No matter how much you simplify your life, there’s one thing you will never be able to completely remove from your daily routine — and that’s eating.
Which means you or your spouse are required to make meals for the humans in your household. Every day. Multiple times a day. Forever.
Don’t worry mamas, we’re all in this meal-making mess together. I’ve chatted with some of our MotherHustle panel members, as well as a few from the MH community, and I’ve compiled this list of ways to make mealtime simpler when you’re a mom boss. (And, I’ll be adding to this over time.)
So let’s get cooking.
Emily Cretella: “When my husband and I were doing the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad (but, ok, very good) Whole30 program, we got into the meal planning mindset — and we’ve kept it up. Now, we meal plan and grocery shop on Sunday. We use the Wunderlist app so that we can both add ingredients to one list, and whoever ends up going shopping has access to it. (Plus, it’s easy to add in last-minute items if your spouse already left for the store!)”
Kathy Dixon: “I meal plan for the week on Saturdays — and with football season back, I grocery shop that day too. For days that I know we will be home late or running around, I pick a crock pot meal. Then two times a week I’ll do a super quick and easy recipe (taco night, homemade pizza night, grilled cheese + tomato soup). We eat out once a week usually, have one leftover night, and one “recipe” night (protein, veggie, and one other starch is usually my go-to). I also make enough to pack the hubby leftovers for his lunch the next day.”
Stacy Firth: “I meal plan for the week — I look at what’s coming up each night and fit the meal to our activities/the time I have. For example, if my daughter has dance at 5:30 on Tuesdays, I’m going to plan on leftovers or a super simple meal for that night. It seems like it would be more time-consuming to meal plan, but in my experience, it takes longer when I don’t meal plan. And it’s more stressful, too.”
Abby Herman: “On Fridays or Saturdays, I take a look at the following week to determine how busy I’ll be during the day and what’s going on in the evenings. Then I go through my fridge, freezer and pantry to see what meals I can pull together (or almost pull together) based on what I already have on-hand. I write down the meals on a calendar and make a list of the ingredients that I’d need to buy to complete the meal.”
@Angieroxye: “One crockpot recipe, one ‘normal’ recipe, a meal delivery service, and some homemade salads for the rest!”
Stacy Firth: “Before my son was born, I prepped a bunch of dinners — homemade calzones, meatballs, crock pot meals, soup, etc. — and froze them. That was the BEST. It was so easy to defrost a meal overnight and pop it in the crockpot or the oven, and it kept us from ordering pizza (or not eating at all!) during the blur that is the newborn phase. Of course, that does take time to prep, but if you can set aside a Sunday afternoon you can easily prep 10+ meals. It’s the kind of thing your future self will thank you for.”
Kathy Dixon: “We do Dave Ramsey’s Every Dollar budgeting system and realized early on that eating out for lunch was adding up quickly ($200 or more each month between the two of us!). We are now big budgeters and we’ve been doing it for two years.”
Abby Herman: “Sometimes I’ll do some prepping on Sundays so I don’t have to cook quinoa or meat during the week. This helps me save time in the evenings and money–because I’m not as tempted to eat out or grab takeout. On days that I haven’t prepped the meat or I forget to pull something out of the freezer, I use my Instant Pot*. This is by far the handiest tool I have in my kitchen (aside from my toaster oven, which does oven duty during the hot Phoenix summers).”
Illiah Manger: “I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE grocery delivery. And for some reason, I tend to spend less. It makes no sense. I also really like to make dinners I can put in the oven and walk away from for a time. I spend it with the girls.”
Stacy Firth: “This summer I started to order groceries through Peapod (Stop & Shop’s delivery service) and it is life-changing. I always used to do grocery shopping Sunday afternoon and it was just inconvenient and broke up our family time. Now, the groceries are delivered while I’m at yoga on Saturday mornings (which is a double bonus, because my husband and the kids put them away before I’m even home). The app makes it easy to add things throughout the week as I think of them, and even though there is a cost for delivery, we’ve significantly cut our grocery bill by shopping this way.”
Abby Herman: “My zip code just recently got grocery delivery through Instacart, and I used it once to shop Costco. It was glorious! Even though there’s a delivery charge, I ONLY got what was on my list–and I saved at least an hour (and loads of stress and frustration). I will definitely be using it again!”
I’ve personally never used any meal kit delivery service, but they do make me super curious — and many of my mama friends swear by them. Here are some of the most chatted-about:
I’m addicted to my crockpot. Like some of the ladies already mentioned, incorporating a crockpot recipe into a busy week is a fantastic way to cook a good meal — without having to “cook” a good meal at mealtime.
Here are just a few of my favorite go-to, family-friendly crockpot recipes:
Ok mamas, let’s keep this list entire going! Add your favorite recipe links to the comments section below — and also share YOUR favorite meal planning or delivery tips. We need to all help each other out with this meal planning mayhem!
*Amazon affiliate link.
She adores being mom to her two little ladies and drinking obscene amounts of coffee from mugs with pithy sayings. Find her on Instagram, and learn more about ways you can collaborate with MotherHustle.
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