Healthy eating for pregnancy, postpartum & breastfeeding

One week meal plan (easy + clean eating).

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Hey there Mama! Are you trying to grow a healthy baby? Or, are you breastfeeding and hungry constantly? Do you have a bunch of hungry mouths to feed? This clean eating meal plan is for you! Here you will find a mix of clean eating, real food meal ideas that you can eat throughout the week.

The focus of this meal plan is on quick and easy recipes that are family-friendly and can support Moms during pregnancy, postpartum, and breastfeeding.

Check out this post for more on the batch cooking system I use as a busy Mom to meal plan for my family of 7.

Meal Planning Ideas for Your Busy Week

Ready to get meal planning? Here are a few recipes and ideas to help get healthy meals on the table (with less stress). Choose recipes from this list and then write out all the ingredients you will need.

If you are looking for a complete plan with a grocery list, check out our clean eating family meal plan here.

And sign up below to get your FREE clean eating grocery list and meal planners to help!

Before you go grocery shopping, make sure to check out these unique tips for how to save hundreds on groceries.

Looking for a done for you, easy to follow pregnancy meal plan and grocery list? This awesome resource includes 5 meal plans especially for each phase of pregnancy made by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Get access here.

Make sure to check out our Clean Eating Meal Plan for Fall too! It has a meal plan all based on Fall foods and ingredients.

Healthy Drink of the Week

It’s a good idea to include drink prep in your meal plan too. Drinks that prep well include healthy iced tea , smoothie packs or infused waters.

Red Raspberry Leaf Iced Tea – this iced tea is perfect for pregnant moms, but also good for postpartum recovery and helping milk supply if breastfeeding. If you experience lots of painful period symptoms, this is also a great tea to drink daily.

Make a big batch and drink all week! This mason jar tea dispenser is great for making big batches of drinks to prep for the week.

Breakfast is a super important meal to help get your day started off right. If your morning are super busy, these are some healthy recipes that can also options easily be taken on the go.

Here are 3 breakfast ideas to alternate throughout the week.

#1 –  Easy Healthy Breakfast Egg Muffins – these egg “muffins” are great for an easy make ahead breakfast.

#2 –  Whole30 Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl  – sweet potatoes are filled with nutrients and can even help boost milk supply.  

#3 – Meal Prep: Breakfast Bistro Box! Need a breakfast you can take with you? These make ahead breakfast boxes are perfect for busy mornings!

Want more breakfast ideas, read this post with even more healthy pregnancy breakfast ideas.

AND this one with 12   Make Ahead Clean Eating Breakfast Ideas

Need easy healthy lunches? Here are a few ideas to try this week.

#1 – Greek Chicken Meal Prep Bowls – These are made with marinated grilled chicken, cucumber salad, and tzatziki!

#2 – Curry Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps – Need a milk supply boost? Try this amazing chicken salad for lunch.

Need tips for making meal planning work for your family? This post has 5 simple Meal Planning Ideas for Busy Families

By the end of the day all Moms just want healthy dinner ideas that are easy to make! Here are some of our favorite clean eating dinner ideas that are delicious and don’t take a lot of time in the kitchen.

#1 – Quinoa Veggie “Fried Rice” – makes a great meal or side dish.

#2 – Chicken Tamale Casserole – this is a family favorite that is easy to make with pre cooked shredded chicken.

#3 – Turkey Meatball and Kale Soup – Because we all could use more greens in our life, try this hearty soup made in about 30 minutes.

#4 –  Autumn Kale Apple and Quinoa Salad – More greens and veggies ladies!! This is the perfect fall salad.

#5 –  Slow Cooker Mediterranean Chicken – super easy and tasty! Plus you can use the leftovers for the Greek Chicken Meal Prep lunch bowls above! #winwin

Need an easy healthy side dish to go with dinner? Check out this Asparagus and mushroom recipe !

Want more dinner recipes? Check out this list of over 25 dinner ideas featuring superfoods!

Breastfeeding Mom? These soup recipes are great for boosting milk supply!

Snacks and Treats

Meal prepping snacks is a must if you are trying to eat clean. Try some of these healthy snacks and treats you can eat without guilt!

Lactation Granola – so many superfoods in this homemade granola recipe. Perfect for pregnant and breastfeeding moms and kids too. A nice alternative to cereal.

Pumpkin Energy Bites – so perfect for pregnant mamas as these have date fruit which can help you have a faster labor.  

Healthy fudge recipe – Get more healthy fats + satisfy your sweet tooth with this yummy healthier fudge!

For more clean eating snack ideas click here!

For the Little Ones

Ideas for your baby or toddler! When you have little ones, it’s important to meal prep for them too. Here are some clean baby led weaning recipes to try!

Baby Food Oatmeal Bites – like superfood for babies!

Zucchini Muffins for Baby – Easy low sugar and dairy free muffins for baby led weaning.

Need even more ideas for how to feed your growing family healthy meals? Definitely check out this free ebook with 20 healthy, quick family meals made from all real food ingredients. It’s a super helpful resource for busy moms.

Clean Eating Family Meal Plans

This is a short list of some of our favorite meal planning services. All of these offer great healthy options for helping you get dinner on the table.

Busy Mom Meal Prep – a one week meal plan with make ahead meal. Simple prep step all laid out for you, plus a grocery list and easy to follow recipes for healthy eating with a family.

$5 Meal Plan – is a great option for Mom’s on a budget. There are so many awesome weekly meal plans to try including options for gluten free, and even freezer meals! Try it out for 14 days FREE here. 

Prep Dish – this is a good option for Mom’s who eat gluten free or paleo. Check out there unique program that includes a grocery list and detailed prep day instructions and recipes. Get a FREE 2 week trial here. 

More on Clean Eating Meal Planning from Birth Eat Love

Our passion here at Birth Eat Love is helping busy moms make healthy eating easier. We have tons of resources to help nourish you through motherhood.

Learn how to get started with clean eating . It’s our beginner’s guide with tips to jumpstart your family to healthy eating without stress.

Make sure to sign up for your free grocery shopping list below with all the best foods to eat healthy. This will help you know what to buy when you shop.

Our tips for healthy eating on a budget can be very helpful for saving money on your grocery bill.

Check out this simple 5 day meal plan which makes a great post baby meal plan.

Want to make meal prep for your family easier? Have you tried batch cooking? It’s a great way to make sure you have healthy foods on hand for a busy week. This guide to healthy batch cooking for beginners can help you get started.

Are you a busy mom with little time to cook? These time saving kitchen tips for busy families can help you learn how to make healthy eating happen (not just a bunch of recipes on your Pinterest Boards!).

For more on how to stock your fridge before baby arrives, check out our Ultimate Food List .

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Mom Nutritionist

25 Meal Planning Tips For Busy Moms

Meal planning tips for busy moms. As a registered dietitian and a mom myself, once meals have been planned and meal prepping is out of the way, I feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.

Every Sunday, I diligently tackle the task of meal prepping for the upcoming week including healthy snacks for on the go . Armed with my trusty weekly meal plan, I have figured out a strategy to cook meals that will not only nourish my family but also align with our dietary goals. The plan ensures a lineup of diverse, home-cooked meals for the week ahead, taking into account everyone’s preferences and schedules. It makes it much less tempting to rely on unhealthier options like fast food to feed my family on hectic days.

25 Meal Planning Tips For Busy Moms

Whether you’re a working mom or not, the juggle is real. Balancing the nonstop duties of mom life, work, and everything in between can leave us feeling like we’ve run a marathon in our sleep.

The reality is, this whirlwind can take a toll on our well-being, especially in the food department. But no worries, we’re diving into a life-saving strategy that’s as simple as it is powerful: easy meal planning.

Yep, I get it, planning meals can seem like climbing Mount Everest after a long day. But hey, we’re all about keeping it real and simple. Amidst the chaos, I believe in prioritizing our health and our family’s nutrition.

So, if you’ve ever felt like meal planning is an insurmountable task, I’ve got your back. I’m serving up practical, easy  strategies to help you kickstart your meal planning journey including a sample healthy meal plan for busy parents towards the end of this blog post. So let’s get started!

Boosted Productivity

Take shortcuts, what is meal planning.

Meal planning is your roadmap for meals throughout the week. It’s the process of deciding in advance what you’ll eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. By planning your meals ahead, you can ensure you have the right ingredients on hand, save time on busy days, eat healthier, and reduce food waste.

It’s a smart and efficient way to organize your meals, making day-to-day life a bit smoother. And if you’re a busy mom, like most moms, you also need to take into consideration meals that the whole family loves. And by taking the time to meal plan ahead of time, you can really eliminate a lot of the stress that tends to come up during dinner time, especially. 

Benefits of Meal Planning For Busy Moms

Meal planning offers a lifeline to busy working moms and there are so many benefits that can significantly ease the juggle of daily life.

Here are some benefits of meal planning:

Time Efficiency

Planning meals in advance means less time spent deciding what to cook each day. It streamlines grocery shopping and prep work, optimizing your time in the kitchen.

Healthier Eating Choices

By planning balanced, nutritious meals, you’re more likely to make healthier food choices for yourself and your family. It helps in avoiding last-minute takeout options that you may not have planned for.

Cost-Effective

Meal planning allows for effective budgeting. You can buy in bulk, take advantage of sales, and plan meals around ingredients you already have, saving money in the long run.

Reduced Stress

Having a meal plan reduces daily stress by removing the “What’s for dinner?” dilemma. It provides a sense of organization and control in your busy routine.

Variety and Creativity

Planning meals in advance gives you the opportunity to introduce a variety of dishes and experiment with new recipes.

Less Food Waste

With a planned approach, you can use ingredients efficiently, minimizing food waste and saving both money and the environment.

Family Involvement and Preferences

Meal planning allows you to consider family preferences, allergies, or dietary restrictions, ensuring that everyone gets meals they enjoy.

Balanced Nutrition

You can plan for a well-balanced diet over the week, incorporating a balance of protein, fiber, healthy fats, and snacks.

Emergency Preparedness

In unforeseen circumstances, having a meal plan can be a lifesaver. You’ll always have a backup plan for busy or chaotic days.

With meals planned, you’ll find more time for other priorities in your life, whether it’s work, family, or self-care, ultimately enhancing your overall productivity.

meal planning benefits

How To Meal Plan

Here are 25 easy meal planning tips for busy moms to use help you save time and money:

Create a Weekly Meal Plan

  • Consider your week’s schedule, including work, school, activities, and commitments. Identify busy days and allocate simpler meals for those times.
  • Determine your dietary goals, whether it’s incorporating more vegetables, reducing ultra-processed foods, or meeting specific nutritional needs.
  • Take stock of your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer to see what ingredients you already have. This will help you plan meals around what you need to use up.
  • Begin by selecting a few recipes for the week based on your goals, dietary preferences, and the ingredients you have. Choose recipes that are feasible for your schedule. I love using this FREE Weekly Meal Plan from Day Designer.
  • Ensure each meal includes a balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Aim for variety to keep meals interesting and nutritious.
  • Plan meals that use leftovers from dinner. For instance, roast extra vegetables to use in salads, wraps, or grain bowls the next day.
  • Create a simple chart or use a meal planning app. Assign meals to specific days, considering factors like prep time, complexity, and your schedule.
  • List all the ingredients needed for the chosen recipes. Organize the list by categories (e.g., produce, proteins, pantry items) to make your shopping trip more efficient.

Involve the Family

Consider family preferences and involve everyone in deciding the week’s meals. This way, you ensure that everyone is looking forward to the scheduled meals.

Batch Cooking

This is one of my personal favorite tips. I like to make extra batches of food and freeze portions of it for days where I do not have time to cook.

Here are some items that are excellent for batch cooking:

  • Brown rice, quinoa, couscous, and whole-grain pasta can be cooked in bulk and used as a base for various meals throughout the week.
  • Cook a large batch of chicken breasts, ground turkey, or tofu that can be used in salads, wraps, stir-fries, or sandwiches.
  • Prepare a big pot of beans or lentils, which can be used in soups, stews, salads, or as a side dish.
  • Make a large pot of vegetable, lentil, or chicken soup, which can be portioned and frozen for future quick and easy meals.
  • Prepare a hearty chili or curry that can be portioned and frozen for later consumption.
  • Prepare a mix of vegetables and proteins for stir-fries, storing them separately to quickly toss together a meal during the week.
  • Make pasta sauces, curry sauces, or marinades in larger quantities and freeze them in smaller portions for easy use.
  • Roast or sauté a variety of vegetables, like sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrots, or bell peppers, and store them for adding to salads, bowls, or as a side dish.
  • Pre-cut and portion fruits and vegetables into freezer bags to make quick smoothies in the morning.
  • Prepare egg muffins or frittatas with various vegetables and proteins for a quick breakfast or snack option.
  • Grill a batch of chicken, steak, or fish, and refrigerate or freeze for use in salads, sandwiches, or wraps.
  • Bake a batch of muffins, cookies, or energy bars and store them in the freezer for quick snacks or breakfasts.
  • Assemble salads in mason jars with layers of ingredients, keeping the dressing at the bottom and greens at the top. Seal and refrigerate for grab-and-go lunches.

Theme Nights

Assign a theme to each day, such as Mexican Monday or Pasta Wednesday. It brings excitement and structure to your meal planning.

Prep in Advance

Pre-cut vegetables, marinate meats, or cook grains in advance to save time during the week when preparing meals.

Utilize A Slow Cooker, Pressure Cooker, or Instant Pot

These appliances simplify cooking. Prep ingredients, set them in the cooker, and come back to a cooked meal—ideal for hectic days.

Leftovers Transformation

Plan meals that can easily be repurposed into new dishes, reducing food waste and saving time on additional cooking.

Cook double portions for one meal to use the leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. It’s a time-saver.

Stock Up on Staples

Maintain a pantry stocked with essential items like canned goods, pasta, rice, and spices to whip up quick meals.

Keep a Grocery List

Maintain an ongoing grocery list. This way, you can quickly grab what you need from the grocery store and avoid multiple last-minute store runs. This also helps you save money in the long run!

Organize Recipes

Use a recipe organizer, whether a physical binder or a digital app, to keep your recipes easily accessible and sorted.

Organizing your recipes efficiently can save you time and make coming up with meal ideas a breeze. Here’s a step-by-step approach to help you organize your recipes effectively:

  • Choose Your Recipe Storage Method: Decide whether you prefer digital or physical storage. Options include digital recipe apps, websites, note-taking apps, recipe binders, or index cards.
  • Collect and Gather Recipes : Gather all your recipes from various sources, including cookbooks, magazines, printouts, and online sources. Sort them into a single location for easy organization.
  • Categorize Your Recipes : Create categories based on meal types (e.g., breakfast, lunch, dinner) or food groups (e.g., vegetarian, desserts, salads). Assign each recipe to a specific category.
  • Recipe Apps or Websites: Use specialized recipe apps or websites where you can input and categorize your recipes. Popular options include Evernote, Paprika, Trello, or recipe-specific websites like AllRecipes or Pinterest.
  • Folders and Labels: Create digital folders on your computer or cloud storage, organizing recipes into subfolders based on your chosen categories.
  • Recipe Binders: Use a binder with dividers for each category. Insert plastic sleeves or hole-punched sheets to store printed recipes, and easily flip through your collection.
  • Standardize the Format: Ensure consistency in how you present your recipes. Include the name, ingredients, step-by-step instructions, cooking time, and serving size for each recipe.
  • Label and Index: Label each recipe clearly with its name, category, and any special attributes (e.g., gluten-free, vegan). Create an index or table of contents to quickly locate recipes.

Utilize Online Shopping

Save time and avoid in-store stress by ordering groceries online. Most stores offer convenient delivery or pickup options.

Mindful Portioning

Portion out ingredients and leftovers immediately to save time during meal preparation and ensure accurate serving sizes.

Follow Seasonal Produce

Tailor your meal plan to include fresh fruit and vegetables, especially ones that are in season, for better flavor, nutrition, and cost-efficiency.

Cook Once, Eat Twice

Cook a versatile base, like roasted vegetables, that can be used in multiple meals throughout the week.

Delegate Tasks

Involve family members in meal prep, whether it’s setting the table or helping with simpler cooking tasks, to share the load.

Invest in Time-Saving Appliances

Use appliances like food processors or choppers to speed up meal preparation, cutting down on chopping and dicing time. My all-time favorite time-saving appliance is this FullStar Vegetable Chopper . Trust me, you’ll use it A LOT.

Meal Prep Sundays

Dedicate a day, like Saturday or Sunday, to meal prep for the week. Chop, marinate, and organize ingredients to simplify cooking on busy days.

Quick and Easy Snacks

Prepare healthy snacks in advance for quick bites during busy moments. This helps you stay in alignment with your health and wellness goals.

Plan for Leftover Nights

Schedule a leftover night to use up any extra food from the week, minimizing waste and effort in the kitchen.

Set Realistic Goals

Consider your schedule and energy levels when planning meals, opting for simpler recipes on busier days.

Stay Flexible

Be open to changes in your meal plan based on unexpected events or changes in family schedules.

Use Freezer-Friendly Recipes

Include meals in your plan that can be frozen for later use, providing a quick and convenient option when needed.

Try One-Pot Meals

Incorporate one-pot meals into your plan to minimize cooking and simplify clean-up.

Don’t hesitate to use pre-cut vegetables, pre-cooked grains, or other convenience items to speed up meal preparation when needed. You can still make delicious home cooked meals with a little help. 

Remember, the key is finding a meal planning routine that works best for you and your family’s unique needs and preferences. Happy meal planning! 🍽️✨

grocery shopping for successful meal prep

Healthy Meal Plan For Busy Moms

Now that you have read the 25 meal planning tips for busy moms, I want to give you a little bonus!!

Below is a downloadable link to a sample meal plan that you can pull ideas from and get some inspiration. Please remember this does not take into consideration your personal needs and goals. Feel free to adjust to your liking and add extra food where you need it!

Bottom Line

Both working moms and stay-at-home-moms often rely on efficient meal plans to balance their busy schedule while ensuring their families have nutritious and delicious meals throughout the week.

The demands of a hectic schedule and the desire to maintain a healthy family diet have made meal planning an indispensable tool for busy moms. A well-structured weekly meal plan not only allows for efficient use of time and resources but also ensures that home-cooked meals are a consistent part of the family’s dining experience (if that is your goal).

By strategically organizing and prepping meals for the week, moms can enjoy a sense of control over their family’s nutrition and mealtimes can be transformed into a stress-free and enjoyable experience. 

You may also like

  • Build Your Meals For Sustainable Weight Loss
  • 15 Pre-Workout Breakfast Ideas to Eat Before a Workout
  • Anti-Aging Diet Plan: Foods to Eat for Your Best Skin

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Diary of a Fit Mommy

Creating fit mommies one at a time

The Busy Mom Diet: Free 7 Day Diet Plan

Hi, fellow fit mommy! If you are like me, you barely have any time to eat your meals while they are still warm, much less thinking about planning them! I am so happy to develop a solution for you!

After much trial & error, I have found a system that works-even when I am on the go. Whether you are a working mother or a stay at home mom with multiple kids, chances are that you are super busy!

Here is a 7 day meal plan along with a grocery list for the items that you will need plus the recipes!

You will see that some meals or snacks may be repeated. Keep in mind that meal prepping or cooking one meal in a large batch can be essential to weight loss and make life easier when you are busy. You do not have to follow the plan meal by meal, but it is a great idea of where to start and what to do. If you do not like a certain meal, change things up! And share your recipes with me because I would love to share them as well.

If you need any help with meal prepping, please refer to my blog Diary of a Fit Mommy for steps on how to meal prep! I will teach you how to become a meal prepping pro in no time.

I hope that you enjoy the following recipes in the meal plan and have fun making them for you and your entire family!

Stay strong, fit, and motivated!

