The one thing I’ve found to be super hard being a new mom is finding time to cook wonderful meals and do the thorough grocery shopping needed to survive a whole week as a family of three. Surprisingly, I’ve always loved the thrill of meal planning and grocery shopping – especially to try to see how to maximize my budget and cook delicious meals in it. Now, as a mom, finding time to sit down and do this kind of work every week has changed, but I’ve compiled a list of a few things I’ve tried or am doing that I use to survive meals and grocery shopping during motherhood so far.
I hate how many times I’ve had to go back to the grocery store simply because I forgot something we needed. Now, I’ve learned to keep a piece of paper on the fridge or a note in my phone, so every time I find that we’re running low on something or need something new, I write it down right away so that I can’t forget it, and I already have an impromptu shopping list ready to go.
Doing the grocery shopping with a newborn baby is so hard. They’re too little to sit up in the cart, and using most of your cart space for a car seat is feasible if you have a lot of groceries to get. One of the best items I have in my car trunk next to my reusable bags in the Binxy Baby cart hammock. The car seat or baby sets right in it and the hammock hangs over your cart, with all of the safety features needed to make sure it doesn’t fall off and baby is safe.
Make meal planning easy with a recipe binder. I love to find one recipe source and dig for a bunch of recipes, print them out, and organize them for easy locating when planning for the week. My favorite source is Home Chef, because they offer all of their recipes online for you to print, with a list of ingredients, nutrition information and cooking time/difficulty.
Once I have my recipes all printed, I sort them by meat type, so that when I buy meats in bulk like chicken, I can easily pull a few chicken recipes at once. All I do each week is see what ingredients or proteins I already have in the fridge, pull five recipes I want to cook, and make a grocery list for ingredients I need that I don’t already have. It’s that easy! For breakfast and lunch, I often cook and package similar meals for Monday through Friday, leaving Saturday and Sunday open to whatever I want. I often prepare breakfast sausage, hard boiled eggs, salads, and snacks for the daytime in bulk, adding a little variety in salad toppings and fruits so that I don’t get bored of the meal halfway through the week.
Honestly, the easiest and best way to avoid meal planning and grocery store disasters for those who struggle to get organized is to sign up for a meal delivery service or pick up prepackaged meals from the store. I’ve tried a variety of these, including Plated, Home Chef, Hello Fresh and Every Plate, and the convenience of having a few weekly meals delivered to my door is amazing! There’s no thought going into preparing your grocery lists, no trips to the grocery store and you can pick your weekly meals in minutes. The great part also is that Home Chef now make meal kits available in most Kroger stores, so I stopped by our local Mariano’s the Sunday before I went back to work and picked up five kits for five dinners that week, knowing the adjustment back into work life would take up most of my time.