Busy Mom Meal Planning Guide (including 100+ Meal ideas)

So you’ve heard all the hype about meal planning and how it can help save you time, money, and avoid the last minute rush of figuring out what to cook for dinner.  Well the truth is, I’m not very great at meal planning but I have created a system (aka Excel workbook) that works for this busy mom that likes a good home cooked meal. I aspire to one day be able to plan a whole month worth of meals and go buy ingredients in bulk all while staying in my monthly budget but right now I know I will never remember to take the meat out in the morning to thaw or I’ll have to make a trip (sometimes 2 opps) for ingredients I forgot to get. So for me right now in this season of life, one week at a time is what I do, but this system could easily be used to plan out monthly.


On Sundays I get out a few cookbooks or recipes I’ve been wanting to try and I open up my Weekly Meal Planner Template that has 100+ recipe ideas broken out into categories and I start my weeks meal plan and grocery list. If at the end of the week I liked any new recipes I tried I add it to the “Meal Database”.

Weekly Meal Planner
I like balance, so try to do something from each category during the week. For Example, Monday is Red Meat night, Tuesday is slow cooker night, Wednesday is Pork, Thursday is Chicken, Friday is Fish, you get the idea… I tried to do a meatless night but my husband quickly caught on and kindly requested to keep meat a nightly thing.

Meal Database
Also, I enjoy cooking as seasonally as possible, so there are recipes I don’t use in the summer or winter because the ingredients just wouldn’t be the same quality. I keep that in mind while planning. I am constantly editing my meal database with recipes I like. I will start to share a few of my favorite recipes with you all , if there is something in the database that doesn’t have a recipe but you want it, just comment which one and I’ll try to get it to you.

Grocery List
I have attached a blank Weekly Meal Planner Template for you to download, remember I am a busy mom so I kept it very simple with no frills. Please feel free to add your own flair to it or order this super cute meal planner off Amazon.

Please customize this for your family, delete recipes you don’t like, add things you do like. Bottom line, having a database of meals you like makes meal planning a breeze. I keep Breakfast, Lunch and Snacks kind of up in the air based on what we feel like and have going on but feel free to plan those out too. I like the grocery list broken out into sections of the store, it helps to get through the store quickly before a toddler (or mommy) meltdown happens.

I hope you enjoy the recipe ideas and if you have an meal planning tips leave them in the comments!

DOWNLOAD TEMPLATE:Weekly Meal Planner Template

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