I’m an affiliate with Once a Month Meals, which means if you order through my link (or any links in this post) I may receive money. This won’t cost you anything extra! 

It’s 9 am on a weekday morning, and I’m settling down to work with my (second) cup of coffee. I’ve got my to-do list ready, ranked by priority. It is so calm in the house, so serene, so quiet. I panic for a second, thinking my toddler must be into something, or my big kids are sneaking extra time on their Kindles. And then I remember.

They’re in school.

Yup, all of them. School has been in full swing here for my big kids for a month, and my toddler just started his preschool program this week. So now that I have all this time on my hands, I should be basking in completed checklists, sorted laundry, and peaceful evenings of dinner.

Except, it seems that for each kid I shuttle off to school, something else finds its way onto my plate. And it’s not all bacon! So, during this month, the (hopefully cooler) month of September, it’s all about me. I’m making myself a priority. I’m putting my wants and needs into the equation.

And you can too.

For the past year, I’ve been making the gym my priority. Well, my health in general,  but going to the gym 3 times a week has been the goal. And while that often means rearranging schedules, the biggest hurdle I faced was food.

Here’s how six months in Florida looked:

  • Leave the house at 2:30 pm
  • Workout at 3 pm
  • Arrive home by 4:30 pm
  • Shower
  • Start dinner prep at 5 pm

Oh, with a one-year-old who wants to be held and two elementary school kids who needed help with homework, and a husband who was constantly exhausted from being at work by 4 am.

Then we moved. (Again.) And, after a few months of figuring out this new life, I made my health a priority again. And now my routine looks something like this:

  • Kids arrive home/are picked up by 4:30
  • Leave the house at 6 pm
  • Workout at 6:30
  • Home by 8 pm.

Somewhere in there, homework and chores get done. The kids play outside with friends, my husband comes home from work, and my toddler whines because he’s a toddler. They eat dinner without me, and I eat when I come home.

So, how does dinner work? When, exactly, am I supposed to cook this healthy and delicious food that will help them grow, minimize the mom guilt, and fuel my body so I can hit my goals?

Yup, you guessed it. Meal prep. It will surprise none of you that I am not planning, prepping, and cooking these meals every evening. In fact, if that does happen during the week, it’s a surprise for sure.

Nope, I rely on Once A Month Meals, my stand-alone freezer, and my instant pot. And it works, I promise.

Rewind to this past weekend. When we were all home, all weekend, starting the potty training adventure. I found a menu on Once a Month Meals, customized it to fit my desires, and then printed off the shopping list. After a quick check in the pantry and freezer, we were off for food shopping.

The next day, I followed the preparation guidelines, cooking all the meat and chopping the vegetables. And then, the next day (because I also prioritized a nap Sunday afternoon) I assembled 10 meals. Ten meals! Ten!

Once A Month Meals
These beautiful, ready to cook in my instant pot or warm in the oven, meals are now sitting, nicely labeled in the freezer. They are standing by to make this week less stressful. They are ready to be devoured for dinner, whenever that may be and packaged up for lunches if something is leftover.

And really, what this means to me is that, once again, I am a priority.  I can go to the gym, guilt free 3 times this week. I can pop a Buffalo Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole in the oven, set the timer, and walk out the door – GUILT FREE.

And what is better than that? Not much. Maybe a personal best in the gym this week. Sure, I’ll take that, too.

Are you ready to save some time on meal prep and cooking in order to move your health and wellness up the ladder of your priorities? Give Once a Month Meals a try. Here’s a free Mini Menu to get you started. Let me know what recipe is your favorite.


Meal Planning for back to school

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