15 meal planning tips for busy moms

Ordering a large pizza or picking up a ready made does sound like an easier option, doesn’t it? As a working mum, you know how difficult it is to deal with hungry kids when there’s nothing to eat at home. But that shouldn’t be the case anymore with these best ten healthy meal planning tips for busy moms. Enjoying a hearty and delicious meal at the end of a long, tiring day is what we all look forward to, don’t we? So let’s make that happen with these meal planning tips!

Work out your family’s diary for the week ahead

First off, on Sunday, work out the week ahead. For me it’s what nights my husband is working and what nights the kids have activities.

Start small and set time limitations

Working mum dinner ideas need not necessarily be big, fancy dishes. Start with something small and easy to make. And set a time limit, so you don’t overwork yourself in the kitchen. In this case, you want to look at basic recipes that don’t take too long to spruce up.

Create a shopping list

…based on your chosen meals and snacks. It doesn’t have to be a spreadsheet – just a simple list written on a piece of scrap paper you’ve stolen from the kids! A shopping list will not only save you time wandering around the supermarket but will also save you money!

Subscribe to services created for meal planning

Working on lists, gathering recipes, and planning other cooking activities require you to spend a lot of time and effort. And this is something that you don’t want to deal with, right? So let meal planning services take care of that for you. All you need to do is subscribe. Check out this list of meal-planning apps for inspiration.

Plan ahead

It’s better to decide what you’re going to cook all week on a Sunday afternoon. This will not only save you a lot of time, but you’ll also end up wasting less energy on unnecessary tasks in the kitchen.

This is one of the most useful points out of the ten healthy meal planning tips for busy moms. Make a list of dishes that your family loves to eat and set them in rotation every week.

Involve everyone in the family

Have a family meeting and encourage everyone to have input into what they would like to eat. This doesn’t guarantee that their chosen meal will be cooked every week, but it’s important that everyone is able to contribute. When children are involved in the whole process, they are more likely to eat the food. Write down your 7 dinners for the week, plus some healthy kids snack options such as homemade banana bread, bliss balls (recipes can be found here)

ls for the family? It’s time to change that, isn’t it? Tell your partner to help you through the process. Sharing the burden always makes it easier.

Adopt the cook and freeze method

As many as ten healthy meal planning tips for busy moms are not necessary when you have this one. There’s nothing better than preparing meals ahead and then storing it all in your freezer. And don’t worry; it’s not an unhealthy practice.

Purchase in bulk

Bulk items include meat, frozen vegetables, and fruits, cheese, cereal, etc. Make it a habit of buying them in bulk. This benefits not just your wallet but your waistline and watch too.

Twice as nice!

Make sure there are leftovers at least one meal a week so when one of you is working late they take leftovers to work and it’s an easy heat up dinner for both of you even if you are not eating together.

Sunday “fun day”

Try to reserve a couple of hours per week for cooking a few healthy kids snacks such as wholemeal muffins, banana bread, muesli slice, bliss balls. Kids are often looking for that starchy/sweet snack for afternoon tea and it’s so nice to be able to give them something loaded with nutrients rather than pulling out a packet of rice crackers or BBQ crisps. It’s the perfect lazy Sunday afternoon activity and much cheaper than buying snacks.

Include more fruits and vegetables into meals

Easy dinners for busy moms include veggie fritters and veggie noodles along with fruit salads. The goal is to sneak as many vegetables as you can in pasta sauces, mac and cheese, and casseroles.

Encourage fun and healthier snack time

Snack time doesn’t always mean junk food. Slice up fruits and vegetables like celery sticks, apples, and carrots. Set them out on your kitchen table so your kids can enjoy them with veggie dips or peanut butter. Even yogurt and berries are excellent options. You don’t have to be a professional chef to understand how to do this.

Enforce healthy upgrades

Tweak recipes to make them more healthy, high in fibre and nutrient rich. Hacks include: using wholegrain breadcrumbs for schnitzel (or I like to make them at home with grainy bread and oats), high fibre or wholemeal pasta, brown rice, add lentils or kidney beans into pasta sauces such as bolognese.

Use wholemeal flour when baking or in pancakes, consider adding chia or LSA for more fibre and always try to reduce the sugar to ½ cup per cake or muffin recipe. Always make sure there is lots of colour! Include a variety of coloured veggies throughout their day – it doesn’t matter whether it’s in raw, frozen or cooked form. Having fruit and veggies consistently in their lunch box or on their dinner plate will definitely increase their acceptance in the long run.

Opt for delivery service

What is the most underrated point from these healthy meal planning tips for busy moms? It’s this one right here! Delivery service from supermarkets is widely available almost everywhere. So you do your job of ordering online and planning your meal. And let the grocery store do its job of delivering the food items.

Keep everything simple

Now I know that meal planning for busy families is not an easy task. But consistent practice does go a long way. Don’t be disappointed if things don’t work out your way. The objective is to prepare healthy meals, which is not as difficult as people have made it out to be. Especially with incredibly useful kitchen appliances like a rice cooker, stand mixer, dishwasher, and even iced tea maker.

Plus, you can always fall back on family members for help. And, fortunately enough, we live in a world where tons of YouTube videos show you how to cook anything and everything from scratch.


Just make sure to stay calm and composed even when there’s nothing to cook at home. Thanks to technology, life has become a lot more comfortable and convenient. So let’s use that to our advantage here. Meal planning does sound like a complicated procedure, but that’s not the case if you follow the tips discussed above. You need to replace working hard with working smart. That should be your goal.

So tell me, do you have any other useful meal planning tips to share with busy moms here? If you do, then we would love to hear all of them. Please don’t hesitate to leave your comments and feedback in the section below. I hope you found the article useful. Thank you for reading. And if you enjoyed reading this post why not check out this one on cooking tips every mum needs to know.

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  1. Meal planning is such a good idea. We do it and we also cook and freeze. Not only does it save time but I think lots of meals improve in the freezer (Bolognese sauce and Chili definitely do)

  2. Fantastic tips – we’re big fans of cooking in bulk and freezing. It means we have homecooked meals ready to go whenever we like 🙂

  3. I had no idea there were meal planning services you could subscribe to. That’s interesting! I do try to buy in bulk as much as possible. Especially my boys’ favorite foods and meats. Meats are always great to buy, divide up then freeze:)

  4. Some really great tips here! We are trying to include a lot more plant based meals into our diet at the moment, they are so quick and easy to make.

  5. Hello,

    Awesome tips. Personally, I am a huge fan of cooking in bulk and freezing. It means we have home-cooked meals ready. Thank you for the insights and keep posting.

  6. Great tips you have here. I love to cook in bulk and then freezing the whole lot. It means we have meals ready whenever we feel like eating.

    Thanks a lot for everything.

  7. […] Planning meals for the week ahead will help you when shopping at the supermarket, as you will know exactly what you need to buy. It also simplifies your cooking at home, because you will have all the right ingredients for the dishes you want to make. If you are going to have a busy week, you could also batch cook meals and keep them in the freezer, ready to use when you want to. […]

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