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Are you a busy woman trying to balance several plates? Maybe you have family, a social life, professional development, work, or even a business. It can seem like it’s always something to do and sometimes, you just need a way to make something that needs to be done (like healthy meal planning) a little easier.
I can relate.
Since we’ve added a new family member, my schedule has been quite a roller coaster. Before having a baby, my schedule was already bursting at the seams, and now, with no less ambition, my schedule is even tighter.
In addition to blogging, I’m a wife, a mom of two, I do freelance marketing consultations (typically 20-25 hours weekly), I’m a homeschool mom (typically 20-25 hours weekly), and I am in my Master’s of Business Administration program (typically 10-15 hours weekly).
If you were a fly on my wall watching many days, you may think I look like a chicken with the head cut off, but I’m not. I try to keep everything organized and I will definitely write all of my productivity and time management hacks in future posts.
I am highly ambitious and in pursuit of my destiny. Can you relate? Even though my schedule is very busy, I still have strong passions about my family eating healthy and budget friendly meals, so we mostly eat at home: three meals per day. The only way to maintain my standard of quick, healthy, and budget friendly meals is by healthy meal planning.
I’ve personally went thru periods where I was trying to use my creativity in every facet of my life. I was buying healthy ingredients and using my creativity to turn them into a meal which inflated how long meals took me to prepare.
You know the “throw a lil of this, then throw a lil of that, stir, taste, and add a lil more of this and that” recipe? I was doing that, but it was taking too much time to get things right. Mind you, I still have cleaning, homework, writing, clients, breastfeeding, and other things I need to do.
Added onto the time requirement of the “this and that” method, it’s not cost-friendly because typically, I was buying things out of familiarity and based on what ideas came to mind. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes, I would sit down and meal plan, but healthy meal planning is an art.
It takes time to come up with ideas for three meals, snacks, and incorporating the food groups in a creative and tasty way. As my schedule picked up, I don’t always have time for healthy meal planning, so what are my options if I still want to have meal plans done?
In his book Destiny, Bishop T. D. Jakes says, “If you want to increase in success, you have to increase in order”. Healthy meal planning is an orderly task that contributes to a smooth schedule and a well-kept budget.
Often times, when we get busy, we can decrease in order, which in turn causes us to decrease in productivity. It’s important for us to learn how to balance order with accelerated responsibilities in order for us to continue going up in success. If you have the same dilemma as I sometimes have, some ways to ensure healthy meal planning is still done in your busy seasons are:
I’ve been at the thrift store and seen droves of cookbooks. Some cookbooks have the meal plans and shopping lists broken down. My favorite cookbooks (for budgeting purposes) are the ones that split the recipes by what is in season. If you buy fruits and vegetables in season, they are always cheaper.
Sidenote: The perfect time to stock your freezer or pantry is when the food is in season. You can freeze, dry, can, or simply vacuum seal the food to save on your grocery costs.
(If you click the pictures, you can purchase the items at Amazon)
You can’t really implement their weekly meal prep strategy without some good meal prepping containers like these here.
In seasons where you are busy, but you have some time to scroll thru cookbooks and compile suitable recipes, cookbooks is a good way to go. You can buy them fairly inexpensively, you can switch up from the norms of cooking the same thing time and time again (if you sometimes get stuck like me), and you can still manage your budget by going in the grocery store with a focused outcome rather than throwing things in the cart whenever you see something interesting.
There are so many sites, videos, and podcasts about cooking. You can find golden nuggets where there are meal plans, shopping lists, and good healthy ideas.
However, there is so much to sort thru, I personally get overwhelmed unless I have an ongoing “trusted” resource. When I have time to scroll thru, print, and compile instructions or ingredients, I scan the internet or use cookbooks.
Paying for a meal planning service has by far been my favorite way to meal plan when I am busy. I personally subscribe to 5dollarmealplan.com.
They send me one week of meal plans that serve 4 people every week along with the cooking instructions, one shopping list weekly, an estimate of each meal’s prep time, and an estimate of each meal’s cook time. I love 5dollarmealplans because the meals have been healthy, quick (typically 20 minutes prep time), and tasty.
An added bonus is that it’s a membership, so you can actually log onto the membership area and download coupons, create one week of meal plans based on your family preferences, or watch prep videos to make sure you are doing things right.
I recommend 5dollarmealplans as a healthy meal planning service!
My family has enjoyed the normal meal plans that are sent out with minor modifications like replacing pork with chicken, or brown rice with white rice, etc. We’ve had meals like zucchini parmesan, raspberry chipotle pot roast, and others that when I am busy, I just don’t have the creative capacity to compile.
Added onto the 5dollarmealplan.com, Erin Chase, the owner and mother of 3, also has Myfreezeasy freezer meals, another membership program, where she teaches you how to prepare 10 meals (two weeks of dinners) in 1 hour. Combined, the two memberships are $17.00, and I’ve found they both save me lots of time and stress, and they add so much joy onto our meal times.
Freezer meals are perfect for very busy days because after the hour invested to portion those 10 meals, all you have to do is open the freezer, take one out, and throw it either in the oven or on the stovetop. The prep work is done, so the cook time is all you have to bear.
When healthy meal planning is done and a stock of freezer meals are set aside, it takes a lot of stress off and allows you more peace, which in turn positively impacts your productivity in other areas: with your family, in your work or business, or otherwise.
If you’re a busy woman, check out some of the options I’ve posted: cookbooks, scanning the internet, or trying a healthy meal planning service. Right now, 5dollarmealplan.com offers a one-month free trial.
There’s no risk. All you have to do is stop by, sign up, and let the meal plans start rolling in. She even throws in bonuses from time to time. My family has loved it. They were sick of my rinse and repeat options, so it’s made everyone happy here.
Hopefully these tips help.
Tell me, how do you plan meals when you’re very busy? Do you use cookbooks? Have you ever tried a meal planning service? What are your thoughts? Leave your comments below.
Hi! I'm Tiffany. I'm a mom, wife, Internet Marketing Consultant, Business Strategist, and the founder of Healthy Living Mom. My passion is to share everything I know about health and welness, so you can have a healthy family! If you want a coach to help as you take your passion to the next level online, let's get started here and now!