Meal Planning for Busy Mums

Misbah Akhtar

As a Mum, we are always so busy with carrying so many hats (as in our never-ending to-do list) that meal planning can sometimes be very stressful – especially if cooking isn’t your best skill (yet) or even if you love cooking – like I do 🙂

My MiniChef and I plan our meals for the coming week on a Saturday evening or Sunday morning and then we do our main grocery shopping together on Sunday afternoon. It’s a bit tricky to plan our meals at times, so then we decide to pick out one of many cookbooks and cook one recipe a day from that book – we start with the first page / recipe and just continue! That makes or life so much easier. Below is the Weekly Meal planner I designed and which I use every week! (link below to download it).
Meal Planning for Busy Mums
Other than that, I go Morrisons (our local Supermarket) every / every other morning to buy freshly baked breads / buns / Ciabattas / Parisian Baguettes / Rustic Rolls – whatever I fancy really. Nothing beats a freshly baked Parisian Baguette with Bertolli with Butter, onion pickles and Cheddar Cheese with a cup of Earl Grey Tea for breakfast – this is my daily morning treat!

As my Mum was a baker, she used to bring him freshly baked bread and cakes every day. She used to smell so yummy – freshly baked bread! And as my Dad used to work in a farm, he used to bring home organic vegetables; everything from tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, leeks, cabbage and more I still remember the the fragrance of tomatoes when we used to walk in the greenhouse – it was just divine! Even til date, when I buy tomatoes, I will pick up and smell them and if the smell like they used to do in the greenhouse, I will straight away put them in my basket!

One of my favourite places to go are local Farmer’s Markets – I have compiled a list of London Farmer’s Markets here. They normally take place during the weekends. Khushi and I make some lunch, we take our bikes, our basket and of course my ‘Mecado’ – a ‘must-have’ to carry fruit and vegetables.


  1. Check! The first thing to do is to get into the habit of checking what you already have at home, especially fresh foods like fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, cheese or milk, that can go off over time. Check your store cupboard fridge and freezer
  2. Inspire! When you know what food you’ve got, it’s time to think about what you want to make andfind new recipes for using up the food you have. There are plenty of recipe ideas here if you’re looking for some inspiration, and you can search by specific foods and ingredients.
  3. Tip: Label foods that need using first so it’s easy to spot what you’ve got.
  4. Plan! Some foods will need eating sooner than others, so plan around what needs eating up first. You can save lots of money by planning your meals at least a few days in advance, and up to a whole week ahead.
  5. Remember, it’s not only dinner or tea – if you plan your lunches at the same time, you can maximise the food you use up so nothing goes to waste.
  6. Top Tip: don’t plan all 7 days in a week – plans often change and unexpected leftovers can disrupt everyone’s best laid plans. For example leave one night as freezer night as it can stay safe at home on pause until you need it the following week.
  7. Top tool: Have a look at our Two Week Meal Plan for inspiration
  8. Make a list! There will always be food you need to buy, and the best way to ensure you buy what you need is to keep a shopping liston the go, adding to it when you of things or run out. 4 in 10 of us take a list to the supermarket – let’s make that number bigger!
  9. Tip: Use a mobile phone, post-it notes or scrap paper for making lists, Take a photo on your phone of what’s in the fridge and cupboards before you dash out the house if you’ve run out of time!
  10. Don’t panic! If it all goes wrong one week – have an unexpected dinner party or picnic for friends to use up the extra food if you’ve bought too much; bulk out mince with veg or lentils if you don’t have enough (no one ever notices!); get your portions right so you’re not overcooking; or create a mix and match supper from leftovers in the freezer! Via

Meal Planning from Love Food Hate Waste on Vimeo

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