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Simplify Your Week: 6 Meal Prep Hacks for Busy Moms

meal prep nutrition tips and strategies recipes weight loss Apr 21, 2024

Simplify Your Week: 6 Meal Prep Hacks for Busy Moms

It took me forever to start meal prepping because I thought I needed the perfect three part containers and the perfect recipes that were meal prep friendly.

In reality that’s not what was truly holding me back, it was the idea that there was one specific way to meal prep and I needed to do it that specific way.

Many years later I have finally broken free from that thinking and meal prep is just another habit I do throughout my week because I know if I don’t it will be more stressful when it comes time to eat.

I’ll also probably reach for the less nutritious food, not enough food, or if I am feeling really lazy the scraps off my kids’ plates. 

I have a feeling I’m not alone on that! 😂

I know how hard it can feel when you feel like you are adding something else to your already long to-do list but I promise you meal prep has been a game changer not only for me but for many of my clients.

It has helped to eliminate overwhelming decisions when it comes time to eat, and you probably should have eaten hours ago and you are starving. 

It has made meal time less stressful because there is a plan in place.

Since I know how hard it can feel to carve out time and get your meal prep done I have a few tips and tricks that have helped me and my clients along the way!

1.  Plan Your Meals 

Planning is essential when being successful with  meal prep. Dedicate some time to brainstorm options for the week. This can be all meals, a single meal, or even just snacks. Focus on incorporating a variety of protein sources, healthy carbs, and good fats into each option. This ensures you get a well-rounded intake of nutrients and keeps you feeling energized throughout the day.

Pro Tip: Theme nights can make planning exciting! Do a "Taco Tuesday" prep session or whip up a big batch of chili for a cozy "Soup Sunday." Consider prepping kid-friendly portions alongside your meals. Pre-cut fruit and veggies with a yogurt dip, whole-wheat quesadillas with cheese and beans, or mini chicken and veggie kebabs are all healthy and kid-approved options.

2.  Create Your Shopping List

Once your meals are mapped out, transform them into a detailed shopping list. Include every ingredient you'll need, down to the last herb sprig. Categorize your list (produce, dairy, protein, pantry staples) to streamline your grocery shopping trip and prevent impulse buys.

Pro Tip: Utilize grocery store apps to build your list digitally and check for deals or coupons while you plan.

Create a shopping list in the notes app on your phone of the foods you buy week after week and tweak as needed.  You can also create a word document of the list and print out a whole bunch of copies if you are more of a paper pen kind girl!

3.  Schedule Your Prep Time

Block out dedicated time for prepping your meals and snacks. This creates a consistent routine that prevents last-minute scrambles and unhealthy takeout temptations. Treat it like a fun self-care session – throw your ear bud in and put on some music, listen to your favorite podcast, or an audio book you’ve been trying to find time to read.  You can even involve the family in your prep session. It can be a fun way to bond and share the workload.

Pro Tip: Multitasking in the kitchen can save you tons of time. While your main dish is cooking, use that time to efficiently prep other elements. Wash and chop vegetables for the week, whip up a quick salad dressing, or portion out snacks. This maximizes your time in the kitchen and minimizes dedicated prep sessions.

4.  Batch Cook and Conquer Leftovers

Take your efficiency to the next level with batch cooking. Cook larger quantities of each recipe to create portions for multiple meals. Bonus points for freezing extra portions for future lunches or quick dinners. Invest in microwave- and freezer-safe containers ( like these ones)  to store and reheat your meals with ease.

Pro Tip: Pre-chopping vegetables or prepping grains like quinoa or brown rice on the weekend can save even more time during your dedicated prep session. 

Breakfast on the Go: Meal prep isn't just for lunch and dinner! Whip up a batch of overnight oats, portion out yogurt with granola and berries, or prepare an egg bake like this one eggs, cheese, and veggies. These grab-and-go options will help to ensure you start your day with a solid meal, even if you are eating on the way to school drop off.

5.  Snack Prep is Key for Busy Moms

Prepping healthy snacks throughout the week is crucial. Portion out nuts, hard-boiled eggs, baby carrots with hummus, or pre-cut apple slices with nut butter. This helps curb cravings and prevents reaching for unhealthy options.

Pro Tip: Repurpose Leftovers! Leftover roasted veggies from dinner can be a great grab-and-go snack. Slice up leftover grilled chicken for protein. Get creative with leftovers and transform them into healthy, pre-portioned snacks. 

Make large batches of protein pancakes so you can make them every few weeks but still have something easy to grab as you run out the door. Check out these Pumpkin Protein Pancakes or if those aren't your thing check out more snack ideas here!

6.  Reheating Strategies: 

Focus on options that hold up well, like stir-fries, soups, stews, and baked chicken or fish. Make sure to use glass containers if heating up in the microwave, these are my favorite meal prep containers. 

Pro Tip: Use the slow cooker so you can have hot and ready meals even after a busy days.  Here are 10 High Protein Slow Cooker Recipe Ideas.


New to meal prep? Don't be intimidated! Start with simple recipes that combine a protein, carb, and healthy fat. Think grilled chicken with roasted vegetables and brown rice, or lentil soup with a side salad. Gradually experiment with more complex dishes as you gain confidence.

Remember, Consistency is Key: Don't get discouraged if your first attempt at meal prep isn't perfect. As you get more comfortable, you'll find ways to personalize your meal prep routine to fit your family's needs and preferences. 

Involve the Family: Get your kids involved in age-appropriate ways. Let them help wash and chop vegetables, choose healthy snacks from the grocery store, or decorate their lunch boxes to make meal prep a fun family activity.

My hope is that you will choose one of these tips and get started with meal prep, then once you master that move onto another one!


Come  follow me over at @NourishedMomWellness for more nutrition tips and tricks you can easily fit into your already busy Mom life!