As a busy mom, I know how chaotic dinnertime is in a busy household. Not only is there the stress of WHAT to make for dinner but also ensuring you are organized on a daily basis can be a huge headache. I remember nights in our household where I would literally throw up my hands in frustration because I hadn’t planned well enough or I was tired and it was overwhelming to just get dinner on the table. So I got you, my friends, and I have some great tips to make meal times work better for you and your family!
In order to save yourself the headache and stress of everyday dinner nightmares, it’s important to plan ahead. In my house this means I do the following:
- Pre-plan all dinners for the coming week and write them down on a custom menu board which hangs in our kitchen
- Pre-plan lunches for the coming week for all members of our family
- Grocery shop for exactly what I need (bit $$ saver as I am not buying tons of random things I ‘might’ use)
- Prep and cook lunches for the week ahead so that everyone is prepared
- Prep any casseroles or slow cooker meals for dinners (we normally do a casserole or SC meal on Monday nights)
- Make snacks like protein balls which are great as on-the-go items
- Make breakfasts if I am planning on having egg cups or overnight oats
I set aside a good portion of the day on Sunday to do all actual cooking and prep. The meal planning and shopping typically will fall on either Friday night or Saturday morning. For me, this is optimal and ensures I get everything done and still have some balance to my weekend.
Now if you are planning on implementing a system, I recommend following a similar plan to what you see above based on your schedule. Before you start planning, you may find it handy to:
- Get some great lunch and storage containers for your food
- Consider investing in a white board or chalk board so that you can keep you & your family organized
- Install a few menu apps on your tablet or phone and create a list of some recipes you would like to try so you can pull from them on a regular basis
- Install a shopping or list app (I love AnyList) to allow you to easily create and share shopping lists with your family
- Get some freezer bags if you are planning on making weeknight meals in advance – this will allow you to freeze them and pull them out as needed
Use Your Resources
If you are meal prepping for more than a week in advance, consider teaming up with a friend and making meals together for your family. I love meal prepping parties where you can contribute new recipes (and try new things) and make the process a fun and enjoyable one.
Consider joining a community group which will create the meal plans for you and then provide you with the plan and grocery list that you can follow. I know of a few on Facebook which charge a nominal monthly fee and the recipes are delicious and family friendly.
Another great resource I have found are services like Hello Fresh or Good Food. Our family has used both of these services and I personally love them because they come with fresh, wholesome ingredients and easy to follow menu cards. These menu cards allow anyone in the family to assist with meal prep and cooking which is a great way to get the kids (and both parents) involved in the cooking process.
I hope this inspires you to get started on meal planning & prepping like a boss! By investing time in doing this not only will it take the stress out of the week but it will also enable you and your family to eat healthy meals ongoing.