kids and family and we don’t compromise at it at all and we shouldn’t, but it doesn’t mean that we should spend hours and hours in the kitchen cooking healthy meals and cleaning all those counters after cooking!!

And I guess you also don’t like the idea of spending half of your day in the kitchen (unless cooking is your true passion and you just love to try new recipes!) and then some more cleaning the mess and doing the dishes!!

If you are like me then you also wish for a magic wand that makes everything really simple and all those meals ready in seconds!!

Well no matter how much I wish for that magic wand, I know I’m not going to get one so I’d better find other ways to do it all in less time and save some time for myself!

It has always been my concern to find ways to save more time in a day for myself because as a mom we don’t get much free time for ourselves. Whenever we get some free time from our kids we (obviously) spend it on our to-do list and /or cooking meals! So I try to do all those to-do things and also cooking in minimum time and try to save time so that whenever I’ll get some kids-free time, I could spend it on myself doing what I like to do!

And the same applies to my kitchen time. I prefer to do all the cooking and other kitchen tasks in minimum time. And I am always looking for different ways to reduce my kitchen time while managing to do all the important tasks in the kitchen – cooking healthy meals for my family and keeping my kitchen clean and tidy!!

I’ve tried different ways to reduce my kitchen time and some of them have worked soooo well that now they have become a habit of me and help me to complete all the kitchen tasks in much less time than before. And I’m sure you’ll also find them really helpful for you.

Let’s start with my favorite one :

#1. All you need is – meal planning!!

well yeah, that’s literally true!

Since I’ve started doing meal planning, it’s been really helpful in saving tons of time.

Meal planning can look like a lot of work when you have to spend a (extra) couple of hours for all that meal prep, but believe me its worth the time you spend once a week as it saves much more time (and also stress) in coming days of your week.

Related: How to meal plan- tips for a busy mom.

Meal planning saves you on your busy days, on days when you’re really annoyed and not feeling like spending too much time on cooking, on those unfortunate days when you’re not feeling well and you need to eat healthy homemade food, or days when you don’t have enough time and energy to cook – thanks to your little kids!! Meal planning saves you every time when you don’t have much time to spend in that kitchen in front of that stove!!

So, believe me my friend, meal planning will reduce your kitchen time by 50%!

Can you just imagine what other things you can do in that 50% time you just saved?? You can complete your other important tasks, look through your to-do list and do 1 or 2 things from the list, and when finally you get free time from your kids ( when they nap or go to school) you can actually use that time just for yourself!! You can finish the book you’ve started (or at least read a couple of more chapters from that book ), or watch your favorite show, or take a nap or simply enjoy your cup of coffee/tea quietly!!

#2. If not meal planning then at least do some meal prep!!

Does meal prep without any meal planning sounds crazy??

It might, but I find it crazy helpful in saving time in the kitchen!

If you suck at meal planning then you can at least have some meal prep done ahead of time. You don’t have to decide on the menu for the week. You just need to prep the items you have or brought home and store them for further use.

Chop/slice/dice the vegetables whenever you bring them home and store them in the fridge.

If you are cooking food items like potatoes or pasta or lentils for a meal then cook some extra while you’re at it and store the extra portion in the fridge to use again. The same goes for other things also, whenever you’re cooking something that can be stored for later use then cook a little extra of it and store it in the refrigerator.

Store pealed/grinded garlic so that you can use it whenever you need without spending time on pealing ( it’s always a tedious task for me so I always keep a batch of pealed garlic stored in my fridge for quick use!)

You can also store tomato and onion puree.

When you have some prepped food in your fridge, then you can pull any meal out of it really quick when you’re short on time or just want to save your time! Just grab the chopped veggies, tomato/onion puree and batch cooked lentils or pasta and turn them into an amazing meal!!

See? a little meal prep when done on the go, can help to save big time for you!

#3. Is your kitchen well organized?

A well-organized kitchen doesn’t just look good but also helps a lot in saving your time in the kitchen.

Is your kitchen well organized?

Do you quickly find anything you’re looking for?