The Grocery List

  • Protein powder of your choice
  • 1 Jar of Peanut Butter
  • 2-3 cartons of Eggs
  • 1 7 oz. can of white Tuna
  • 1 package of Ham
  • 4 packages of frozen, boneless Chicken Breasts (depending on the brand, you may need more or less)
  • 1 package of 4 Pork Chops
  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 10 Tilapia Filets (At WalMart, they sell frozen tilapia in bags of four for around $5!)
  • 4 Salmon Steaks
  • 2 lb. Ground Chicken
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers
  • 3 bags Spinach Leaves
  • One small bunch of Cilantro
  • 1 can of Corn

Grains/Breads/Flours

  • 1 large container of Quick Oats
  • 1 package Flour Tortillas
  • Breadcrumbs

Fruits/Nuts

  • 2 bunches of bananas
  • Peach Preserves
  • Dried Cranberries
  • 4-5 fresh peaches
  • 1 carton Almond Milk (I love Almond Breeze brand!)
  • 1 carton Coconut Milk
  • 2 contains plain Greek Yogurt (I love Greek Gods brand!)
  • 1 container Sour Cream
  • Butter (I use REAL butter)
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Spices/Seasonings/Oils/Condiments

  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Italian Herb Seasoning
  • Sesame seeds
  • Ground Mustard
  • Brown Sugar
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Annie’s Organic Ketchup
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Pickle Relish
  • Onion Powder
  • Curry Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Chili Paste
  • Olive Oil for cooking

The Busy Mom Menu

The Recipes

Peach Cobbler Protein Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup protein powder (vanilla)
  • 1 fresh peach, sliced
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • Place all ingredients into a blender and blend thoroughly.
  • Add more ice cubes for a frostier smoothie.
  • Sip & enjoy!

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Muffins

  • 1 cup oats.
  • 1 cup protein powder
  • 3/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 3 bananas (mashed)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup Stevia/truvia
  • 1/4 cup honey (optional, if you want more sweetness)

Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients vigorously until blessed well.
  • Pour into greased muffin pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until firm!

Paleo Omelet Muffins

  • 8 ounces cooked ham, crumbled
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 8 muffin cups or line with paper liners.
  • Beat eggs together in a large bowl. Mix ham, bell pepper, onion, salt, black pepper, and water into the beaten eggs. Pour egg mixture evenly into prepared muffin cups.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until muffins are set in the middle, 18 to 20 minutes.
  • 1 (7 ounce) can white tuna, drained and flaked
  • 6 tablespoons Greek Yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1 pinch garlic powder
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the tuna, yogurt, and onion powder. Season with curry powder, parsley, dill and garlic powder.
  • Mix well and serve with crackers, on a bed of spinach, or on a sandwich.

Spicy Peach Glazed Pork Chop

  • 1 cup peach preserves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili paste
  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • In a small bowl, mix together the peach preserves, Worcestershire sauce, and chile paste. Rinse pork chops, and pat dry. Sprinkle the chops with ginger, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the chops for about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan, and set aside.
  • Stir in the peach preserves mixture and heat for two minutes. Return the chops to the pan, and flip to coat with the sauce.
  • Reduce heat to medium low, and cook the pork chops for about 8 minutes on each side, or until done.

Balsamic Chicken Salad in a Jar

  • Large Mason jars
  • Spinach leaves
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Chicken Breasts, cubed
  • Veggies of your choice
  • Seeds/nuts/cheese (optional)
  • In order to make your salad in a jar, you will place your balsamic vinaigrette at the bottom, following 4oz. of baked or grilled chicken (I cut mine into cubes or pieces).
  • Next, you will place bulky veggies in the jar, such as green bell peppers, onions, avocado, tomatoes, etc.
  • Then you will top with the lighter stuff such as seeds or nuts, cheese, even eggs (if you like the cobb style.
  • Last, you will top your jar with your salad leaves. When you are ready to eat your salad, just shake the jar for 1 minute!
  • **Please note-the amount of jars you will make depends on how many times per week you are planning to eat the salad for lunch. 5 jars will store perfectly for about a week-no longer.

Meatloaf Muffins

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 1 cup Annies Organic Ketchup
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a bowl, combine all ingredients except for the ketchup, mixing well.
  • Pack mixture into each of the muffin tin slots.
  • Bake muffins for 20 minutes or until beef is browned. Top each muffin with 1 tsp of Annie’s organic ketchup.
  • Place back into the oven for ten more minutes. Take out and let sit for 10 minutes.

Lemon Garlic Tilapia

  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • pepper to taste
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Rinse tilapia fillets under cool water, and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Place fillets in baking dish. Pour lemon juice over fillets, then drizzle butter on top. Sprinkle with garlic, parsley, and pepper.
  • Bake in preheated oven until the fish is white and flakes when pulled apart with a fork, about 30 minutes.

Chicken & Cranberry Walnut Salad

  • 4 Chicken Breasts, baked and cubed
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup Walnut pieces
  • Balsamic vinaigrette
  • Prepare your chicken however you prefer. For this salad, I bake mine with a little garlic powder, salt, and pepper at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
  • While the chicken is baking, I arrange the spinach leaves into each of my family member’s bowls, topping each with cranberries and walnuts.
  • When the chicken is done, I chop it up in cubes and distribute the chicken to each dish.
  • Top with 2 tbsp. balsamic dressing.

Fish Tacos With Corn Salsa

  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 6 (4 ounce) fillets tilapia
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 flour tortillas, warmed
  • Preheat grill for high heat.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together corn, onion, red bell pepper, and cilantro. Stir in lime juice and zest.
  • In a small bowl, combine cayenne pepper, ground black pepper, and salt. Brush each fillet with olive oil, and sprinkle with spices.
  • Arrange fillets on grill grate, and cook for 3 minutes per side. For each fiery fish taco, top two corn tortillas with fish, sour cream, and corn salsa.

Honey Lime Chicken

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • In a shallow container, blend soy sauce, honey, olive oil, lime juice, and garlic. Place chicken breast halves into the mixture, and turn to coat.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Discard marinade, and bake the chicken for 20 minutes or until juices run clear.

Garlic Chicken

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  • Heat olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan over low heat until warmed, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer garlic and oil to a shallow bowl.
  • Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in a separate shallow bowl.
  • Dip chicken breasts in the olive oil-garlic mixture using tongs; transfer to bread crumb mixture and turn to evenly coat. Transfer coated chicken to a shallow baking dish.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink and juices run clear, or about 30 minutes.

Teriyaki Salmon

  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 (6 ounce) salmon steaks
  • Mix sesame oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame seeds, ground mustard, ginger, and garlic powder in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Set aside 1/2 cup of marinade for basting.
  • Pour remaining marinade into a resealable plastic bag and place salmon into the marinade. Squeeze air out of the bag, seal, and marinate the salmon steaks for at least 1 hour (2 hours for better flavor). Drain and discard used marinade.
  • Set oven rack about 4 inches from the heat source and preheat the oven’s broiler. Place salmon steaks into a broiler pan and broil for 5 minutes. Brush steaks with reserved marinade, turn, and broil until fish is opaque and flakes easily, about 5 more minutes. Brush again with marinade.

Chicken Muffins

  • 2 lbs. ground chicken
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp Italian Herb Mix
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder (2 cloves minced)
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Grease muffin pan with olive oil.
  • Mix all your ingredients together in one large bowl and roll the mixture into balls to place in muffin pan. Muffins should be about the size of a softball.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.

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Clean Eating And Fitness For Busy Moms

Clean eating and fitness for busy moms may sound like an impossibility for some. But I promise it’s doable. Especially for us ladies who are natural multitaskers.

As Moms, we are natural multi-taskers. We have no other choice. We have to make dinner, soothe a crying baby, argue with our own mothers on the phone, do laundry, mend a sock or shirt and pay the bills, all at the same time.

Author wearing pink glasses and a white t-shirt.

We play the part of, taxi driver, nurse, cook, tutor, and authority figure on a daily basis, and usually, we do all of them within ten minutes after the alarm has gone off at 5am. We are amazing creatures if you really think about it. Few other human beings can accomplish in one day what a mother can accomplish in one hour. It’s really pretty incredible. And we do all of it with no pay and very little recognition.

Crazy? Perhaps. But there is also something very fulfilling about “doing it all”. A feeling of accomplishment when the day is finally at an end and we see those little angel faces asleep in their beds. It’s also about that time that we finally realize just how tired we really are, and we collapse where we stand knowing that tomorrow, we have to do it all over again.

So what happens when we realize that we are not as healthy as we once used to be? What do we do when we look in the mirror and don’t even recognize the unkempt mess in front of us?

Most days, it’s an act of God just to get a shower. Leaving the house with a shirt that is drool/spaghetti sauce/dirt/stain-free (take your pick) is pretty much impossible. And that’s just for stay-at-home moms! If you work part-time or full-time on top of everything else…. well, let’s just say that 24 hours per day is just NOT enough!

As a work-at-home mom, and full-time blogger, I’m often asked how I can possibly get everything done in one day. It’s not easy, but I do have some tips. Here are 10 of them.

  • Reduce your work load. I know, this isn’t easy. We all get tugged and pulled in every direction during the day. Saying no, sometimes just isn’t an option. But I’m here to tell you that I would put money on the fact that there is probably 1 thing in your life you could say no to. 1 thing that would ease up your schedule a bit. We may not want to say no to somebody, but when life gets crazy, people understand. So just say no!!
  • Make health a priority. It’s so incredibly easy to get side tracked when you lead a busy life. The person you really are gets put on hold, and everything else comes first. But here’s the thing. Unless you start putting yourself first, you won’t have anything left to give to anybody. Even your kids. You will be so worn out, you just won’t be able to give any more at all. So take the time, even at 5am if you have to, and take just 1 hour out of the day for yourself. Meditate, exercise or just sip a warm cup of tea and read the paper. Either way, you NEED that 1 hour every day to keep your sanity. Schedule it in your day planner if you need to, but make sure that that one hour is just as important as getting to that meeting you just can’t miss.
  • Invest in a crock pot. If you’ve never used one, I’m here to tell you that these little contraptions can save your life. Who wants to slave over a hot stove at the end of a long and busy day? 20 minutes of prep time in the morning, and you’ll have a full pot of dinner (and maybe even some leftovers for lunch the next day) when you get home. You just can’t get much more efficient than that!
  • Use your weekend to make the week run smoother. Take a half of a weekend day and spend it preparing food. Peel and slice carrots, cucumbers and other veggies. Make hummus for the week (it only takes 2 minutes with a food processor and that includes prep time!). Make lasagna but don’t cook it. Keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days so you can just pop it in the oven on a busy weekday night. Cook several different grains and store in the fridge so you have a healthy, whole grain side dish for any dinner you want to make. Marinate chicken breasts for up to 3 days in ziploc bags. Keep them in the fridge and bake them in the oven the day you need them, or toss them in the freezer after they have marinated for one day. I think you get my drift here. Plan ahead and your week will go much, much smoother.
  • Get everyone into the kitchen. Weekends are tough because you want to spend that time with family. Doing things with the kids or with friends puts everything else on the back burner. But food should be a family event! There is absolutely NO reason that you should be the only one in the kitchen if you have a husband or kids (or both) at your disposal. Memories made in the kitchen last a lifetime, and you can’t give your kids a greater gift than teaching them how to feed themselves properly. Plus, picky eaters are far more likely to eat when they’ve been involved in the process. So drag them into the kitchen with you! You may have to oversee things a bit at first, but after a while, you’ll find that your load is tremendously lightened because they will know exactly what to do! (And some day, they will make dinner for YOU!)
  • Cook during naps. If your kids are younger and still take naps, congratulations! You have a free hour in the day (if you stay at home) to cook! Now I’ll be the first to admit that when my son is napping, all I want to do it nap with him. But that just isn’t an option in my life anymore (oh, how I miss those days!). Just remind yourself that getting some cooking done now, will save you at the end of the day when you are REALLY tired and just want to land on a soft pillow.
  • Cook large quantities. This is truly vital for those of you who work outside of the home. Get used to cooking for an army! Invest in single serving Tupperware or Ziploc containers and keep extra food on hand at all times. If you always have healthy leftovers, you’ll always have a healthy meal on hand. I feed 5 people in my home, and I make it a point to cook for 8-10 people. Everyone has lunch the next day, and there might even be a little left over to put in the freezer for a truly “rainy” day.
  • Freeze, freeze, freeze. If you can afford it, invest in a deep freezer. It will be your saving grace. If you can’t afford it, clean out your freezer and get organized! The more you can pack that freezer with single serving meals, the happier and more stress free you will be during the week.
  • Keep backup lists on the fridge. You need two lists on the front of your fridge at all times. One will be a list of foods you have on hand in the fridge and freezer so you know what you can just grab when you need it, and one will be a list of quick and easy, healthy recipes that you can throw together at the last-minute if you need to. That second list may seem a bit useless, but when you are very busy and cooking is the last thing on your mind, it’s easy to forget what everyone likes to eat. It’s easy to fall into that, “I don’t know what to cook” rut. So keep both lists on hand and you’ll never be at a loss for what to make for dinner. List number 1 also gives the kids and the hubby a great idea of the foods on hand in case you don’t make it home in time to cook dinner. All they have to do is pick from “the menu” and put it in the microwave.
  • Family fitness is a must. You may not realize it, but if you have kids, you have the best workout equipment ever made. Kids have endless energy and will give you the workout of a lifetime if you let them. Working out doesn’t have to be in a gym. Take the kids to the park for an hour and play soccer with them. Swing on the monkey bars like you did in grade school (I guarantee you’ll find muscles you didn’t know you had the next morning!) Go bike riding, play catch, play tag or go swimming. Any way you look at it, your kids will get much needed and undivided attention from you, and you’ll get a workout that most celebrities pay big bucks for!

So there you have it. It’s not easy making lifestyle changes that include this type of daily activity. But if you can make the switch, not only will your family be healthier and stronger, so will you!

Article is an original work and is © Tiffany McCauley. It may not be reproduced for any reason without written permission by the author.

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10 Comments

did I write this blog? ha ha – it is so right on. Planning, prepping and making sure I get enough of sleep are the three main things I find that keep me together and then everything else will fall into place – well, most times…….there will always be life’s hiccups…..

Love the picture!!!!

Stephanie – LOL! I think it’s a pretty common theme for most busy moms out there. But yes, life always hiccups! 🙂

I loved this post….. it gave me a few tips I had not thought about yet on my quest to “Return to Me”. You, along with some other helpful people in my life, have jump started my weight loss and lifestyle change that will one day put a HUGE smile upon my face. SO THANK YOU!!!

Mandy – It’s all you! You’re the one putting in the hard work. This site is just a tool. But I’m so happy you’re finding it helpful! Go girl! 🙂

Tiffany…thanks for this post. Nice to know I am not alone with these struggles.

Kim – You’re NEVER alone! 😉

Tiffany, you are awesome! Thank you for the tips and inspiration. I tried your no-bake cookies the other day on the advice of a friend. I loved the cookies but more than that, I love your blog! Thank you from another busy mama. I started clean-eating in December 2010. What an amazing change for our family!

Thank you again! Brynne

Brynne – I’m so happy you enjoyed my article! Clean eating is truly an amazing thing. You’re giving your family a wonderful gift. 🙂

I just stumbled across your blog. I LOVE these tips and will start using them this weekend. I am also a busy mom of 3 and love finding clean eating recipes and food. As a food blogger myself, it is nice to see others who share a similar vision.

Sarah – Fabulous! I hope some of those tips help! It can be tough as a mom. But as moms, we can do hard things. We do them all day long. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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Don't Mess with Mama

Minimalist Meal Planning for Busy Moms (with Free Printable)

Do you ever feel stressed out about what your family is going to eat for dinner tonight? It’s time to simplify your meals and create a minimalist meal plan for your family to save time, money, and your sanity. Don’t rely on fast food. Get this minimalist meal planning for busy moms and families.

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my affiliate disclosure .

Woman making meal in the kitchen

There’s a late meeting at work tonight. The kids have soccer and football on the opposite side of town from each other. Your son just told you that he needs to go to the craft store to get supplies for a project that’s due tomorrow. Sound familiar? Yep, I’ve been there too. When there’s a lot going on, the last thing you want to worry about is what’s for dinner.

But the dilemma is you want a meal plan but sometimes the prep work can take longer than to actually make the meals themselves. That’s why I wanted to share my favorite tips for keeping meal planning easy and SIMPLE. I’m going to show you a few steps to help you with minimalist meal planning and share with you a free printable that you can use to get started.

Minimalist Meal Planning for Busy Moms and Families

1. create a recipe bank.

The first step to creating your minimalist meal plan is by creating a recipe bank that you can refer to when putting together your weekly meal plans. A recipe bank is a list of recipes that you can pull from that you know your family will like or will eat.

Organize your recipe bank into five categories: breakfast, lunch, quick, weeknight meals, and long meals. Gather about 5-7 recipes for each of these categories to put in your recipe bank. 

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Find out the 5 foods that can supercharge your health & get my gluten-free, real food guide. Plus, get weekly emails from me with healthy recipes & natural living tips.

Another great resource for easy-to-make recipes in less than 30 minutes is my book Instant Pot Recipes Made Simple . You can download it instantly to your phone, computer or e-reader, so it’s portable and can go with you anywhere!

With this book, you’ll get:

  • Tried-and-true recipes the whole family will love – including pot roast, spaghetti, tacos, carnitas, soups, and easy breakfast meals
  • Instant Pot starter guide on how to use the buttons, tips and tricks, and more
  • Printable shopping lists for ingredients
  • Step-by-step video lesson on how to use your Instant Pot, pressure cooker safety, and some of my favorite tips and tricks
  • Two-week meal plan that you can put into action for no-stress weeknight dinners

Banner for an ebook called Instant Pot Recipes Made Simple

2.Create a list of ingredients

Now that you have your 5-7 meals in each category, make a list of ingredients that you would need to create these staple meals. You don’t have to repeat things like cheddar cheese or milk if multiple recipes call for the same ingredients. Keep this list handy or even on the same sheet of paper as your recipe bank for easier meal planning.

3. Do a quick inventory of what you have

Go ahead and start by making a quick inventory of what you already have. Are there any recipes that you can put together from ingredients you already have? If not, are there any items that need to get used up? For instance, I love to cook up extra grilled chicken and reuse leftovers for salad, soups, and sandwiches for lunches.

4. Make your meal plan

Put together your meal plan based on your inventory. Start by filling in days to do a quick meal, which should be easy to put together in 15 minutes or less.  Next, fill in the rest of the week with long or weeknight meals as needed. Finally, add some breakfast and lunch options in as well. 

5. Create your grocery list

Now that you have your meal plan together, create your grocery list using the ingredients list that you made earlier. Once you’ve done this once, it will continue to make meal planning as easy as a 5-minutes process. When you minimize what ingredients you need, you will be able to minimize your meals and decision fatigue too. 

Free Printable

Want to see a sample of what my weekly grocery list and 7-day meal plan looks like? I’ve got a free printable for you to download and use. All recipes are available here at Don’t Mess with Mama. 

Printable Meal Plan (Excel and PDF)

  • Instant Pot Oatmeal
  • GF Pancakes
  • Avocado Toast – just toast your favorite gluten-free bread and add avocado slices on top. Add salt and pepper, or use the Everything But the Bagel Seasoning.
  • Chicken Tacos
  • Instant Pot Minestrone
  • Instant Pot Egg Salad

Quick Weeknight Meals

  • Instant Pot Roast Chicken
  • Instant Pot Beef Tacos
  • Instant Pot Baked Potatoes
  • Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
  • Instant Pot Chili
  • Gluten-Free Fried Fish
  • Gluten-Free Fish Tacos
  • Instant Pot Minestrone Soup

More Posts You Might Like

  • 6 Signs It’s Time to Declutter​ ​Your​ ​Home
  • 10 Steps to Declutter Your Home
  • 5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Minimalist Living

Did you try this minimalist meal plan? Don’t forget to comment below to let me know how it went. You can also FOLLOW ME  on  Facebook ,  Instagram  and  Pinterest .

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto.com / Yastremska

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Tracey Black, BA, is a writer, recipe developer, and creator of Don’t Mess with Mama. She has a background in health care, research, and publishing, and has been featured in The Huffington Post, Redbook Magazine, Yahoo, Women’s Day, CNET, and Today.

At DontMesswithMama.com, Tracey shares how simple it can be to make easy gluten-free meals and live more naturally, including making your own DIY skincare and cleaners, on a budget. She is also the author of the books Natural Beauty Made Simple and Instant Pot Recipes Made Simple .

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50 Healthy, EASY Weeknight Dinner Recipes for Busy Moms

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Are you looking for quick, simple, and healthy dinners? Keep reading for 50 easy meals for busy moms – perfect for hectic nights!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Desperate for a Weeknight Dinner Solution that was Easy and Healthy

Back when I was teaching, I would get these fluttery knots in my stomach on the drive home.

It wasn’t because I was close to pulling my hair out dealing with kids and cell phones.

Or the mounds of grading that was in the back seat of my car.

Or keeping up with life.

I’d get that sick feeling when I thought about making dinner that night.

During the week, usually, I was exhausted, and the last thing I wanted to do was fix dinner. 

