Meal Planning for Busy Moms


When I became a mom, I was already busy. I taught gifted education full time and I was already writing books for publication. Time was at a premium and I wanted to soak in all the baby snuggles I could to make up for missing them during the day.

That’s when I discovered meal planning.


Meal Planning for Busy Moms via

photo credit: visualpanic via photopin cc

If I planned my meals ahead of time, I wouldn’t have to think about it when I got home each night. I used my slow cooker and bought a small chest freezer {which has paid for itself many times over since}, and began preparing freezer meals.Some fabulous freezer-cooking books I’ve loved include:


It was a wonderful method. Brian and I would have a babysitter come watch Trevor, and we’d prep, cook, and freeze all day, capping it off with pizza and a glass of wine as we counted the 30-45 yummy meals we were tucking away in the freezer for the month.

Unfortunately, with four kids and homeschooling now, I just don’t always have time to pore through lots of cookbooks, plan out a big shopping trip, and spend an entire day prepping food. I know it would save me in the long run, and I do try to double meals for the freezer when I can, but I just don’t have it in me to do an all-day cooking session anymore.

I needed a new strategy and a quicker-to-navigate tool.

So, I decided to try a subscription to and see if it could help break me out of the monotony I’d gotten us into.

I love it!

Every week, I get a meal plan delivered via email that has all of my dinners and sides planned out, along with a shopping list customized for my favorite store, Aldi. I tried the classic plan for a month, and recently switched to the slow cooker plan as we’re entering a busy season. {You can switch plans every 3 months.}

I get my plan in my email on Wednesday. I use Thursday and Friday to survey the refrigerator and pantry, then plan my meals and shop on Saturday. I do any prep that’s needed {cutting veggie sticks, making bread, etc.} on Sunday and post the menu on the refrigerator so everyone knows what we’re having.



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Now, I don’t always use it as it’s written, but I think it’s an incredible tool to use as a jumping off point. We order our beef and pork from a local farm, belong to a CSA there that includes fresh chicken and eggs along with seasonal produce, and are trying out Zaycon Foods chicken this month. If I’m low on a cut of meat that is called for in the plan, or have an abundance of a particular vegetable from the CSA share, I may need to adjust the menu to incorporate or switch out those items.

And each week I earmark certain things to double or triple to build up a stash in the freezer for those days when I just don’t want to cook. This week {as you can see above}, it’s breakfast I’m working on. I’m tripling pancakes and waffles over the weekend so I can freeze the leftovers and the kids can have easy hot breakfasts on days we need to head out the door quickly. The doubled smoothies become popsicles which my kids eat for snacks and breakfast.

We’re trying this French dip sandwich recipe from the eMeals comfort food PDF this week:


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Are you interested in tryingto use a meal plan service? I can recommend completely. It’s been wonderful. Let me know if you try it – I’d love to hear how it’s working for you.

Do you have great meal planning tips? Share them in the comments – I’m always looking for ways to do things better.