4 resources for simple meals during a BUSY season
The most common question I receive is:
HOW DO YOU FEED YOUR BIG FAMILY WITH YOUR CRAZY SCHEDULE?
I usually message back with 2-3 tips and some resources that I utilize but it is about time I put it all together! This is what works for MY family and has for almost three years.
Here are my top 4 favorite resources for meal planning. These are simple meals that are fool proof and affordable for any busy schedule or season.
*contains affiliate links*
1. Cook Once Eat All Week cookbook by Cassy Joy Garcia with Fed & Fit. My best friend recommended this cookbook to me after I shared a post on social media asking for new meal suggestions. My post came from a point of frustration because I was pregnant and SUPER sick. I had no energy to even think of new meals to add to the rotation let alone make new and complicated ones.
This cookbook provides 26 weeks of meal prep complete with ingredients list and suggestions for substitutions for allergies or food preferences ←- which i later found out after some food allergies hit our family! I love to provide balanced meals FULL of variety for my family. I’m pretty sure it drives my husband nuts because he could care less and eat white sauce pasta or taco bell every night and be just fine. Me, on the other hand, just can’t handle that. I also can’t handle spending hours in the kitchen every night with a baby asking to be picked up, a toddler wanting to help all while navigating the homework circus.
How it works
- Choose a week from the cookbook! Our favorites are Weeks 1, 5, 11 & 25.
- Go shopping. The ingredient list is provided in the book but you can also head to fedandfit.com to use the downloadable lists.
- Prep the basic components. I usually wash and chop all of the veggies and fruits, prepare any meats and make as much as I can in advance.
- When it’s time for dinner, put everything together!
- Put away leftovers, IF you have any.
This cookbook preserves SO much of my time and has made me confident in my abilities to feed my family meals that fill them with amazing variety. Cassy explains how to store and reheat food, gives recommendations for how to stock your kitchen, provides suggestions for tools and cookware, breaks down the nutritional content AND gives some pretty amazing bonus dinners– the pork tenderloin recipes are a hit over here!
Cassy Joy Garcia just released a NEW cookbook: Cook Once Dinner Fix . I’ve included my initial thoughts at the end!
2. Mealime App This is a free app that provides meal plans for busy people! If you want to plan your dinners in 10 minutes or less, this is the way to do it!
How it works
- Set up your profile to include the amount of your family members as well as food preferences or allergies.
- Click “start your next meal plan.”
- Choose 2-3 recipes. The app will automatically create a grocery list for you. You can print or share the list. OR if you use grocery pick up or delivery, connect the app with your grocery retailer and checkout!
3. Isagenix : I will go into detail and share ALL of our favorite products but for this, I’ll highlight the SHAKES. These nutrient dense protein shakes are a daily meal for everyone in our family. Whether we each have one for breakfast or we are having one on the way to practice, this is a meal that takes 3 seconds and everyone absolutely loves. My husband’s all time favorite shake is BACK for limited time: MOCHA. The girls in our house love the whole blend plant based strawberry. The boys love all of the chocolate options with PB2 and a banana added, we call it the chunky monkey. Oh! And how can I forget the whole blend BIRTHDAY CAKE?!
Grab your mocha shakes here!
Grab one of each of our favorite shakes HERE!
4. Thirty Plates This is a monthly meal planning service that helps to minimize your time deciding what to have for dinner and maximize your time at the dinner table as a family. Sign up for an email subscription and you’ll receive a menu with recipes and week-by-week grocery list. She took some time off during the pandemic but her previous plans are pure gold and we continue to reuse them until she is back in action!
- I make one meal. We don’t do “kid” food and “adult food” around here.
- Daddy makes AT LEAST one meal on the weekends, sometimes four!
- I have a recipe book with all of my GO TO recipes. This can be a binder, recipe card box, a file in your phone– whatever works for you! I have this filled with our favorite easy recipes. I usually let the kids pick one to include in the menu! I’ll share mine at a different time!
- If I’m making something new with unique ingredients, I have the kids help make dinner. Chances are if they help prepare the meal, they will eat it too.
- Meal plan the day before payday. Payday for us usually means paying bills, going over the budget and making decisions towards our financial goals. Deciding what we are going to eat for 1-2 weeks isn’t going to be fun for me before or after that, ha! So I usually plan our menus on Wednesday, get the only grocery carts loaded and ready for easy checkout on payday!
NEW: Cook Once Dinner Fix . This book is the perfect addition to our kitchen. The first recipe I tried was the mac and cheese with pulled pork. If your mouth just watered, its because the recipe was the best ever. Even modified for my dairy free fam.
We aren’t perfect, sometimes life happens and we hit up restaurants for a couple weeks until I freak out about our budget. Aaand, during holidays I usually switch things up and try new things.
Also, even though I make a plan there are days where I don’t make dinner and you know what? If I wait long enough, my hubs will doordash some chipotle. He’s the best.
Share this blog post on Social Media:
Hey Sister! I’m Mandy. I live by my faith, love my husband & kiddos, will do anything for tacos and believe community is life changing.