More often than not, I wasn’t exactly the meal-planner, so dinner was usually a stressful, unhealthy disaster based on whatever I could find rummaging through the refrigerator and cabinets.

Since being home with the boys, I don’t really have an excuse not to plan or make healthy meals.

But I still get that little anxious feeling in my stomach when I think about dinner, even if I’ve done my job and actually made a meal plan .

Most of us moms are close to done by the end of the day and running low on energy. 

If you have kids in activities or who are at home all day – or just have kids, lol – dinner can be a tiresome task.

Especially if you want it to be more than fast food or something microwavable (although I’m certainly not above throwing a frozen pizza in the oven when needed!).

If you throw in the mix kids who complain or won’t eat what you’ve cooked, then it’s downright defeating.

Those weeknight meals after a long and sometimes chaotic day can be very tough on the busy – and tired – mom!

And the whole craziness of back-to-school makes dinner time feel like mayhem, right?

Easy (and Healthy and Quick) Dinner Recipes for Busy Moms are POSSIBLE

If that’s you, I totally feel your pain! There’s gotta be an easier way, right? A way to make healthy meals that are QUICK and EASY?

If you’re like me, take a look below. 

Here are 35 meals – enough for a whole month – that are healthy, quick and easy weeknight meals for the busy mom.

And they are kid-friendly dinners , so you can avoid the picky-eater-mealtime-drama!

You’ll notice that several of them are new spins on some old favorites – tacos, pizzas, casseroles.

But that’s fine. They’re familiar to the kids so you know they’ll eat them, but it’s something a little new and different, so it’s not just the same-old.

And, they are quick and healthy and easy – so, yeah, high-five, moms!

50 Easy Meals for Busy Moms – and Healthy, Too!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Southwest Salsa Turkey Burgers

This is such a delicious take on a turkey burger.  Those southwest spices and salsa mixed in? Yum!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Sneaky Ground Beef & Mushroom Tacos

I love the extra ingredients in these tacos. You can’t even tell mushrooms are in here, and I usually will even throw in some mild yellow or orange peppers, too. Gotta get the veggies in somehow!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

One Pot Turkey Parmesan Pasta

This is a great way to bulk up the pasta and add in some extra protein. I’m a HUGE fan of one-pot meals like this!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Easy Weeknight Toasted Ravioli

This is an easy twist on the regular ravioli.  It’s always good to change things up a little, even though it’s food you typically serve! It will feel different to them!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Mexican Mini Lasagnas

This recipe uses wonton wrappers for these mini lasagnas.  There’s a ton of healthy ingredients packed into these little bites. A great non-meat option as well, as black beans are the primary protein source!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Sweet Potato Hash Recipe with Ham and Eggs

When I’m in a rush, breakfast-for-dinner is always a hit. I usually have most of the things on hand, so even when I haven’t planned so well, this one is a great one to throw together quick! There are so many healthy ingredients in here - and you can omit the jalapeno for the picky or young eaters!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

5 Minute Instant Pot Chili Mac Recipe

If you have an Instant Pot, you’re gonna love this one. If not, no worries. Just brown the beef ahead of time and put in a crockpot, and you can get the same yummy outcome. (I just got an Instant Pot and I can't wait to try this one!)

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Easy To Make Veggie Fried Rice

Fried rice is another one that’s easy to put together. And a lot of times, it really works perfectly when I’m cleaning the leftovers out of the fridge – leftover chicken, beef or pork as well as other veggies.  You can customize this one for what you have on hand, as well.

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Homemade Low Sodium Sloppy Joes

The homemade Sloppy Joe! It’s SO easy to make, and it’s really a lot healthier than buying the can. Sloppy Joes are always a winner with kids. And it's another easy way to hide veggies!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

The Best Black Bean Burger

If your family is vegan or maybe you’re trying to incorporate more of a plant-based diet into your meals, this is a great option. Delicious! Cheaper than meat as well!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Kid-Friendly Pasta Salad

Pasta is usually a no-brainer for kids. With these veggies thrown in, especially canned or frozen, it's a super- quick meal that gets some nutrition in with it!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Low Carb Beef And Broccoli Stir Fry

Chinese food was always our go-to when we were in a rush for dinner. But how much better if you can save the money and easily get the same results? Well, here you go. You can serve this with riced cauliflower or basmatic or brown rice for a clean eating option!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Chicken Hummus Naan Wraps

My husband has a pretty picky palate, and he has repeatedly asked me to make this one. It really is as good as it looks!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Easy Black Bean Sweet Potato Tacos

I love this combo of sweet potatoes and black beans! It's a great option if you don't have time to cook meat or if you're just limiting it.

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Easy Zucchini Boats Recipe [Vegetarian]

I think zucchini meals are some of the most versatile because of its ability to absorb so many other flavors. This recipe has a meatless option for the filling and also gives some helpful tips for picking just the right zucchini for this meal! Cheese is the main protein here, but you could easily mix in some ground turkey or beef.

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken

Slow cooker meals are another can’t-go-wrong dish when you’re looking for easy dinners.  The BBQ flavor of pulled chicken is amazing. I love this take on a chicken dinner.

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Homemade Pizza Pockets

Most kids love pizza pockets. We usually serve them for a snack or a quick lunch, but when you make them from scratch, you can feel better about giving this quick, healthy meal that you already know they’ll love.

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Stuffed Taco Crescent Rolls

Tacos are always a fan favorite.  I love how this recipe takes something you know they’ll love but changes it up a bit for something new. So much less mess when you put all the taco fillings in a roll instead of a shell - especially when you have littles! Genius!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

5 ingredient Breakfast Pizza

Pizza and breakfast? Yes, please! Here’s another breakfast-for-dinner that’s quick to whip up and kids love the novelty of eating breakfast foods at another meal! And I just love dishes with a small number of ingredients -instantly easier!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Healthy 4-Ingredient Enchilada Casserole

Personally, I love making casseroles. They are hearty and filling and you can just whip these up pretty quickly on a busy weeknight. And, you really can’t mess them up too badly. Even better when it's just a handful of ingredients.

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Guacamole Tacos with Southwestern Veggie Salsa

This is another great taco option if your family is moving away from meats and looking to have a more plant-based, vegan diet - or if you just want a break from meat. Kids love tacos, and here’s a fantastic choice that’s meatless and delicious.

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Hidden Veggie Pizza Recipe

Kids love pizza, and in this recipe, you blend spinach and mushrooms to the sauce to add someextra veggies in. They won’t even notice! This recipe has the dough made from scratch, but for a quick weeknight meal, you can just buy pre-made dough, too!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Fiesta Chicken Soup

I sometimes forget that a hearty soup is really such a great option for a quick meal! Add some tortilla chips, bread or crackers for dipping, and you’re good to go!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Mexican Pizza Taco Bell Recipe

Another take on pizza and tacos! Kids love both, so you’re good on this one! This one is the healthy version of the Taco Bell favorite! Ummm, yes, please!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Walking Tacos (The Chip Bag IS the Bowl)

Here's another take on tacos - right in the bag! How fun is that?!? Use any type of healthy chip you want to keep this one extra nutritious! Kids will LOVE this one!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Easy Pizza Casserole

This is another delicious spin on the casserole and the pizza easily made with Bisquick and only a few ingredients!  It’s a great combo that your kids will definitely eat!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Quick & Easy Pizza Quesadillas | THM: S, Low-Carb

I love that you can put just about anything in a quesadilla and it will taste amazing! Here's a pizza quesadilla recipe the kids will just gobble up!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Slow Cooker Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce

Most kids like pasta - this recipe has loads of hidden veggies in the sauce. They'll never know the difference!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Homemade Greek Yogurt Gluten free Mac and Cheese Recipe

If your family has gluten restrictions in their diets, this is a fantastic meal to make, so nobody feels like they’re missing out. It's pizza and mac-and-cheese combined, with a ton of protein!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Fruit-a-saurus Conga Line Skewers

There's no shame in including frozen foods in your dinners! Grab a healthy version of frozen nuggets, add some fruit and cheese, and there should be no arguments!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Sheet Pan Nachos With Ground Turkey

I love this idea for healthy nachos! It's all in the clean ingredients - a definite crowd-pleaser and so easy on a busy weeknight!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

ZUCCHINI CORN FRITTERS

How yummy does this look! Zucchini, corn, flour of your choice... get this on your meal plan!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Easy meatballs and tomato sauce with garlic bread dippers

Meatballs are another favorite food of kids. Sometimes we feel like this always needs to go with something else to be a meal, but meatballs on their own, with a little sauce and bread, are a perfect, fast weeknight meal.

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Healthy Mini Meatloaves

Something about the mini versions that kids just love! This is an easy recipe and it's one you can freeze and make ahead for a quick meal!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Quick & Easy Rotisserie Chicken Chimichangas Recipe

There's no shame in grabbing a rotisserie chicken on the way home! This chimichanga recipe is a great way to serve it in a healthy way that the kids will eat!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Honey BBQ Slow Cooker Chicken Taquitos

Taquitoscooked any way are amazing. Throw in something fresh and new like honey BBQ, and it will feel like a whole new dinner event! And slow cookers make everything easier.

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Southwestern Burrito Bowl Bake

This is another one-pot meal you can just throw together in a casserole dish, and you’re good to go! Quick, easy, delicious! This can be made with or without meat!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Healthy Tuscan Chicken Pasta (One Pot)

This is creamy, hearty comfort food - but healthy! This is a crowd-pleaser for adults and kids alike!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

20-Minute Veggie Lo Mein

Here's another idea using noodles - lo mein noodles! Mix in some veggies and protein, and the kiddos will slurp this up!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Black Bean & Corn Enchilada Quinoa Casserole

This dish is a great alternative to pasta! Quinoa is one of those healthy grains that blends in with whatever is around it! Adds some bulk in those complex carbs!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Healthy Chicken Fingers

Chicken fingers are always a hit! This is an easy recipe that uses panko bread crumbs, to take the healthy factor up a few notches!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Healthy Cheeseburger Bites

Cheeseburgers are generally a fan favorite - this is a fun way to serve them: in a muffin tin! Tasty, healthy, without any carb overload.

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Kid Friendly Quinoa Pizza Bites

Here's another spin on a muffin-tin dinner - quinoa pizza bites. There's something more fun about a dinner from a muffin tin! It's easy prep and a sneaky way to mix in some healthy grains!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Oven Baked Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders

Bacon is generally no brainer for most people - this is a delicious way to add protein without the fight!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Baked Ziti With Spinach, Zucchini & Mushrooms

Did you notice the list of extra veggies mixed in with this one? Spinach, zucchini, and mushrooms? Oh yes. And go ahead and use whole wheat or gluten free pasta if that's what your family prefers!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Easy Asian Ramen Salad

While some kids may not gravitate toward salads, add in some Ramen, crunchy noodles, and chicken, and this one is sure to please!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Blow Ya Mind Cheddar Broccoli Chicken Pot Pie

This has all the ingredients of comfort food but the healthy varieties:

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Chocolate Banana Almond Milk Smoothie

Yes, a smoothie can totally count for dinner, and it's a fabulous surprise! Filled with all kinds of nutritious ingredients, this one is sure to please! Get started with this one, but there are never a shortage of healthy smoothie recipes!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Almond Flour Banana Pancakes

Here's another breakfast for dinner idea your kids will love! The sweetness of the bananas along with the protein of the almond flour will be a filling meal that's quick - and you won't have to fight them to eat!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

High Protein Bagels with Cottage Cheese

Most kids love their carbs - but these bagels are loaded with protein! This can be a quick, easy dinner, served with a side of scrambled eggs or hash browns!

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

When you have a picky eater and are short on time, a healthy muffin like this is a lifesaver! Veggies, almond flour, and all natural ingredients. These are great to take on the go as well!

Busy Mom Dinner Ideas = Win for Everyone (Especially Busy Moms!)

I’m so looking forward to making these meals and getting back on my game with dinners this fall. 

We’ve been all over the map this summer (as far as meals go), and having an organized, easy dinner time is something I’m aching for.

These easy dinners will be game-changers for me, and I’m so excited to have meals my little guys will finally eat, too.

My Favorite Weeknight Dinner Hack in a Pinch

There have been nights that I got home late or life just didn’t go as planned.  

Instead of that normal, panick-y feeling I got when I was scrambling to come up with something to cook for dinner, my Instant Pot { and the Air Fryer lid that goes right on top of the Instant Pot!} saved the day!

Sometimes, I just didn’t have time to plan out a meal, but a quick Instant Pot meal came to the rescue.

This is my favorite list of healthy instant pot recipes for kids . If you don’t have an Instant Pot, I highly recommend. Even if it’s just mac-and-cheese or hot dogs in the Instant Pot. Not the healthiest, but it gets the kids fed.

I also purchased the Air Fryer lid for my Instant Pot , and I just love it.

air fryer lid for instand pot

When your kids (or you) are craving those crispy foods, you can still have them and keep it healthy. This is my favorite list of healthy air fryer meals as well as air fryer meals for kids !

To be honest, I use my Air Fryer more than my Instant Pot, but I adore them both. 

Even More Healthy Easy and Healthy Dinner Options

If you want even more options for dinner that are easy and healthy, check these out! You can plan for the year, I’m pretty sure!

Another easy option is one-pan dinners – sheet pan| one-pot | one-pan meals! So easy to put together and NO MESS! Here are 30 one-pan|pot dinners – perfect for busy moms!

And if you prefer casseroles, try  50+ Best Healthy Casserole Recipes for Easy Dinners!

(By the way, if you’re still in summer mode, this is another way to go to throw together a super-easy and healthy BBQ . It’s another great dinner option!)

If you’re looking for fast and cheap, take a look at 50 Dirt-Cheap Meal Prep Recipes (all less than $2 per serving!) from my friend at Meal Prepify!

Other Healthy Meal Options

If you’re looking for some SUPER-easy dinner options, crockpot meals are another simple option! Here are 30 healthy crockpot meals you can try, too !

Soups are also something can be thrown together quickly as well! If you’re in the mood for some healthy soups, check out these  30 healthy soup recipes.

Appetizers can make great meals in a pinch, too! Throw one or a few together and you’re good to go! Check out these 25 Healthy & Delicious Appetizers !

And if you’ve been on a sourdough kick, try these kid-friendly sourdough discard recipes , including some amazing dinner options and sides!

The crockpot dinners, soups, and appetizers are especially perfect for those on a clean, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo or Whole30 lifestyle.

If that’s how your family eats, then definitely check out my 30 Favorite Whole30 Dinners – they are all Whole30 or paleo, so they are gluten and dairy-free! This is in my Top 3 All-Time posts!

Thoughts? I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment so we can chat!

If you know others who could use this, feel free to share!

30 kid friendly weeknight dinners, easy and healthy solutions for tired moms, taco casserole, homemade pizza pockets, baked raviolies, veggie salsa and guacamole

More Back to School Help :

An Open Letter to Parents from Your Child’s Teacher

Life-Saver Back-to-School Home Organization Ideas

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August 6, 2018 at 2:30 pm

My two boys are all grown up now and my husband cooks these days — but how I wish I’d had this back when I was a working mommy! Everything looks mouthwatering: maybe I’ll reclaim cooking dinner, at least now and then 🙂

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August 6, 2018 at 7:32 pm

Ha ha! I’m so jealous your husband cooks, Jan! lol But I agree – don’t these look great and so easy? I am super-excited to try them! I struggle SOOOO much with dinner! I do a lot of these roundups for myself! lol Thank you so much for reading and coming by! 🙂

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August 7, 2018 at 6:33 pm

That collection is brilliant. Thank you! 🙂

August 7, 2018 at 7:06 pm

Thank you for allowing me to share your recipe! Looks amazing!!!

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May 7, 2021 at 4:43 am

This list of dinners is great. I’ll take a note.

May 7, 2021 at 8:26 am

Thanks so much, Emma! Hope it helped!

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October 11, 2022 at 2:12 pm

Thank you so much for sharing! I can’t wait to try out some of these recipes on really busy nights.

October 12, 2022 at 1:31 pm

I’m so glad to read this! Please stop back and let me know which one you enjoyed!

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April 5, 2023 at 3:51 pm

Most nights I just make it fast and easy for my kids. But, I feel so bad because they deserve a good meal with more nutrients. Your meals are still fast, but they are good for my kids. I am so glad I found your recipes.

April 6, 2023 at 3:59 pm

This made me so happy to read, Stacey! I have the same struggle – I’m so glad you found some recipes that will work for your family!

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June 5, 2023 at 12:34 pm

I can’t wait to try the tuscan chicken pasta, and maybe some others based on how that goes.

June 5, 2023 at 3:13 pm

I’m so glad to hear this ! Let me how it goes! Thank you for coming by, Jane!

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June 21, 2023 at 9:53 am

The Southwest Burrito Bowl was an interesting take. My husband and I have definitely eaten out to much. It is getting expensive so it is nice to have meals like this that are more affordable, and fun to make together. Thnaks.

June 21, 2023 at 11:12 am

Thank you so much for letting me know, Shirley! I agree! Eating out is so expensive and even groceries have gone up so much – I love that so many of these recipes are pretty simple and inexpensive ingredients! Enjoy!

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June 24, 2023 at 12:03 pm

Greek Yogurt Mac-N-Cheese!!! You are just incredible.

June 24, 2023 at 2:41 pm

I’m so glad you thought that was a winner, Tricia! Thank you so much for taking time to comment!

[…] Quick Healthy Dinner Ideas (Under 30 Minutes) – The Real …30 Healthy, EASY Weeknight Dinners for Busy Moms – A Hundred …Weight Loss Vegetable Soup {with Amazing Flavor} – Spend …31 Quick 15-Minute Vegan Meals […]

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175 Quick and Healthy Meals for Busy Moms

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You’re going to love these 175 quick and healthy meals for busy moms. Mealtimes are often a busy mom’s least favorite time of the day. There is nothing more frustrating than standing in front of the refrigerator, staring at a bunch of different ingredients, and having no idea what to create with any of them. Especially when you are attempting to make something quick and healthy for your family to eat.

quick and healthy meals for busy moms

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If you are finding yourself at a loss for quick and healthy meal ideas, you are not alone. Many people find themselves in this predicament, especially when they are busy moms. This is where a Free Meal Plan, like the one I offer, can come in handy.

In order to help calm the mealtime madness, I have also created a list of Quick and Healthy Meal Ideas for Busy Moms, no matter what day of the week it is.

5 day meal plan for busy moms

5 Day Meal Plan for Busy Moms

Download the free 5 day meal plan for busy moms by signing up for the Randa Nutrition email list.

Quick and Healthy Meals for Busy Moms

There are several different quick and healthy meals listed here for you to choose from. Whether you are looking for a chicken recipe, a beef recipe or something entirely different, you will find it here!

  • Healthy Chicken Recipes

Quick and Healthy Beef Recipes

  • Quick Meals with Seafood
  • Healthy and Quick Turkey Recipes

Quick and Healthy Vegan Meal Ideas

Other quick and healthy meal ideas.

Don’t forget you can browse all of the Randa Nutrition recipes here.

Quick and Healthy Chicken Recipes

Chicken is a fantastic source of lean protein, making it a healthy choice for mealtimes. Here I have listed several different healthy chicken recipes that are perfect for busy moms to create, even on the busiest of days.

Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets

Believe it or not, beef can be a incorporated into quick and healthy meals for your entire family. Whether you are choosing a healthy stroganoff or even a simple stew, you are sure to find something here to please everyone in your family.

Healthy Meatballs with Hidden Veggies

Quick and Healthy Meals With Seafood

Seafood is a wonderful source of protein and healthy fats. There are several different ways to create a delicious and healthy meal using different kids of fish and seafood. From simple grilled fish to a pan roasted dish, there is so much to choose from.

Spiced Butter Baked Cod with Green Beans

Quick and Healthy Turkey Recipes

Poultry is a fantastic option when it comes to lightening up some traditional dishes. Things like turkey meatballs, turkey meatloaf and even turkey burgers make for a fantastic, tasty and healthy dinner recipe for the entire family.

Easy Sweet Potato Turkey Burgers (Gluten Free), Ready in 20 Minutes

Not all quick and healthy meal ideas have to contain meat. You may want to make a vegan soup, stew or even casserole. The sky is the limit. With so many options to choose from you are sure to find something for everyone in your family to enjoy.

vegan cauliflower soup garnished with fresh thyme

Don’t forget, if you’re looking to establish healthy habits (like adding more vegetables to your diet in fun and tasty ways) be sure to secure a spot in the  21 Days to a Healthy Habits Challenge .

