Meal planning for the busy mom

 


being a working mom and having the responsibility can be a tough feat.

Here are some tips on meal planning with a full schedule.

What do I mean by meal planning?

A plan put in place organizing select meals for a certain period of time.

For example, Monday- fish dinner, Tuesday- spaghetti.

How to start meal planning

Create a list of meals you want to eat.

Your meal plan can consist of breakfast lunch and dinner.

You may want some meals that are no-fuss, like freezer meals.

Check out my other post on meal planning that includes freezer meal prep.

How to plan meals for a bi-weekly budget

  1. create a menu plan for your family
  2. create a shopping list for what items you need
  3. to shop your favorite store
  4. Write out your menu plan somewhere visible
  5. Reserve 3-4 hours depending on the number of meals you want to prep (if freezer prep)

Dinner planning

Primarily, I cook dinner only. This is usually shared with my husband since I work third shift.

Most of the time, I will ask the family for some ideas on what they would like to eat for dinner for the next two weeks.

There are some points when they all shrug and say up to you… That is when I just go for the ones that have worked best in the past like frozen pizza and sausage and yellow rice.

Template for a meal plan

2 week plan

Click the link below to download this form for planning your meals! Just print it out and fill in. 🙂

two-week meal plan

**Tips for saving!**

  • buy generic products
  • look for sales
  • check unit prices and compare
  • purchase in bulk
  • use the perks or rewards program if the place you shop has one
  • use ibotta for cashback on purchases
  • Utilize leftovers

Why should you meal plan?

Planning out your meals ahead of time takes the stress of figuring out what is for dinner.

Doing this also saves money when you know exactly what to buy rather than spending hours on end wondering the store or even browsing the store app when trying to figure out what meat you need or what side to pair with.

Having everything organized before doing the shopping part is such a time and money saver.

What if there isn’t much time to cook?

There are many options out there for meal planning, like freezer meal prep. 

Honestly, pulling my dinner from the freezer and putting it in the oven or the crockpot in the morning is a life saver.

Not having to worry about checking on the food constantly or eliminating multi-step recipes that require time and energy.

Another option is to buy the slow cooker meals or skillet meals already in the bag ready to cook. 

The ultimate goal is to eliminate the extra stress and time caused by cooking dinner. I hate to put it that way but its true for those who work odd shifts.

What about breakfast?

For budget and time reasons, I buy cereal primarily as well as instant oatmeal.

The weekends are typically when pancakes and eggs are made.

There are some options for planning breakfast meals like overnight oats or frozen waffles.

How about lunch and snacks?

The kids are in school during the day, so while I am home with the little one lunch usually consists of a sandwich or leftovers.

When the kids are home on the weekends sometimes I will throw together one of the quick knorr rice sides or something.

Leftovers and PB&J usually take the cake.

Realistically, with opposing schedules making it easy for older children to make their own lunch and snacks during nap time for me and my toddler is ideal.

Kudos to the mom who has it figured out for every single meal of the day, that’s not me though.

Creating decent easy options for older children works best in my household.

My older kids are 9 and 12 so they are fairly self-sufficient when it comes time for lunch and snack time. 

 

As a mom of three and working third shift, I understand that dinner time is one of the most dreaded.

There are certain times of day that can be used for sleep, especially with a potty training toddler.

I hope you found this information helpful with creating a meal plan for your family. 🙂

See you next week!

 

 

Hi there! I'm Cassie, a mom to three wonderful children. I blog and potty train by day, and work third shift full time by night. I help moms like you by finding ways to save money and keep life organized.

Comments

  1. Meal planning is great for everyone, single people too! It certainly makes my week much easier and the trip to the grocery store more effective. Great tips!
    Paulette Erato recently posted…The Remarkable Power of Non-Scale Victories (NSVs)My Profile

    1. Cassie says:

      The grocery store can be a friend or a nightmare. Having a plan going in is super important!
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

  2. Meal planning is a MUST for busy working mamas! Great article!
    Tazia @ Mind of Mom recently posted…The #1 New Mom Tip to Keep Your SanityMy Profile

    1. Cassie says:

      As a mom that works 48 hrs a week on third shift, i have to meal plan. At least the grocery list. It keeps the cost down and the sanity in check .
      Thanks for stopping in 🙂

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