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How to easily plan dinners when you’re a busy mum

And avoid the last minute drive through options

Ah dinner time. After a long day (especially if there’s been after school sports), it creeps up on us.

It’s often only when we hear those four words, ‘Mum, what’s for dinner’, that we think, ‘Oh gawd, what is for dinner?’. The scramble of opening the cupboards and freezer starts and everyone starts firing ideas at you.

You end up scraping something together or giving in and grabbing something easy from your local take away.

But hey, here’s a thought.

What if you had your dinners planned out for a week? How easy would that make your weeknights?

6 easy ways to plan your weekly dinner ideas

  1. Look at your week: Using a weekly planning board, start by marking down any nights where you have something on after school – sports, visiting friends, meetings etc. This will help you see where you’d have quick meals. 
  2. Ask for suggestions: Honestly, planning meals week after week is tedious and you’ll soon get sick of always coming up with ideas. Ask your kids and partner for their input. You could even have a meal idea per person each night and get them involved in making it too. 
  3. Prepare some in advance: If you know you’ve got a busy week coming up, spend some time on a Sunday to make some meals for the coming week. Pop them into labelled containers that you can quickly pull out of the freezer and zap when you need to. And while you’re in the kitchen, you could make some lunch box snacks for the week too. 
  4. Write down your planned meals: On your planning board, write down the meals you’ve decided for the week. Soon they’ll stop asking you what’s for dinner as they can see it on the board. They may even surprise you and start preparing it for you!
  5. Make a shopping list and go shopping weekly: Once you’ve planned your meals, you can create a shopping list to match. This way, you can go shopping and get everything you need for the week of dinners. It saves you running to the shop (and spending more when you see something else ‘you’d better buy’) and you know you’ve got everything you need to make that meal. 
  6. Treat yourself occasionally: It doesn’t hurt to have nights off. Treat your family to dinner eating out at your favourite restaurant, or grab take away. Your kids will love it and it gives you a night off.

The internet’s best quick dinner ideas for busy mums 

To help you out with some quick dinner ideas, here are some resources we’ve found:

The Stay at Home Mum – Various recipes from all meat, freezer meals, slow cookers, pasta and rice, and fast food

Kidspot – Quick and easy meals for busy mums

The Organised Housewife – 50+ meal ideas for mums

Cooking for Busy Mums – 70 cheat dinner ideas

Healthy Mummy – 37 easy dinner recipes when you’re too tired to cook

Cooking for busy mums – Various recipes

Parents Magazine online – Quick and easy recipes

Do you have any quick mum dinners to share?


If you’ve got a family favourite meal that’s quick to prepare and always goes down a treat, please share it with us below.


And if you’re looking for a wall planner to help you plan your weekly dinners, check out the Daily Orders range here

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