Well, needless to say, we LURVE meal planning here at MamaBake – anything to get us gals out of the kitchen, stat! We thought we’d put the question out there and share with you our latest meal planning tips for busy mums.
We checked in with the mighty MamaBaker community to find out how they meal plan and of course, they never fail to deliver. Check out these mums’ real tips on how they meal plan dinners for their busy families:
Meal Planning Tips for Busy Mums
“I have a blackboard on the side of our fridge that has the days of the week. I review the freezers & pantry and meal plan around using up what we have before needing to go shopping. Write the menu on the blackboard.“ ~Shell
“We plan 2 weeks ahead, we go through our pantry and freezer first and plan meals with what we find there and then fill in the gaps. We have a chalkboard in the kitchen and we write the menu plan on it and allocate who cooks on what night to share the load.” ~Lesley
“I have a spreadsheet that shows breakfast, morning and afternoon snacks, lunch, dinner & dessert.
I “shop” from home first to see what ingredients we already have and then use cook books, google, Tasty app and saved links to find other ideas.
Then I jump on Coles Online and make a shopping cart so I can see exactly how much I’ll be spending.
Then I take that list to Aldi first, if it’s cheaper at Aldi I buy it from there otherwise I get it at Coles.
Makes life SO much easier knowing exactly what we are having, not getting home from work at 6:30 and wondering “oh what should I make for dinner?!” Plus keeps us on budget” ~ Stephanie (*Ed’s note: we asked Stephanie if she saves money doing it this way and she said she saves about $50 a week! Sounds good to us!)
“Menu plan for the week ahead – what I feel like, family faves, what we haven’t had in a while, what’s in season, what kids/hub have requested- then write shopping list from that. Menu also planned around after school activities, etc. so slow cooker for nights when we’re in late and so on. I NEED to menu plan to keep on top of everything, makes for one less thing to have to deal with each day if it’s already sorted. I cook ahead, use the freezer, prep the night before and so on where I can to make it all easier. Takes some getting organised but Is totally worth it to keep me sane and us eating well.” ~Mandi
“I plan on Sunday mornings, look in freezer and cupboards, I have an allergy kid so have to be careful, no gluten, tomato to name the main ones, do shopping list from there. Staples are tofu and homemade satay and steamed veg, GF pasta with ricotta base and home made pesto, usually a slow cooker meal, almond meal/ Parmesan crusted chicken. All with steamed veg, they are my 4yo favourite food!!!” ~Larissa (Ed’s note: how good does that Parmesan encrusted chicken sound???!)
“I see what I have in the pantry and freezer before I go shopping and build on what’s left. I prep mince for tacos and lasagne and freeze, make ahead meals in sturdy freezer bags to put into the slow cooker and chop and store veg like pumpkin, carrots, salad items etc.” ~Amanda
“Meal plans are sorted out a week in advance. I’m a huge fan of markdowns (*Ed’s note: us too, Kate!) , especially marked down meat, but markdowns are a waste if they can’t be effectively used.
So basically, my grocery shop each week consists of whatever I need to add to last week’s markdowns, and whatever good sale price things I planned, and then this week’s markdowns.
So everything is still planned, it’s just staggered.” ~Kate
“Every shopping day. I plan 2 weeks of meals for a family of 5. Saves alot of trouble. Especially when there is kids sport nearly every evening” ~Karen
“We have a menu board and we do a 2 week block, we also have a book we right all the meals in and then go through that to plan the meals. Having 7 kids at home this makes it easy and they can see what is for dinner each night. Now to teach them to prep the veggies would be amazing 😂😂😊” ~Melissa
“I menu plan all the dinners. I sit down with my recipe folder, start the list with the number of meals I need and then go from there. I have the shopping list beside me when I do it and then check what’s in the pantry and freezer before shopping. It minimises wastage, at least for dinner foods!” ~Emma
Our favourite meal planning products at the moment: