Calling all Stressed Out Moms!
This is going to be the best post I have ever written for stress relief!
You come home from work after a really long day and you have a home cooked meal ready to be put on the table. You can just enjoy your time with your with your family, listen to your kids talk about their day at school without having any stress of making dinner.
Doesn’t that sound heavenly?! It’s doable! Today I’m going to teach you all about what I call “The Stressed Out Mom’s Meal Prep System!”
IF YOU’RE ON THE RUN, LISTEN TO THE VIDEO!
“I don’t have TIME to do meal prep!”
The most common reason why moms don’t already do weekly meal prep is that they feel like they don’t have time. Does this sound familiar?
“I am already stretched so thin and super busy, you want me to add even more to my plate?”
The thing is, you are already preparing meals. You’re just doing it on a nightly basis instead of doing it all at once. And most likely… It’s on a way more stressed out basis as well.
It’s causing you more stress preparing meals daily because you’re coming home from work and you’re just done. Your brain power is shot, you’re tired and you’re HUNGRY.
At least that’s what it was like for me. I would come home from work feeling exhausted, stressed out and so hungry. Ryan would look at me with that twinkle in his eye and a little shit-grin on his face and refer to the snickers commercials…
“Grab a snickers. You’re not you when your hungry!”
And would look at him half ticked-off, half laughing. “Shut up! I know I’m hangry but I just can’t help it!”
Can you relate to that?
Here’s the point: You’re already making time for meal prep, it’s just not all at once.
What you need to make meal prep work in your life:
- You need to have it be an enjoyable experience. I’m going to share with you awesome tips on how to make meal prep actually enjoyable instead of being something that’s stressful.
- You need to remember WHY meal prep is so helpful. Today’s freebie that I created for you is a printable list of reasons why you will want to start and stick with meal prepping. It’s going to help you remember why you want to make this be a sustainable, routine thing with in your life.
You can print it out, put it somewhere you can see it often and when you don’t want to make time for meal prepping, read through the list of reasons. They’ll inspire you and give you motivation to actually get your meal prep done.
The 3 Step Stressed Out Mom’s Meal Prep System!
Step #1 to Meal Prep Success:
Schedule it in.
Block off time for doing weekly meal prep and protect it.
How much time should I block off?
I would honestly recommend starting with 3 hours. You might get it done in 2 hours, and if you can, that’s awesome!
Did I just lose you? Does it feel absolutely impossible to allocate a 3 hour time chunk to something?
Well, let’s talk about a few things before we move on:
- You have to be in control of your time. I know it doesn’t feel like you have the time to do this, but you do. You have to be in control of your time, your happiness and your stress level.
- Everyone benefits when Mom is less stressed. When you block off time for meal prep, you’ll be so much less stressed throughout the week and your family is going to benefit from that like crazy. It really is true that when Mom is happy, the whole family benefits.
- Try it. Even just once. Try it just one time and see how different you feel. See how much less stress you have over that next week when you don’t have to come home and make dinner every night. It’s worth it – I promise!
ACTION STEP #1!
So right now, take out your planner or bring up your calendar on your phone and schedule it in. Block off that time and protect it. Otherwise, if you don’t schedule it in, life is going to take over and meal prep is not going to happen.
Step #2 to Meal Prep Success:
Identify Duplicate Ingredients
Take a look at your 5 meals that you chose when you were in the meal planning phase. Most likely, of those 5 meals, there are duplicate ingredients.
The most common ones for me are ground beef, onions and garlic. So say 2 of my recipes call for 1 pound ground beef, browned. I’ll put 2 pounds into one pot, brown it, get it all done and then divide it in half so that I have enough for each of those recipes.
ACTION STEP #2!
Write down duplicate ingredients from your recipes that you can prepare all at once.
Phase 1 – Meal Planning
Phase 2 – Grocery Shopping w/a Solid List
Step #3 to Meal Prep Success:
Figure Out How Far You’re Going to Prep Each Meal
Every meal is a little different as far as how much you can make ahead of time vs how much you need to prepare the night you’re going to serve it.
There were 2 examples that I came across that I had to think about,
“Ok, how far do I want to prep these meals?”
#1 – Grilled Stuffed Burritos
My homemade healthy version of Taco Bell‘s grilled stuffed burritos. They are soooo good and they’re one of my family’s favorite meals.
My first thought was, “Well, I could just prepare the meat and the brown rice, get everything cut up and prepped in order to assemble that night.”
But what I decided to try was fully assembling them. I followed my recipe all the way until the point where I would put them on the griddle and instead, I put them in a container in the fridge until the night we wanted to have them for dinner.
When I got home that night, I warmed up the griddle, put them on there to get them all warmed up and crispy. They turned out amazing! I really didn’t know if they would turn out decently or not, but you couldn’t even tell the difference vs when I make them all in one night! MOM WIN!
#2- Shrimp Scampi
On the flipside, I was making shrimp scampi and I thought, “I want to prepare this ahead of time, but I don’t really care for reheated shrimp.”
