How to Create a Personalised Meal Plan for a Healthy Balanced Lifestyle: Meal Prep for Busy Mums
Being a mum is a full-time job in itself let alone work and other commitments.
As a busy mum, it can be challenging to find the time and energy to cook healthy meals for yourself and your family.
Creating a personalised meal plan is an excellent way to save time and ensure that you and your family eat nutritious meals throughout the week.
Here are some tips on how to create a personalised meal prep plan tailored for busy mums like you, with a focus on meal planning.
Assess your Needs
Before you begin meal prepping, it’s essential to assess your needs to create your personalised meal plan successfully.
Ask yourself questions like the ones below to help with your scheduling and planning:
- What do I have on each day for the week ahead?
- How much time do I have to cook each day?
- What are the family’s dietary restrictions or preferences?
- How many meals do I need to prep each week?
Once you have a clear idea of your needs, you can move on to the next step.
For example, if you want to eat healthier, you may want to focus on meal-prepping healthy options and avoid processed foods.
If you want to save time, you may want to meal prep large batches of food that can be easily reheated throughout the week.
And if you have dietary restrictions or preferences, you’ll want to make sure your meal plan includes meals that fit you and your family’s needs.
Choose your Recipes
Choosing recipes that fit your needs is important for a successful meal prep plan.
Ensure each recipe includes the below important factors:
- Easy to make
- Can be prepped in advance
- Suitable for reheating and freezing
- Family favourites
Additional Tips to Follow when Choosing Recipes:
- Ensure that the recipes you select are ones that both you and your family enjoy.
- To keep your meal plan interesting, consider adding some new recipes to the mix while still ensuring that your family will enjoy them.
- Remember to account for snacks and any additional meals you may need for the week.
- You can explore healthy meal ideas on the internet, in cookbooks, or by subscribing to a meal planning app.
- Opt for meals that are simple to prepare, can be made in large quantities, and reheated easily.
- It can be an easy and convienient option to choose dishes that use similar ingredients. For instance, if you are preparing a chicken stir-fry, you can use the same ingredients to make a chicken and vegetable soup or grilled chicken and veg.
Plan your Meals
I have a Meal Planner and Grocery List below for you to use which will help simplify the whole process of creating a personalised meal plan.
Ensure to include the following in your personalised meal plan:
When planning your meals, try to choose recipes that share ingredients.
This will help save time, be more cost-effective, and even help reduce food waste as mentioned on Clean Up website.
Make a Grocery List
Once you have your meal plan, It’s now time to create a grocery or shopping list.
Be sure to include all the ingredients you need to make all your meals and snacks.
Before ordering, make sure to also check your pantry and fridge to see what items you already have on hand.
This will help you save money and reduce food waste.
When making your grocery list, it’s important to think about the quantity of ingredients you need.
If you are making a large batch of something, you’ll need to buy more ingredients than if you were making a single serving.
Prep your Ingredients
Prepping your ingredients is going to be the most time-consuming part of meal prepping, but it’s also the most important.
Here are some tips to make the process easier:
- Set aside a few hours each week to prep your ingredients – I use my Sunday morning.
- Utilise a slow cooker.
- Wash and chop vegetables ahead of time and place them in airtight containers.
- Cook rice, quinoa, or other grains ahead of time.
- Chop and marinate proteins.
- Pre-cook proteins like chicken, fish, or tofu.
When cooking your meals, use batch cooking techniques.
Batch cooking is a great technique to help you save time and reduce the stress of meal preparation.
The idea is to cook larger quantities of food at once and store the meals in portioned containers that can be easily reheated and enjoyed later.
Not only does this method free up your time during busy weekdays, but it also helps you make better use of your ingredients and reduce waste.
Store your Meals
The next step in the process of creating a personalised meal plan is once your ingredients are prepped, you will need to store each of your meals.
Once your meals have been cooked, let them cool down before dividing them into individual portions and storing them in the containers.
Label the containers with the date and the name of the dish so you can keep track of what’s inside.
Here are some tips for storing your meals:
- Use good quality meal prep containers to store your meals.
- Label your containers with the date and contents.
- Store your meals in the fridge or freezer.
- Use glass containers to store meals in the freezer.
- If you’re storing meals in the freezer, make sure to thaw them in the fridge overnight before reheating.
Reheat and Enjoy
When it’s mealtime, It’s as simple as reheating your meals.
When it’s time to eat, all you need to do is reheat your pre-cooked and pre-portioned meals.
You can do this in the microwave, on the stovetop, or in the oven, depending on your preference.
