There’s no one with less free time than a new mom! Between postpartum recovery, sleep deprivation, and the need to constantly care for a little one, running the house or working… you get the picture.
I’m pretty sure you’re busy, tired, and living the kind of life where you grab a snack at the kitchen counter because that’s all the time you’ve got.
Meal planning is one of the best ways to ensure you are prepared for your day with a healthy, balanced meal. It is an amazing skill to develop for those who are busy and rushing around all over the place.
If you are new to meal planning, here are my best tips to help you start:
Know your recipes. Understand which recipes you’re making ahead of time, and use them to make your shopping list. Group each ingredient by each section of the store (produce at the top, then meats, dairy, etc.).
Make a plan. I start meal planning for the week by sitting down over the weekend and planning everything I’ll eat for the week to come. Make a table that includes your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any snacks you want to have. Pick and choose from your recipes folder. Take into consideration what else is happening each day and plan your meals around that.
Be flexible, but not too much! Obviously your plan will be effective if you stick to it. I also understand that things happen, like a last-minute lunch date with a friend, family gatherings, etc. But your meal plan is the road map to help you stay focused with your clean eating during the week.
Cook in bulk. This is a life saver. Every recipe you choose to make, make more of it! This is especially helpful if you know you’ll have busy days, which means it will be harder to cook a new meal. And if you don’t like eating the same meal twice, the freezer can be your best friend with meal planning in advance!
Buy your ingredients, and stick to the list! Meal planning helps with budgeting. Read this article I wrote for The Budget Mom. Always, always stick to your list, and cross off each item after you have it in your cart. This helps you avoiding the temptation to buy things that you are trying to avoid (like chocolate chip cookies, donuts, processed bars, etc.). A very helpful trick is to always go shopping after a meal. If you’re hungry, you’re more likely to grab junk food.
Pre-cook your soups. If you have any vegetables left over in the fridge, make a soup! Soups can easily be frozen and kept for weeks in the freezer. This means on days when you come home famished, all you need to do is defrost, heat, and enjoy.
Now that you have the tools to start meal planning, it’s time to do it!
Because I want you to start right away, I’ll make it even easier for you: download and print this meal planning template. Now, place your plan on your fridge, and of course, follow it :)