Meal Planning 101

5 weekend meal planning tips for working moms

“What’s for dinner?” It’s the question of the hour and everybody’s home after a long, stressful, and busy day at work.

Dinner time should be the most exciting time of the day because it’s when you get to see your husband and kids as they tell you how their day were. It’s supposed to be a bonding time, but for working mothers, it is one of the most stressful times of the day.

I don’t know how my mom managed to cook dinner every day when we were still kids even she and my dad were both working full time without employing any help but eventually, I discovered her secret and this is how she did it.

  • Decide what meals to prepare. My mom can list five to seven different dishes in one sitting. That’s her talent especially when she’s craving for something. So for example, she’s craving for giniling, we’ll have that on Monday then pinakbet on Tuesday. 

I often request her to cook adobo with lots of potatoes or lumpiang sariwa – my all-time favorites given I help her prepare the ingredients. I think this is effective because it encourages me to go home for dinner on that particular day because I’m looking forward to eating my favorite dish.  

  • Prepare a shopping/grocery list. My mom has this tendency to buy stuffs not on her list for “future use” or on-the-spur-of-the-moment or even it’s located at the end of her list just because she happened to saw it first.

The problem with that is that it will tempt you to spend more, you’ll run the risk of going beyond your budget, or worst, you’ll forget to buy what you really intends on buying the first place. So to save time and money, prepare a shopping list, prioritize them, and stick to it. When you have extra cash then that’s the time you can buy other stuffs.

  • Set a “market/grocery” day. Setting one day every week to do all your grocery can save you from rushing every day to the nearest grocery store to buy what you need. Usually, my mom does her grocery and marketing during Saturdays or Sundays then she organizes them at the kitchen table before storing them to the refrigerator. She also lets me prepare basic ingredients such as onions and garlic (good for three days) so she won’t have to do them anymore on a daily basis.

While Sunday is supposed to be a rest day, cooking – for her – is a form of relaxation. Busying yourself on Sundays to prepare week-long meals will surely save you from cramming during weekdays.

  • Vary your meals. No one wants to eat adobo every day. So make your meals interesting by preparing healthy and varied dishes. If you had fried tilapia/chicken today, try tinola tomorrow or chopsuey the next day. If you have leftovers, put them in the refrigerator, you might want to eat that dish the next day. However, store the food in separate, clean, and quality food containers to keep your food fresher, longer and avoid mixing the smell. 
  • Dine out. For those who are on a tight budget, this can be quite expensive and unhealthy. But if you can afford it, please do it once a week or twice a month. Doing it once in a while can save you from stressing yourself to go home early to prepare dinner, especially if you had a busy day. Meet your husband and kids after work and dine out. Who knows, you might discover you next recipe there.

Preparing food like any other activity should be fun and relaxing because as they say, your mood will reflect the taste of your dish. So relax, have fun, and enjoy what you’re doing and follow these simple tips. I’m sure the only question left is…what’s for dinner?


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