Kids in clubs most days, so much on your daily to-do list and everyone wants dinner. Life can sure get busy with more kids than hands can’t it? That busy season can make meal times super stressful. Trying to get one kid to Karate, one to ballet and one in an after-school club that’s a lot of juggling on top of trying to make sure everyone gets a meal down them in-between. Meal planning can really help with cutting some of the chaos out of the hangry hours. Read on for Meal planning for busy mums – How to get the most out of it!
Meal planning for busy mums
When you have mouths to feed in between the juggle of after-school activities a meal plan can take the stress off meal times. Back in the day when I started blogging, I would join in with “Meal Plan Mondays” this was fantastic accountability. Sitting down to think about what I would cook for the week ahead. Then our whirlwind Christmas Twins arrived and it was so hard to think that far in advance. Meal planning slipped, as well as a lot of other stuff and we ate adhock meals, turning to junk food, “ping meals” or ready meals as normal people might call them. and take outs. This not only costs so much more, its not healthy way to eat and its super stressful standing in the shop thinking about what to make for dinner each and every day.
Meal Planning simplified
Meal planning now for me is done a month in advance. Now before you take a huge intake of breath, hear me out. We have theme days each week which alleviates the stress that comes along with planning for a whole month. Along with theme days I always hold on to the fact that plans can change. A mentor of mine (Dani Wallace _ The queen bee ) talks about “structures from which to deviate”. If you read any of my other posts you will see that this is a huge game changer. Life often has hiccups that knock us off course. I digress – Thats for another post.
Meal planning – How to get the most out of it!
Before we dive into planning, Is a month-long plan just too much right now? Just plan for the week, or plan a few meals in advance.
- First up you need a plan of action. What events are happening in the month/ week? Make sure you have these written on a calendar.
- Print off a calendar page for the month you are planning for or a 4-weekly planner page. Or if you are planning just for a week you could use a notepad if that’s easier.
- Set your theme days – We have Pizza Fridays, which can be takeout, shop-bought, or we make our own from scratch. Thursdays are fish nights, this could be salmon & potatoes, take out from the chippy, or good old fish fingers. Mondays are pasta nights ….. you get the gist. Have a look at what your family dinner habits are already and create theme nights around what you already eat.
- Then its time to fill in the blanks – talk to your family, ask the kids what they would like for dinner, get them to help out on the days they choose the dinner.
- Don’t over complicate. If you know you have after school activities and kids eating at different times dont plan a sit down meal where you cant really heat up for one. Save the new complicated recipes for when you feel less overwhelmed.
- One last one – If you are already in a busy season this is not the time to be trialling new foods with the kids, trying to get the to eat all the veggies if they don’t like them. It’s a time to offer veg as a side but not stress over them not eating. (There is a great interview about this with children’s nutritionist over in the group)
As with any structures you put in place keeping consistent is the key. Make meal planning and checking your meal plans weekly and daily part of your habits and don’t be afraid if the current way of doing something isn’t working anymore allow yourself some time to look at why and change to suit the season you are in right now.
I really hope this helps you with what tends to be one of the most stressful areas of motherhood. Getting those kids fed!
I’m proud of you mama, You have got this you know, but remember you don’t have to do it all, and you don’t have to do it alone. I’m here if you need me.
For more help getting to grips with meal planning, I have created a workbook for you to download. Head to the resources page.