Time-Saving Meal Planning Hacks for New Moms

Let’s tackle a topic close to the heart (and stomach!) of every busy new mom: meal planning. We all want to feed our families and ourselves healthily, but who has the time? For many of us moms, there are seasons when we are eating leftover applesauce pouches and nugget bites and there are seasons when we are having “grown up” food for ourselves. The goal is to feel good and have what we need to feel good. Today, we’ll explore scientifically backed, time-saving tips for healthy meal planning and the items and hacks that streamline the journey.

“Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.” – Hippocrates.

meal prepping for your baby

Planning Ahead: A Busy Mom’s Best Friend  

It is probably no surprise that planning ahead is the biggest tip (and biggest hurdle). Meal planning can save you time, stress, and even money. Dedicate a few hours each week to plan your meals, grocery list, and meal prep. Consider using a meal planner app to keep everything organized.  Yummly comes highly recommended for keeping and curating recipes and grocery lists. Cozi works well if you’d also like to integrate it with other home to-do lists and calendars.

Here are the key steps to planning your meals:

  • Outline your week: Define your meals for each day. Don’t forget to consider snacks, packed lunches, or any special vents.
  • Write your shopping list: List all ingredients needed. Do a fridge and pantry check to see what you have and what you need for the week.
  • Grocery Shop: Get the things you will need for the week. May I recommend grocery pick up or delivery to save you some time?!
  • Meal Prep: Prepare as many components of your meals in advance as possible. This can be pre-cooking any meats or proteins, slicing produce, mixing marinades. Save yourself as much time as possible.

    I find this whole process goes better if you have a show or podcast to listen to while you are planning and prepping. Or, if your baby is willing to chill out without being entertained, make it a time you and your partner enjoy together and try to squeeze in quality conversation.

Grocery Shopping Tips: Efficient and Health-Focused

Online grocery shopping has been a game-changer for new moms. It saves time, plus you can easily avoid those tempting junk food aisles. When you are meal planning, you can anticipate what you and your family will need which can help you to avoid random purchases that can push you over your budget.

If you want food delivered to your home regularly, there are subscription boxes that do just that.

Master the Art of Meal Prep

Having your food cooked for each day is amazing. Having them ready in to-go containers (especially for those of you leaving for work or activities), saves a lot of stress and time. Meal prepping is an excellent way to ensure healthy eating, even on your busiest days. Consider investing in some high-quality meal prep containers that will keep your food fresh and ready to grab and go.  These are BPA free as well as microwave and dishwasher safe. This set is glass if you prefer that. (Bonus point: These containers keep your food from touching, which if you think like my 4-year-old daughter does, is the end of the world as we know it.)

meal prepping after having a baby

Quick, Healthy Recipes: Less Time, More Nutrients

Quick, healthy recipes are the secret weapon of every busy mom. One-pot meals, slow cooker recipes, sheet pan meals and simple, nutritious snacks can save the day. Make it something you can do quickly without a lot of oversight. This is probably not the season for intricate meals, keep it simple when you can.

My 3 Favorite Kitchen Gadgets to Save Time:

  1. Instant Pot: Being able to dump the ingredients, push a button, and get distracted by a diaper change without burning it all is a wonderful thing thanks to the Instant Pot.
  2. Blender: Smoothies are easy and healthy for everyone in the family. For awhile we were doing single-servings in this Nutribullet but now that the whole family wants smoothies, we upgraded to the Ninja Mega Kitchen (as of writing this, it’s on sale at Amazon.)
  3. Air Fryer: I almost took this out because I’m not as big of a fan as everyone else is. But, I know a lot of my coaching clients swear by the air fryer for quick and easy meals so I’m including it on their behalf. (And on behalf of my husband who worked hard to convince me to try and love an air fryer.)
  4. Sheet pan: For some reason, sheet pan meals felt revolutionary to me. Toss your ingredients on, toss oil and spices, throw it in the oven and you’re done. (The biggest reminder is to set your oven timer in case you get distracted!)

Embrace Freezer Meals

Freezer meals can be lifesavers on days when you just can’t manage to cook. I encourage my clients to do a freezer meal prep day once a month or once a quarter (depending on how often you tap into the reserves!) Freezer meals mean you put all of the ingredients in a bag, put that bag in the freezer, and get it out when you are in a hurry so you can pop it in the oven or instant pot. Think of this as your backup plan you can turn to instead of getting Door dash. I have trusted The Family Freezer for 7 years now. I love how they provide easy to make freezer meal recipes and the shopping list for various stores.

meal prep ideas for busy parents

Get Support

If it’s getting too overwhelming, remember, it’s okay to ask for help. A personal nutritionist can provide guidance tailored to your needs and schedule. Some even offer group meal-prepping zoom parties to keep you accountable and motivated.

Meal planning can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. With a bit of planning, the right tools, and a dash of patience, you can create healthy, tasty meals that fit seamlessly into your busy life.  

If you want to figure out how to bring balance back to all areas of your life after having a baby, consider the Postpartum Together small group coaching. We’ll navigate all the changes you’ve been through and the life you want to live as you embrace motherhood.

Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended as medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian before making changes to your diet.

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