Meal Planning – A Guide for Busy Mamas

Meal Planning – A Guide for Busy Mamas

Such a simple concept, yet this is the first time during maternity leave I am actually putting this into action! Meal planning and making a few changes to the way in which you shop can not only benefit your bank balance, but also save time and help you and your family stay healthy.

Cutting Costs

Living on one salary and statutory maternity pay, we’re always looking for ways to try and cut costs on the simple things without having to miss out on too much! Rich successfully converted me to Aldi a few years back, but we were still finding ourselves popping across the road to Tesco in the middle of the week to ‘top up on essentials’. Which basically means we go in for milk and come out £15 worse off with the majority of the snack aisle! In the past we’ve tried withdrawing a weekly food budget at the beginning of the week, but I didn’t have the self-discipline to stick to this either (I know, I’m useless).

Back to ‘Team Health’

After a naughty summer with cheat days turning into cheat weekends – and I’m ashamed to admit, even cheat weeks – (I blame hubby for being home and leading me astray) it was definitely time to get back on the ‘team health’ bandwagon.  Using Joe Wicks’ Lean in 15 books for inspiration, I sat down and picked out our meals for the week, even making sure the ‘carb loaded’ meals only followed workouts (inspirational, right?!) Let’s face it, we all have days where baby might have been whinging all day, or you’ve had a few sleepless nights and you just can’t be bothered to rummage around in the fridge or the cupboards to find something to cook. “Shall we just get a takeaway babe” is my usual solution… NO MORE! Options just make life more complicated anyway. Stay strong mamas. Stick to the plan!

I don’t have time for proper meals!

I struggle enough with one baby, god knows how you working mums or mamas with more than one find the time to cook! It’s lunches I tend to struggle with most, as this is the time I’m ‘parenting’ alone and I get so bored of the same thing every day. If I spend the lunchtime nap window catching up on housework or working on my blog, I end up missing my window and only having time to grab a snack on the go. So I made sure I picked recipes that were quick and easy enough to fit in with our routine and for Rich to take with him to work. This ‘Lean in 15’ frittata was great to make in advance for the next day’s lunch!

Joe Wicks’ Bacon & Leek Frittata

Making a List

Lists! I’m forever making lists and forgetting to look at them. Google have an awesome app called ‘Keep’ where you can make checklists on your phone – perfect for the supermarket as you can cross things off as you go. My shopping list this week simply consisted of the ingredients needed for each meal (and a few extras obviously such as washing powder – the boy gets through clothes like no business!) If you’re shopping online it’s easy to see what you’re spending as you go along, but if you are braving the supermarket with your little one (the first time I did this I felt like one hell of a super mama surviving the pressures of the Aldi checkout) you’ll definitely notice how much lighter the trolley is!

Winning at Meal Planning

One week in, it’s fair to say we’re definitely WINNING at shopping / meal times this week. I made a batch of flapjacks at the start of the week for an easy on the go snack. I no longer have to put up with Rich getting home and asking ‘what’s for tea’ (which was normally met with a response it’s best not to repeat on here..) and we’ve saved about £10 on our weekly shop, never mind the extras we haven’t (yet) indulged in. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it all adds up!

Do you have any tips for money saving or healthy living as a busy parent? Let me know in the comments below what has worked best for you 🙂


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A parenting & lifestyle blogger documenting my journey as a first time Mama


A parenting & lifestyle blogger documenting my journey as a first time Mama

12 Responses

  1. Such a useful post, looking forward to reading some more!

  2. Charlie says:

    We always plan a weeks meals and shop online to save adding unnecessary temptation. I can now feed 6 adults for a week for about £90 which I think is pretty good considering I insist on high meat content meat so spend more there. I’ll look into the lean in 25 book I think.

    • Sophie says:

      Wow that’s really good! Yes I’m also conscious of meat (and fat) content. And I have to make sure I don’t go shopping hungry else the temptation can get the better of me haha x

  3. Kate says:

    I am hopeless when it comes to dinner time so fingers xd meal planning will help!

  4. Helen Little says:

    Thanks for this great freebie!I’m quite bad with planning and need motivation, after reading this I’m feeling more motivated!

  5. Yvonne Connolly says:

    Great tips…not just for busy mums of little ones but to all working women who often lack motivation and/or inspiration for those healthy mid-week meals x

  6. Emma says:

    We need to get back into this. Maybe I’ll start a plan tonight! Try our groceries app for shopping list as it lets you categorise foods so you have all your fruit and veg together etc. I’ve been using it for years and I love it.

  7. Jo says:

    great tips, thanks for sharing – I take part in the linky Meal Planning Monday over on Hijacked by Twins. It’s very supportive and we need more people to get involved, so please join in x

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