Does everything, every container, every item, every spoon has a permanent designated place for itself in your kitchen?

Do you have to run in your kitchen from the fridge to the pantry and back to the fridge to grab the ingredients or spice containers or other needed items while cooking?

From your answers of the above questions, you must now know if your kitchen is well organized or not.

When every item in your kitchen has a permanent place for itself, you can find anything even with your eyes closed. And it really helps in saving your time when you know where is something that you need at that moment.

When some things that you need frequently are placed within the reach of your arm then you don’t need to waste your time running here and there in the kitchen!

Organize your kitchen cabinets and pantry.

Group the similar ingredients

You can categorize similar ingredients like grains, lentils, spices, flours and group them together and store them in one place in your pantry. This way you will know where to look when you need something.

Use similar containers for grouped ingredients

You probably have different containers of different sizes and shapes to store the ingredients in your pantry. But believe me when you use containers of similar sizes and shapes for all the ingredients you just grouped together then it makes it all really very easy.

Use different size and/or shape for the different groups of ingredients and you can identify what the container holds with just one look!!

Label everything!!

Yeah, it might seem unnecessary but trust me, it will help you pick the right container in much much less time, just with a glance at it !! And yeah….. it will surely save the time you might spend mentally analyzing the difference between rice flour and all-purpose flour!!

#4. Clean while you cook

Sometimes it feels like cooking and cleaning can be your full-time job! It never really ends, does it?

And when you cook a good healthy meal for hours then you absolutely don’t have the energy to clean it up all!!

I get you dear! I always feel too tired by just cooking the meals to clean all that mess on the counters and honestly I can’t even leave it that way to clean up later because I like my kitchen clean whenever I enter in it, so I don’t have any other option but clean it, no matter how much tired I am!

So, I started cleaning the counters while I cook! I clean the counters or wash something while my pasta cooks, or while the oil heats, or soup boils.

You always get the snippets of time in between your cooking like while you’re waiting to boil the pot or while the food needs to reach the needed temperature or while something is baking in the oven and you can use that time to clean some of the mess or wash something. And you’ll be surprised to see how much cleaning you’ve covered while cooking and there is much less work to do once you’ve finished the cooking and you get it all done – cooking and cleaning – in much less time!!

#5. A little time management in your kitchen

You can some time management in your kitchen to reduce your time in there.

Planning always helps us get things done faster, and save much more time!

Do some planning of your kitchen time and save time for yourself. Maybe get up early in the morning and cook the meals and breakfast and save the stress of the morning hassle. Or maybe group all the ingredients of the next day’s meal in one place (in the fridge and on the counter) at night before you go to sleep so that you can start cooking as soon as you get inside the kitchen!

#6. Multitasking is the key!

You can absolutely do some multitasking in the kitchen and save time.

As we have seen, cleaning while cooking is a multitask and you can do that and save some time. Similarly, you can also do other tasks while you get those snippets of time while you cook. You can do some meal prep for the next meal while you are waiting for a pot to boil, or you can prepare the salad or the side dish while something is baking in the oven.

Also look for those time snippets even before you start cooking and see if there is any time span where you have to wait for the ingredient to be cooked, and plan what you’ll do in that time. You’ll always find something to do in that time span and do more work at the same time. You can clean, or you can prep some ingredients or you can even take the doctor’s appointment for your kid’s vaccination!!

#7. Implement at least one of the above

It all feels good to read but it won’t work until you implement it!

So, take action and try to implement these smart ways and I promise you’ll spend much much less time in your kitchen and still manage to do all the important tasks!!

Even if you implement at least one of these ways, you’ll be able to reduce your kitchen time!

Taking action and implementing what we’ve learned is the key to having the results in reality. You can reduce your kitchen time and save time for the things that make you feel happy for sure by using these smart ways or any one of them. And you can use that saved time however you want. Maybe doing other important tasks or maybe enjoying a nice book!

What else does a mom want??

Try these ways out and tell me what worked most for you. If you have any other smart ways than these to reduce the kitchen time then I’d love to hear them and try them for myself!! Just tell me in the comments below.

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