4 Simple And Healthy Meal Planning Tips That Will Save You Time

A busy mom equals late nights chauffeuring kids from school to sports to work and back home. It also means mom has little time for getting healthy meals on the table to keep everyone nourished. I feel you, ladies! I have two very active boys and a busy husband alongside a full-time job, a wellness business, AND a house full of duties! So I know the struggle, and I know that these healthy meal planning tips I’m getting ready to give you are going to help you!

When it feels like there isn’t enough time in the day to fit one more thing in, life throws us another obstacle. While there isn’t a magic clock to add more time to the day, there are ways to squeeze more time out of your daily routine. Meal planning is one of the best ways to help keep you on track during the week even if everything else seems to be running right off the track. 

Here are four simple and healthy meal planning tips for all you busy moms!  

#1 Write your recipes down 

Grab a cup of tea, your notebook, and take a seat in your favorite spot. Think about the foods your family loves and some of the recipes you’ve made that are sure to please. Start making a list of these recipes as your “go-to” list for meal planning. However, the list doesn’t have to stop at only what you’ve made in the past. Add to your list by: 

  1. Asking family and friends for their favorite family recipes 
  2. Using Pinterest or online sites for recipes
  3. Grabbing your favorite recipe books for ideas

This list will become the “holy grail” of meals you can refer to during the meal-planning process. By adding to it over time and getting your family’s opinions or suggestions for meals, you are sure to have one amazing batch of recipes! Don’t forget, every week does not need to be a completely new plan. After a couple weeks of meals, you can reuse a previous weeks meal plan without feeling like you are having to reinvent the wheel every time.

I personally like to digitally create and store my lists. This allows me to easily copy and paste recipes under different categories or adjust for recipes the family didn’t enjoy. No matter how you prefer to do it, make sure it’s in a place that you can access quickly and easily. 

#2 Double your recipes

I have one word—FREEZER! If you have meals on your list that freeze and reheat well, double them! Since you are already going to be cooking, why not double or triple it to make your life even easier for future meals. Not only will it save you prep time, but it will also help you build your own healthy, customized freezer section for your dinners. Having your freezer full of tasty, healthy meals is a great way to:

  1. Stay on track even with your busy schedule
  2. Kick the temptation to order out
  3. Stay within your budget

Most casseroles, sauces, or meats can be prepped and frozen ahead of time. To help with doubling your recipes, it’s also a great idea to buy meats in bulk. This allows for easily separating and freezing them in the exact portions needed for your family. Freezing meats makes it easier to determine your main dish allowing you to focus more on the fresh ingredients. Buying your fresh ingredients weekly gives you the ability to use them in a timely manner, but also to season and prep them according to each recipe.  

#3 Pick one or two proteins each week

I have found that picking one or two proteins a week, such as chicken and pork, makes meal planning and prep much more manageable. For example, grilling chicken for Sunday night dinner can turn into:

  1. Simple Meal Monday – Chicken Salads
  2. Taco Tuesday – Chicken Tacos 
  3. Casserole Wednesday – Chicken Casserole
  4. Italian Thursday – Chicken & Pasta
  5. Favorite Friday – BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Get my drift? Using the handy list of your favorite meals you created earlier is the perfect place to start. Then from that list, plan out two or three days of different recipes that include your protein of choice. Starting here is going to help save you tons of time cooking your main course throughout the week while minimizing your grocery runs and amount of food to prep.

#4 Get a wall calendar

A busy lifestyle that’s also healthy demands some planning. When kids have crazy after-school schedules, and you are running from work to school to sports to home and back again, having it written down and easy to refer to will help you from going crazy. Adding your meals to the calendar will keep you on track! Specifically, this can help you remember what needs to be thawed or thrown in a crockpot for dinner.

Knowing you are ready ahead of time to serve nutritious meals will help you alleviate any extra stress or anxiety in the midst of your busy schedule.  Not to mention it reduces the amount of mental energy you need to determine what to make for dinner. Therefore, this not only keeps you on track, but it allows your family to see what the plan is too. This is a great way to get them involved in meal prep and recipe ideas and have fun while you’re at it!

Let’s get busy planning

Keeping your family fed with healthy, delicious meals is a full-time job—add in work, after-school activities, time for your spouse, and keeping yourself healthy, and some days it seems like an impossible task! Meal prepping is one way to help ease the burden and time of putting healthy, nutritious meals on the table for your family. Follow these four simple and healthy meal planning tips for one month and see what a difference they can make in your daily routine and amount of time you spend in the kitchen. 

You’ve read this article, which means you are thinking about taking steps to a healthier life! These healthy meal planning tips are to help you every step! Remember, every day is a new day to start your journey, and I’m here for you at whatever stage you’re at. As always, Live Well, Choose JOY! 

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  1. jeally says:

    It agree, a useful piece

  2. Lauren says:

    These are some great ideas! We have a meal planning rhythm in our family so my kids with food issues aren’t surprised by anything.

    • Leslie Sepanski says:

      That is so great Lauren that you have a system in place! It really makes such a difference!

  3. I keep forgetting the freezer idea! I need to do this more. I’ve heard doubling meals and freezing half just makes life so much easier.

    And I love your idea about repurposing meat. I haven’t intentionally done it, but I often find new meals to use leftover meat. Sometimes I think I need a blog post on all of things I can do with a rotisserie chicken lol

    • Leslie Sepanski says:

      I’m so glad this was helpful Jacqueline! Just keep those recipes you find for the next time you make that type of meat and you’ll have lots of options!

  4. Alicia says:

    Great tips! And I also love creating digital copies of my go-to recipes. It makes life so much easier!

  5. Terra Booth says:

    As a single mom with 3 cats and 2 dogs it can get pretty hectic in here, so any tips on saving time is a huge help! Thank you!

  6. Marianne says:

    Love it! We have a weekly meal planner posted on our fridge. We decide on our meals, shop accordingly, and if I have time, I will often double or triple recipes for the freezer. Love the convenience of having ready made homemade meals in a pinch.

  7. Barbara says:

    These are some very useful tips! Thanks for sharing your ideas!

  8. Arthur says:

    This article is very helpful. This gives me ideas and great tips!

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