Ever since we’ve decided to make writing and social media a fulltime home-based business (stay tuned for an announcement real soon!) and not just a side gig, life has gotten busier. In a good way. However, since I still have the same number of hours in the day and three (make that four) times the work, it means I really need to be on top of things and while I’ve become more relaxed about a lot of stuff, there are a few things that I just cannot afford to let go off. Menu planning is one of them. I’d shared in a much earlier post about how I menu plan for the week and while that is pretty much the style even now, I’ve do have a few tips to make the process of menu planning simpler and easier to suit our busy lives.
Here are my menu plan tips for you, if you are a mom, work-at-home or stay-at-home, stretched thin on time and energy:
Think Simple, Sweetie
First things first, for workday meals, don’t get into elaborate meals that require a lot of prep work. I use my Meals we Like sheet from Jessica’s ebook Organizing Life as Mom, to make a running list of meals that we enjoy. You can either use that or a plain sheet of paper. This list of meals that your family enjoys should mainly be one-dish, wholesome, easy to make.
Go through your pantry closet, the refrigerator (and if you use it, the freezer) and see what you have in store already. With dry supplies like flour, lentils, pastas, plan meals using them. If you already have food in the refrigerator from the previous week, have a Leftover-Only day early in the week. You can use the time freed up to get a headstart on work or chores.
Menu planning makes cooking smart easy. For meals with sauces, gravies or a curry, simply double or even, triple the recipe and freeze the rest. I don’t have a freezer so to be honest, not much experience with this. If you do need freezer cooking tips, I totally recommend Jessica’s Life as Mom site. Even if you don’t have a freezer, you can still cook double, put it in the fridge and have the same thing later in the week or over the weekend.
Keep Menu Plans Handy
I use my home management binder to store menu plans from the previous weeks. Besides coming handy should I ever forget to menu plan, these menus are great inspiration for meal ideas and also, to ensure that we’re not repeating a lot of the same foods each week. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life.
Get Menu Planning Help (or Inspiration)
Make menu planning interesting and not just another chore that must be done each week. I find inspiration in reading menu plans by other moms over at I’m an Organizing Junkie who hosts Menu Plan Monday . I also, get inspired to try different dishes, thank to the folks at Allrecipes. Create a free account and keep all the recipes you like or think you may like in your own personal recipe box. It is such great fun. However, the most help I got was from Organizing Life as Mom . Lots of different formats for menu plans, grocery lists and more! No more drawing up menu plans each week, just fill it and print it or don’t.
Do you menu plan? What tips do you have for busy work-at-home mothers who want to put healthy meals on the table without the stress and the fuss?
Photo Credit: Liz
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