Casseroles, noodles and more, there are several quick and healthy meal ideas that are sure to spark your interest.

Easy Ramen Noodle Recipe homemade

With so many fantastic quick and easy meal ideas to choose from, you are sure to find something that suits your needs. Whether you make a soup, a casserole or even a stir fry, these meals are quick and easy for busy moms.

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One comment.

your healthy stuffed chicken veggie peppers were amazing! we have added it to our weekly meal plan for two, it also freezes nicely for a quick reheat dinner

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Simply Enough

A Simple and Healthy Meal Plan for Busy Moms

February 28, 2022 by Amy Slenker-Smith 2 Comments

meal plan

Every Sunday, I build a meal plan and prep ingredients from my arsenal of simple healthy recipes. The recipes are organized and searchable in Evernote . I like the ones that turn into several meals and create leftovers for lunch. Here’s how.

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Mom! What’s for dinner?

Now, you have an answer.

Use Existing Inventory

First, check the fridge and freezer for proteins on hand. Veggies? Are there any likely to spoil soon? I clean and cut fruits and vegetables. Make muffins from overripe bananas. Defrost meat. And I also keep a stash of frozen veggies for a quick side dish.

school lunches

With a little prep work, veggies are ready for snacking, steaming, or sautéing. Spinach and romaine on hand for smoothies and salads. Snacks pre-portioned into containers for lunches. 

Not only does this advanced prep help get lunch and dinner on the table easily, but it also keeps my fridge neat and clean. And a bonus – less wasted food!

Monday and Tuesday

I often start the week with a whole roast chicken. The good news, there are several options for this. You can pick up a rotisserie chicken (or two) at the store or my favorite recipe is here . It reminds me of dinner at grandma’s house. 

meal plan

While I’m at it, I use the Crockpot and chicken carcass to make homemade chicken stock. Yes, I’m starting to sound a little bit like Martha Stewart which is hysterical because…

I-CANNOT-COOK

meal plan

I’m a realist about family dinners. The goal is to sit down, eat a meal together, and connect through conversation. 

My go-to mid-week meal is soup and grilled sandwiches. The base for many soups is chicken stock which I made the night before. See how this meal plan comes together?

I love smoky corn chowder and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. Best of all, this meal doesn’t require advanced planning. Lunch meat and cheese are already on hand for lunches. And a few basic ingredients to whip up corn chowder .  It’s also perfectly acceptable to grab a can of soup at the store, but making this literally soup is faster than running to the store. Borrow ingredients from my neighbor if you must.

Create your own Meal Plan with my FREE Template HERE.

OK, so I’m in the homestretch of the week. And if I’ve done the quantities right, we have leftovers. And everybody’s enjoying soup or enchilada casserole for lunch.

Another staple in our freezer is ground beef. You can portion a club pack into 1 pound servings which coincide with most recipes. The options are endless for simple meals. Here’s just a few:

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

  • Nachos, Tacos, or this delicious taco-skillet dish (Horray for one pan!)
  • Noodle Goop (Another one-pot meal)
  • Meatloaf and Mac N Cheese  

I keep a close eye on the fridge and pantry before I decide how to use the ground beef.

What items do I have on hand?

Can I make substitutions and avoid the store?

Using up existing inventory in your fridge, freezer and pantry is the quickest way to organize and declutter the kitchen.  Food is a common clutter culprit. When the pantry is full, we resolve to not grocery shop for 2 weeks. My current record is 35 days . 

It’s finally the weekend! Time for Pizza Friday. I make these delicious and easy recipes for sauce and dough in the morning. You can create two pizzas with whatever we have on hand. (Mozzarella, ricotta, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, pepperoni, sausage, ham, olives, mushrooms, etc.) The dough makes at 2-3 crusts so you can serve a cheese-only version for picky eaters.

What are your favorite simple recipes?

How do you meal plan? I’d love to hear from you!

Would you like to follow my Meal Plan template? Download it below👇

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August 21, 2020 at 9:35 AM

Amy, I loved this post! Our family has meal planned for years. I really appreciate your easy “no waste” approach. I am especially inspired by your recipes. At this point in being at home this year, my family is tired of all of our usual recipes. Taco skillet is happening in my house next week! Thanks!

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August 25, 2020 at 8:17 PM

The taco skillet is absolutely one of our favorites! So happy to share!

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Weight-Loss Meal Plan for Busy Parents

Pick and choose from different recipes and snacks to build a week-long meal plan that will fit you—and your family's—needs, while helping you achieve your health goals.

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

It is no surprise that finding the time and energy to prioritize health and weight loss as a parent can be challenging. It can feel like you have no time left in the day to take care of yourself, while taking care of everyone else. However, a few tweaks to your meals can make the biggest difference when it comes to achieving your health goals—like weight loss. Here you'll find key tips about how to lose weight the healthy way, even as a busy parent, plus a build-your-own meal plan to help you reach your goal.

How to Lose Weight as a Busy Parent

Here are some top tips to consider for healthy—and sustainable—weight loss.

1. Prioritize protein and fiber

A very important concept to understand when it comes to weight loss is to focus on adding rather than eliminating foods and food groups. One of the biggest mistakes I see happening when it comes to weight loss is the idea of needing to eliminate an entire food group—for example, carbohydrates . As parents who are already deprived of energy, you need carbohydrates to sustain you and keep you focused on daily tasks. Instead of eliminating carbohydrates, focus on where to add protein and fiber at each meal to keep blood sugar levels (read: energy) balanced. Plus, prioritizing fiber and protein, as well as healthy fats, can help you feel satisfied throughout the day and not hungry an hour after your meal.

2. Aim for set mealtimes

One of the most common challenges when it comes to weight loss as a busy parent is the constant need to snack throughout the day. It can be so easy to get caught up with your kids' needs that you don't take care of your own needs. Have a set eating schedule for mealtimes to make sure you're setting aside time to feed yourself. These regular meals can help cut down on ravenous snacking. Do your best to sit down and enjoy your meals mindfully rather than multitasking and feeling unsatisfied with what you just ate. This also sets your kids up for healthy lifelong eating habits.

3. Lose the parent guilt

Prioritizing your health and weight loss goals is not something to feel guilty about. In fact, it's so important to be a good role model for your children and realize that by taking the time to make healthier choices, you're setting a healthy example for your children.

4. Take 5 minutes to plan your meals for the week

Pick a day—maybe Saturday or Sunday—to plan your meals for the week and shop. This helps to save time during the busy work week and keeps you focused on your weight loss goals. To make the planning part easier, we've listed some options below, that when put together, forms a healthy meal plan that both you and your family will love.

Build-Your-Own Family Meal Plan

When it comes to weight loss, the best way to keep the weight off is to form habits you can actually stick with for life. That's why this plan involves foods from all the food groups, so your body get the nutrients it needs to support a healthy body and make losing weight easy.

Each meal provides a variety of vitamins and minerals that your body needs to stay energized, curb cravings, and help you lose up to two pounds per week. The daily total adds up to 1,500 calories but feel free to load up on veggies and a few ounces of protein at any point if you feel like it's not enough food to keep you full and satisfied.

You can mix and match meals with the following meal plan to give you more variety and freedom to choose what you are craving that day.

Breakfast (aim for about 330 calories)

Recipes to try:

  • 1 serving Spinach & Mushroom Quiche with 1 cup raspberries
  • ½ cup all-bran cereal with 1/2 cup Greek yogurt and medium banana
  • 1 serving "Egg in a Hole" Peppers with Avocado Salsa with 1 small apple
  • 1 serving Strawberry-Banana Green Smoothie
  • 1 serving Nut & Berry Parfait
  • 1 serving Peanut Butter & Chia Berry Jam English Muffin with an apple
  • 1 serving Cherry-Walnut Overnight Oats
  • Simple Avocado Toast (toast a slice of whole-grain bread and top it with half of a mashed avocado. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of chia seeds or flax seeds). Pair with 1 clementine.

Snack (aim for two snacks per day - about 250 calories)

Ideas to try:

  • 1 apple with 2 tablespoons peanut butter (or any nut butter of choice).
  • Pair 1 container of nonfat yogurt with 1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries.
  • Pair 1/2 cup grapes with one string cheese
  • Pair 2 tablespoons hummus with 2 cups sliced bell peppers for dipping
  • Whole-wheat pita pizza (on ½ whole-wheat pita, spread 2 tbsp pizza sauce and ¼ cup shredded low-fat cheese, and toast until cheese melts).
  • Mix ½ cup dried fruit with ¼ cup nuts
  • 1 ounce nuts and 1 piece of fruit

Lunch (aim for about 330 calories)

  • 1 serving Veggie & Hummus Sandwich
  • 1 serving No-Cook Black Bean Salad
  • Turkey burger on whole-wheat bun with lettuce, onion, tomato
  • 1 serving Avocado Egg Salad Sandwiches
  • Large mixed salad with 2 tbsp vinaigrette and 5 ounces grilled chicken breast
  • 1 serving Tuna Melt with side salad made with a vinaigrette dressing
  • 1 serving Toaster-Oven Quesadillas
  • 1 serving Creamy Buffalo Chicken Sala d on 2 slices whole-wheat bread

Dinner (aim for 330 calories)

  • Marinara Meat Sauce Topped Baked Potato with broccoli
  • Taco Lettuce Cups
  • Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers
  • Slow-Cooker Chicken Parmesan Meatballs over 2 oz. cooked pasta and Steamed Green Beans
  • Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup with Rotisserie Chicken
  • Pesto Ravioli with Spinach & Tomatoes
  • Creamy Avocado & White Bean Wrap
  • Roasted Cauliflower & Potato Curry Soup with a slice of whole-wheat toast
  • Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Pesto & Shrimp
  • Gluten-Free Teriyaki Chicken with Broccoli

See More: 15 Healthy Meals You Can Make in 15 Minutes

Bottom line

Weight loss can feel daunting, overwhelming and confusing when you are a busy parent with little time for yourself. However, it is important to remember that health and weight loss is a journey and every small step counts. Be kind to yourself and focus on your overall health and not just the number on the scale.

Ayat Sleymann is a registered dietitian nutritionist whose passion lies in helping women live their healthiest life. Ayat works with women around the world, helping them achieve their weight-loss goals without diets and deprivation. With a "plants-most" and "self-love" approach, she has helped clients manage weight, improve their health, and increase energy and productivity without giving up their favorite foods.

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The Best Diets for Busy Moms: 4 Hacks That Really Work

Life gets crazy and so does your eating. Learn how to calm the chaos with these best diets for busy moms!

Table of Contents ✏️

Jump to this episode’s show notes now.

You wake up refreshed and actually feel a little spring in your step as your feet touch the plush area rug. You’ve determined that today is the day. Today, you’re going to focus on feeding your kids (and yourself) healthy meals and snacks. (Remember those apple slices decorated with dried fruit and nuts to look like owls you saw on Pinterest?)

Then, the baby wakes up early and an “accident” means you need to wash an extra load of laundry. You have an appointment to get the oil changed in the car and about a million other little errands to run.

By the time you get home, put things away, clean the kitchen, feed the dog, and put the kids down for naps, the day is nearly over. And once again, you ate what was available (ahem… PB&J crusts) and missed the healthy food wagon altogether.

I get it. When you’re juggling all the craziness of life and motherhood, feeding your family a healthy meal feels like it’s at the bottom of the totem pole.

I know that your health and weight loss are important to you and it’s discouraging when you have to put those things on the back burner. Today, I’m going to give you some awesome, healthy eating hacks to help you be a healthier busy mom. It’s a three-tiered approach that will help bring you a much-needed dose of sanity and help you live the healthy lifestyle you desire.

Mom and kids with healthy foods

Healthy Eating Hack #1: Prepared like a Girl Scout

You’ve probably seen this hack before. It’s pretty common in many diets and blog posts to suggest that moms just think ahead. Be prepared for every situation.

But let’s be honest. Sometimes, it’s really hard to do that. I don’t know about you, but I set a time for meal planning. Still, it often gets pushed off my schedule by other things that are really important.

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Always having something on deck or chopped or planned can be an unrealistic expectation for most of us. However, it’s a very helpful thing to learn, so I’m going to give you an overview of how you could apply this approach into your daily life.

Weekly Meal Planning for Busy Moms

Being prepared comes down to having a set time each week where you sit down and look at your schedule. See what’s coming up, and notice that certain days may require easy meals. While other days, you may have a bit more time to prepare a more time-intensive dinner (or get meals ready for a busy night too).

I know some ladies like to spend their Sunday afternoons getting everything ready for the week. No doubt, it has to feel amazing to get it all done.

But those of us who prefer to spread it out need a different method. You may notice that on Wednesday nights you have church, so you need a really easy meal. But on Tuesday evenings, you’re home, and you can spend some more time making a double batch of something or preparing for the rest of the week.

You can be prepared by marking things down in your calendar so that you know when you’re going to need to get the crock pot going, thaw some meat, or hit the produce stand ahead of time.

mom preparing snacks with daughter

Healthy Breakfast, Lunch and Snack Planning

  • Ask your littles to pick one or two breakfasts they like for the week and keep. it. simple.
  • Serving leftover dinner for lunch is a fabulous way to keep your kitchen time to a minimum. And consider even cooking a triple-batch of items that freeze well like soups, stews, and  chili .
  • In our family, I’ve created a one-month-long meal plan, which is essentially four weeks of five meals. I just repeat these, and I have coordinating grocery lists with it. It makes it super easy to stay on target.
  • If there’s a new recipe or something fun that I want to try, I can easily swap out one of those meals. But I’m so familiar with it, I know that I need to have certain ingredients on hand all the time. I can pull together a meal pretty easily. That is being prepared like a Girl Scout.

Healthy Eating Hack #2: Easy-Peasy Meal Prep

Easy-peasy meal prep means that you are relying on healthy convenience foods. I know, we “should” be making everything at home, right?

Well, you know what? Sometimes, that expectation can set us up for failure because it’s such a high bar that we’re always going to miss it.

Convenient Grocery Meals

Let’s take a realistic look and see what time and resources you’ve available and work from there…

Take a minute and jot down several meals that you know you can pull together in a 5-minute run to the grocery store where you just buy a few items. The idea is to be from the grocery store to home and prepped in a half hour.

Maybe that means a rotisserie chicken, a bag of salad, and some potatoes you can pop in the microwave. Totally cool. Totally fine.

If you live 30-minutes from the store, obviously this isn’t your best tactic. That’s ok, check out the next option here:

Quick Freezer Meals

Another great healthy eating hack are freezer meals that you can pull out at the last minute,  even when you forgot to prepare.

For example, you can microwave some instant rice, stir-fry some frozen vegetables, and add some frozen shrimp and soy sauce…and you’re done.

If you have a membership to Costco or Sam’s Club, they have wonderful, pretty healthy options that you can just grab and go. Try things like cauliflower crust pizza, turkey burgers, steam bags of frozen vegetables, and many other things you can just toss together.

You can grab a bag of frozen pasta mix and throw in fresh spinach or pre-chopped vegetables you grabbed from the produce department. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it has to be easy for the easy-peasy method.

Fast Food Options

You may also want to have a list of fast food places you can visit in a pinch. Yes, I said fast food.

This could mean going to a restaurant and choosing the grilled chicken sandwich and a salad rather than always getting the full-blown fast-food approach of burgers and fries.

Or you may really enjoy fries, so you choose to do fries and a chicken salad and stop when you’re satisfied—totally fine! Remember, this is a step-by-step approach. You’re not going to go from hitting up the fast food to gardening your own organic kale overnight.

WHY THIS HEALTHY EATING HACK WORKS

Do what works for you and then feel confident that you’ve chosen what fits for your family’s life. Trying to meet a standard that is impossible is only going to frustrate you and will honestly lead to choices that aren’t as great.

Accept that half-homemade is cool with you because it gets food on the table. It gets  mostly  healthy food into your kiddos while following an easy diet for busy moms. Then, you can feel good about it and take care of other things on that seemingly endless to-do list.

Healthy Eating Hack #3: Body Cues, Baby

If these methods still seem overwhelming to you, I’ve got one final hack you’re going to love..

I recommend for everyone to take some time to familiarize yourself with your body’s hunger and fullness signals. However, when “healthy” eating is off the table, so to speak, it’s especially important to listen to your body cues. This consists of letting go of all your food rules.

That can feel kind of scary, I know. But it’s ok to take a break in this season of life and stop worrying about what’s healthy and what’s not—and to focus on strictly hunger and fullness.

Maybe you are on a really tight budget, or your time is super limited. Or if you just can’t seem to get your family to eat healthy food at this stage in the game, it is okay to let it go for now.

Just put a pin in it for a while and focus on your  hunger  and  fullness  cues. Try your best to eat when you’re hungry (30 to 60 minutes is usually a great window), and stop when you’re pleasantly full.

Here’s a little insider tip: if you’re eating really rich foods, your portions are going to be pretty small. If you’re able to increase the nutrient density in those meals and add some salad, some vegetables, some leaner meats, you’ll probably need a larger portion.

Eating according to hunger and fullness means that you’ll be able to reach your goals because  there’s a weight-loss-sized portion to every food. But you’ll be able to reach them within the context of what your life really allows, and that’s super important.

The coolest thing about this is—I’ve seen people begin to see progress listening to the “eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full” guide, and then they start to desire to eat healthier foods naturally.

Mom eating berries

Plus, your grocery bills are going to go down because you’re not eating as much. And overall, you’re just going to feel better. Your body’s going to be utilizing any excess fuel/body fat that it needs to get rid of.

Now, there’s a caveat with this as well. It’s very easy to turn it into the “eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full diet,” which is going to make it crazy just like any other diet and lead to  all-or-nothing eating . All of these approaches come with grace attached.

You can set your plans, but something’s going to happen. A child’s going to get sick. A tire’s going to go flat, and your plans may go out the door.

But it’s okay.  It’s only a problem if you let it become a problem. Put on your thinking cap—because, Mom, you are great at coming up with solutions even in the heat of the moment.

Come up with your next best step. Don’t panic. None of this stuff is war. It’s just food. Make your next best step and move from there.

Bonus Healthy Eating Hack #4: None of These–or All of These

You don’t have to LIVE in: Be Prepared like a Girl Scout, Easy-Peasy Food Prep, or Listen to Your Body Signals, Baby.

You don’t have to be pigeonholed into any one of those.  You can move from one to the next, month to month, week to week or even day by day.

Let’s say that generally, you’re pretty prepared. You have food at home. You know what meals you like to cook. Sometimes, you chop up veggies ahead of time. Sometimes, you have fresh fruit on the counter. That’s your groove.

But…you go on vacation, or maybe an illness happens in the family, and it all goes out the window. Then you may choose to adopt more of an Easy-Peasy Approach or listen in to your “hunger signals way” for a period of time. Great!

You may have weeks or days where you switch in and out. Recognize—“We have a really busy day today. I’m not going to have time to food prep, and we’re going to be eating on-the-go. Today, I choose to listen to my body.”

And that’s awesome!  There’s no rule that says you can’t do that.  The overall concept is doing what’s best for you and what is possible.  Don’t set yourself up for failure. And when failure does come—because it will, because you’re human—take it, learn from it, and move on.

Review the lists above and choose what you want to do THIS WEEK. Then, table some ideas about how you could adapt each of the healthy eating hacks.

Keep it simple, keep it flexible, and enjoy the freedom!

Podcast episode show notes:

As a busy mom, you’re juggling everything but the kitchen sink. And some days it feels like it’ll all come crashing down on you. So how are you supposed to also find time to prepare healthy meals for yourself and your family?

No wonder you push healthy eating to the bottom of your priority list, telling yourself that tomorrow—or next week or next month or next year!—will be different. So you pull up to the nearest drive-thru and order a bag of regret while discouragement and guilt threaten to pull you under…again.

Well, say goodbye to overwhelm in your kitchen and hello to easy, healthy meals as we explore a 3-tiered approach to bringing healthy eating into your busy days.

Links mentioned:

  • Prayer for Weight Loss Toolkit Freebie
  • For a deep dive, check out  Grace Filled Plate Platinum  and be sure to  get on the waiting list

You may also love:

  • Grace Filled Plates: A 30-Day Devotional

Get a FREEBIE:

  • Get your FREE  Faith [is greater than] Food Email Course

Rather watch? Catch the video on YouTube.

Brandice

Brandice Lardner is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, Amazon #1 Best Selling Author , Homeschool Mom, and Jesus Girl whose mission in life is to help women ditch the diet mentality and find peace with food and their bodies so that they are better equipped to do the great things God has called them to do.

