meal planning for busy moms with a family cooking and a little girl holding bread dough up to her face like a mask

Meal Planning for Busy Moms

Keyword: Meal Planning for Busy Moms

Meal planning often overwhelms beginners, but it’s worth pushing through the overwhelm.  One thing that I have learned as a mom is that organization is a trade-off.  

You can pay in planning, or you can pay in stress. 

Meal Planning is a great way to save time and money and reduce the stress of feeding a family. 

How Meal Planning Saves Time

When you have a plan, you will save time at the grocery store and every day when it comes time to start cooking. 

meal planning for busy moms with a picture of a family cooking with a little girl holding dough up to her face like a mask
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Make a List

Making a grocery based on planned meals will ensure you don’t have to wander through the store wondering what you should buy and hoping that you remember everything. 

And you won’t forget anything making sure all your ingredients are handy when it comes time to cook so you don’t have to go back to the store for one little thing. 

Making a list means you save time at the grocery store and home. 

Saving Money with Meal Planning for Busy Moms

Meal planning is an excellent way to save money, too. 

First, you can make sure you only buy what you need. This means you won’t buy random things that strike your curiosity but will never actually use.  And you won’t buy an extra bottle of mustard because you can’t remember if there is mustard at home. 

Second, you can double-check that you have used all your food, so nothing spoils because you forgot about it in the back of your fridge. 

Last, meal planning will increase your chances of cooking at home because you have everything ready and waiting.  It’s easier to cook if you know everything is there and you have a plan. 

Meal Planning for Busy Moms

Meal planning is about using what you have, buying what you need, and planning an easy-to-follow-through menu. 

Start With What You Have

Always start meal planning by standing in your kitchen and making a list of what you need to use. 

Jot down any produce that needs to be used up, anything that is almost empty or nearing its expiration date, and anything that you have a lot of. 

Then brainstorm meal ideas that you already know and like that use those ingredients. 

Consult the Sales

Take a few minutes to check out the sales at your local grocery store. Plan meals based on what is on sale that week to save money. 

Pick an Interval

Next, you need to decide how long your meal plan will be for. Common intervals include 1 week, 2 weeks, or a  month. 

Your plan will depend on many factors like your budget, your shopping schedule, and how often you cook. 

Remember to plan special events like holidays, birthdays, a leftovers day, or eating out nights.  

And for cooking at home insurance, you should plan a couple of extra, super easy meals for when you are exhausted, running late, or whatever. 

Meal Planning: Don’t Try too Hard

So my family is neurodivergent, meaning that we struggle with things like depression and ADHD. 

And I have learned that I can buy whole carrots from the produce section to peel and chop them, but never actually get around to doing that because my brain just doesn’t let me. 

Because of this, I should buy already prepped food because I WILL use it, whereas purchasing the unprepared food leads to me skipping cooking and ordering out. Meaning I wasted money on 2 separate purchases (the whole food that rotted and the eating out). 

This is called the ADHD tax, but it’s can affect almost everyone.  And if you know that you will be more likely to use prechopped lettuce instead of a head of lettuce, do it.

Cooking Methods to Use in Your Meal Planning

Besides cooking on the spot, you can incorporate other cooking methods to make things even more accessible. 

I get into more detail about these methods in my post about meal prep, so check that out!

Batch Cooking

Batch cooking simply means doubling a recipe when you are cooking it, so you make 2—one for today and one for another. 

Freezer Cooking

This cooking method is prepping a lot of meals or snacks so that you can store them in the freezer until needed. It’s like making your own frozen foods. 

Pre-packing lunches/snacks

This method makes your lunches or snacks for the week ahead of time so that you can grab and go. 

Premeasuring baking mixes

You can measure all your dry ingredients into a zipper top bag and cut the baking time by half. 

Methods of Meal Planning

Like I said above, you don’t need to try too hard, so don’t think your finished plan has to be a week of 5-course meals or that you need to make your menu look like a work of art. 

Your meal plan can be as simple as a list. 

Below I list some popular ways of organizing your plan. 


Tons of bloggers offer free meal planning printables to be sure that you don’t miss anything. 

Free Printables from Family Fresh Meals

Free Printables from The Cottage Market

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Post-Its/Note Cards

Organizing each meal onto a sticky note or note card will help you if you need to rearrange the meals or wish to reuse them easily. 

Calendars or Spreadsheets

If you are more of a digital person, record your plan on a calendar or spreadsheet so you can keep a copy on your phone or work on it anywhere. 

Including you Kids in Meal Planning

Including your kids in meal planning is beneficial for everyone. 

First, it will help them learn about nutrition and how to build a hearty meal. 

Second, it will help them learn practical and valuable skills like how to take an inventory and how to make a plan then stick to it. 

Last, one day, if needed, you can completely turn the meal planning over to your kids. 


Meal Planning can be a way for busy moms to reduce their stress and save time and money. Please leave any tips you use when meal planning in the box below!

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