Weekly Meal Planning as a New Mom (January)

I’ve been asked quite a few times how I manage to stick with eating healthy while being a new mom. My answer is easy…

Preparation. Preparation. Preparation.

During the week I scribble down recipe ideas and bookmark recipes I want to try while surfing the web, so when Sunday comes, I’m ready. Take yesterday for example…

First, I glanced over things I already had, like fresh produce, that we need to eat in a timely manner. Since I stopped by the Davidson Farmers Market on Saturday (LOVE!), I already had stocked up on a few fresh items.

Davidson WInter Farmers Market Goodies

With these is mind I perused my recipes and decided what dinner should be for each night of the coming week. I make a point to keep new recipes to a minimum, so I don’t overwhelm myself if Hailey decides to throw her schedule out the window. I plan recipes that are relatively quick and easy, or recipes I can do most of the prep work for ahead of time. I also consider the week ahead and what our schedules are- for example, this Thursday I have book club, so I won’t cook dinner. This process takes about 20 minutes, so I can do it while Hailey plays in her exersaucer.

I also jot down snack, lunch and breakfast options for the week. I use Evernote, so the list I make on my computer is saved and able to be accessed from my phone (which I use at the store as my list)

Sunday- leftovers
Monday-shrimp fried quinoa and bok choy
Tuesday-slow cooker beans, sausage and kale soup
Wednesday-mushroom risotto and salad
Thursday-David frozen meal/book club
Friday- spaghetti and turkey meatballs and salad

snacks: kale chips, hummus, Greek yogurt, granola, apples, celery and peanut butter

breakfasts: bagels, eggs, oats, green monsters

lunches: leftovers, roasted butternut squash, goat cheese, lentils, salad, quinoa bowls

From the weekly plan, I generated a complete list of groceries needed, then went back and deleted any that I already have-example: I jotted down quinoa, but then checked and saw I’m fully stocked, so I deleted it off my grocery list). My list ended up looking like this:

raw cashews
sparkling water
coffee creamer
to go coffee cups
olive oil
2 inches fresh ginger
1 bag carrots
4 scallions
1/2 cup frozen peas
4 links spicy sausage
onion (2)
red bell peppers (3)
cannellini beans (dry)
goat cheese

Then, I hit the grocery with Hailey tethered to me in the Bjorn.

Harris Teeter grocery cart

I stick strictly to the list, unless I see a deal too good to pass up. This week, it was a frozen James Food Mexican Casserole (marked down 50%), 50% off goat cheese so I bought 2 and a trip to the salad bar. I also had to swing by Healthy Home Market for some raw cashews, since HT didn’t carry any.

grocery totals

Grand Total for the week: $102.31.

I got home, unloaded and then the real important part took place- PREP. I was fortunate enough yesterday for Hubbs to watch Hailey for 1.5 hours so I could prep for the week, but even if he couldn’t have helped, I would have prepped with Hailey or after she went to bed because it is THAT important. It makes the entire week go more smoothly.

make ahead- batch of quinoa, batch of lentils, batch of cannellini beans, salad, kale chips

Sunday food prep

The total time (from thinking up dinners to having all the food prepped and put away) is about 3 hours. It may sound like a chunk of time, but it’s totally worth it to me. I never have to stress about what is for dinner. And at 2:00 when I realize I’m starving, I don’t have to cut up veggies or cook lentils, I just grab it from the fridge and eat it. Plus, I know I’m fueling my body with clean, healthy food that will keep my energy up.

Do you plan your weekly meals?

If so, what tips do you have to make it an easier process?

*The winner of the LOVE Grown Foods contest is JEN from My Inner Healthy!

Photo Jan 30, 7 09 24 AM

Congratulations! Please email your address to me at [email protected] so I can send you the goodness Smile



  1. says

    I do a very similar thing – although I am only home one night a week (ahh the joys of working full time and going to school part time) so I try to make one meal on Sunday that is just for lunch/dinners for my husband. I also double almost every meal I make on the weekend for leftover for lunch/dinner.

    It takes so much time on the weekend, but it is so much easier.

    My husband and I share a list on our iphones that is the grocery list – that way we can both add to it when we notice we are out of something. We can also both walk around the store and pick up things – makes grocery shopping faster!

  2. says

    This is sort of random, but I keep seeing tweets from this wonderful yogurt called Atlanta’s Fresh that they are going to have it in Healthy Home Market in Charlotte. If you see it, pick some up. It’s pricy but so good.