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Easy Meal Planning For Busy Moms {Free Printable}

  • by Ana Willis

Meal planning and prepping don’t have to be complicated!

If you are like many moms I know, you have such a busy life, that making homemade, healthy meals each day is a constant struggle. Instead of just giving in and going through the local drive-thru or ordering pizza three nights a week, why not give meal planning and meal prepping a try? Here are some things to know about each of these options to help save time, money, and still prepare healthy meals each day for your family.

**This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure here.**

Meal Planning for Busy Moms + Meal Planner Printable

What is Meal Planning?

Before you can start on your meal prep, you need to plan your meals. Naturally, this is what you are going to focus on with meal planning. Meal planning is nothing more than figuring out what meals you are going to make in the near future. It can be as detailed as you want, though the more information you include in your meal scheduling, the better off you will be.

By starting with meal planning, you will then know what and how to better meal prep. This is going to help save you time because you aren’t running to the supermarket every day trying to figure out what to get for dinner that night.

You already know the meals for at least a week beforehand. Here is a rundown of how meal planning works, though keep in mind there is a lot of room for variation.

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

How Many Weeks to Plan For

The first thing you should decide is exactly how much meal planning you want to do, in regards to how many days or weeks to plan ahead of time. This really depends on you and a number of factors should be considered. Think about how much time you have for meal planning and prepping, how often your family likes to switch up recipes, and realistically what you can spend at the supermarket for planning these meals.

You should also consider how much room you have in your refrigerator and freezer. Planning for 3 weeks ahead of time is fine for the schedule, but you might not be buying food for this long if you don’t have somewhere to put everything.

When you are just starting out, try to meal plan for just one full week and see how it goes. This should include all meals and snacks your family will eat for that entire week, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and desserts.

It includes meals you will prepare at home with leftovers, lunches your kids and you will bring to work or school, and any extra items you need, such as bringing brownies to the local potluck or any other special occasions.

I created a 10 minutes/week meal plan system and everyone absolutely loves because it is so simple and efficient!

Meal planning is a time and sanity saver for busy moms who need to organize their lives better so they have time for what really matters: family!

By the way, if you want to learn how to get out of your busy schedule and find margins to breathe again in your life, read this post !

A Good Way to Start Meal Planning

If you’re not sure where to start with planning your meals, you can make it easy by taking stock of what is in your kitchen. Take note of everything in your pantry and refrigerator, write it down, and see what meals you can make from those ingredients. You can get my What’s On The Menu? freebie here to help you do just that!

This should be a good start, and then all you might need are some filler ingredients. You may have almost all of the ingredients you need for homemade biscuits, so you know you can have a meal that uses those biscuits as a way of saving money and time.

Once you know everything you already have, start considering what the different meals are that your family will be interested in, but don’t forget about considering how each of those meals will be prepared. If you know you will be pressed for time, try to think of meals you can make ahead of time or that can be made in the slow cooker all day while you are at work.

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

How to Be Detailed in Your Meal Plans

Once you have started noting down some meals you would like to make during the week, try to be as detailed as possible. If you think you will have leftovers from a chicken dinner in order to have lunch for 2-3 days, note that in the plan!

This helps you reduce how many lunches you need to prepare, which further saves you a lot of time when it comes time to prepare your different meals for the week. After listing the meals, make another list of all the groceries you need to purchase, minus what you already have on hand.

Leaving Room For Flexibility Throughout the Week

Once A Month Meals

While planning every meal is a great way to save time during the week, there are going to be some situations where it doesn’t go quite as you planned out. Make sure you leave some room for flexibility in your meals and meal planning.

For example, you might have a day where you want to go out to dinner because your spouse got a big promotion and you want to celebrate. Don’t hesitate to celebrate just because you planned to make spaghetti that night. Just readjust your schedule and make it another night. Meal planning is meant to simplify the process, not restrict yourself too much.

Include Leftovers in Your Plan

Always try to think about leftovers or using certain ingredients in your meal planning that can be used for multiple meals. If you know you want to make chicken and dumplings and are going to buy a pack of chicken breasts, buy more than you need and freeze them. This lets you have enough chicken for that meal, but also for chicken soup, salads, sandwiches, or other dinner ideas. You are going to save money and time by having the extra chicken on hand.

Meal Planning & Meal Prepping Books & Resources on Amazon

The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook: Easy and Wholesome Meals to Cook, Prep, Grab, and Go

What’s stopping you from getting healthy meals on the table?

Is it knowing what to make in the first place? Making sure you’ve got the right ingredients in the house? Putting together a plan to stay organized? Not having recipes that inspire you to cook?

Whatever the reason, you’ll be doing a happy dance when you discover what’s inside the Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle!

Want recipes & meal plans created specifically for the way you eat (paleo, keto, vegan or gluten-free, just to name a few)? Pick the mini-bundle that suits you and pay just $27.

Or prefer to have the whole collection of made-for-you meal plans, organized shopping lists, no-brainer tips, PLUS over 3,800 recipes for today’s popular ways of cooking and eating? For just $20 more, you’ll get every single thing in this bundle.

Find out everything that’s included or get yours here  https://us154.isrefer.com/go/HMPB2018//  (but hurry – this bundle is only here for a super short time!)

Excited About Starting Meal Planning?

I hope this post has encouraged you to plan your meals and save yourself a lot of time wondering in front of the refrigerator or spending unnecessary money on getting takeouts.

Meal planning will help you be more organized, give you more time to enjoy the family, and it will also help your family eat more healthy homemade meals.

Check out part two of this post coming up on meal prepping! 😉

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Everyday Meal Planning For Busy Moms - 16 Practical Tips

Are you a busy mom looking for practical everyday meal planning tips? Look no further - this blog post has 16 great tips to help you plan meals efficiently, save time and energy, and make delicious, healthy meals for your family.

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

The daily grind of being a busy mom or working mom can often leave you feeling frazzled and with little time for meal planning and preparation. Your daily to-do list is never-ending - work, dropping off and picking up your kids from school or sports, household chores, errands, and the looming question of what's for dinner. The struggle is as real as it gets. 

Mothers everywhere hold a house together, and that’s never been up for debate. Think about all the times you got ill or were out of town. It must have been utter chaos - from meal-prepping to every other small chore, none of them would have been done with quite the same efficiency. Having said that, it’s unfair to expect the mom to be the de-facto chef of the house. A kitchen is a place where everyone regardless of gender must learn the most important life skill of all i.e. cooking. 

Whether you’re a cooking pro or not (or even a mom or not), you must learn a thing or two about preparing quick, easy and nutritious meals daily (without losing your entire mind in the process). We assure that this practical and time-saving meal-planning guide will change the way you approach your daily meal-prep activities. 

16 Meal Planning Tips for Busy Moms

1. shop before you meal plan.

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Shopping before your meal plan can be a great way to save time and money, and reduce food waste. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your shopping trips:

  • Know what you need : Create a grocery list with the items you need for the week’s meals. Check the cupboards and fridge to make sure you don’t buy something you already have. 
  • Shop in season: Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season, as they tend to be cheaper and more nutrient-dense. 
  • Stick to your list: Avoid buying items that are not on your list, as they can add up quickly and increase your food budget. 
  • Look for discounts: Look for deals and discounts in the store, such as buy one get one free, coupons, and store specials.
  • Make use of bulk bins: Bulk bins are a great way to purchase items like nuts, dried fruits, grains, and snacks in the amounts you need. 
  • Shop around: Compare prices at local stores to make sure you’re getting the best deal. 
  • Choose quality: opt for quality over quantity and buy only what you need.

Are you a vegan struggling to shop for plant-based foods? You might find our guide on this topic very useful - The Ultimate Shopping Guide For Plant Based Foods

2. Buy in bulk (but don't hoard) 

Buying groceries in bulk can be a great way to save money and time, but it can also be a recipe for disaster if you do not plan. Here are a few tips to help you purchase groceries in bulk without overbuying:

  • Plan your meals in advance: Before hitting the grocery store, write down a list of all the meals you plan to make for the week. This will help you determine what exact ingredients you need and how much.
  • Make a shopping list: Once you know exactly what ingredients you need, make a shopping list and stick to it. This will help you stay focused at the store and avoid buying items you don't need.
  • Pay attention to expiration dates: When buying in bulk, make sure to check the expiration dates on each item. Be sure to purchase items with a longer expiration date so that you can use all the food before it goes bad.
  • Check prices per unit: Don't assume that buying in bulk is always cheaper. Compare the price per unit of the bulk item to the price per unit of the regular-sized item to make sure you're getting the best deal.

Learn the effects of domestic food wastage and the steps to minimize it - read our blog on this topic .

3. Meal plan on Sundays

Meal planning on Sundays can help busy moms save time and reduce stress during the week. It allows you to plan and prep healthy meals in advance, avoid last-minute take-outs, and stick to a grocery budget. Additionally, it gives the family a chance to sit together and plan the meals they would like for the week. By dedicating some time on Sundays, busy moms can set themselves up for a more organized, productive, and nutritious week.

Here’s what meal planning on a Sunday may look like for you:

  • Make a grocery list based on planned meals.
  • Cook or prepare meals in bulk.
  • Use leftovers or freeze them for later.
  • Involve family members in meal planning and prep.
  • Plan simple and quick meals for busy nights.

4. Write down your meal plan for the week

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Creating a meal plan can be a daunting task. The best way to go about it is to break it down into manageable steps. Try using a whiteboard to help you visualize your meal plan and keep it organized. Here are some tips to consider when creating and maintaining your meal plan on a whiteboard: 

  • Start by exploring recipes and determining which meals you would like to include in your meal plan. 
  • Write down all of your meal ideas on the whiteboard and assign a day to each meal.
  • Think about how much time you have each day to prepare and cook meals. 
  • Set a specific budget for each meal. This will help you determine which ingredients you can buy each week. 
  • Make sure your meal plan is varied and balanced.  
  • Create a shopping list and make sure to include all the necessary ingredients. 
  • Update your meal plan on the whiteboard each week as your budget or time availability changes. 
  • Use the whiteboard to track your progress with meal prepping and grocery shopping. 

5. Keep a running list of recipes your family loves (recipe binders or your own cookbook) 

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Organizing your favorite family recipes into a recipe binder is a great way to bring everyone together around the dinner table. Not only is it fun to collect recipes, but it's also a great way to preserve the recipes for years to come. Here are some tips for creating a recipe binder that your family will love: 

  • Gather recipes from a variety of sources: family and friends, cookbooks, magazines, websites, etc. 
  • Create your cookbook or recipe binder, and bookmark each recipe or cuisine so that they are protected and easily accessible. 
  • Organize the recipes into categories and subcategories so that you can easily find what you are looking for. 
  • Have a designated spot to keep the binder so that it will be easily accessible.
  • Add a personal touch by including notes, photos, and other nostalgic items to the binder. 
  • Have fun with it by making the binder your own by decorating it with scrapbooking supplies or other creative elements.

Read our MasterChef recipe blogs:

Chef Jenn Lee's Dak Galbi

Chef Keyma Vasquez's Chupe De Pollo

Chef Kishwar Chowdhury's Chicken Korma

Chef Dorian Hunter's Cajun Chicken Pasta

6. Get efficient at ingredient prep

Preparing ingredients is an important and often time-consuming part of cooking. Here are some tips to help you become more efficient in the kitchen:

  • Get organized: Start by setting up a system for ingredient storage and organization. Label containers and shelves so you can quickly identify each ingredient.
  • Double up: When prepping multiple ingredients, consider doubling or tripling the quantity. This will save you time in the long run.
  • Use time-saving tools: Invest in kitchen tools such as a food processor, vegetable chopper, or spiralizer to quickly and easily cut and slice ingredients.
  • Have a plan: Have a plan before you start prepping. Make a shopping list, decide on recipes, and break down each step.

blog

7. Try a grocery service

Grocery services can aid in meal planning by offering recipe suggestions, meal planning tools, pre-portioned ingredients, food delivery, and personalized recommendations.

  • Recipe suggestions: Many grocery delivery services offer recipe suggestions based on the ingredients you have ordered.
  • Meal planning tools : Some services have meal planning tools that allow you to plan and schedule your meals for the week.
  • Pre-portioned ingredients: Some services deliver pre-portioned ingredients for each recipe, making it easier to follow the recipe and reducing food waste.
  • Food delivery: Grocery delivery services bring the ingredients you need directly to your door, saving you time and effort.
  • Personalized recommendations: Some services use AI to make personalized recommendations based on your previous orders and preferences.

Some popular meal kit and grocery delivery services include Instacart , Amazon Fresh , Walmart Grocery , Blue Apron , Freshly , and Hello Fresh .

8. Plan 5-6 dinners per week 

Creating a week-long meal plan and grocery list should not be a stressful task that involves planning seven breakfasts, seven lunches, and seven dinners, all at once. Such an endeavor would take up an exorbitant amount of time and yield an excessive amount of food. Instead, the focus should be on creating a plan for five to six dinners per week. 

And as for lunches…

9. Eat leftovers for lunch

Making leftover lunches simple doesn't have to be difficult. Here are a few tips to make your lunchtime meal as easy and efficient as possible:

  • Buy in bulk. Buying food in bulk is a great way to save money and have plenty of ingredients on hand for lunchtime meals.
  • Get creative. Instead of eating the same meals over and over, get creative and combine ingredients to make new recipes.
  • Invest in good storage containers . Investing in good storage containers is a great way to keep your food fresh and organized.
  • Meal prep. Make your lunches the night before or on the weekend when you have more time.
  • Make use of leftovers. Make use of leftovers from dinner or other meals.

Read our blog : Salvage your leftovers with these quick-fix recipes

10. Keep breakfast staples at hand

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and having breakfast staples on hand is essential for a nutritious start. Keeping breakfast staples in the pantry can help you have a delicious and healthy breakfast every day.

There are many breakfast staples you can keep in your pantry to make sure you never go without a good breakfast. Here are some of the most popular breakfast staples to keep at hand:

  • Whole grain cereals: Whole grain cereals are a great source of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. They are also low in fat, sodium, and sugar.
  • Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds are rich in protein, healthy fats, and minerals, making them a great source of nutrition for any meal. Keep a variety of your favorite nuts and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds, in your pantry.
  • Oatmeal: Oatmeal is also a great source of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber, as well as protein and healthy fats. It’s also low in sugar and sodium, so it’s a great choice for a nutritious breakfast.
  • Fresh and frozen fruits: Having fresh and frozen fruits on hand can help you whip up a healthy breakfast in no time. From apples and bananas to blueberries and strawberries, you’ll always have something nutritious and delicious on hand.
  • Healthy fats: Healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil are great to have in your pantry for a variety of uses. They’re great for cooking and baking, and they can also be a great addition to your breakfast.

11. Freeze freezer-friendly recipes

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Here are 5 foolproof ways to freeze freezer-friendly recipes:

  • Choose Recipes Wisely: Pick ingredients that freeze well like dairy products, sauces, and soups. Avoid recipes with delicate ingredients like fresh herbs, vegetables, or seafood. 
  • Portion Control: Portioning out ingredients into individual containers or bags makes it easier to grab a single serving when you're ready to cook.
  • Flash Freeze: If you're making a large batch of food, flash freeze the individual servings first. This will help prevent them from sticking together when stored. 
  • Label and Date: Label and date your freezer-safe containers or bags before freezing them. This will make it easier to keep track of what you have and when it needs to be eaten.
  • Keep Cold: Make sure your freezer is set to the right temperature to keep your food from spoiling. Most freezers should be set to 0 degrees Fahrenheit or colder.

12. Limit cooking time ‍

Cooking shouldn’t be an all-day affair. Here are some tips to help you limit cooking time while still producing delicious meals:

  • Prep your ingredients before you start cooking. This can save a lot of time, as it allows you to avoid having to chop vegetables, measure out spices, and do other time-consuming tasks while you’re also trying to cook. 
  • Cook meals that are easy to prepare. Choose recipes that don’t require a lot of elaborate steps and don’t take too long to cook. 
  • Use a slow cooker or pressure cooker. These appliances can cut down your cooking time significantly. 
  • Take advantage of pre-made ingredients. Buy pre-chopped vegetables, pre-made sauces, and other ingredients that can help you save time. 
  • Use one-pot meals. These are meals that cook everything together in one pot, so you don't have to cook each ingredient separately. 

13. Use time-saving smart kitchen appliances

Smart kitchen gadgets like smart cookers, slow cookers, and sous vide machines can save time by streamlining meal preparation and cooking. They allow for hands-free, set-it-and-forget-it cooking and can also reduce cooking time. With a smart cooking device at your disposal, your everyday cooking time can be greatly reduced. 

There are quite a few game-changing smart kitchen devices in the market today. Instant Pot which was launched in 2010, caught on with people in the 2016s when consumers started to warm up to the idea of equipping their kitchens with multi-programmable cookers. Similarly, Rotimatic , an automatic flatbread maker, became well-known among the South Asian diaspora in the US. The latest entrant in the market (and also well-differentiated from most smart kitchen appliances of today), Nymble , is an end-to-end cooking robot that can cook an entire meals for you and your family. Using Machine learning and AI technologies and programmed with countless chef-crafted recipes, categorized by various cuisines and diets, it is one of the most efficient smart cookers available today.

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

14. Involve your kids in the cooking process

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Cooking with your kids can be a fun and educational experience for everyone involved. Not only can children learn valuable lessons about nutrition and basic cooking skills, but they also get to enjoy the result of their hard work. Here are some tips for involving your kids in the kitchen: 

  • Introduce your kids to basic kitchen safety and hygiene. 
  • Start them off with simple tasks they can do on their own. 
  • Choose recipes with few ingredients that are easy to prepare.
  • Give them a choice in what they make and let them be creative. 
  • Make it fun! Make sure to laugh and enjoy the experience. 
  • Offer positive reinforcement and praise. 
  • Take pictures of the finished meal and celebrate your accomplishments.

15. Batch cooking

Batch cooking is an efficient way to streamline your meal prep and save time in the kitchen. From prepping and planning your meals to cooking larger quantities of ingredients, this guide will offer step-by-step instructions to help you get started with batch cooking. We’ll discuss the basics of batch cooking, provide tips for stocking your pantry, and recommend a few easy recipes to get you started. With batch cooking, you can save time and money while having delicious, nutritious meals all week long.

That being said, batch cooking may not be the healthiest or even the most sustainable option out there since the food made often loses its nutritional value and taste over time (if not consumed within the stipulated time) and leads to food wastage.

Learn if Batch Cooking is the right fit for you , and how it compares against daily meal prep .

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16. Keep it simple for weekdays

The weekday rush often doesn't allow for experimenting with new recipes, so keeping things simple is a must. You may have a job or multiple other responsibilities to attend to, and the same may apply to other family members. In such a scenario, whipping up a brand-new recipe may not be the best idea. This can result in you losing tons of time and energy, and the recipe itself may not live up to your expectations. Instead, mix and match ingredients to prep easy recipes. For example, you could serve breakfast foods for dinner, like eggs and yogurt. Or you could do a snack-style dinner with a variety of healthy offerings. This way, you can make sure everyone is fed without spending too much time in the kitchen.

Can a cooking robot simplify meal planning for busy moms?

cooking robot

While meal prep helps you streamline the process of cooking, Nymble goes a step further and ‘does’ the actual cooking. It automates the entire cooking process so all you have to do is load the prepped ingredients and let Nymble prepare you a meal while you go about your day as usual. Besides, it updates you in real-time through app notifications when done. 

Moreover, Nymble aids meal planning by giving you access to 500+ ready-to-eat recipes , spanning every cuisine and diet. It lets you filter recipes based on preferences, diet, calories, and ingredients of choice, or even study detailed nutritional information for every recipe you cook. We recognized the need to automate the process of cooking in itself, since people are busier than ever before, and often resort to an unhealthy diet in the process. But at the same time, we chose to empower users to make their own food decisions, by giving them the ability of customizing, curating, tracking and reviewing all meals made by the cooking robot.

With Nymble in your kitchen , you can start your day by picking the recipes you'd like to try. After that, all you have to do is set out a reasonable and time-efficient meal-prep routine. Once the veggies, herbs, spices and all the other ingredients are ready, all that's needful is for you to load them onto your cooking robot's assorted sections and tap 'cook' to begin the cooking process. And in no more than 40 minutes, your meal will be hot and ready! Having this smart kitchen appliance makes your daily meal-planning process extremely efficient, but also gives you the gift of time which you can use to focus on more pressing responsibilities.

