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Healthy Eating Recipe Corner

Tips for Planning Meals with a Busy Schedule

Figuring out what to make can be the toughest part of putting a meal together. As a busy mom, you have a hard enough time getting everyone together for a meal, and then you don’t even know what to cook on any given night. 

This can often lead you to choose something quick and easy or you may find that you are eating the same meals repeatedly. The best solution to this problem is to start meal planning, and to look into other convenient options, like having kids meals delivered. With a little bit of planning, you can add some variety to your meals and take some of the stress out of putting them together.

If you’re not into the idea of sitting down once a week and making a formal meal plan, that is okay – you can use the following tips to help streamline the meal planning process.

Set a Time Limit

If you let meal planning take too long, it will become unmanageable. Set aside ten minutes a week to come up with seven dinner ideas. Make quick decisions about what to eat on different days and stick to your choices. If you don’t feel like planning the whole week of dinners at once, you could just give yourself a few minutes in the morning to pick a dinner idea for later that night. When you know what you are making beforehand, it will save you time and cut down on the stress that comes with preparing dinner.

Get Help from the Family

There is no reason to think that you have to make all of the decisions yourself. Get your partner and the kids involved in choosing dinners. If you assign everyone a night to pick the dinner they want to have, it will make the task easier for you. You can even set a rule that doesn’t allow anyone to pick the same meal two weeks in a row. 

Save Recipes that Work Well

Keep track of all of the recipes that work well in your meal plan. You might save some because they offer a meal that the whole family likes. In other cases, it might be a recipe that is quick and easy for the nights where you have less time. If you save all of the best recipes in one place, it will also make for a handy reference when you are trying to plan meals.

Make Extra

With some meals or food items, making extra can save time. Some meals can be frozen and then reheated as leftovers if you make twice as much the first time you cook. For basic staples like rice and pasta, you could also cook twice as much and use the leftover with a different meal later in the week. By cooking extra, you can cut down on some of the work. This is also a way to plan two nights of dinner at the same time.

Try Themed Meals

Everyone has heard of taco Tuesdays, but there are plenty of themed dinner ideas that can make your meal planning easier. You could plan a pizza night, a pasta night, or you could even do breakfast for dinner. It’s not the theme that matters –the idea is to narrow the options for that night and make it easier to pick a meal. You could even pick one night of the week that is a themed night and change the theme from week to week.

The main point to remember is that meal planning doesn’t need to be as stressful as it may seem. By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll save a lot of time, no matter how busy your schedule is.