  3. says

    You are so right. When one become a parent, you have to plan, plan, plan with food and everything for that matter.
    I also plan weekly what we are going to have and then also buy the produce over the weekend. With me working full time, I have to plan whether I’m going to use the slow cooker for which meals or making which meals the night before.

  4. says

    I love all of your life as a mommy posts! Keep them coming because I know they’ll be super helpful for me one day. And I agree, preparation is key to success and something I need to get better about. I find that I always have a plan ready to go but acting on it is the hard part.

  5. says

    The prep scene was intense, but it definitely looks worth it. And the fact that the whole shebang only took 3 hours is so impressive. Maybe I’ll start prepping on Sunday now.

  6. Staci says

    Thank you for posting this, I don’t know why, but for some reason I never thought about cooking and doing all the prep for the week on the weekend, that’s a great idea, Thanks!!!!

  7. Lauren K says

    This is a great idea!! Now that I have some serious free time over the next few weeks I might get myself organized to try this out :)

  8. says

    I LOVE the idea of meal planning, but I feel like it’s kind of hard when it’s just one person! A lot of times I end up with big amounts of ingredients and I dont’ know how to use them all up! I’m working on eating more leftovers!

  9. Lauren B. says

    These are great tips! I already sort of do that by planning out our meals ahead for the week, but I know that when I become a new mom in August, I am going to have to really streamline and get more efficient. Thanks!

  10. Haley says

    Love your tips! I’m pretty good at implementing some of them but there are definitely some that I’m going to try and implement!

  11. Whitney says

    Did you meal plan when it was just you and your hubb? I’ve been married for 7 months and have not gotten the meal planning thing down for the week. I have such a hard time trying to figure out what we are going to want to eat during the week. Luckily, I have a great husband who doesn’t give me a hard time about meal prep/cooking, but I am concerned that once children come along I won’t be prepared! Great Post :)

  12. says

    Wow. You are definitely all over meal prep & planning! I pretty much do everything you do minus the biggest time suck: food prep. Some weeks are better than others and I’m able to chop all the veggies ahead of time and cook a pot of beans.

  13. PB says

    If you have an iphone I’d recommend the grocery pal app(its free). You can make your grocery list and it organizes it by department(IE produce, frozen, etc). You can also send the list to someone else via text or email and link to your grocery store so you know what is on sale in advance. It is a major time saver for me!

  14. Sarah says

    I do think being prepared for the week is a stress reliever…. But sometimes, it produces a new kind of stress for me; the “I have all this food ready to eat but our schedule changed and now it’s all going to go bad!”

    I think our magic number is just planning 3 meals for the week. Then we do leftovers, go out to eat or grab something to cook spur-of-the-moment to fill in the rest.

  15. Jen says

    Great tips! Thank you for mapping that out for us! I do the same thing when it comes to planning meals for the week, but not the prep work-that is a great idea! How do you use Evernote to generate shopping lists? I use it to save recipes, but never to make a list.
    Also, what lunches do you create with the lentils and butternut squash? Both are foods I love, but am unsure how to actually incorporate them into a meal. Thanks!

  16. says

    I don’t have a baby, but there is so much time to be saved by at least just cooking your grains up before hand! Lentils, rice, cous cous, pasta all stay good for most of the week and make it so much easier for me to pack on the go lunches. Today I just grabbed some pre steamed string beans, pre cooked rice, and a veggie burger, put hot sauce on all of it, threw it in a to go container and went to work. Voila, lunch it 2 minutes. Heat and eat!

  17. says

    I go through phases with meal planning and prep. I’m in a non-meal planning phase right now but think I need to start again. My most dis-liked part of the day is deciding what to make for supper, I don’t mind cooking it but deciding what to make sucks :)

  18. Erica says

    This is similar to what I do, too! I love the idea of writing ideas in evernote throughout the week though. Sometimes I’ll have an idea then completely forget it come Sunday morning.

    I have another question – can you give me some info on the Baby Bjorn? I’ve read a lot of good reviews about the Moby wrap and the Ergo (and we ended up registering for the Ergo) but I just haven’t heard a lot about the Bjorn. Which one do you have and do you like it? Would you recommend it?

    • says

      I love our Bjorn! Hailey never liked it when she was small (under 3 months) because she had to face my chest and wasn’t a fan. But now that she is a little bit bigger, she loves facing out and looking around. It’s great for grocery shopping and short walks and my back never hurts, so I feel like it offers great support.

      • Erica says

        Thanks this is helpful! I really want a baby carrier because my hubby works out of town a lot and so I’ll be doing a lot of errands and taking care of the dog, etc by myself, and figure it will be so much more convenient than a stroller!

        Which model do you have?

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