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Summing Up ‍

In conclusion, as busy moms and working professionals, finding the time for meal planning and preparation can seem like an impossible task. But with the right tools and strategies, mealtime can be transformed into a stress-free and enjoyable experience. Embrace the meal planning solutions presented in this blog and take the first step towards a healthier and happier mealtime routine. Say goodbye to fast food and hello to delicious home-cooked meals, all while managing your busy schedule.

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10 Incredibly Easy Meal Planning Tips For Busy Moms

Eating home cooked meals regularly is the first step toward good health. As a busy mother, it can get challenging to provide wholesome homecooked food to your family every day. But with a little meal planning, it is possible to eat healthily and do so consistently. If you are starting on your own healthy and clean eating journey this year, these meal planning tips for busy families will come in handy.

IMPORTANCE OF MEAL PLANNING FOR FAMILY

  • Meal planning helps you stay on track with the health goals for your family.
  • It reduces daily pressure to build meals and keeps the day flowing along smoothly, especially when you have a packed to-do list to get through the day.
  • Meal planning also reduces wastage and saves money, as you can plan ahead taking your weekly schedule into consideration and everyones taste preferences.

More on budget friendly meal planning here.

Get my ebook on Easy Family Meals for simple and meal planning friendly meals that everyone can enjoy together.

BACKGROUND ON MY JOURNEY TO CLEAN EATING

I have always been deeply interested in food and nutrition. But I did not take cooking seriously until after marriage. Once we set up our home, I quickly took up the challenge of making healthy home-cooked meals.

This meant learning lots of new skills. I had to learn everything from how to cook something as simple as dal (lentils) in a pressure cooker to making more skill based meat dishes.

Thankfully for me, I come from a family of gifted cooks. This helped me understand the flavor balance required when preparing a meal. I continued learning new recipes as I got better at cooking.

Along the way, my own knowledge about the health benefits of plant-based foods was increasing. This lead to a change in our family’s diet and invention of new easy dishes that supported our busy lifestyle.

An important point to note here is that my husband is a great cook, more often better than me. This is a big help as we run our household. The more skilled cooks in the house the easier it is to whip up dishes in a jiffy.

Both of us are on the same page when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle at home and he pitches in and helps with weekly meal prep too.

At the time of writing this blog post, we follow a Flexitarian diet – Plant-based foods are at the center of all meals in our home, with a focus on reducing meat, dairy and processed food intake to a minimum.

Okay, now that you have a background on what we follow at home let me also tell you that every health journey is different. Be open to learning new things and enjoying the process rather than fixate on certain goals.

Here we go,

meal planning tips- meal planning template

 Easy And Healthy Meal Planning Tips | Meal Planning For Parents

1. build a recipe bank.

In order to cook meals at home, you need to know how to make a variety of dishes. When I first started cooking, I maintained a recipe box.

Every time I made something that tasted awesome I would jot down the recipe and put it in a box. This box is what I call my recipe bank. I categorize recipes in my recipe box under the following headings – Breakfast, Mains, Appetizer, and Desserts.

Here is the recipe box I own.

Whenever I am running out of ideas, I quickly reference my recipe bank. The box looks good on my kitchen stand and acts as my go-to on days I am lacking inspiration.

You can use any other method to maintain recipes too. Bookmark a recipe online when you like it, make a Pinterest board (here is mine if you are interested in taking a look), save them on Google drive, or maintain a recipe book.

2. Build a pantry essentials resource

Ever since we started clean eating I started maintaining a word file on my computer with our favorite brands for pantry essentials.

In a country like India, finding clean eating friendly snack brands and organic groceries is a little bit of an exercise. Having a pantry resource list on hand helps when I go out shopping.

Here is a look at my personal pantry list . Always remember, if you like a brand when shopping , note it down in the notes app of your phone and have this list ready the next time you go shopping.

3. Build a weekly menu | Meal planning for busy  families

Plan the weekly menu on a fixed day of the week. For most of us, it is Saturday.

Take stock of what’s in the fridge , freezer, and pantry to see what you have on hand before writing out your weekly meal planning ideas.

I usually make a meal plan on Saturday and use Sundays to shop and meal prep for the week.

Another time-saving tip is to order groceries online or ask a local farmer/vendor to deliver a weekly groceries basket home.

We use a mixed strategy; I order staples through a local organic grocer. We get weekly vegetables and fruits basket delivered home. Then whatever extras I need I shop on Sundays. This saves me a lot of time and effort.

Choose easy meal planning recipes. Recipes that can be batch cooked and stored or ones that are one-pot meals or under 30-minute meals.

I stick this magnetic weekly planner on my fridge so that the weekly meal ideas are available at a glance in my kitchen.

4.  Make a grocery shopping list | Meal planning friendly pantry list

Some staples on our weekly grocery shopping list are;

Grains: We use a variety of grains in our cooking. Different types of rice, millets, pasta, quinoa,

Lentils and legumes: A variety of lentils and legumes such as chickpeas, kidney beans, whole masoor, moth beans, black eyed peas etc.

Milk: Nut milk or Cow milk

Fruits: 3-5 different types of fresh in-season fruits. Sometimes more than this.

Vegetables: 5-7 vegetables for the week

Nut and seeds: Depending on what nuts and seeds we are running out of, we stock up on almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, flax seeds, hemp seeds. We also buy natural nut butter .

Dried fruit: Raisins, dates or apricots. I always have all or one of these in my pantry.

Indian gravy base ingredients: Ingredients like fresh coriander leaves, curry leaves, green chilies, dry red chilly, mustard seeds, cumin seeds are needed to make the Indian curry base.

Dry spice powders: Stock up on dry spices as needed.

Frozen peas, Tofu, and Eggs

Snacks or ingredients to build healthy snacks: We look for clean snacking options for the week, or buy ingredients that can help build quick snacks.

For our home its usually 1-2 packaged snack options (I select healthy options like lotus seeds, murmura (rice puffs), chana, or certain baked packaged snacks from our local supermarket). At other times we make clean eating friendly snacks at home like energy balls , energy bars , homemade chivda (rice puff based savory mix) or baked sweet potato.

Related reading : Easy snack ideas for lactating moms (Quick snacks that everyone can enjoy!)

5. Theme nights

You can add a theme night on some days of the week. For example, Thursdays as pasta night and Saturdays as soup and sandwich night.

This gives you something to look forward to and brings in variety to the weekly menu.

meal planning tips-meal planning ideas

6. Plan a break

Meal planning does not mean you cook every day with no breaks. Plan a take-out night or go out for dinner as a family. The key is to add some fun to the routine, which helps you stick to eating regular meals at home.

We plan 2 family dinners every month. As a family, these dinners are an opportunity for us to bond with our son. We try different cuisines with him and introduce him to different regional and world foods.

7. Meal Prep

Sundays are meal prep days in our home. We go through our pantry and bulk prepare some of the foods we are running out of.

We make nut butter in batches and store 2-3 small jars of this homemade nut butter in the fridge. They last around 3 – 4 weeks in the fridge.

Other than nut butter, we make almond milk that we use in pancakes and smoothies.

Boil potatoes and store in the fridge. Boiled potatoes come in handy to make vegetable patties as a side with any meal.

You can even chop vegetables for the week and store them in the fridge.

When I am planning a busy week I prep and store mix of vegetables in an airtight container and these I will use throughout the week to add in omelets, stir-fries and rice dishes.

Keep flour mixes ready to make pancakes quickly in the morning. I fill a container with ragi and wheat flour ready to use in the mornings for breakfast pancakes.

Weekends are also a time to make dosa batters at home.

Clean and chop veggies and fruits. I usually clean off the skin of fruits like pomegranate and store in a large airtight container to use throughout the week during breakfast or as a snack option.

I also use whatever time I find in the week or on the weekend to make small batches of homemade snacks like energy balls, roasted makhane (lotus seeds), bake and store large sweet potatoes. Or make a huge batch of hummus that can be used as a dip and spread. These simple preparations help me eat clean snacks during the week.

Some of our go-to meal plan friendly recipes :

Make ahead breakfast bars recipe

Healthy chocolate muffins

Simple oat muffins

Easy ragi ladoo

8 . Try new recipes

Both my husband and I are lovers of variety. We try new recipes or styles of cooking to keep things interesting.

This is the key to maintaining momentum with meal planning and eating at home. Chalk out a day or two each month when you try a new food or recipe.

9. Batch cooking

As a busy mom, you don’t want to be in the kitchen whipping up meals the entire day.

Cook in large quantities so that extra food can be used the next day as leftovers.

One trick I use frequently is, reuse leftover vegetables by mixing with boiled potatoes and make patties the next day. This way we have an additional side with lunch. Or I make vegetable patty wraps for lunch instead of a complete meal.

Batch cook foods like dal (lentils) that can be stored in the fridge and used over a period of 2 days.

Staples like quinoa, sweet potatoes, broccoli can be cooked, baked and steamed and stored in airtight containers. On busy afternoons these can be assembled to make a quick lunch budda bowl style. Here is a basic quinoa recipe for beginners.

10. Invest in good cookware and kitchen appliances

How can I talk about meal planning and not talk about some amazing tools you need to make meal prep quicker and easier.

Here are some of my favorite kitchen appliances. These are budget-friendly appliances that are also time-savers in the kitchen.

Chopper by Pigeon  Best chopper to make chop onions and tomatoes.

Mixer-Grinder by Philips We use our mixer grinder for everything. This is the single most used appliance in my kitchen. We make Indian gravy bases, energy ball mixes, smoothies, and almond milk in this mixer-grinder.

Prestige Pan You can’t make Indian food, especially dal without a sturdy pressure pan. We own this pressure pan for 5 years and it is still in great condition. The only thing that needed changing was the inner rubber ring that wore out on constant use. Other than that in the last 5 years I had no issues with this pan.

Food Storage Containers  I prefer rectangular shaped containers compared to the round ones. They take up less space in the refrigerator.

There you go,

These are all the tips and tricks we use in our home for meal planning. Hope this blog post inspires you to start regular meal prep and cook more often at home.

Do you meal plan for the week? What are some of your successful meal planning tips? Leave us a comment below.

4 thoughts on “10 Incredibly Easy Meal Planning Tips For Busy Moms”

I need to work on meal planning before grocery shopping instead of trying to figure it out while I am at the grocery store. And I think I should try meal prep days and batch cooking. That would make it easier. Thanks for the tips.

These tips are just awesome. I also prepare my whole week meals on Sunday. Thanks

Wow, that’s awesome Kristen!

The Blog is a good read, I got to know valuable information about the topic. I will definitely reccommend this to my peers and family members.

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Clean Eating Recipes and Healthy Living Tips for Families with Kids

Clean Eating Spaghetti Bolognese (The Cheat Version for Busy Moms)

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Clean Eating Spaghetti Bolognese. The Cheats Version. The exact one I make at least 2 – 3 times a month (maybe more if I’m really being honest). It’s fast, easy & healthy and I can get it on the table in under 30 minutes. Plus (And this is a big plus) if I make a little extra, I can pop it in the freezer for another day or pack it in lunchboxes for an easy school lunch.

Quick and Easy CLEAN EATING Spaghetti Bolognaise. The Cheats Version for Busy Moms to get on the table in under 30 min!

THE SECRET OF GO TO MEALS I have a few meals that I know I can get on the table fast. Like lightning kinda fast. They are healthy, tasty and guaranteed to go down without a fuss – and generally take 15 – 20 minutes from start to finish. I call these my “5PM PANIC Meals”. This is one of those meals!!

My Top 5 Go TO Meals:

1. Spaghetti Bolognaise (The Cheats Version) 2. Chinese Fried Rice 3. Pizza (with my world famous in our home two Ingredient Pizza Dough) 4. Tuna Salad Pockets 5. Sweet and Sticky Thai Noodles

Your Go To Recipe Book

It doesn’t matter how you do this, but just do it. Start a Binder, scribble in a notebook, tattoo it on your arm or staple it to the fridge (not really, but you get the idea). Start building a list of “Go TO Meals” that work for your family. When you find a recipe that’s fast, healthy and the family loves – Write it down. Trust me. If you don’t you will forget it! This little “Whats for dinner playbook” = no more stressful dinner times.

5PM PANIC RECIPE Binder (FREE Printable)

To make sure that you actually do this, you can get my Free Printable HERE:

GET YOUR FREE COPY NOW

5PM PANIC FREE RECIPE BINDER

Ingredients

  • 1 Bag Wholegrain Spaghetti
  • 500 g Ground Beef
  • 2 Carrots grated
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 6 – 8 mushrooms finely sliced
  • 6 Mushrooms finely sliced
  • 1 Bottle Organic Pasta Sauce

Instructions

  • Cook Pasta as per instructions on bag.
  • Heat up Skillet on stove top. Add olive oil and ground beef. Cook until browned (about 12 -15min) add garlic, vegetables and fry until softened. Add Pasta Sauce. Turn down heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Serve with a fresh salad.

Quick and Easy CLEAN EATING Spaghetti Bolognaise. The Cheats Version for Busy Moms to get on the table in under 30 min!

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Meal Ideas for Busy Moms

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20 Minute Meal Ideas for busy weeknights 

Hard Knock Mama

How to Create the Easiest Meal Plan for Busy Moms

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Busy moms know how hard it can be to find the time to make healthy homemade meals for your family. That’s why meal planning is a necessity! It can be tough to find the time to cook dinner after a long day at work, but with a little bit of planning, it’s definitely doable. That’s why I’ve created an easy-to-follow meal plan for busy moms and rounded up simple, yet delicious recipes that can be made in a hurry.

As a working mom, I dread the question “What’s for dinner?” That’s the last thing I want to hear after a long day of work. But my family needs to eat and eating out every day was getting expensive. It was also not as nutritious as I wanted for my kids.

Over time, I learned some strategies that helped me plan and prep our meals in advance. This was a lifesaver, not only reducing our food costs but also decreasing the time and energy I spend thinking about what to make for dinner.

I created this guide from my own experience can help you ensure your families are eating healthy, nutritious meals even during a busy week. Plus, it provides tips on how to save time in the kitchen and make mealtime less stressful.

And don’t forget to grab the Ultimate Meal Planner Bundle for busy moms, which includes our top hacks and printables for meal planning, so that you stop over- shopping for groceries, know what your family is going to eat every day, and finally track and maintain a healthy lifestyle!

Benefits of Meal Planning

As a busy mom, you are constantly juggling a million different things. You’re trying to balance your job, your family, and your own personal life. And somewhere in there, you’re supposed to find time to cook a healthy meal for your family. It can seem impossible!

But there’s one simple thing you can do that will make your life a lot easier: meal planning.

Meal planning may seem like an extra step that you don’t have time for, but there are actually a lot of benefits:

  • It will save you time in the long run. By taking some time to plan out your meals ahead of time, you can avoid the last-minute scramble to figure out what to make for dinner.
  • You can ensure your family will have healthy, nutritious meals . When you meal plan, you can make sure you’re incorporating a variety of foods into your family’s diet.
  • You can save money . When you have a plan for what you’re going to make each week, you’re less likely to end up with expensive take-out or impulse purchases at the grocery store.
  • Meal planning is also beneficial for weight loss . If you’re trying to watch your weight, meal planning can help you stay on track by making sure you’re eating the right foods in the right portions.

Overall, meal planning is a great way to save time and money, while also making sure your family is eating healthy. So if you’re a busy mom, make meal planning a priority!

7 Meal Planning Tips for Busy Moms

woman packing her lunch

If you’re new to meal planning, it can seem daunting. But it doesn’t have to be! Here are a few simple tips to get you started:

1. Make a master list of quick and easy recipes.

Keep it simple. Don’t try to make fancy meals every night. Stick with easy-to-make recipes that can be put together quickly. As you try out new recipes, create a recipe bank of the ones that can be made quickly and easily, and the ones that are a hit with your family. That way, when you’re short on time, you’ll know exactly which simple meals you can turn to.

2. Repurpose leftovers or make extra servings for future meals.

Instead of eating out every meal, cook once and eat twice by using leftovers for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. For example, if you make rice for dinner, add it to a stir fry with some veggies for tomorrow’s lunch. Or, if you’re cooking pasta for dinner, make a double batch and freeze the extra for another night. This leads to a lot less food waste and helps you save time on your next meal.

3. Schedule time for meal planning and prep work.

Make meal planning and prepping a part of your weekly routine by setting aside a few hours each week to get it done. Because you’ll likely be busy working on weekdays, weekends are a good time to prepare meals or cook in bulk. Doing this will help you stay on track until meal prepping becomes a habit.

4. Get the whole family involved in meal preparation.

It’s a good idea to get your family on the same page by involving them in meal planning and cooking. Ask your family for input on what their favorite meals are, or what type of foods they’re in the mood for. You can also ask your kids to help you come up with dinner ideas or have them help with the cooking. This is a great way to teach them about healthy eating, and it’s also a fun bonding activity.

5. Take advantage of convenience foods like frozen fruits and vegetables.

While fresh fruits and vegetables are preferable, frozen ones are a close second and can save you a lot of time in the kitchen. Frozen fruits and vegetables can be just as nutritious as fresh ones, and they can be used in a variety of recipes. So next time you’re grocery shopping, stock up on some frozen goods to make meal prep easier.

6. Make themed dinner nights.

Designate certain nights for specific themes, such as meatless Monday, taco Tuesday, or pizza night. This will make meal planning a lot easier because you’ll only have to come up with recipes that fit the theme. Plus, your family will start to look forward to their favorite themed dinners.

7. Use a meal planning service.

For busy seasons when meal prepping is especially tough, invest in a healthy meal planning service like The Scramble or eMeals . These services do all the hard work for you by creating grocery shopping lists and coming up with new recipes each week. This can be a lifesaver when you’re short on time and energy.

Following these tips will help you make healthy and quick meals for your family, even during your busiest weeks.

Best Time-Saving Kitchen Gadgets for Meal Prepping

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There are tons of helpful kitchen gadgets that can make meal prep easier and faster. Some of our favorites include:

  • Slow cooker. A slow cooker is a working mom’s best friend! You can throw all of your ingredients in the pot in the morning, and by the time you get home from work, dinner will be ready. There are tons of great slow-cooker meal recipes online, so you’re sure to find one that your family will love.
  • Food processor. A food processor can be a huge time saver when it comes to meal prep. It can be used to chop vegetables, make sauces, and even cook entire meals. If you don’t have much time to spend in the kitchen, a food processor is a must-have appliance.
  • Instant pot. An instant pot is another great time-saving kitchen gadget. It can be used for a variety of tasks, including cooking rice, making soups, and even steaming vegetables. If you’re looking for a one-pot meal solution, an instant pot is the way to go.
  • Veggie spiralizer. A veggie spiralizer is a great way to add more veggies to your diet. It can be used to turn vegetables into noodles, which makes for a quick and healthy meal. Spiralized vegetables can also be used as toppings for salads or as a healthy alternative to pasta.
  • Air fryer. An air fryer is a great way to make fast, healthy meals. You can use it to cook chicken, fish, vegetables, and even French fries. Air-fried food is typically lower in fat than food that’s been fried in oil, so it’s a healthier option as well.

Meal prepping doesn’t have to be time-consuming. There are tons of other great kitchen gadgets that can make meal prep easier, but these are just a few of our favorites. With a little bit of help from technology, you’ll be able to get dinner on the table in no time.

Grocery List Essentials

grocery list

There are some essentials that should be on every working mom’s grocery list because they make meal prep easier.

Here are a few items that you should always have on hand:

  • Frozen and fresh fruits and vegetables including: broccoli, cauliflower, peas, carrots, spinach, berries
  • Canned beans including: black beans, chickpeas, lentils
  • Whole grain pasta and bread
  • White or brown rice
  • Chicken or veggie stock
  • Sliced deli meats and cheese
  • Easy protein options including rotisserie chicken, ground beef, canned tuna, and pre-cooked shrimp
  • Healthy snacks such as nuts , seeds, fruit, veggie sticks, and yogurt
  • Olive oil or cooking spray
  • Spreads including: mayonnaise, butter, ketchup, and mustard
  • Dressings including: apple cider, balsamic, and red wine vinegars
  • Salt and pepper
  • Herbs and spices including: garlic powder, onion powder, paprika , oregano and cumin

By keeping these items in your pantry, you’ll always have something to make for dinner, even when you’re short on time. Plus, they’re all healthy options that will help you maintain your energy levels throughout the day. So next time you’re at the grocery store, be sure to pick up these essentials.

