9 Ways to Simplify Meal Planning for Busy Moms

Updated on August 29, 2017
livenlearn87 profile image

As a busy mom caring for three children under the age of three, Amy personally enjoys using these simple tips with her own meal planning.

One of my new favorite baked dishes, Sun Dried Tomato Chicken with Vegetables.  I love this simple and delicious dish so much I usually make four 8x8 pans at a time so we can eat one for dinner and freeze the rest for later.
One of my new favorite baked dishes, Sun Dried Tomato Chicken with Vegetables. I love this simple and delicious dish so much I usually make four 8x8 pans at a time so we can eat one for dinner and freeze the rest for later.

9 Tips to Simplify Meal Planning

  1. Do away with weekly grocery shopping trips! Saying goodbye to my ritual Saturday morning grocery shopping has been one of the best break-ups I've ever had! I have replaced my weekly shopping trips with one monthly shopping trip. It takes more work and time upfront to plan for a whole month, but then it's done! I do have to run in to the grocery store occasionally for fresh produce items or have my husband swing by on his way home after work from time to time. However, I don't consider running in for 2-3 items equiviolent to a weekly grocery trip! You may be wondering what I do with a month's worth of food?
  2. FREEZE! That's right, I typically prepare meals four at a time and we eat one fresh and freeze the rest. I do this by doubling most casserole recipes and then dividing them into four 8x8 foil pans. There are two incredible perks to this method worth mentioning here: 1. I cook a meal one time to get four meals. That means practically doing the same amount of work to get four times the meals! 2. I only double the meal but by separating it into smaller portions, we waste less AND spend less! I used to think freezing meals meant sacrificing flavor and freshness, but if you freeze and store properly you don't have to compromise either one!
  3. Adjust recipes to accommodate your family size. In my family we have two adults and three hungry toddlers. If you only have one adult and two small children you probably aren't going to consume an entire casserole that serves 6-8 people. Rather than waste half the dish, use smaller foil pans to bake in and separate the meal into two pans very similarly to what I described at the end of tip number 2. You can use one for the day of preparing and wrap the other tightly in cling wrap, then foil, and freeze. (Just don't forget to remove the plastic wrap and recover with the foil before baking once you decide to serve it.) Another option would be to just cut the recipe in half from the get go, but I always prefer to maximize my meals for each recipe in order to save money and time!
  4. Utilize sale ads and price matching when available at your local grocery store. This alone will help save money. I usually look to see what fruits are on sale each week and that's what I buy for snacks over other fruits that aren't on sale.
  5. Create a master list of all the meals you make. If you try new recipes often then make sure and include some things you have been wanting to try. Then when you are creating your monthly list you can refer back to your master list. This helps save a ton of time because rather than going blank trying to think of a month's worth of meals you are just picking out meals that sound appetizing from a master list. The more meals you have on your master list the more effective this method is. Also take into consideration how many meals you'll actually need to make for the month. I typically go for 20 dinner meals. However, I only select about 7-9 different recipes because many recipes will be doubled or tripled and then divided to make 2-4 meals.
  6. If you select a meal that requires condiments like sour cream, diced onions, etc. try and pair it with a meal that will use those same ingredients that you would typically have excess of and end up throwing out. For example if we are having tacos, I'll usually plan to serve hamburgers close by and avoid wasting onion and tomatoes. This will save you food and money!
  7. Say goodbye to excess sides! I used to feel like each meal needed to be a 5 course dinner; consequently, a ridiculous amount of food went uneaten. Unless it's a special occasion there really is no need to have three separate side dishes with each meal.
  8. Crockpot meals. Many people don't realize the full potential of their crock pot. It can do so much more than make a roast or chili! Although, I don't argue against a nice, tender roast or some homemade chili on a nice cool day. There are endless wonderful recipes online for making just about anything in a crockpot. Crockpot dishes are perfect for working moms (or dads), or even stay-at-home moms (or dads) like myself that struggle to prepare time consuming dishes with toddlers in the home.
  9. Casserole dishes. I don't understand why they get such a bad reputation! Casseroles don't have to be bland, weird, or unhealthy. In fact pictured above is a casserole with Chicken breasts, broccoli, potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery glazed with Sun Dried Tomato Dressing. My favorite things about baking casserole dishes are that I don't normally need to worry about making sides or having excessive dishes to wash! Another benefit of making casseroles is that with most recipes you can prep the night before and just refrigerate overnight until you're ready to pop it in the oven! Often times I'll prep a casserole dish during naptime and then refrigerate it until close to dinner time.

I hope you found some of these tips helpful! Please feel free to comment below if you have any additional tips you'd like to share.


Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Amy Dean

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, delishably.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://delishably.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)