As a work-at-home mom you're juggling several responsibilities, and one of them is meal preparation. To add to this challenge, not all of the household members like the same foods or they will only eat certain foods if they are cooked in a particular way. Meal planning makes dinner preparation easier, and this is especially the case when you have to work on several projects for your clients.
Have a list of recipes that are not time-consuming
When you work from home and look after little ones, you don't always have a lot of time to make your favorite big meals. Save those meals for the weekends or special occasions. For the weeknights prepare a list of simple go-to recipes that are not time-consuming and that do not involve a lot of ingredients. Some examples include pan fried pork chops, stovetop macaroni and cheese, sauteed spinach with onions and boiled eggs, and roast chicken. Then throughout the month buy the ingredients for the recipes on your list. Every few weeks add new recipes to your meal plan.
Use leftovers to create new meals
By doing this you save time and money on a trip to the store. If you made tacos the night before and you have leftover seasoned ground beef, use this to make cheeseburgers. Or if you have leftover spaghetti sauce, take it and create a big pot of chili that could last for days.
Create meals based on sale items at the store
If you want to plan meals while saving money, one of the best ways is to create meals based on the sale items you buy in bulk at the store. For example, if you are buying chicken leg quarters on sale in bulk, you can write a list of different chicken recipes you can make with them for the week. Or if you buy dried beans on sale, you can fix some bean recipes that freeze well so that you will have something in the event you can't make it to the store.
Spend your morning hours for meal preparation
If your toddler or infant gets watched by relatives on some mornings, use this time to make your meals ahead of time. You can make that night's dinner and the next morning's breakfast to save time. Another idea would be to make the week's meals ahead of time so that you can have more time with your family and your job-related responsibilities.
Combine meal planning with cleaning out the pantry
You can get inspiration for meal planning while cleaning out the pantry. If you see some packages of frozen salmon, plan that week's meals based on this staple. Or if you realized that you have a surplus of canned vegetables, create a soup with this.
Meal planning is essential to making your routine go smoothly. You are able to work smarter and you will be less stressed out. In addition, you are able to be more creative about the meals you cook.