Minimalist Meal Planning for Busy Moms (with Free Printable)

Do you ever feel stressed out about what your family is going to eat for dinner tonight? It’s time to simplify your meals and create a minimalist meal plan for your family to save time, money, and your sanity. Don’t rely on fast food. Get this minimalist meal planning for busy moms and families.

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Woman making meal in the kitchen

There’s a late meeting at work tonight. The kids have soccer and football on the opposite side of town from each other. Your son just told you that he needs to go to the craft store to get supplies for a project that’s due tomorrow. Sound familiar? Yep, I’ve been there too. When there’s a lot going on, the last thing you want to worry about is what’s for dinner.

But the dilemma is you want a meal plan but sometimes the prep work can take longer than to actually make the meals themselves. That’s why I wanted to share my favorite tips for keeping meal planning easy and SIMPLE. I’m going to show you a few steps to help you with minimalist meal planning and share with you a free printable that you can use to get started.

Minimalist Meal Planning for Busy Moms and Families

1. Create a recipe bank

The first step to creating your minimalist meal plan is by creating a recipe bank that you can refer to when putting together your weekly meal plans. A recipe bank is a list of recipes that you can pull from that you know your family will like or will eat.

Organize your recipe bank into five categories: breakfast, lunch, quick, weeknight meals, and long meals. Gather about 5-7 recipes for each of these categories to put in your recipe bank. 

If you need some ideas for easy recipes, check out my Pinterest board all about Instant Pot recipes too.

Another great resource for easy-to-make recipes in less than 30 minutes is my book Instant Pot Recipes Made Simple. You can download it instantly to your phone, computer or e-reader, so it’s portable and can go with you anywhere!

With this book, you’ll get:

  • Tried-and-true recipes the whole family will love – including pot roast, spaghetti, tacos, carnitas, soups, and easy breakfast meals
  • Instant Pot starter guide on how to use the buttons, tips and tricks, and more
  • Printable shopping lists for ingredients
  • Step-by-step video lesson on how to use your Instant Pot, pressure cooker safety, and some of my favorite tips and tricks
  • Two-week meal plan that you can put into action for no-stress weeknight dinners

Banner for an ebook called Instant Pot Recipes Made Simple

2.Create a list of ingredients

Now that you have your 5-7 meals in each category, make a list of ingredients that you would need to create these staple meals. You don’t have to repeat things like cheddar cheese or milk if multiple recipes call for the same ingredients. Keep this list handy or even on the same sheet of paper as your recipe bank for easier meal planning.

3. Do a quick inventory of what you have

Go ahead and start by making a quick inventory of what you already have. Are there any recipes that you can put together from ingredients you already have? If not, are there any items that need to get used up? For instance, I love to cook up extra grilled chicken and reuse leftovers for salad, soups, and sandwiches for lunches.

4. Make your meal plan

Put together your meal plan based on your inventory. Start by filling in days to do a quick meal, which should be easy to put together in 15 minutes or less. Next, fill in the rest of the week with long or weeknight meals as needed. Finally, add some breakfast and lunch options in as well. 

5. Create your grocery list

Now that you have your meal plan together, create your grocery list using the ingredients list that you made earlier. Once you’ve done this once, it will continue to make meal planning as easy as a 5-minutes process. When you minimize what ingredients you need, you will be able to minimize your meals and decision fatigue too. 

Free Printable

Want to see a sample of what my weekly grocery list and 7-day meal plan looks like? I’ve got a free printable for you to download and use. All recipes are available here at Don’t Mess with Mama. 

Printable Meal Plan (Excel and PDF)



Quick Weeknight Meals


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Did you try this minimalist meal plan? Don’t forget to comment below to let me know how it went. You can also FOLLOW ME on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest.

Photo credit: / Yastremska

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