So I decided to make the sauce and prepare the shrimp (meaning picking off all of the tails) and then all I had to do when I got home from work was combine it all together in a pot and cook the shrimp by heating it through.
It was so much easier than tackling the whole recipe when I got home after work!
ACTION STEP #3!
With each recipe you’ll need to decide how far you want to prep it.
This is going to be a little bit of trial and error. Most likely, you’re going to end up having a meal or two where you have to tweak it next time, but that’s ok! Don’t feel like it has to be perfect the first time. 🙂
Meal Prep PRO Tips
Meal Prep Pro Tip #1:
Make it FUN!
- Crank the tunes,
- Have a dance party in your kitchen,
- Race against the clock,
- Anything you can think of… Just make it fun!
You can also have your family help you – you’ll have company which can be fun and their help can make it go so much faster!
Can my kids help even if they’re young?
Most definitely! What I’ve done with my kids is given them the more simple tasks that don’t involve cutting or using the stove. My kids are 7 and 4 and they do such a great job picking grapes off the vine! A task that’s tedious and not my favorite thing to do, but they rock at it and love helping me out. 🙂
My 7-year-old can peel carrots too which is super helpful. I taught him how to do it so that he doesn’t cut his fingers and sure, there are a couple spots I need to do after he’s done usually, but that’s ok!
Having fun & getting the kids involved:
- Saves me time,
- Helps them understand what goes into preparing meals.
- Helps them prepare for adulthood.
- Teaches them that cooking can be fun!
Meal Prep Pro Tip #2:
Start & End with All Dishes DONE
I need to work on practicing what I preach on this one, but when I do it, it feels absolutely amazing.
Starting with All Dishes Done:
Having all of the dishes washed, dried and put away when you start is super helpful because you’re going to need measuring cups and pots and pans and sheet pans, and all of the things that you need to cook with. If they’re dirty in your sink, it’s really irritating AND way more time consuming.
Ending with All Dishes Done:
Why end with a clean kitchen sink? When you’re done prepping, the last thing you might want to do is dishes.
“I just got done preparing allll the meals. I’m outta here! I. Am. Done!“
But, if you do the dishes right away…
1. It will make you feel so proud and accomplished!
I feel like the task of meal prep is completely done when my dishes are done. If I leave the kitchen a mess, I feel like I got a lot done but kind of half-assed the whole project. Like there’s still another task looming over my head.
2. All throughout the week, your kitchen is going to stay so much cleaner!
You’re going to be able to keep up with your dishes because you’re not going to have dirty pots and pans and mixing bowls and all of your cooking dishes. All you’re going to have throughout the week is the dishes that you actually eat off of.
It feels amazing to be able to keep up with having a clean kitchen sink all throughout the week. And if it wasn’t for meal prepping all at once, it wouldn’t be like that at all.
Meal Prep Pro Tip #3:
Set a Deadline
For me, it works out the best to meal prep on Sundays. That way our meals are nice and fresh when we are ready to eat them Monday through Friday. PLUS, we usually have leftovers at the end of the week which means no cooking on the weekends besides meal prep! Yay for that!
If it works better on Saturday or any other day of the week for you, go ahead and do it. Tweak it to fit within your schedule, but set a deadline and get it done! 🙂
So that is your complete
Stressed Out Mom’s Meal Prep System!
It feels absolutely amazing when you actually do it, so just give it a shot. It might feel like this super daunting task, but just read my meal planning post and the grocery shopping with a solid list post and it’ll feel that much more doable.
What if I fall off the wagon?
It’s completely normal to fall off the meal prep bandwagon, OR not even get on to begin with.
That’s when remembering what’s in it for you is SO helpful. You can make this stick as a lifestyle and it’s so much easier when you remember why you’re doing it.
Carving out time is hard, but it’s sooooo worth it!!!
GRAB YOUR FREE PRINTABLE REMINDERS HERE!
Let me know how it goes for YOU!
I can’t wait to hear back from you! When you implement this system, come back to this blog post and comment on it.
I would love to hear your feedback and how much stress it relieved for you. Even tips and tricks that you come across, I would love to see them in the comments of this post!
Who do you know who is stressed out and could benefit from this meal prep system?
Share this post with a fellow stressed out mom! You can pin it, share it on Facebook, text it to her, etc.
I really want to help as many people as I possibly can because when WE are less stressed, our whole family is less stressed.
When we’re less stressed, we can enjoy our evenings making memories that are amazing for our kids, for our husbands, for our whole entire families.
Everybody benefits when mom is less stressed. So share this post with a fellow stressed out mom!
I hope you have a fantastic day, Beautiful Mama!
~ Lacey ~
Hey Ladies! I’m Lacey Busse – a busy, working mom. I’ve got two kids and I created Working Moms Reduce Stress because I love teaching other moms how to alleviate stress. I want to teach you how to slow down, be able to enjoy your time with your family AND carve out time for yourself.
So… If you want to feel less stressed, have more mental energy and just feel that fog be lifted from your brain, make sure you drop your name & email by clicking below. I have so many tips and tricks that you were not going to want to miss. 🙂 I’ll send you a quick little email with the latest stress relief tips!