Meal planing doesn’t have to mean sitting down every week and writing a list! There’s a “secret” way I use when I’m too busy to do it the old-school way. Read on and see what it is!
Psst; lean closer and I’ll tell you a secret: There’s a way of meal planning for busy moms that’s so unbelievably easy you might not even believe it.
Or maybe, because it’s so easy, you have tried it but you haven’t even realized that’s what you were doing. Which is why today, I’m going to tell you all about my favorite, easiest system of meal planning for busy moms that gets the job done without putting in a whole lotta legwork.
Because sometimes we get all caught up in the “plan” of doing things, of following along a specific set of steps. And we miss the forest for the trees, so to speak.
Because you want to know the real truth of meal planning? It’s that you know how to do it, girl. You got this on lock. Even if you don’t think you do.
What is this magic form of meal planning for busy moms, you ask?
It’s called the Meal Plan Rotation Plan, and yes, the title of it has the word “plan” in it twice. Just go with it.
I even feel a little silly talking about this in a blog post because it’s SO EASY. It’s SO NORMAL.
Basically, the Meal Plan Rotation Plan can be chopped up into two “types” of meal planning.
(By the way, have you figured out your meal plan type yet? Because that’s gonna make this a lot easier to start with. Click here to do so, then pop back over and read the rest of this post)
Ok. Here are the two types of meal plans, when using the Meal Plan Rotation Plan:
Type One: Just plan dinner and “wing it” for breakfast and lunch.
Type Two: Plan for breakfast, lunch and dinner, BUT! You’ll have the same thing (or close to it) for breakfast and lunch every day, and have a different dinner recipe to serve each night.
The secret sauce? That once you create this meal plan, whether that’s Type One or Type Two, you stick with it. For WEEKS.
Utilizing the meal plan rotation plan means you “settle in” to a meal plan. You can vary this by making a 2-week plan, or even a three-week plan, and rotate those.
But by keeping it simple, by cooking and eating the same things for a period, you’re putting your decisions on autopilot for a while.
Putting a rotating meal plan for busy moms on autopilot accomplishes a lot more than saving the time it takes to sit down and meal plan.
- Number one, you’ll save money at the grocery store because you can comfortably buy in bulk, or semi-bulk, and take advantage of sales, space in your cupboard, and conquer food waste a little easier.
- Number two, removing the mental strain of decision making, as minor as it may seem, can do wonders for your busy mom brain.
Have you ever heard of ‘the mental load’?
If you’re a mom, you probably know exactly what I mean: it’s the extra load of responsibility for the family that is typically carried by the mother.
It’s remembering doctor’s appointments, switching out winter clothes for summer, organizing the babysitter for date night. It’s the little things that fathers, as important and helpful as they are and can be, often don’t even think about.
And that mental load is draining, right?!
But guess what: creating a solid, simple meal plan for busy moms like implementing a rotation system can ease that mental load.
Instead of meal planning being something you need to take care of every week, you can just cross the meal plan figuring out right off the list. It’s taken care of for a while.
You might be asking: But what if I get sick of what we’re eating? Then I say: change it up! A meal plan is not written in stone. The beauty of using a rotation plan is that YOU DECIDE IT. And the freedom it gives adds more space for wiggle room.
Below is an example of a simple Meal Plan Rotation Plan I wrote for my family recently.
For most of last month, my husband was plowing through three long weeks of double shifts at work, and I was solo parenting more than usual.
Times like this, extra busy times, the Meal Plan Rotation Plan really shines. It takes a big weight off my shoulders to not have to think about meal planning, but still feel confident we’re eating healthy and with easy meals.
Breakfast: every day, my kids had whole grain waffles spread with peanut butter, and I had egg salad in lettuce cups. My husband grabbed breakfast at work.
Lunch: I had leftovers, the kids had homemade “lunchables” of cold cuts, cheese, and crackers. Occasionally I changed it up with PBJs and roasted veggies.
Dinner: I kept the ingredients for these dinners on hand and a list of them on the fridge. Then I made what we had time for or were in the mood for that evening.
- Meal 1: Sheet Pan sausage and peppers
- Meal 2: This Korean Beef Bowl, made with ground turkey and a ton of added veggies.
- Meal 3: Spaghetti with meatballs and cherry tomato “sauce”
- Meal 4: Baked Chicken and roasted vegetables
- Meal 5: Thai Green Curry (my daughter hates spicy food, so she’d get ravioli or similar while my son eats the curry with us)
- Meal 6: pizza in the park with friends, we do this most weeks
- Meal 7: takeout or freezer clean out (this typically means frozen ravioli or Dr Praeger’s bites for my kids, and I make sheet pan nachos with leftovers)
We had something to this effect every week for about three weeks. I’m getting sick of it all now, so I’ll spend about 10-15 minutes (longer than I usually do when I’m making the 5 Minute Meal Plan, but it takes longer to decide on new stuff!)
So what do you think!? Does this sound like a plan that might work for your family during busy periods? I’d love to hear your thoughts!