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Essential Meal Planning For Busy Moms

Managing a family is a full-time job in its own right but working on top of mom duty can seem, at times, downright overwhelming. For moms on the go, priorities are constantly in flux and concerns about keeping your family healthy and happy are ever-present. Planning ahead is essential for every family and can often help significantly reduce mom-related stress.

Planning meals on a weekly or even monthly basis can really help to keep a family healthy. Planning a grocery shop, selecting the week’s recipes and recruiting kids to help in the kitchen are just a few ways that busy moms can cut down on the long list of things to worry about during the week.

Grocery shopping at the end of the week is great because it’s typically when the fridge and freezer are looking particularly bare. Better yet are grocery delivery services which deliver your order right to the door. Moms should check if such a service is available in their area. You might be surprised.

During a grocery shop try to get as many fruits, vegetables and herbs as possible. Don’t be afraid to overbuy fruit and veg as these can always be put to good use. If you’re making a batch of soup, consider doubling the recipe and freezing some. Having reserves of healthy homemade food is a great idea for moms on the go and the perfect way to avoid a quick stop at McDonald’s on nights when you just can’t face preparing another meal.

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photo by christine592, on Flickr

Sunday is the perfect day to organize family meals. Consider sitting down with your kids and going through a weekly meal plan. Discuss school lunches, potential dinner options and of course breakfast, the most important meal of the day. Getting kids involved is a great way to talk about nutrition in an informal way and to allow them some input into their food options. A good guideline for a pack lunch is usually 50% fruit and vegetables, 25% grains or beans and 25% animal protein.

The internet is full of healthy, family-friendly recipes for meals and snacks. Don’t be afraid to experiment with recipes, to try new things and see what ingredients your family responds well to. The goal is to make your weekly food prep day fun and easy, to take some of the strain off the rest of the week and to take pleasure in preparing healthy home cooking for you and your family.

Meal Plan Week #3

I’m a little late coming up with my meal plan this week, so I am doing all of my planning and grocery shopping today (usually I do it on Sunday). On Monday we had one of our go-to meals, eggs and hashbrowns. These week, unknowingly, I have come up with a reoccurring theme for meals: comfort food. It’s so cold here in Iowa and we finally have some snow on the ground, so it only seems necessary we warm up with a little feel good food.

You can view all of my past meal plans that I update with tips and any recipes I would adapt or not make again. I try to make at least one meatless meal along with one meal I can turn the leftovers into another meal. This week I am using the leftovers from the roasted chicken for the pot pies.

Tuesday: Roast Chicken with Lemon, Potatoes and Asparagus

MarthaStewart.com

Wednesday: Pizza Monkey Bread with Trader Joe’s pre-made pizza dough and a Side Salad

foodfamilyfinds.com

Thursday: Deep Dish Chicken Pot Pie with Mashed Potatoes

Friday: Pasta with meat sauce, corn and bread.

Saturday: Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

thecookingphotographer.com

 Snacks/Baking: No-bake energy bites and Homemade Little Debbie Snack Cakes

Meal Plan Week #1

In an effort to organize my life and eliminate unnecessary stress, I’ve decided to meal plan. Usually I would wing it when it came to meals, which often led to sky-high grocery bills, fresh produce and money going in the garbage and unhealthy processed meals. I love to cook and try new things as you can tell from my recipes, but trying out new meals means I need the ingredients before-hand.

I have a massive recipe collection via magazines and Pinterest and these meal plans will help me to try out the new recipes I want.

So.

(Hopefully) you’ll be seeing “Meal Plan Sunday” every week where I plan my dinners for the days ahead and do my grocery shopping.

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Monday: Crock Pot Rotisserie Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Corn. (Use chicken bones to make this chicken stock for soup later in the week and freeze the rest).

Tuesday: Bang Bang Shrimp with Un-fried rice and asparagus.

via Fakeginger.com

Wednesday: Thai Chicken Pizza, Side Salad and Cinnamon Streusel Dessert Pizza

via howsweeteats.com

Thursday: Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup (w/homemade chicken stock)

Friday: Veggie Omelets with Hashbrowns

Weekend: Leftovers

Snack Ideas: Grapes, Apples with peanut butter, carrots and ranch, applesauce, yogurt, homemade chocolate chip cookies, spinach and berry smoothies, and low-fat popcorn.

Update: The rotisserie chicken and it’s leftovers lasted well through the week for lunches. We didn’t really like the Bang Bang Shrimp, the sauce seemed a little heavy. The Thai Chicken Pizza and Cinnamon Streusel Dessert pizza were amazing and I devoured the leftovers for the days after. The homemade chicken stock recipe made the exact amount of stock called for in the Baked Potato Soup later in the week. The soup was good, but I’ve made better.