If you’re reheating in the microwave, be sure to use microwave-safe containers.
One benefit of batch cooking is that you can mix and match your meals throughout the week to keep things interesting.
For example, serve your curry with some rice or quinoa one night, and then use the same curry as a with baked sweet potato or a bed of greens for another meal.
This can help you avoid getting bored with your meals.
Another advantage of batch cooking is that it can help you resist the temptation to order takeout or rely on convenience foods.
When you have healthy, homemade meals ready to go, you’re less likely to reach for less nutritious options.
When you have put in the effort in to prepare your meals, you may be more likely to stick to your healthy eating goals and less likely to order takeaway.
Here are some tips for reheating your meals:
- Reheat meals in the microwave, oven, or on the stove.
- Add a splash of water to help rehydrate your meals and helps your meal not to dry out.
- Check the temperature of your food to ensure it’s heated through.
- Add fresh herbs or a squeeze of lemon juice to add flavour to your meals.
- During the week, all you have to do is reheat your meals and enjoy. You can also mix and match your meals to create new combinations.
Additional Tips for Creating a Personalised Meal Plan:
- Make meal prep a family activity.
- Don’t be afraid to use convenience foods like pre-chopped vegetables or frozen fruits and vegetables.
- Make double batches – This for me is a huge part of my meal prep. I like to make a double or even triple batch of Spaghetti Bolognese, portion, and freeze it until needed. This means I only need to boil some pasta to put with it.
If you are new and never created a personalised meal plan, start small.
Choose one or two meals to prep for the week and gradually increase the number of meals as you become more comfortable with the process.
Use your freezer to your advantage
Don’t be afraid to use your freezer to store your pre-prepped meals.
This will help you have a variety of meals to choose from when time isn’t on your side.
Invest in Good Containers
Investing in good quality containers will make a big difference in the success of your meal prep.
Choose containers that are stackable, freezer-safe, and microwave-safe.
Plan for Snacks
Don’t forget to include snacks in your personalised meal plan.
Having healthy snacks prepped and ready to go will prevent you from reaching for unhealthy options and getting caught off guard when hunger strikes.
Don’t be Too Strict
While it’s important to have a personalised meal plan, don’t be too strict with your meal prep.
If you don’t feel like eating what you prepped for a particular day, switch it up and choose something else that is healthy and nutritious.
Get the Whole Family Involved when creating your personalised meal plan
Creating a personalised meal plan can be a fun activity for the whole family.
Get your kids involved in choosing meals and prepping ingredients.
This will not only help you save time but also teach your children valuable life skills and all about healthy and nutritious food.
Have them help chop vegetables or mix ingredients.
Personalised Meal Plan – Final Thoughts
As a busy mum, a personalised meal plan through meal prepping can be a game-changer. It can save you time, money, and help you eat healthier.
Remember the key points when creating your personalised meal plan to help you successfully achieve your meal planning goals.
- assessing your needs and goals
- choosing your meals
- making a grocery list
- prepping your ingredients
- cooking your meals
- storing your meals
Creating a personalised meal plan can be a game-changer for anyone looking to save time, money, and stress when it comes to mealtime.
By including the essential requirements mentioned above, such as starting small, utilizing your freezer, investing in good containers, planning for snacks, and involving your whole family, you can set yourself up for success.
Starting small is key to building a sustainable meal prep routine.
Begin by prepping just a few meals a week and gradually increase as you become more comfortable with the process.
Remember to make use of your freezer by storing pre-portioned meals for later use.
This will help you stay on track even on busy days when you don’t have time to cook.
Investing in good quality containers can also make a big difference in the success of your meal prep plan. Airtight containers can help keep your food fresher for longer, reducing waste and ensuring that your meals taste great when it’s time to eat.
By planning for snacks, you can avoid the temptation to reach for less healthy options when your hungry. Make sure you have healthy snack options readily available, such as cut-up vegetables or fruit, nuts, or yogurt.
Finally, getting your family involved when creating your personalised meal plan can help make meal prep a fun and rewarding experience for everyone.
This is a great opportunity to teach kids about healthy eating habits and to spend quality time together in the kitchen.
In conclusion, creating a personalised meal plan along with prepping can be a simple and effective way to save time and live a healthy balanced lifestyle.
By following these essential requirements, you can create a personalised meal plan that works for you and your family.
With a little bit of planning and preparation, meal prepping can become a habit that makes your life easier, healthier, and more enjoyable.
Let me know how you create your personalised meal plan each week and what tips you have to successfully meal plan on my socials!
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