5 Time-Saving Meal Prep Hacks For Busy Moms

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Mar. 13 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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In the whirlwind of modern-day motherhood, juggling responsibilities, schedules, and the constant demands of family life often leave little room for elaborate cooking endeavors. Yet providing wholesome meals for our loved ones remains essential. Fortunately, there are time-saving hacks that can streamline the meal prep process, ensuring that even the busiest of moms can serve up delicious and nourishing meals without sacrificing precious time. 

Consider these five practical tips and tricks from my own experience as well as that of my friends, to help you simplify meal prep and empower busy moms to reclaim their kitchens with efficiency and ease:

man and woman in kitchen cooking
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1. Pre-cut and pre-packaged ingredients.

As a working mom, I do not have two hours to prepare any part of a meal so if I can cut that time down, I will! One of my favorite ways to do that is frozen vegetables. They are extremely cost-effective and are already washed and cut. You can dribble a bit of oil and some seasonings on them, right out of the freezer. Throw them in the oven for a delicious side dish. Bagged salads, canned beans, and mini potatoes are other great options, as they are inexpensive and you can serve them with little to no prep.

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2. Double the recipe.

Making something yummy? Double your recipe and freeze half of it to eat another day. Then when you come home late in the middle of the week and have no energy to cook, you can just stick your pre-made freezer meal in the oven and have a delicious home-cooked meal in 20 minutes. My friend, Samantha, says that if she cooks a pasta dish with red sauce one night, she will “add cream cheese or heavy cream the next day so that we’re not having the ‘same thing’ twice.”

3. Buy in bulk.

Costco is one of the best and most affordable places to buy in bulk. I buy 3-4 rotisserie chickens and debone them when I get home. I’ll individually bag them and freeze whatever I won’t use in the next day or two. With already cooked and shredded chicken on hand, you can have chicken salad, chicken enchiladas, chicken alfredo, soup, and more.

My sister-in-law, Holly, said she buys up to 20 pounds of brisket or pork for her family of six and cooks the meat at a low temperature overnight in the oven. Then she shreds it and stores separate portions in the freezer. She makes burritos, rice bowls, sandwiches, and salads–all from the same slab of meat. 

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Woman cooking in her kitchen
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4. Order groceries online.

I feel like most of us are doing this already, but for those of you who haven’t tried grocery pick up, you should. I will order the night before and get them in the morning, after school pickup, or in the evening after I’ve get off work. Places that offer free grocery pick up include Walmart, Target, and Sam’s Club, to name a few.

5. Invest in a meal delivery service.

Meal delivery services save time and effort by eliminating the need to plan meals, shop for ingredients, and cook. If you’re an individual or family that doesn’t have time to prepare meals from scratch, this option could be extremely beneficial. There are a variety of companies that will mail you pre-made meals, healthy options, and lower prices–starting around $2.80 per serving. 

Whether you’re a busy professional, a parent juggling life’s responsibilities, or simply someone looking to simplify mealtime, these tips can help you save time in the kitchen without compromising flavor or nutrition. With a little planning and creativity, you can become more efficient in the kitchen–leaving you more time to enjoy the moments that truly matter. 

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Emily Flores
By: Emily Flores

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