What’s for dinner? And breakfast, snack, lunch, after-school, pre-extracurricular activities? Moms around the world stress out about what foods and meals to provide for their families. After all, it’s no easy task feeding yourself, much less additional humans.
I’ve got some helpful tips that have worked for myself as I meal-prep for the family. I will paint a picture of what I am dealing with. I’ve got two boys – one is 3.5 years old, and one is 1.5 years old. I also have a 6 foot 1 inch tall, 190 lb. husband. They all LOVE food. Like, they eat so much. I feel like I am always in the kitchen cooking, even though I’ve adapted ways to make this part of my life easier. Luckily, as many of you know, I enjoy cooking. Especially with a glass of wine 😉
Here are some ways to make meal planning a tad easier for all you awesome moms out there:
1. Take notes on what works.
I’ve got “mommy-brain” 24/7. I couldn’t tell you what Beck ate yesterday. I couldn’t tell you what I ate yesterday. Which is why writing down the foods and meals that everyone likes is essential. You won’t remember, but when you have it written down and realize you are now equipped with meals that work, it will be a game-changer. No more guessing or experimenting!
2. Have an emergency stash
I have relied on my emergency food stash more than I would like to admit. Those busy weeks you can’t seem to keep your shit together is when those freezer meals really come in handy. What I do is, if I know I’m preparing a meal that everyone likes, I buy extra ingredients to double the recipe and freeze it. Then when I have zero ideas of what we are having for dinner, voila! A regular item in the freezer at our house is my spinach pecan pesto. It’s great because it adds flavor and veggies on top of plain protein, like chicken, salmon, turkey, etc. Everyone devours it.
3. Go big or…just go big
Make every meal in bulk! Double or triple the recipe – it saves you time, shopping, prepping, and dishwashing. Plus, you will have leftovers. It seems such a hassle to have to cook dinner every night, which is why leftovers are a must for busy moms. Some of my favorite recipes to triple are Blueberry Chia Whole Wheat Pancakes, Baked Banana Berry Oatmeal, Butternut Squash Soup, and Tuscan Herb and Feta Turkey Meatballs.
4. Keep meals simple
Don’t feel like you need to whip up a 5-star meal every week. Instead, choose foods your family likes and keep it simple. Roast chicken thighs on one pan and broccoli and sweet potatoes on another pan at the same time. You’ve got an easy, quick meal with protein, veggies, and carbs. For snacks, easy options include healthy hummus and fresh peppers, pre-sliced apples with peanut butter or my tasty blueberry cashew butter on toast.
For more useful tips during the school year, read this post – it discusses ideas and offers recipes that will make life more relaxed during the busy school year.
5. Keep grocery shopping simple
As you grocery shop, limit your purchases to necessities to keep things healthy. A bonus is purchasing items that are in season for fresh and flavorful options. Shopping the perimeter of the store will help keep things simple, too. The aisles contain most of the processed and packaged shit that will confuse you and tempt you do buy unnecessary (& unhealthy) junk.
6. Accept that you can’t please everyone
Seriously. You can’t and won’t. It’s ok! Your family will not starve – the key here is offering healthy, yummy meals. If you’ve gone that far, you really shouldn’t worry about much else. Just know you’re still a rock star!