Sample Meal Plan for Busy Moms (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)

Below is a sample weekly meal plan for busy moms. Use it as inspiration to create your own meal plan for each day of the week:

Breakfast: Overnight oats with fruit and nuts

Lunch: Tuna salad sandwiches on whole wheat bread

Dinner: One pot pesto chicken pasta with a side of green beans

Breakfast: Egg muffins with fresh fruit

Lunch: Turkey and cheese roll-ups with a side of grapes

Dinner: Instant pot beef or turkey chili with cornbread muffins

Breakfast: Yogurt parfait with granola and berries

Lunch: Leftover pesto chicken pasta

Dinner: Chicken stir-fry over rice noodles

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with toast and avocado

Lunch: Turkey and cheese sandwiches with a side of tomato soup

Dinner: Slow cooker pulled pork sandwiches on whole wheat buns with a side of sweet potatoes

Breakfast: Oatmeal with bananas and honey

Lunch: Leftover chicken stir-fry

Dinner: Sheet pan chicken fajitas with a side of black beans

Breakfast: Banana pancakes and fresh fruit

Lunch: Spaghetti and meatballs with a garden salad

Dinner: Roasted salmon with mashed potatoes and broccoli

Breakfast: Leftover egg muffins with turkey bacon

Lunch: Turkey burgers with sweet potato fries

Dinner: One Sheet Pan sausage and root vegetable scramble

You can use many of the ingredients in multiple meals. For example, on Sunday, you can meal prep a rotisserie chicken, roasted veggies, a large garden salad, and a large batch of rice to use in recipes during the week.

Last Word on Busy Mom Meal Plans

Meal prepping can help you save time and money, and help you avoid unhealthy fast food options on busy weeknights. So be sure to give meal planning a try and see how it works for you and your family.

There are a few different ways that working moms can plan meals. Some moms like to meal prep on the weekends, so they have food ready to go during the week. Others prefer to cook dinner every night, and some working moms rely on quick and easy solutions like frozen meals or takeout. No matter what your schedule looks like, there’s a meal plan that will work for you.

Some easy meals for working moms include: crockpot recipes, one-pot meals, freezer-friendly meals, and meals that can be made in 30 minutes or less. There are also tons of great meal delivery services that can make dinner time a breeze.

There are a few different ways that working moms can eat healthy. Meal prepping on the weekends is a great way to make sure you have healthy food ready to go during the week. Cooking at home is also a good way to control what goes into your food. Planning ahead is also key – if you know you’ll be short on time, make sure to have quick and easy meals that you can make in a hurry. And, choosing healthy options when eating out is crucial for maintaining a healthy diet.

Making your own healthy meal plan is easy! Start by thinking about the types of foods you and your family like to eat. Then, make a list of quick and easy meals that you can make in a hurry. Finally, prep some meals ahead of time so you have healthy food ready to go during the week.

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For more resources for busy moms, check out:

  • The Ultimate Guide to Time Management for Working Moms
  • 9 Top Planners for Working Moms
  • How to Create a Realistic Cleaning Schedule for Working Moms [Printable]

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Hi I’m Yesenia ,

a working mom of two kids. I’ve experienced all of the beautiful and crazy moments of early parenthood: breastfeeding, picky eaters, toilet training, balancing work with kids, and the list continues! I created Hard Knock Mama to help working moms navigate through their child’s early years and find a successful balance in their home, work, and life.

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Home » Self-Care » Healthy Eating » Healthy Eating for Busy Moms: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes

Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating for Busy Moms: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes

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Published: January 6, 2024

Prioritize proper nutrition to take on the challenges of motherhood!

Healthy Eating for Busy Moms: Plant-based meal prep bowls

Finding time to prioritize healthy eating for busy moms can often feel impossible with all the responsibilities that come with motherhood. When juggling work, childcare, and household responsibilities, many moms reach for convenient, but often nutritionally deficient, foods. However, maintaining a healthy diet is crucial for both the well-being of mothers and their families. In order to help you do that, we’ve gathered some practical tips, time-saving tricks, and delicious recipes to help busy moms like you prioritize their nutrition without sacrificing precious time.

Table of Contents

The importance of healthy eating for busy moms, meal prepping made easy, smart grocery shopping, quick and healthy snack ideas, one-pot wonders, freezer-friendly favorites, breakfast boosters, lunchtime solutions, dinner recipes, snacking smart, questions and answers, more healthy recipes.

importance of healthy eating for busy moms

Before deep-diving into the practical aspects, it’s crucial to understand why healthy eating is so important. In addition to supporting overall well-being, proper nutrition provides the necessary energy and mental clarity required to juggle the many responsibilities of motherhood. Both moms and their families benefit from maintaining a nutritious diet, physically and mentally.

Practical Tips for Busy Moms

healthy eating for busy moms with families

Learning to meal prep efficiently will save you time and ensure that nutritious meals are readily available whenever you need them. We have some great step-by-step guides and useful tools to streamline the meal-prepping process:

  • Meal Prepping Made Easy: How to Meal Prep for the Week
  • The Busy Woman’s Guide to Meal Prepping
  • How to Become a Meal Prep Expert (Advice from a Dietitian)

Meal prepping largely depends on your health goals and what your family needs the most. However, as a mom, you also have to juggle what your kids will be able to eat consistently and enjoy at the same time. You will find all kinds of family-friendly meal prep recipes below!

You will make the most of your grocery trips with careful planning and efficient shopping lists. In this post , we discuss how to choose nutrient-dense foods and navigate the grocery store with a focus on health and efficiency. Whether you’re focusing on reducing carbs or cutting calories , shopping with a nutritious and simple list will ensure you’re saving both time and money.

Snacking is inevitable for busy moms, but it doesn’t have to involve reaching for empty-calorie options. Thanks to SkinnyMs., you can explore a variety of quick and healthy snack ideas that can be prepared in minutes and keep energy levels stable throughout the day for the whole family.

Keeping snack options healthy, quick, and simple can be daunting, but we’ve got some snack options that are bound to cover all areas from salty, and sweet to savory. Check out these 50 Snacks That I Used to Lose 30 Pounds !

Time-Saving Meal Planning Tricks

The whole family will enjoy these nutritious and flavorful breakfast burritos!

Discover the magic of one-pot meals that minimize both cooking and cleaning time. One-pot meals are the perfect way to get something filling and easy into your stomach! Our one-pot (and skillet) recipes allow busy moms to create wholesome dishes with minimal effort and maximum flavor.

Explore the world of freezer-friendly meals that can be prepared in batches and stored for busy days. You’re going to adore our selection of freezer recipes that can be easily reheated for a quick, delicious, and nutritious family dinner. You will also want to learn How to Pack Your Freezer Meals Like a Pro !

Delicious and Nutritious Recipes

chicken caprese salad

We promised you some of our favorite recipes for meal prepping so here they are! There are options for each meal of the day, and even some healthy snacks too!

healthy eating for busy moms: high protein overnight oats

Start the day off right with nourishing breakfast recipes that are not only quick to prepare but also delicious. From nutrient-packed smoothies to make-ahead overnight oats, we’ve got breakfast covered.

Protein-Packed Breakfast Burrito

This is a hearty, low-calorie breakfast that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser! These grab-and-go breakfast burritos will keep your family full and energized for the entire morning. Plus, they’re relatively easy to make and light on cooking time!

High Protein Overnight Oats

Healthy, filling, and oh-so-delicious, these overnight oats make a delectable breakfast option for moms who are really short on time and don’t have all morning to fix up a hearty and filling breakfast. All you have to do is mix the ingredients the night before, stick it in the fridge, and enjoy it in the morning!

Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins

These no-flour oatmeal blueberry muffins are for those moms who don’t want to sacrifice family favorites but still want the benefits of clean eating. Muffins are a no-brainer breakfast or snack, and these oatmeal blueberry muffins will hit the spot and please even the fussiest kids!

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

This is the perfect healthy treat for a warm morning! Not only will you and your kids enjoy the flavors in our peanut butter and banana smoothie , but it’s also a great way to get some nutrients in! Smoothies in general are a fantastic way to drink your breakfast so be sure to experiment and find one that fits you and your family’s needs.

slow cooker balsamic chicken

Take your lunch routine to the next level with these easy-to-make, nutritious options. Whether it’s for lunch or dinner, we’ve got recipes for easy, ready-to-eat salads, wraps, and other favorites.

Chicken Caprese Salad

Our chicken caprese salad is a super filling meal that’s perfect for lunch or dinner. Featuring savory flavor profiles and a high protein content, this Italian classic delivers delicious, savory flavors! Try this quick and simple recipe and you’ll be amazed at how delicious it can be! It’s sure to become a new favorite for busy moms. 

Spicy Sriracha Tuna Wraps

High protein, high fiber, and high flavor! These delectable spicy sriracha tuna wraps are quick and easy to make without skimping on nutrition and the sriracha gives it some kick too!

5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken

Gone are the days of slaving over a stove and keeping a watchful eye on a boiling, bubbling pot. Hearty and delicious, this slow cooker balsamic chicken recipe will be sure to provide your family with a balanced, filling meal. It only requires 5 ingredients and can be used in a variety of ways! Slap it on some buns, throw it in a salad, or have it accompanied by a side of brown rice or quinoa.

Copycat Crunchwrap Supreme

Skip the fast food line and try this easy, homemade crunchwrap supreme recipe instead. It provides the same great flavor you love with some added nutrients for a nutritious and deliciously crunchy lunch.

Plant-Based Meal Prep Bowls

These Plant-Based Meal Prep Bowls are a super nutritious and easy-to-take-with-you meal option! You can change up the ingredients to keep things exciting or make them more kid-friendly. You can also add grilled chicken or rolled up turkey slices if you’re not a plant-based eater!

Healthy eating for busy moms: Chipotle Chicken Tostadas

Explore family-friendly dinner recipes that strike the perfect balance between taste and nutrition. From sheet pan dinners to slow cooker classics, these recipes will make dinner time a breeze for even the busiest moms.

Crock Pot Low-Fat Beef Stew

Nothing else compares to a hearty beef stew for dinner – especially one you don’t have to keep an eye on all the time! Our beef stew is prepared in the crock pot and will satisfy appetites and offer a comforting meal after a long, exhausting day. This stew can also be stored in the freezer for leftovers anytime you need something delicious to eat!

Not Your Grandma’s Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

This family favorite is full of flavor and nutrients! Our Not Your Grandma’s Chicken and Broccoli Casserole has everything you need and more for a nutritious evening meal. Plus, it’s a great make-ahead recipe that you can enjoy several nights in a row!

Chipotle Chicken Tostadas

Using cleaner cooking techniques and healthier ingredients, this family-friendly dish will help you stay on track with your nutritional goals. If you’re in the mood for Mexican food but want to pass on tacos, enchiladas, and fajitas, these chipotle chicken tostadas are the alternative you’ve been looking for!

The Best Minestrone Soup Recipe

In the mood for a classic and have some time to prepare dinner? Our minestrone soup is the best fit! Packed with flavor and nutrients, this Italian heavy-hitter is sure to provide you and your family a comforting meal in the colder months. Leftovers can even be stored in the freezer for a quick weeknight dinner.

sweet and salty chocolate covered pretzels

Nutrient-Packed Trail Mix

Create your own trail mix by combining a variety of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. This customizable snack is not only delicious but also provides a good balance of healthy fats, protein, and carbohydrates.

Skinny Berry  Parfait

Layer raspberry yogurt with fresh berries, granola, and a drizzle of honey for a satisfying and nutrient-packed snack. The combination of protein and fiber will keep you feeling full and energized. Popular with kids and adults alike, this parfait is sure to satisfy!

Veggie Sticks with Hummus

Prepare a batch of vegetable sticks, such as carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers, and pair them with our flavorful roasted garlic hummus dip. It’s a crunchy and refreshing snack that’s loaded with vitamins and antioxidants.

Sweet and Salty Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Sweet and salty! These clean-eating chocolate coated pretzels only need 3 ingredients, chocolate, pretzels, and sea salt. Your kids will love them (what kid doesn’t love chocolate?) and so will you! Satisfy both cravings with a healthier alternative to chocolate bars and sugary store-bought treats.

Berries with Coconut Cream

Berries with coconut cream make the perfect summer treat, and with this 5-minute recipe, your family will look forward to snack time! This versatile snack can serve as an accompaniment to a meal, served by itself as dessert, or enjoyed as a mid-day snack.

Q1: How can I ensure my family gets the nutrition they need, even on hectic days?

A: Prioritize healthy eating for busy moms by incorporating quick and nutritious recipes into your meal plan. Opt for time-saving tricks like one-pot recipes and freezer-friendly meals. This not only ensures that your family receives the essential nutrients they need but also simplifies the cooking process during busy days. Involving your family in meal planning can make it a collaborative effort, fostering a shared commitment to healthy eating within the household.

Q2: What are some quick and healthy snacks I can grab on the go?

A: Nuts, fresh fruit, low-fat cheese sticks, Greek yogurt, and cut-up veggies with hummus are excellent choices for healthy eating for busy moms. Preparing snacks ahead of time can make it easier to grab nutritious options when you’re in a hurry.

Q3: How do I overcome the challenge of finding time to cook elaborate meals?

A: Embrace the time saving tricks and tips mentioned above. These strategies allow you to prepare nutritious meals with minimal hands-on time. We also love choosing a specific day each week where we have a little extra time to meal prep. For many of us, this falls on a Sunday (but it can be any day that works best for you!)

In the whirlwind of daily responsibilities, prioritizing healthy eating for busy moms is a gift that they can give to themselves and their entire family. By implementing the tips, tricks, and recipes discussed above, moms can streamline their approach to nutrition, making it both accessible and enjoyable. Remember, a well-nourished mom is better equipped to handle the challenges of motherhood, and the benefits extend to the entire family. Here’s to health, happiness, and delicious, stress-free meals for every busy mom!

slow cooker orange chicken

If you enjoyed this article on healthy eating for busy moms, you might also like:

  • One-Pot Skinny Sloppy Joes
  • Southwestern Black Bean Casserole
  • Sheet Pan Shrimp Tacos
  • Healthy Orange Chicken Crockpot Recipe

Loving our content? Be sure to subscribe to our eNewsletter , and Youtube channel for more SkinnyMs content! Follow us on Instagram and Pinterest to join our thriving community!

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Mastering Meal Planning for Working Moms: The Ultimate Guide

M eal planning can be a game-changer for busy working moms who juggle multiple responsibilities. By implementing an efficient meal planning strategy, you can save time, reduce stress, and ensure your family enjoys nutritious meals every day. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll share valuable tips and tricks for  meal planning for working moms . 

Busy moms can prepare healthy meals for their families and it doesn’t have to be hard. There are so many tools available to help create a weekly meal plan that will help the busy working mom keep the title of Supermom!

This site may contain links to affiliate websites, and we receive an affiliate commission for any purchases made by you on the affiliate website at no extra cost to you.

Why is meal planning important for working moms?

Meal planning is an essential task for working moms. Knowing what you’re going to cook every day can save time, money, and it can even reduce stress. A well-planned meal ensures that the family is eating healthy, balanced meals throughout the week, and minimizes the need for takeout or convenience foods. 

Planning ahead also helps make trips to the grocery store more efficient. By making a grocery list , moms can make a list of necessary items and avoid wasting money and time on unnecessary purchases. Additionally, meal planning can help working moms feel more in control of their busy schedules. By taking the time to meal plan, working moms can prioritize their family’s health and well-being while also reducing the burden of mealtime decision-making.

What are some effective strategies for meal planning?

There are several strategies you can implement to streamline the meal planning process and make it more efficient. Here are some effective strategies for meal planning:

Set realistic goals

Start by setting realistic goals for your meal planning. Consider your family’s dietary preferences, schedule, and budget. Start with a simple meal and set achievable targets as you become more comfortable with planning your meals. 

Also, be realistic about the number of meals you plan to cook each week and the level of variety you want to incorporate. Plan a good mix of quick meals and more difficult ones based on what’s on your schedule for the week. Also, don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t able to prepare a meal for your family every single night.  Have a plan for backup meals that might require you to hit up a local restaurant for takeout. 

Plan weekly meals

Try to plan your meals for the entire week. Dedicate a specific day each week to plan for the upcoming week. Take into account breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Create a menu that includes a balance of different food groups and incorporates any special dietary requirements.

Consider your whole family when you plan. Try to include everyone’s favorite meals in your plan as often as you can. 

Create a shopping list 

Once you have your meal plan for the week, create a master list for the grocery store. Include all the ingredients you’ll need for each meal, as well as any pantry staples or household items. This will help you stay organized and avoid multiple trips to the store.

Don’t forget to add things like rotisserie chicken and other things that will make it easier for you to create a variety of meals without doing too much extra work. 

Prep ingredients in advance 

Consider prepping ingredients in advance to save time during busy weekdays. Chop vegetables, marinate meat, or cook grains and legumes ahead of time. Store them in airtight containers or storage bags for easy use throughout the week.

Embrace batch cooking

Batch cooking involves preparing larger portions of meals and freezing leftovers for future use. Cook double or triple batches of soups, stews, casseroles, or grains. Portion them into individual containers or freezer bags, label them, and store them in the freezer for quick and convenient meals on hectic days.

Repurpose leftovers

Get creative with leftovers to minimize food waste and save time. Transform yesterday’s roasted chicken into today’s chicken salad or repurpose cooked vegetables into a stir-fry. Look for opportunities to use leftovers as ingredients for new meals.

Theme nights

Assign theme nights to different days of the week to simplify meal planning and include meals that your family loves. For example, you can have Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, or Pasta Friday. This adds structure to your meal plan and allows you to explore various cuisines and flavors.

Keep a well-stocked pantry

Maintain a well-organized pantry stocked with staple ingredients like grains, pasta, canned goods, spices, and condiments. Having essential items readily available will make it easier to whip up meals without having to run to the store frequently.

Involve the family

All of this work should not fall on you. It’s a good idea to get your family involved in the meal-planning process as often as you can. Consider their input when deciding on meals and let them help with grocery shopping and meal prep. This is a great way to save you time. It also fosters a sense of shared responsibility and encourages healthy eating habits.

Utilize meal-planning apps and tools

Take advantage of digital resources such as meal-planning apps, websites, or printable templates. These tools can help you organize your meal plans, generate shopping lists, and even provide new recipes and easy meals based on your preferences. This can save so much time as you work to plan your meals for the week. 

I’ll share some popular apps later in this blog post. 

Use a meal planning service

​Many cities offer meal planning and meal preparation services.  Depending on the resources you have available in your area, this might be a great idea for you. These services can be a great tool to use until you establish your own meal planning system.  You can opt to use these services regularly or only when you know you have lots of busy nights within a certain amount of time. 

By implementing these effective meal-planning strategies, you can save time, reduce stress, and ensure your family enjoys delicious and nutritious meals throughout the week.

How do I overcome common meal-planning challenges? 

As a busy mom, overcoming common meal planning challenges is essential to ensure a smooth and efficient process. Here are some strategies to help you overcome these hurdles. 

First, embrace the power of leftovers. Instead of starting from scratch every day of the week, repurpose leftovers into new meals to save time and minimize food waste. 

Next, make use of time-saving kitchen appliances like slow cookers , air fryers or instant pots . These devices allow you to prepare flavorful and nutritious meals with minimal effort. 

Additionally, involve your family in the meal-planning process. Delegate tasks, such as grocery shopping or meal prep, to lighten your load and instill a sense of responsibility in your loved ones. 

Finally, be flexible and adaptable. Life can be unpredictable, so be prepared to adjust your meal plans when unexpected events arise. Oh, and don’t forget to plan for special occasions and other unexpected interruptions to your regularly-scheduled plan.  

By implementing these strategies, you can overcome common meal planning challenges and make the most of your limited time as a busy mom.

How do I plan meals if I have a picky eater?

Meal preparation can be a bit more challenging when you have a picky eater in the family. However, with some creativity and flexibility, you can still make healthy food that caters to your child’s preferences. Here are some tips to help you meal plan as a mom of a picky eater:

Involve your child : Include your picky eater in the meal-planning process. Even young kids. Ask them for their input and involve them in making choices. This can help them feel more empowered and willing to try new foods.

Offer variety : Even if your child has specific food preferences, try to incorporate a variety of options within those preferences. Experiment with different flavors, textures, and cooking methods to keep meals interesting.

Sneak in nutrients : Look for ways to incorporate hidden or disguised nutritious ingredients into your meals. For example, puree fresh fruit and vegetables and add them to sauces, soups, or baked goods. This way, your picky eater can enjoy their preferred flavors while still getting essential nutrients.

Gradual exposure : Introduce new foods gradually and in small amounts. Pair unfamiliar foods with familiar ones that your child already enjoys. This can help them become more receptive to trying new things over time.

