Meal Planning When Mom Is Away

When I travel, I don’t make meals ahead of time for the family because well . . . my husband never uses them, so why bother.

What I do instead is buy easy, semi-healthy non- or minimally processed meals that he can throw together for himself and the kids. I created a meal plan for my husband so he would know exactly what we have and even where the foods are in the house. We all have had a moment where our husbands are looking for something and it’s right in front of him and he still can’t find it . . . this is what I am dealing with ladies, so I need to take extreme measures. LOL

OUTLINE OF MEALS  – so hubby can find everything

I went to my local Whole Foods this week to stock up on foods that I KNOW my husband will make. All of these foods are non-GMO, have few ingredients and are much healthier than ordering takeout or fast food.

Night #1 – Pizza: Now you can order pizza but Whole Foods has this great deal on Tuesdays; buy two pizzas for $9. You cannot get two large freshly made pizzas anywhere for that price. You can either call ahead, have them cooked and ready to eat or get a ready to bake version. I placed the pizzas in the freezer so they could eat them at some point while I am gone.  – Total for meal $9.

Night #2 – Grilled cheese and tomato soup: I normally have homemade tomato soup in the freezer, but when I don’t I love Imagine Organic Tomato Soup. It comes in a BPA-free box and is $4.69 for 32oz. I purchased 365 Honey Wheat bread ($2.79), which has no high-fructose corn syrup and every ingredient my 3rd grader can pronounce. Instead of getting white American I choose the 365 deli sharp cheddar ($8.31), which has less sodium and is minimally processed compared to the alternative. Total for meal: $15.79.

Night #3 – Hot dogs, fries with raw veggies and dip: The hot dogs I chose were Applegate uncured turkey dogs ($6.49) that are low in fat and contain no antibiotics or added nitrites. 365 Fries ($2.99), 365 wheat hot dog buns ($3.49) and 365 mac and cheese ($3.99). Total for meal: $16.96.

Night #4 – Lox and bagels with fresh fruit: This is a nice treat for all the boys. They love this meal and can use it for breakfast or make it for dinner if they don’t want to eat leftovers. The lox I bought was wild caught salmon ($4.99) and everything bakery bagels (6 for $4.99). Total for meal: $9.98.

Total cost for feeding three people dinner for four nights: $51.73

I have enough fresh fruits, veggies and yogurt at home to go with the meals. All meals will have leftovers that will be used again another night when we are busy and don’t have time to cook a family meal. So I have to say that the price wasn’t bad at all.

I saved money by purchasing many Whole Foods 365 products. The 365 brand is lower in price than others but still has the same high standards as brand-name organics. I also planned out the meals before heading to the grocery store, so I only bought what I needed, which also saves a ton of money.

The boys are not going to eat homemade dinners while I am gone but they will be eating healthier by the choices I made. I have to feel good about that and not stress over the small stuff.

What are some foods your kids eat while you are away? Do you make meals ahead of time? I’d love to hear some of your tips and tricks on how to keep everyone happy while mom’s away.

Trina O'Boyle is a Drexel Hill, PA mom of two boys. This post is adapted from her blog O'Boy Organic.

Categories: MomSpeak