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5 Menu Planning Tips for Overwhelmed Moms

Updated: Mar 3, 2022

You are busy.

You aren't lazy.

There is a difference.

Many clients come to me believing they are too lazy to do the things they know they "should."

Here is what I have learned from my clients: none of them are lazy. My guess is, you aren't either, but telling yourself you are is holding you back. Telling yourself you are lazy is not motivating.

Positive psychology has shown behavior change is driven from positive emotions. Telling yourself you are lazy is not helping, it's hurting you.

This doesn't mean that being optimistic about problems you are actively working through is hoodwinking yourself. It means you say to yourself, "nothing has gone wrong" and "I can get better at anything."

My job when I coach clients is to help them develop a positive mindset around food and nutrition based in positive psychology. I help them see when they are using negative emotions to motivate themselves vs. positive and empowering emotions.

Within meal planning this could look like, "I haven't taken time to menu plan, but the times I did it saved me time" or "Telling myself I hate menu planning doesn't make menu planning easier, how can I make menu planning fun?" Flexing your positive emotional muscles allows your brain to create solutions from a calm and safe mindset.

Before I give you the 5 tools I recommend, you need to decide:

  • Is menu planning a problem for me?

  • Do I have the energy to tackle this problem?

  • What will happen if I learn to menu plan better? What will happen if I don't?

  • Why is now the right time to tackle this problem?

Now that you are clear on your motivation to tackle menu planning, here are my 5 favorite tools to make your life easier and more joyful:

This is my favorite because it offers so much in one service. Menu planning, supportive Facebook group, and resource guides (how-tos, kids cooking tips, packing kid lunches, and much more). Some clients find the recipes too different from what they are used to, but the Facebook group is full of comments like "I wasn't going to make this meal this week, but I did, and loved it." So, while it could be out of your comfort zone, you could discover your new family favorite.

I often gift clients a WHOLE YEAR to Cooksmarts to make menu planning easy breezy while we work together.

A bit more fancy and upscale, the NY Times recipes do not disappoint. Meal planning is not as easy as Cooksmarts, but I think the recipes are better. You can hack it by saving the recipes you are going to cook during the week, adding all the ingredients to their grocery list generator, and then print the recipes. Easy enough, but takes practice.

If you can outsource dinner, I highly recommend you trying a meal kit delivery service. Best for busy families who have the money, but not the time to menu plan or grocery shop. My best friend's husband turned me on to Home Chef and he suggests you do the protein option and make your own rice, pasta, bread on the side.

To use the weekly menus you need to purchase their cookbooks. I think this is a great, one-time investment for the family who wants to get really good at 30 or so recipes and riff off them each month. The recipes are incredibly kid friendly and easy to cook.

5. CSA

My local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) offers meal kits using local ingredients and produce. Maybe your local CSA has something similar? Also, I LOVE getting a box full of fresh produce and making meals from what they sent.

If meal planning feels too hard because you have rigid food rules that are trapping you into cooking the same foods over and over, I would love to work with you to undiet your mindset, help you rediscover pleasurable eating, and make life so much simpler for you. Click below to book a free 1-hour consult.


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