How Meal Planning Can Save Your Motherhood
Do you find yourself staring in your fridge at 4pm wondering what to make for dinner?
Do you stress over what to feed your kids all day?
Do you spend a lot of money at the grocery store only to throw away wasted food because you didn’t know what to cook?
I understand because I used to be there too, and I want you to know there is a better way.
Imagine going into mealtimes feeling prepared and confident about what you are feeding your family.
Think about how much more mental space you might have without the stress around food and the urgency to come up with meal ideas at the last minute.
Feeding our kids and ourselves is a huge part of our everyday! Even if you are sending your kids off to school or daycare, you likely still need to put some thought and effort into their meals when they are away.
Without a plan, feeding (and eating) can become a tedious, stressful task. Not to mention, feeding your kids nutritious meals and snacks can feel chaotic and impossible when you don’t have some kind of method in place.
If you want to raise healthy eaters and reclaim your motherhood, meal planning needs to be part of your life.
Let’s explore this idea more.
Understanding Meal Planning For Moms
Meal planning can have a lot of negative associations, which is why there may be resistance to the idea. Meal planning can come across as a rigid way of eating or something that forces you to have to eat something on a certain night. But this could not be further from the truth.
Meal planning can also be mistaken for meal prepping, which is something different. Many people hear meal planning and think they have to stay hours in the kitchen preparing vegetables, rice and chicken. This could be deterring for any mama who might already feel stretched for time.
The good news is that you can implement meal planning strategies to simplify how you feed your family without needing to spend an significant amount of time. You can meal plan without having to also prepare food and dishes ahead of time.
Meal planning often comes across as an unrealistic ideal that we see streaming on social media but the truth is that this is a simple tool that anyone can utilize. There is freedom within structure and opportunity for flexibility when you have a plan in place.
Why Meal Planning Is Important For Moms
There are many reasons why you may want to consider meal planning to simplify your motherhood, but here are my top three:
1. Meal planning helps you save money and time at the grocery store:
Have you ever walked into a grocery store with an “idea” of what you wanted to buy, only to walk out with way more than you planned to purchase? Without knowing what meals you’ll be preparing for the week ahead, you’re likely going to spend more money buying things you may not use or need. Knowing in advance what meals you’re planning on having gives you a roadmap in the grocery store and helps you maximize your food budget. Bonus: you will likely have less food waste when shopping for the ingredients you need for your meals.
2. Meal planning helps you maximize nutrition:
When meals are thrown together at the last minute, there is usually less thought around the food choices and more emphasis on getting something edible on the table. Don’t get me wrong - there is nothing wrong with pulling out a freezer meal, ordering take-out, or having cereal for dinner. But when this becomes the recurring theme because of lack of planning, you won’t have as many chances to have balanced and nutritious family meals. A little planning can go a long way when it comes to feeding your family. Meals don’t have to be perfect, but having a plan in place will make them possible.
3. Meal Planning Frees Up Your Mental Space:
You have enough on your mind, mama, and wondering what you’re going to feed your family each day doesn’t need to take up that precious mental space. When you have a plan in place, it’s literally makes space in your day to focus on other things. When you’ve made time to meal plan each week, you can breathe a little easier when dinner time rolls around.
How to Get Started With Meal Planning as a Busy Mom
If you think that meal planning can help you out on your motherhood journey, you are absolutely right!
Maybe you want to start meal planning but don’t know where to start. The best way to begin meal planning is to start with these simple steps:
- Schedule Time to Meal Plan: Whether once a week or every few days, you need to carve time into your schedule to meal plan. Book it on your calendar like you would any other appointment and stick to it. It won’t get done if you aren’t making the time to do it consistently.
- Start Slow and Simple: If it feels too overwhelming to plan for multiple meals a week, just start by mapping out dinners for 2-3 days. You can slowly increase the number of days you are planning meals as you feel more comfortable with the process. Remember, planning meals doesn’t mean you have get fancy in the kitchen (well, only if you want to). Incorporate family favorite recipes, easy meals you can put together, etc.
- Grocery List and Staples Inventory: Once you have your meals for the week, you can then put together your grocery list based on the ingredients you need for your meals. Just be sure to take an inventory of what you already have on hand, including your freezer, pantry and fridge.
In a few simple steps, you can simplify your motherhood by making meal planning a priority for your family.
What are your tips for meal planning?