Being a working mom means we probably don’t have time to cook a brand new beautiful meal from scratch every day.
But you know what? That’s fine! That’s not where my passions lie, or my skills for that matter! It is more important for me to come up with a simple plan for meals so I can focus on what really matters – the time spent with my family (not the time spent slaving over grocery shopping and cooking).
I’m all about using the tools and services provided by others that make my life easier. Life is complicated enough, and that is why others have taken the time to create these products to help each other out. There are so many wonderful meal planning and delivery services available to us, so why not use them!
Inside this post, you will find a collection of meal planning services and tools that make life easier for busy moms, because we have better things to do than spend our time agonizing over dinner.
Wonderful Meal Planning Services
Meal Plans by eMeals
I signed up for several months of eMeals a few years ago based on a recommendation from a coworker. It was wonderful – each week I would get an email with a shopping list and recipes. Simple recipes. Recipes that are short with few steps that all fit on one page for the week. I collected them and printed them out – and still refer to them often in a binder when we’re looking for a meal to cook.
What’s great about it is you don’t have to think about it – new ideas come to you.
Meal Plans by The Chaos and the Clutter
Meal Plans by MyFreezEasy
If you love the concept of freezer meals and want more recipe ideas, MyFreezEasy is a great program that shares tons of meal plans and shopping lists.
MyFreezEasy provides printable downloads that contain recipes, shopping lists, assembly notes, assembly instructions, 1 new assembly video each month, and printable labels for your bags and trays. New meal plans are uploaded into the member area each month and are packaged to make you spend as little time in the grocery store getting what you need, and as little time in the kitchen preparing the 10 meals for the freezer. The member area also contains a video library, a resource library, and a free freezer cooking workshop.
They also have challenges like the Make One, Freeze One challenge with additional support and recipes. Fun and fills your freezer for easier future meals.
Frugal Meal Plans and a Free Cookbook by 5 Dollar Dinners
5 Dollar Dinners contains many frugal meal plan ideas from various grocery stores and is great for keeping you on a budget. Actually, the site is owned by the same brilliant lady as the MyFreezEasy meal plan above. Different services, both excellent.
Meal Plans for Weight Loss by Cooking Light Diet
Cooking Light Diet aims to simplify meal planning for anyone trying to eat healthy and lose weight. They provide healthy, customizable menus with delicious food and real ingredients in portions based on individual weight loss goals. This sounds like a wonderful option to help maintain a healthy weight for the entire family. I like that they are customizable based on your goals.
Meal Plans and Delivery by Home Chef
Home Chef is a weekly subscription service. You can choose from 8+ unique recipes created each week by our culinary team with no recipes repeated in the same year. Most recipes can be cooked in 30 minutes or less by a novice cook and their algorithm learns your likes and meal preferences.
Meal Plans and Delivery by HelloFresh
I tried HelloFresh and thought it was a great idea. I might have to sign up again when my husband returns. The idea is they send you recipes and – get this – fresh ingredients to cook with! No waste, just enough food for that meal they sent you.
You don’t have to shop or leave your home, just receive the box and cook! The meals we got were fun and tasty. The plans they have are typically for 3 meals, either for a couple or for a family, and take approximately 30 minutes to cook. I say that’s pretty much a win.
Meal Plans by PlateJoy
I have heard about Plate Joy quite a bit but haven’t tried them out myself. I like the idea of custom meal plans if your family follows a special diet. Worth checking out.
Meal Plans by other bloggers
There are so many amazing blogs with already put together meal plans. Here are some more: Weekly Slow Cooker Meal Plans. There are a variety of meal plans available by category (such as five ingredient or less slow cooker recipes – love that, and around the world favorites – there are a few in that series).
Check out this awesome book called From Freezer to Table: 75+ Simple, Whole Foods Recipes for Gathering, Cooking, and Sharing by bloggers Rachel and Polly of Thriving Home!
Amazing Courses to Teach us Cooking Shortcuts
FREE 5 Day Real Food Fast Challenge
5 Days to Getting Real Food on the Table, FAST is a FREE 5-day challenge teaching you the insider tricks to drastically reduce the time it takes to make a healthy meal, so you can get dinner on the table faster, night after night, no matter how busy you are.
This challenge for families who seriously struggle with the TIME aspect of real food. Do you say things like:
Learn how to make Freezer Meals
If you’re ready to learn how to make freezer meals, you gotta check out this course. This course teaches you the ins and outs of preparing freezer meals, so you can meal prep in bulk and freeze for later, then just thaw and slow cook. Great for planning ahead for busy times, new baby, etc.
There are many options to the course – the highest tier includes monthly meal plans that just keep on coming to you with fresh ideas for meals to freeze and make later.
Teaching our Kids to Cook
You can also teach your kids to cook, and have them help you in the kitchen! That is a huge time saver for busy moms if our kids are old enough to help, right? Now instead of spending time away from kids cooking, we can do that as a family activity.
This is a course that is offered several times a year that does just that – teaches you to teach your kids to cook.
With summer coming, I know a lot of families are looking into day camps or some other activities to keep the young minds busy, so why not teach them to cook and play a valuable role in the family dynamic?
Here’s a simple idea that is always available – a kit that shows you how to create a breakfast station that kids can use to make their own food – so you can sit down and eat, yourself! Because if you’re anything like me, you’ve mastered the art of eating standing up, one-handed.
Helpful Tools for the Kitchen
A Kitchen Planner
Grab this amazing kitchen planner printable to get a well-ordered kitchen once and for all. Organized kitchens make busy weeknight evenings run so much smoother.
Slow Cookers are a Must
A programmable slow cooker is a great tool to have. Not all recipes can handle 10+ hours of cooking while you’re at work or driving (more like 12 for me), so a programmable cooker allows you to set the desired cooking time, and then just keep it warm for you until you get home.
Easier Grocery Shopping
I have mentioned that I’m using services like Shipt to deliver my groceries. I do the list online, and they do the shopping and bring it over.
You can read about other services I use to streamline my life here.
What are your favorite meal planning services and kitchen tools to save time and your sanity?