What busy moms really need is stress free meal prep. If you’re a busy mom or dad, then here’s your guide to stop stressing about your dinner menu.
When it comes to getting dinner on the table, I’ll do just about anything to make it go by faster.
With little ones running around the house and complaining they’re hungry, you need to get dinner on the table quick!
Between work, family, grocery shopping and meal prep, getting those meals on the table often seems just about impossible.
But doing some meal prep ahead of time will not only make cooking easier, but you’ll get dinner on the table in less time!
These busy mom’s meal prep ideas will help you to not only get organized to get a plan for dinner but help you to stop stressing about it.
Meal prep can be a bit intimidating and maybe even a little bit scary.
With a bit of planning, organization, a well-made list, and a trip to the grocery store or ordering groceries, you will be meal prepping in less time!
So, let’s figure out how to stress free meal prep! Because we need less stress in our lives!
Step 1: Map Out Your Week
The first thing I do to prepare for my meal prep is by looking at my calendar for the week.
If there are days when you know you will be busy, look for a meal that will require only a few minutes to put together. I’ll often schedule crock pot meals, frozen pizzas or even meals that I can throw together in 30 minutes or less.
If you have plans during the evening, it might not make sense to eat at home, so make a note that you’ll be eating out that night. Easy-peasy.
Your meal plan should be based on what your family’s schedule is like for that week.
I use a family calendar to keep everyone’s schedule organized. I like to keep it on the fridge or in the kitchen for easy viewing.
But noting in your planner what is going on that week is just the start to stress free meal prep!
Busy Mom’s Meal Prep Tip: Opt for a planner that is big and erasable!
Step 2: Do Inventory
After you know what kind of meals you need to be putting together, it’s time to do a little inventory.
Look in your fridge, freezer, and pantry to see if you have anything that you can use to put together a meal for the week. This will help you cut down on food waste and spend less at the store! Because the grocery store can be stressful, and we want to stress free meal prep, not to make more stress!
Once you’ve exhausted these areas entirely, it’s time to hit the store or the computer!
Download this handy Kitchen Inventory sheet for easy planning!
Busy Mom’s Meal Prep Tip: Keeping your pantry organized will help this process go by fast! Create zones in your pantry, fridge and freezer just for meals so you can easily see what you have so you know what you need.
Step 3: Order Groceries
These days, almost every grocery store offers a grocery pickup or delivery service.
If you are a busy mom who is short on time, then this could save you a ton of time and stress! And this is stress free meal prep after all!
By ordering groceries you will be less tempted by impulse buys (and no kids screaming for candy too!), and you can order them in advance!
Ordering your groceries can even help you to save money. You’ll only buy what you need and what is on your list. No end caps to catch your eye, clearance deals to tempt you or chocolate cake to tempt your tummy.
Some stores will even offer same day pickup or delivery. That’s a no brainer for these busy mom’s meal prep ideas!
Walmart has an easy way to get your groceries. Just order them online and select a pick up date. I was parked and loaded with my groceries within 4 minutes! It’s so easy!
Busy Mom’s Meal Prep Tip: Ordering groceries is the best thing ever invented! If you haven’t tried it yet, you need to! It’s called a Win-Win!
Step 4: Start Prepping!
If you have completely free days on your schedule, by all means, use those days to meal prep! If you can stress free meal prep during your “free” days, then you will have less stress during your busy days. Makes sense, right?!
If you are like me and have small pockets of time throughout the day, then those are going to become your meal prep time.
Instead of spending hours at a time preparing your meals for the week, you can use these small pockets of time to get your meal prep done.
When I get home and unload the groceries, I will go ahead and start washing my produce. If I have time, I’ll even chop and store it.
Then, later in the afternoon, I will brown all of my meat. Or I’ll brown a double batch of meat one night while making dinner. Then freeze half for the next meal.
Throughout the weekend, I will use those extra minutes of my day to finish my meal prep.
Busy Mom’s Meal Prep Tip: Get the family involved! Consider what tasks needs to be done and have the family help with the tasks.
Step 5: Storage
Storage can make or break your meal prep!
The worst thing you can do is spend hours planning and preparing your food just to have it go bad before you’re able to eat it.
Before you hit the kitchen and start making things left and right, consider expiration dates.
Some produce items won’t last the entire week after they’ve been cut, so you’ll want to do this as close to the day you’re using them. Here’s a handy guide to know how long your produce should last.
One of my busy mom’s meal prep ideas is to never buy fresh herbs. Fresh herbs don’t last long and cost more money. Use dried instead and never worry about them going bad before you get to use them.
During your stress free meal prep, you’ll also want to make sure you are properly storing your items.
When storing food you’ve prepped, you want to make sure you are using airtight containers. Moisture and air can ruin your meal after it’s been prepared, so take the necessary precautions ahead of time to save your food from going bad.
Busy Mom’s Meal Prep Tip: Don’t have time to chop all those veggies? Stock up on frozen veggies when they go on sale. You’ll be saving yourself time and they’ll be just as good! You might even be saving yourself more money by buying them frozen!
Meal prep doesn’t have to be time-consuming and can be, and it doesn’t have to be done all in one day.
Use those pockets of extra time to your advantage and make stress free meal prep a reality!
Order your groceries and save yourself some extra time and money.
If you’re looking for more tips on meal planning, don’t miss these:
- Why Meal Planning Doesn’t Stink
- How To Plan Your Weekly Meals, Stress-Free Guaranteed
- New And Innovative Ways To Take Meal Planning To The Next Level
- The No Plan Meal Planning Method
- How To Make A Meal Plan That Works For Your Family
- Tips For Healthy Eating Meal Planning
- How To Not Get Stuck In A Dinner Rut