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Meal Planning and The Busy Mom

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You may have heard that it saves time and money to plan your meals, but what happens when you don’t have time to even do the planning?  Keep reading for my tips for how to fit it in your busy schedule every week.

busy mom lookin at her computer meal planning

Tip #1: Change Your Mindset

For a long time, writing a meal plan for me was coming with a lot of procrastination . I knew Sunday afternoon would come and I thought to myself, “Aghh.. I need to plan my meals for the week.” I kept putting it off, putting it off, doing anything I could to NOT plan the meals.   However, if I just got it done, it would take no longer than ten minutes. I’m here to show you that’s possible!

So the first step into fitting meal planning into your life is to change your mindset to the “just get it done” mindset.   One of the most revolutionary books I’ve read (and I love reading about time management) is called Eat That Frog!  It’s the ultimate way to conquer procrastination and get more things done!   Brian Tracy named the book based on a famous Mark Twain Quote: If you eat a frog first thing in the morning, that will probably be the worst thing you do all day.”   You have certain tasks you must do, but you can’t because of that one thing that you don’t want to do!  It’s hanging over your head and paralyzes you from getting the rest of your stuff done.  I find it highly relevant to home management.   It’s so easy to put things off.   No one is giving you deadlines, yet things have to get done.   I’m not saying meal planning is the WORST thing you can do all day. It’s not! But if it’s on your list of things to do, and you keep putting it off, nothing else will get done.

There’s dishes, there’s laundry, there’s paying the bills. Procrastination doesn’t make it go away, and there are no deadlines.  As a home manager, consider certain things your frog.  Stop overthinking  it, and just decide to eat that frog and get it done!

Tip #2: Make it a Habit

Once you decide you are going to eat that frog and plan your meals, now make it a habit! 

To make it a habit, choose your time and location, with a trigger.   Create an environment that supports that habit.  If you start your week on Monday, plan the meals  every Sunday, same time, same place.   What’s the trigger?  Kids sleep in Sunday morning, or they are watching a specific show each Sunday morning.  Make that the trigger that starts your meal plan session. 

Tip #3: Create your Environment to be Successful

A clean, organized workspace isn’t just applicable to an office job.    You need a dedicated spot to do your tasks, pay your bills, write your shopping list, and plan your meals.  Whether it’s the kitchen table, a counter, or an office you can close the door to, it needs to be clean and organized! It’s amazing how a clean work space can support you in being more creative and more effective in your planning.  If you are writing on stacks of paper, cookbooks, can’t find your pen, etc. your process WILL take you twice as long.

Tip #4: Eliminate distractions!

This can be the hardest part.   However, being distracted can literally double your work time.  No multi tasking. Research has shown that when we try to multi-task, we actually get a lot less done than when we can focus on getting one thing done at a time.   Don’t open any browsers beyond recipes.  Don’t respond to notifications on your phone,  It’s only ten minutes! Don’t go down the internet rabbit hole. Of course there are kids!  We love these little distractions.  If you want them to be part of the process, they can be!  Keep them on track by telling them step by step what you are doing.  Get their feedback on the meals you plan.  If you aren’t ready to involve them, than make it a habit to do the meal planning before they wake up, or after they fall asleep at night! Remember, it only takes 10 minutes without distractions, so if you can get up 10 minutes before they do, you win!

In Review:

1.  Eat that frog!  You are going to decide to just get it done.  Let your motto be “getting it done and eating that frog!”

2. You are going to make it a habit by having a trigger to do it at the same time and place every week.

3. You are going to create a workspace that is clean,  and organized and free from distractions.

You got this. Make this the year that you make meal planning a part of your life. You will be amazed how much it can change everything about the way you cook for you family, how it actually does save you so much time, and most importantly, how it gives you so much mental energy back!

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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