How to Plan Meals Ahead as a Working Mother

“Mum, I’m hungry, what are we going to eat tonight”?

You’ve heard this time and time again. You’ve just come home from work and the kids are hungry; you’re hungry. So what do you do? Throw a ready-made pizza in the oven or go round the corner to grab a Happy Meal from McDonalds. That’s exactly where working mothers go wrong.

Coming home from a full day’s work to screaming and hungry children is every mother’s worst nightmare. Your week can be made stress-free if you plan your family’s healthy meals in advance! Here’s how…

Schedule Your Days

You need to dedicate one day of your week to planning next week’s meals. Most mums will start thinking about what to cook on a Sunday or even worse, on a Monday. Truthfully, the ideal day would be on a Thursday or a Friday. Call it your ‘Meal Prep Day’ and jot down your ideas.

Make Saturday your ‘Grocery Shopping Day’ and Sunday your ‘Cooking Day’. Mull over each day of the week. Will the kids have evening classes? Will there be a day when you or your partner is out? Planning is everything. You’ll feel relaxed by the time Friday arrives.

Browse Recipe Ideas

Want something tasty, unique but at the same time, easy and quick to cook? Check out food blogs, cookbooks, magazines and recipe websites for ideas. Remember, you want to feed your family real food, so avoid those tempting and unhealthy meals! Have a look at these recipe ideas for working mums.

Schedule Your Meals

Now that you’ve chosen the recipes, it’s time to schedule each day of the week with a meal. Don’t go overboard. Focus on cooking a full dinner 2-3 nights a week. The remaining days can be something less time-consuming like sandwiches or an omelette. Consider using fresh produce early in the week like green beans or spinach and use vegetables like cauliflower or potatoes for later in the week as they keep better. It all depends on your schedule.

Write Your Shopping List

Most families have the essentials on their shopping lists. This includes milk, bread/buns, eggs, butter, pasta, cereals, canned tomatoes, fruits and vegetables. The majority of these essentials will last the entire week. You could even freeze the bread to make sure it stays fresh for another day.

Consider taking your kids with you (if you’re that brave) and let them help you pick out the fruits and vegetables. Ask them what they want to eat next week – but be firm when they start begging for burgers and hot dogs every day. You’re on the hunt for nutritious meals!

Prepare Meals In Advance

You would usually spend around 30 minutes choosing, washing, cutting and assembling those vegetables. Another hour will be needed to stand over the stove. Those days are over. It’s time you get ready in advance. Sunday is your ‘Cooking Day’ so start by preparing 1-2 meals.

Here are a few tips:

Make Note of What Worked Best

At the end of the week, evaluate which meals were easiest and worth your while. Did that casserole take too long in the oven? Did the kids not like the fajitas? Let your kids choose which meals appealed to them most. This way, you avoid complaints over the dinner table. You need meals that are quick, easy and nutritious so perhaps choose 5-8 recipes that you can use throughout the month and make a regular rotation.

By planning, preparing and cooking your meals in advance, there”s no excuse to order take-out during the week. As a result, your meals will be more nutritious and you”ll be able to sit at the dinner table with your family without feeling stressed after work.


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