If you have been around for a little while, you know that I had my first baby last year. The transition to motherhood has been wonderful and a little wild as I am sure most mothers will agree. Everything changes– including meal planning. 

Last year I wrote a post about how I meal plan. This time around, I want to share some of my favorite time saving tips that I have implemented over the past year. We all need more time and there really isn’t anymore time to be had. Working within the time that I have and making these little shifts has helped dramatically and my family still gets dinner on the table– most nights, at least.

Young mom and daughter making cupcakes in a white kitchen

Time Saving Tips:

Meal Plan 

    • Simple, but starting with a plan automatically helps me save time.  My shopping list is made and I know what I am making that night for dinner. Removing the “what’s for dinner” stresses also eliminates the waffling over what I could make or what I want to make. (Anyone else do that?)

Batch Prep 

    • If I can make a larger batch of anything I am making, I do it. That means I can have it a second night that week, eat it for lunches, or freeze my leftovers for next month. This habit has been helpful to get into and has saved me lots of time. 

Keep it Simple

    • I try to focus on nourishing meals that my family enjoys. Simple proteins. Simple sides. I try not to over complicate it and I try to only cook meals that take around 30 minutes. I focus on using this method at least 4x per week. I am willing to make a meal we love that is more complicated or takes more time at least once a week because I do love to cook. This allows me to get to do something I enjoy without having to slave over the stove more than once a week. 

    • Meals like one pot, sheet pan, crock pot, or one bowl meals (like veggie or rice bowls) are lifesavers. (Check out all of our great options in the Cooking Challenges tab.)

    • Breakfasts and lunches are easy and come together in minutes. Whether I make a breakfast casserole to eat all week or eat leftovers for lunch, I don’t overcomplicate these two meals each day. 

I keep foods we enjoy on hand

    • Breakfast items, sauces (that make for a quick and tasty meal) proteins in the freezer, steam-able veggies, and other meal makers. “Meal makers” is just a term I like to use for items that bring meals together quickly. Some of my favorites include: 

      • Canned, steam-able, or pre-chopped veggies. 

      • Jarred sauces (there are some great low-no sugar options!)

      • Mixes for breads, muffins, or even pizza crusts 

      • Pre-chopped garlic (not really a meal maker but certainly a time saver)

      • Minute Rice 

Feeding babies/kiddos

    • My little girl has started to eat most of the foods that we eat. Since she has very few teeth, she cannot eat everything we eat, but she is doing a great job. I do try to plan our meals to match foods that she can eat, so I am not cooking two meals for dinner. Leftovers are also helpful to have so that she has nourishing meals to eat when I make something that she cannot have quite yet! 

I hope these tips help you save time in your own kitchens too! 

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