Make mealtime fun : Get creative with presentation and make mealtime enjoyable. Use colorful plates, cut food into fun shapes , or create themed meals. The more engaging and appealing the meal, the more likely your picky eater will be willing to try it.

Serve family-style meals : Set up a family-style meal where everyone can serve themselves from various dishes. This gives your child the opportunity to explore and choose the foods they feel comfortable trying.

Stay positive and patient : It’s important to maintain a positive and patient attitude during mealtimes. Avoid pressuring or forcing your child to eat specific foods, as this can create negative associations. Instead, provide a relaxed and supportive environment that encourages them to make their own choices.

Offer healthy snack options : If your child is particularly resistant during mealtime, ensure they have access to healthy snacks throughout the day. This ensures they still receive adequate nutrition and reduces the pressure to eat a full meal.

Remember, every child is unique, and it may take time for their tastes to evolve. Be patient, keep experimenting, and celebrate small victories along the way. With consistent effort and a positive approach, you can gradually expand your picky eater’s palate and create balanced meal plans that suit their preferences.

How can I find balance as a busy mom trying to plan healthy meals for my family?

Finding balance as a working mom while planning healthy meals for your family can be challenging, but it’s definitely achievable with some strategic approaches. 

Start by identifying your priorities. Focus on providing nutritious meals for your family while acknowledging that it may not be feasible to create fancy meals every day. Simplify your meal planning by incorporating quick and easy recipes, meal prepping on weekends, or utilizing time-saving cooking techniques like one-pot meals or sheet pan dinners .

Also, look for opportunities to optimize your time in the kitchen. Utilize your evenings or weekends to prepare and freeze meals in advance, so you have ready-made options for busy weekdays. Batch cooking and utilizing leftovers can also be time-saving strategies.

When possible, choose quick and healthy options. Seek out quick and healthy recipes that require minimal prep and cooking time. Look for recipes that utilize fresh ingredients, lean proteins, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. 

Embrace simplicity and flexibility. Focus on providing balanced meals with wholesome ingredients. Be flexible and adapt your meal plans to accommodate unexpected schedule changes or picky eaters.

How is meal planning related to self-care?

Why else should you meal plan? To practice self-care . As a working mom, it’s crucial to prioritize self-care. Take care of yourself physically and mentally to maintain balance and reduce stress. Look for ways to simplify your routine, delegate tasks, and seek support from family and friends when needed.

Remember, finding balance is an ongoing process, and it’s okay to have days when things don’t go as planned. Be kind to yourself, embrace imperfections, and celebrate the small wins. The last thing you want is to experience burnout and overwhelm when it comes to making meals for your family. 

With time and practice, you’ll develop a meal planning routine that works best for you and your family.

Meal planning is a valuable tool for working moms, helping them simplify their daily routines and ensure their families enjoy nutritious meals. By implementing the strategies and tips shared in this guide, you’ll be able to save time, reduce stress, and create a fun mealtime experience for your loved ones. 

With a well-executed meal planning routine, you can conquer your busy schedule and savor the joys of both work and family life. Start implementing these techniques today and witness the transformative power of meal planning for working moms.

Remember, your well-being and family’s nutrition should always be a top priority . Happy meal planning!

Popular meal planning apps

Here are some popular apps to help you stay organized as you plan meals:

Mealime  is a popular meal planning app that offers personalized meal plans tailored to your dietary preferences, family size, and available cooking time. It provides a wide range of recipes, complete with step-by-step instructions and nutritional information. Mealime also generates a categorized grocery list based on your selected recipes, making grocery shopping a breeze.

Plan to Eat

This comprehensive meal planning app allows you to save and organize your favorite recipes, plan your meals, and generate shopping lists.  Plan to Eat  has a drag-and-drop interface that makes it easy for you to create meal plans for the week or month. The app also features a “Cooking View” mode that provides a streamlined cooking experience, displaying one recipe at a time with customizable font sizes for easy reading.

Paprika Recipe Manager

Not only is  Paprika Recipe Manager  a meal planning app, but it’s also a powerful recipe organizer. It allows you to save recipes from various websites, create customized meal plans, and generate shopping lists. With its smart grocery list feature, you can sort items by aisle to optimize your shopping trips. Paprika also offers a meal planner calendar view, making it easy to visualize your meals for the week or month.

Yummly  is a popular app that offers personalized meal recommendations based on your dietary preferences, allergies, and restrictions. It provides a vast collection of recipes from various sources, allowing you to discover new dishes to add to your meal plans. Yummly also features a smart shopping list that organizes items by grocery store aisle, making it convenient for busy moms on-the-go.

Cozi  is a family organization app that includes a meal planning feature. It allows you to create and share meal plans, assign cooking duties, and collaborate with family members. Cozi also integrates with its family calendar, so you can sync meal plans with your schedule and receive reminders. The app enables you to store and access recipes, making it easy to plan meals around your family’s favorites.

Prepear  is a versatile meal planning app that offers customizable meal plans, recipe collection, and smart grocery lists. It includes features like recipe scaling for adjusting serving sizes, drag-and-drop meal plan creation, and the ability to save recipes from various websites. Prepear also offers a community platform where you can connect with other meal planners, share recipes, and find inspiration.

With these top meal planning apps, busy working moms can efficiently organize their meals, save time, and ensure their families enjoy healthy and delicious meals. Explore these apps, find the one that aligns with your requirements, and make meal planning a stress-free and enjoyable experience. 

Meal planning can be a game-changer for busy working moms who juggle multiple responsibilities. By implementing an efficient meal planning strategy, you can save time, reduce stress, and ensure your family enjoys nutritious meals every day. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll share valuable tips and tricks for meal planning for working moms.  Busy moms can prepare

Just Homemaking

Meal Planning System: An Absolute Game Changer for Busy Moms

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

A peek inside: Are you searching for a simple way to plan and shop for meals? Meal planning for homemakers doesn’t have to be hard. Our done-for-you meal planning system will completely streamline the process. Keep reading to hear how this great tool will make meal planning for moms (or anyone, really) a breeze!

Without a doubt, meal planning for a family is one of the biggest tasks of a homemaker. There is a reason it’s so nice to grab carry out or go out to eat. 

People can order what they want and don’t have to take the time to plan, shop for groceries, prep the meal, and do all the clean up that goes along with it. 

pin for pinterest: meal planning for busy moms. Spend one hour meal planning for the whole month! Come on, we'll show you how.

Table of Contents

Meal Planning for Busy Moms is Stressful

The Solution: This Meal Planning System

Where to Buy this Meal Planning System

Enjoy Flexible Options: Meal Planner Template Google Sheets + PDF

Meal planning for busy moms is stressful, right.

Sometimes it can be overwhelming to figure out what your family is eating for the week. 

Maybe you think you are ahead of the game until you find that the kids finished off the last bit of that sour cream without you noticing, so that means another trip to the store just so you can finish making that casserole.

Woman silent screaming in the kitchen because meal planning for busy moms is stressful

Several stores offer online shopping and curbside pickup, which definitely helps save some time when it comes to physically shopping.

Unfortunately those nice people that set your groceries in the car don’t climb in to help unload and prepare the food.

They definitely aren’t helping clean up after your toddler dumps his entire plate on the floor. 

The task of meal planning can be overwhelming when you are already trying to juggle baking cookies for the band fundraiser, picking up kids from practice, and trying to get that model of an atom finished up on time. 

No worries, we can help. 

Meal planning for busy moms doesn’t have to raise our cortisol level. It can be a great ministry for your family and with the right tool, planning meals can be a breeze.

At Just Homemaking, we want to help you thrive as a homemaker. Our meal planning system will help you do just that.

complete meal planning system

The benefits of using this meal planning system as opposed to other systems is that it truly does make meal planning more simple.

It helps you to streamline the process and once you are familiar with the layout and how to utilize the system (which we will show you in just a minute) you are going to zip right through your planning. 

Our meal planning system will save you time, which we all know is a hot commodity as a homemaker!

It will save you time because you will have all of your info in one place and you won’t have shopping lists left behind sitting on the counter. 

It will also save you time because it has sections such as pantry staples that help you to check to see if you are almost out of ketchup before you find an empty bottle in the fridge without another one to replace it. I know I have been there!

Another benefit of using this meal planning system is that you can customize it to your family.

In my opinion, this is one of the best perks of the entire system! 

No two families eat the same meals, have the same schedule, or have the same budget.

This meal planning system is divided into different sections to help you stay organized. You can plan meals monthly, weekly, or daily.

If you plan for a month in advance, that’s great! You can do that. 

It also breaks down meals weekly and daily. If you want to be thorough and plan out breakfast, lunch, and dinner for each day of the week, you have that opportunity.

There is also a spot to fill in snacks and desserts. It saves so much brain space having all the sections you need to think about in one place. 

This meal planning system truly is a game changer. 

>>> Watch this video to see how easy it is to use!

I touched on this a bit earlier, but it is so helpful to have your weekly shopping lists available to add to or edit as you plan your week.

It’s also incredibly easy to just copy and paste your ingredients right into your list as you are planning.

Of course, there are those regular food purchases that we love to buy but don’t always remember. Milk, lunch meat, yogurt. There is a place for those as well.

Finally, we help you to remember those regular household items. I cannot tell you how many times I recently forgot to grab the dishwasher soap. It was ridiculous! Nobody has time for that!

Where to buy this awesome Meal Planning System

Now that you know the benefits of this meal planning system and you have seen our tutorial about how easy it is to use, we want to tell you about the 2 different ways you can purchase it.

>>> 1. You can purchase the Just Homemaking Meal Planning System as an individual product.

Maybe that’s the holy grail you have been searching for that led you to this page. We have you covered. You can purchase this system by clicking here and get yourself started and organized in your meal planning today.

The Meal planning system from Just Homemaking includes a spreadsheet and a PDF that you can print or use digitally on your phone, tablet, and computer.

— OR —

Maybe you are looking for more than just a planner. 

I would love to tell you about our homemaking course, Renew Your Homemaking, because…

<<< 2. You can purchase the Renew Your Homemaking Course , which INCLUDES this Meal Planning System.

Just Homemaking's Christian Homemaking Course, called Renew Your Homemaking

 We, the Just Homemaking Team, sat down and took a close look at what we wished we had available to us when we were just beginning our homemaking journey. 

We looked at meal planning, routines, and finances and how we can help others be successful in those areas. 

We looked at our hearts towards the ministry of homemaking and how having our heart in the right spot will help us to thrive in our homemaking. 

We took our years of homemaking experience and poured our hearts into this course for homemakers , Renew Your Homemaking. Our prayer is that this course will help you thrive and love your job as a homemaker. 

Our meal planning system is just one of the many resources you will find included in our Homemaking Course.

>>> So, if you ONLY need to focus on meal planning, then snag this meal planning system . If you need help in more areas, grab the homemaking course , which includes the meal planner and so much more!

Whether you decide to purchase the Meal Planning System or the Renew Your Homemaking Course, I would love to tell you about the options you have to use and edit your meal planning system.

The meal planning system comes with several flexible options for use. No matter how you stay organized, we have you covered.

If you enjoy seeing all your information on a spreadsheet, we have that available. Make sure that you have a free google account (if you don’t already) so that you can access and edit your meal planner system through Google Sheets.

Meal Planner Template for Google Sheets

If you prefer to hold a paper and pen, we have you covered as well. You have the option of printing your Meal Planner System as a PDF that you can either write on or laminate and write on with a dry erase marker. 

Meal Planning System PDF printable

Finally, if you’re a little more digital and like the ease of viewing and editing a digital PDF on your phone, tablet, or computer, you can do that as well.

Meal Planning System digital PDF

When purchasing the Meal Planning System, you will have access to all three of these options. You can use whichever one works best for you, or a combination of the three!

If you watch the video earlier in this post, you’ll see how easy it is to use each option.

Meal Planning for Homemakers is Manageable! Get yours today!

If you have any questions about this Meal Planning System, please let us know and we will get right back to you.

For the price of one person going out to eat ONE time you could get the Meal Planning System to stay organized in all your meal planning for your entire family for years to come. 

If you would love to keep all your meal planning in one place and save money by making less trips to the store, we would love for you to try Just Homemaking’s Meal Planning System . If you do, we can’t wait to hear what you think!

Meal Planning for Busy Moms

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I'm a mom of 11. Here are 12 cheap, easy dinners I make every month to keep my kids from getting bored.

  • Planning meals for my family of 13 is a feat, but I've found several go-to dinner recipes.
  • My 11 kids range from newborn to 20. I've created a rotation of easy meals for each month.
  • Some of my go-to recipes are fish sandwiches, tacos, and kielbasa noodles.

Insider Today

Feeding a family of 13 isn't an easy feat.

Each summer — when we're not homeschooling — the kids help me plan the meals for the next school year. To keep my family from getting bored, we rotate dinners on a monthly schedule.

My kids, who range in age from newborn to 19, help me decide on a theme for each night of the week, and we brainstorm four or five meals for each one to rotate throughout the month.

This way, we eat our dinner options only 12 times a year instead of once a week.

We've enjoyed a variety of themes, but this year they're roast meat and potatoes; Asian-inspired; taco Tuesday; American; noodle night; pizza night; and seafood. Other themes we've used include soup and sandwiches; Italian; around the world; casseroles; comfort food; fry day; and breakfast for dinner.

During the brainstorming session, I encourage the kids to think of meals that are fairly inexpensive , quick to make, and enjoyed by most of the family.

Read on for a dozen of my tried-and-true meals that help me get dinner on the table.

My kids are big fans of chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes

My kids love the combination of chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes . The Instant Pot makes the side dish so simple, even on weeknights.

While the oven preheats for the nuggets, I have one of my kids help me peel the potatoes. Then I cut them in half and put them in the Instant Pot with a cup of water for 10 minutes on high pressure.

As the Instant Pot comes to the right pressure, I get the chicken nuggets in the oven. Then I open a bag of frozen vegetables (usually corn or peas for this meal) and start cooking those. I also whip up a quick cream gravy with butter, flour, chicken broth, milk, salt, and pepper.

When I plan it out like this, everything is ready at about the same time, which works out perfectly.

Breakfast for dinner is a favorite in my house

Breakfast for dinner is a fun change of pace and a simple meal that the kids can help prepare.

The menu varies depending on what we have on hand, but it typically includes waffles or pancakes, bacon , and scrambled eggs.

I usually make waffles from scratch, but I keep a bag of pancake mix on hand in case I run out of an ingredient right before dinner.

One of my daughters quickly scrambles eggs while bacon cooks in the oven . At the same time, one of my young sons helps make the waffles, because he loves rotating the handle on the waffle maker.

Sometimes I whip up a quick syrup by boiling two cups of sugar with a cup of water and about a teaspoon of maple extract. Other times the kids put blueberries and whipped cream on their waffles.

Spaghetti and meatballs are a classic combo for a reason

Since it's so easy to prepare, spaghetti and meatballs is one of the first meals I teach my kids how to make on the stove.

They put the frozen meatballs in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 to 20 minutes. While those cook, they boil water and cook the noodles .

I help them strain the noodles once they're tender, then they dump a jar of sauce in the pot and heat it all for a minute or two. Marinara sauce is our go-to, but occasionally we try new ones.

When the noodles are done, we get the meatballs out of the oven and serve dinner with a side salad and a piece of garlic bread , which we make by quickly broiling hot-dog buns slathered with butter and sprinkled with garlic.

I like to whip up pork tenderloin and potatoes in my Crock-Pot

Dinner doesn't get much easier than this pork tenderloin from Costco .

I quickly brown the meat in a pan with a bit of oil. I wash the potatoes and put them in the Crock-Pot, placing the browned pork on top.

I add generous amounts of salt, pepper, and garlic, and a little water to keep it from sticking. Then I put the lid on, turn it on low, and let the slow cooker prepare dinner while we get on with our days.

About six hours later, I put together a side salad and slice the meat. It's a simple dinner that everyone eats without complaint.

Fish sandwiches are popular for seafood night at my house

Quick fish sandwiches made with frozen fish fillets , hamburger buns, and lettuce are usually on rotation for seafood nights.

While the fish heats in the oven, I wash the lettuce and tear it into sandwich-sized pieces. When the fish is done, I put a little mayonnaise on the bun, add the fish, and top it with the lettuce.

I typically serve this meal with steamed vegetables and french fries.

I get my kids to help set up our taco bars full of toppings and sides

My kids can help me prepare a taco bar in no time — and by setting out all the ingredients individually, everyone can decide exactly what they want.

While my kids prepare the toppings and arrange them on the counter, I brown the meat with a little bit of chopped onion and flavor it with taco seasoning.

Since most of my kids prefer meatless tacos, one pound of hamburger meat is enough for my whole family.

Chips and salsa, Mexican rice, and corn are some of our favorites things to add to the simple taco bar.

Meatball subs are an easy option for sandwich night

When we need a quick option for sandwich night but are tired of cold sandwiches, meatballs come to the rescue.

I cook them in the oven, pour marinara sauce on top, and pop them back in for a few minutes until the sauce is nice and warm.

Then I spoon the meatballs over sliced French bread, ensuring that everyone gets several meatballs on their sandwich. Hoagie rolls are another great bread option.

I serve these sandwiches with chips and a side salad.

My chicken gravy over potatoes comes together quickly

For this meal, I plop several boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a pot of water and bring it to a boil. The kids help me peel potatoes, and we start them in the Instant Pot for 10 minutes on high pressure.

When the chicken is close to done, I start the gravy in another pan by melting butter and sprinkling flour on top.

I whisk it while it cooks for a few minutes to get the flour taste out and add about a tablespoon of Better Than Bouillon, about a cup of water, several cups of milk, and salt and pepper. I mix this all well to get out any clumps and let it thicken over medium-low heat.

While that simmers, I drain and dice the chicken to add it to the gravy so it all mixes together. Around this time, the potatoes are ready to drain and mash.

I serve this meal with a cooked vegetable and a roll or piece of bread and butter.

I like to spice things up with my simple kielbasa noodles

This meal adds a bit of variety to our noodle nights.

I slice Polska kielbasa and cook it in a pan with a bit of oil. Then I follow the directions on the package to boil some egg noodles until they're tender.

During the last minute the noodles are cooking, I dump in some frozen peas. This is the perfect amount of time to get them hot but not mushy.

Once the noodles and peas are done, I drain them and dump them in the pan with the sausage. I typically add a bit of butter and garlic or a can of Alfredo sauce to keep the noodles from becoming too dry.

I serve the noodles with a piece of bread and sometimes a side salad to round out the meal.

Corned beef and cabbage is one of my family's favorite comfort foods

I know I'm not the only one who stocks up on this delicious piece of meat each March around St. Patrick's Day. It's a family favorite and too good to eat only once a year.

I start by putting the meat fat-side up in the Crock-Pot . Then I add small potatoes, a sliced onion, and baby carrots.

This takes nearly all day to cook on high, so it's great for when I have time to plan ahead.

When it's getting close to dinnertime, I slice a head of cabbage and sauté it in a pan. My family prefers this method to cooking the cabbage with the meat and vegetables.

When everything's ready, I serve it with seeded rye bread.

I like to switch up the sauce when I make roasted chicken drumsticks and potatoes

For this meal, I place chicken drumsticks in a baking dish, season them with a little salt and pepper, and let them cook in the oven.

I also prepare a pan of diced potatoes, diced onions, a little bit of olive oil, and salt and pepper to cook alongside it.

These both take about 45 minutes to cook.

Once the meat is done, I add some kind of sauce, usually either Panda Express' sweet and tangy Beijing sauce, barbecue sauce, orange sauce, or sweet-and-sour sauce.

Once the sauce is on, I cook it for about another five minutes to let everything get hot.

Some of the kids enjoy bread and butter with their chicken and potatoes, but I also set out a side salad.

Cheese quesadillas are one of the easiest, crowd-pleasing meals

My young son loves helping make this quick dinner for the family.

It's the perfect option when we have somewhere to be and need to eat as fast as possible while avoiding the expense of takeout.

My son is in charge of sprinkling shredded cheese on a tortilla. Then he puts it in the microwave and pushes the "add 30 seconds" button. When it beeps, he can take it out with a bit of help and fold the tortilla in half.

I help him cut it, and he puts one on a plate for each family member.

We usually serve the quesadillas with quick sides like fresh fruit or carrot sticks and ranch dressing so cleanup can be as simple as the meal itself.

This story was originally published on June 8, 2021, and most recently updated on February 22, 2024. 

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

Watch: What kids eat for school lunch around the world

clean eating meal plan for busy moms

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