You know what this is about. The food conundrum. The ongoing battle of what I want to serve and what I had time to prepare or offer my family. The jumping on and sliding off the guilt trip of what our children deserve and what actually lands on the plate.
It’s meal planning for the busy mom time.
I’m going beyond what we’ve covered here in the past in this post.
We’ve talked about breakfast meal time routines and rotations. We have a constant array of amazing and nutritious recipes we stumble into and then share with you on our Facebook page (so if you haven’t liked us yet, now is a good time if you can’t find what to make for dinner.)
I’ve share meal plans created for both our clients and my own family, and in this post I’m going to share some tools to successful meal planning for this mama right here, because even I need to K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, silly!)
3 tools for meal planning success
#1— Cheap Easy Healthy Eating System I still follow my own system and am constantly finding new ways of purchasing healthy foods for my family at a price that won’t break the bank. Although we no longer eat as a family of 4 (5 with a nursling) for $500 due to eating nearly grain free, we’ve allowed for that growth in our budget of another $300/month as the benefit we’ve seen to this way of eating far outweighs the cost. The additional $300/month comes from including more fresh produce, healthy fats and animal protein.
#2—Real Plans For years I have followed the Holistic Squid blog, and the founder of this blog created a meal planning system bar none to other I’ve ever seen. I talk a lot about how to meal plan, why to meal plan and where to purchase your groceries, but Real Plans takes it to a whole different playing field entirely.
Real plans allows you to choose the kind of lifestyle diet your family follows, for example, gluten free, dairy free, paleo, traditional, vegetarian, etc. I love it because I can adjust my weekly meal plan (I use this product at least two weeks out of each month, I’ll explain why below) to include more eaters or less, for example, if my in-laws are in town I need to allow for more servings of each meal. Once the meal plan is ran for the week, I can delete any meals I know we won’t like, import any of my own recipes or those I’ve found online to include, then it will automatically run a shopping list for me.
I use Real Plans about twice per month because I get bored of the same old and like to include at least one new meal per week into our routine. The rest of the week is old hat based upon everyone’s dietary needs, activity schedule, what we have in the fridge/pantry/freezer, and honestly, with a new baby, old hat works great because I know those recipes are well loved and are nutrient dense. I also love using it because Chad does most of the grocery shopping–the on the ground in a store grocery shopping, I’m the online shopper of the duo–he’s especially taken it on since the little man arrived and it’s a huge help. I run the shopping list, it prints out, we discuss any necessary changes or additions needed (such as toilet paper or something I forgot to add), he grabs a kiddo or two and off he goes. The monthly subscription works well for me to provide both spontaneity and planning.
#3—Thrive Market is my latest favorite find. I’ve been using them for about nine months, so you may have heard me talk about it before but it’s basically a Whole Foods + Costco meets Amazon ease of ordering. Seriously, once you try it you’ll never go back. Not only because it’s super easy to use but because you can purchase all of your non perishables and have them shipped to you for half the cost. The prices on Thrive Market are ALWAYS 25-55% off as a standard. They have a fantastic community based mission, and I’m all about feeding people so this is right up my alley.
With a membership fee annually (like Costco) and their mission of giving away one membership for every one purchased (unlike Costco), along with the fact that I can find anything I need (think of a dream trip to Whole Foods) that’s non perishable, all the while staying in my pjs and not spending money on gas, it’s a no brainer for our family. You should know I save at least $75 per order, so it’s a huge savings for us.
What’s cool about Thrive Market is that you can use THIS LINK==>Nichi’s Thrive Market to get a free trial membership. Using the above link you get a two month subscription to this amazing resource at no cost, AND, 25% off your first purchase. Not sure why you’re still reading this blog post. Get on over there and start placing your order. I love it because I can set a dollar amount I’m going to spend and when my cart hits, say $100, then I make the purchase.
Here are some of our Thrive favorites:
seventh generation diapers
enjoy life chocolate chips
wild planet tuna
nutiva coconut oil
Jackson’s Honest sweet potato chips
Inka plantain chips
….I could go on and on, Native Forest coconut milk, Pacific almond milk, roasted red peppers, Kind bars, and organic applesauce to name a few more.
With running a busy practice with five employees to managing a household with my wife (my new nickname for Chad as he’s taken over some of my tasks since Odin was born), and spending time with our family, these three tools are huge in meal planning for the busy mom.
I’ll share the links again for each one here to make it super easy for you==>
The Cheap Easy Healthy Eating System
Now that I’ve shared my three favorite tools, please share some of yours!