Ready to plan meals like a pro? This Lazy Mom’s Guide to meal planning will get your weekly meals all set in just 10 minutes/week! This is a practical system for busy moms who don’t have any extra time to fuss around with complicated and time-consuming ideas.
**This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.**
First of all, this lazy mom’s guide is not necessarily for lazy moms! No offense here! I’m a super busy mom (I know you are too) and when it comes to sitting down and spending a lot of time planning meals, I am absolutely lazy! I like things easy, practical and time-saving, don’t you?
I don’t have time to look for recipes online or in recipe books. To be honest, I have 3 recipe books and I never look at them! LOL I’m the kids of mom who stares at the pantry and at the refrigerator for 2 minutes before I come up with my meal ideas.
With super picky kids, plan meals is a little challenging around here.
3 Reasons Why You Should Plan Meals in Advance Even When You Don’t Feel like It:
Plan meals to save you time!
Have you ever stare at the refrigerator for 5 minutes totally brainless not even knowing what you are looking for until you realize – oops! There is nothing here to make for dinner? Yep! That’s me without planning my meals for the week.
Then I panic thinking “What am I going to do?” while my husband walks through the door after a whole day of work saying “Hi, love! I’m so hungry! What’s for dinner?”
Whaaaat?? Is dinner time already?? (of course, I know it is, right?) Hehehe… You will understand how it saves me time when I explain to you how I plan meals for the week here.
2 – Plan meals to save money!
So remember that moment you stared at the refrigerator and had nothing to cook for dinner? Then you will end up doing two things:
1 – You will call your husband so pick up some pizza or Chinese take out on the way (my two favorites!) or…
2 – You will ask him to go to the supermarket and pick up a few things for you which always end up being a few other things more just because it was on “sale” or because he was starving while going shopping and though “anyways, dinner will be ready at 9pm so I better buy a few snacks to eat on the way”.
Am I not saying the truth?
3 – Plan meals to eat healthier!
I truly believe that no matter how busy you think you are, you can and should always make health your priority. Eating healthy will also save you time and money later on, ask a mom or a dad who battle cancer for a year or so and had to stop working while having tens of thousands of medical bills coming in!
I’m a cancer survivor and I have an autoimmune disease so eating junk makes me feel like junk, not to use another word here. I’m at my best and the most productive when I’m taking care of myself and my family.
Also, keeping a healthier lifestyle, nourishing your family with proper nutrition will help prevent them from being sick! There is nothing worse than having our little ones feeling miserable stuck in a cycle of sickness and misery. You can read more about how I stop that cycle of sickness in my family once and for all here.
If you plan meals weekly, you will be able to make sure you are adding enough fruits and vegetables to your family’s menu. My secrets to adding enough fruits and veggies into my kids are smoothies, salads, soups and Juice Plus+ – a whole food supplement that adds 35 fruits and veggies a day into my picky eaters’ bodies.
My 3 Secrets To Plan Meals Like A Pro:
Don’t look at recipe books!
Use what you already have!
Create a loop menu!
I’m Going to Explain to You Exactly How I Plan Meals Step by Step Every Week:
STEP 1: Download and print your printable menu and inventory lists.
STEP 2: Using the printable, start your quick the inventory. I normally do this on Saturday or Sunday night and it only takes me 5-10 minutes!
STEP 3: List all the main ingredients you have in your pantry to make meals.
This will include your dry foods (rice, quinoa, pasta, cereal, pancake mix, etc), your cans (tuna, tomato sauce, coconut milk, chickpeas, beans, etc), your potatoes, carrots, onions and whatever else you keep in your pantry.
STEP 4: List all the main ingredients you have in your freezer and refrigerator.
Normally, I start with all the meats in my freezer, frozen vegetables, etc. Then I list all the main ingredients I have in my fridge like cheese, pesto, eggs, vegetables, etc.
STEP 5: Once I have these lists made, I start pairing up ingredients in my head to make meals.
For example, I know I have ground beef, cheese, GF lasagna so I can make a nice lasagna for dinner on Monday night. I also have salmon, potatoes, asparagus, and carrots for another dinner. And so you go!
STEP 6: Once I have a list of ideas I start filling in my What’s On The Menu page.
It takes me less than 5 minutes doing my inventory and less than 5 minutes to write down my meal ideas.
- Double your recipe every time you cook so you can freeze a full meal for the following week! 😉
- If you love smoothies in the morning like I do, prep your smoothies by freezing your greens and fruits together in small sandwich size zip lock bags, then in the morning all you need to do is to add the milk and blend it!
- Make batches of healthy muffins and freeze for breakfast and snacks is really helpful too!
- If you have an Instant Pot you can cook a big pot of rice, separate into portions and freeze it in ziplock bags for weeks!
SUPER TIP! If don’t have an Instant Pot yet – BUY ONE NOW!! I’m serious!! This baby saves you tons of time in the kitchen. I LOVE my Instant Pot! All my meals are ready in 15-30 minutes total.
How Can Loop Menus Help You Plan Meals?
I love using loop schedules!! It is so easy and handy to help you with your cleaning, homeschool, daily tasks, and even to plan meals!
Here is how simple it is! List your favorite meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and make sure you keep the ingredients you always use in your pantry and refrigerator. Rotate them during the week!
I write down my family’s favorite meals in the back of the planner I keep over the kitchen’s counter to keep things simple in our house. When I need ideas, that’s where I go to. Very rarely I look into cookbooks, to be honest with you.