The thought of healthy meal planning for working moms might sound intimidating, but it's simple with the right tools at your fingertips.

meal planning for working momsWorking moms, though their schedules are often hectic, must stay healthy for themselves and their families.

That is the principal the Fit Mother Project (FMP) stands by.

FMP was designed for busy moms of all ages who'd like to achieve or maintain healthy habits, so they can be the best version of themselves and set good examples for their children.

Learn more about meal planning for working moms to get started today!

JOIN OUR FIT MOTHER 30X PROGRAM

FM30X is the first sustainable weight loss program designed exclusively for *busy* mothers like you...

Learn More  >

The Steps of Meal Planning for Working Moms

To begin meal planning for for working moms, follow the simple steps below to build healthy habits for you and your entire family!

Make a Grocery Shopping List

Grocery shopping for the whole family can be challenging, as everybody has their own food and meal preferences.

weight loss meal plan for women over 40Invite your children to shop with you to pick out healthy meals and snacks they enjoy.

Steer clear of keeping junk food in the house.

Having only nutritious foods in the pantry and fridge makes it easier for you, your spouse, and your children to avoid temping empty-calorie foods.

Use the following lists as a reference when creating your family’s personalized grocery shopping list for meal planning for working moms:

Non-Starchy Vegetables: lettuce, spinach, other leafy greens, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini, green beans, and onions.

Fruits: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, bananas, oranges, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, apples, pears, peaches, and plums.

Fiber-Rich Starches: sweet potatoes, corn, green peas, garbanzo beans, black beans, pinto beans, lentils, other legumes, brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, oatmeal, other whole-grain cereals, and whole-grain breads.

Protein Foods: chicken, turkey, duck, lean cuts of red meat, fish, shrimp, scallops, crab, other seafood, eggs, tofu, veggie burgers, very lean turkey burgers, seitan, and hummus.

Dairy Foods: low-fat milk, Greek yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, reduced-fat cheese, plain kefir, almond milk, soy milk, other plant milks, and plant-based yogurts.

Heart-Healthy Fats: avocados, olive oil, canola oil, other plant-oils, nuts, seeds, nut butters, and olives.

Nutritious Drinks: coffee, unsweetened tea, water, water flavored with fruit chunks, low-sodium vegetables juice, juice diluted with water, low-fat milk, kefir, plant milk, and protein shakes.

Time Your Meals

Working moms have numerous meals to plan throughout the day, and meal timing is important regardless of your weight management goals.

how much weight can you lose in a month?You probably have to plan your children’s eating schedules too, especially if you have young kids.

Your personalized meal plan is based on the time you wake up, when you arrive at work, when your breaks are, and the time you arrive home for dinner.

Aim to eat every few hours. You can use the following meal and snack schedule as a reference:

  • Wake up: 6:00 am (drink water)
  • Breakfast: 7:00 am – 8:00 am
  • Morning snack: 10:00 am
  • Lunch: 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm
  • Afternoon snack: 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
  • Dinner: 6:00 – 7:00 pm
  • Evening snack (optional): 9:00 pm

Split up your calories throughout the day, eating 5-6 smaller meals and snacks instead of one to two larger meals.

Know Your Calorie Allotment

Counting calories is useful, especially if you’re trying to drop weight.

Your personalized calorie needs vary based on your age, metabolism, activity level, and weight management goals.

A few general guidelines (from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, or NHLBI, are as follows:

  • 1,200-1,500 calories for weight loss in most women
  • 1,500-1,800 calories for weight loss in active women or those who weigh more
  • 1,600-2,000 calories for weight maintenance in sedentary women
  • 1,800-2,200 calories for weight maintenance in moderately active women
  • 2,000-2,400 calories for weight maintenance in active women

If your goal is weight gain, add about 300 calories daily to your weight maintenance calorie requirement.

To track calories, use a food journal and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's free Food Composition Database or a calorie counting app, such as MyFitnessPal, Fooducate, MyPlate, or FatSecret.

Fill Your Plate Properly

Knowing how to fill up your plate is a simple strategy often used for meal planning for working moms.

Use the following general guidelines:

  • Fill half of each plate with non-starchy vegetables (plus fruits if you’d like)
  • perfect plate losing weight after 50

  • Fill one-fourth or your plate with starches
  • Fill one-fourth of your plate with protein foods
  • Consume 2 1/2 – 3 servings of dairy foods or calcium-rich, plant-based equivalents
  • Choose a healthy fat at each meal

Drink water, coffee, or unsweetened tea during or between meals. If weight loss is your goal, drink about 2-4 cups of water when you wake up in the morning and 2 cups of water before meals.

Studies show that this strategy helps reduce food intake at meal time.

Prep Your Meals Early in the Week

Prep your meals ahead of time to make healthy eating during the work week feel like a breeze.

Place prepped meals in airtight containers, such as Tupperware containers or Ziploc bags, in the refrigerator or freezer and heat them up when needed.

Based on general food safety guidelines, keep prepped foods in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or store them in the freezer for up to 2-6 months (depending on the food).

Sample Healthy Meal and Snack Ideas

Try the following meal and snack ideas below for yourself, your spouse, and even your kids!

Nutritious Breakfast Ideas

Breakfast #1

  • Egg and vegetable omelet with mushrooms, spinach, and green peppers
  • Blueberries
  • Greek yogurt
  • Coffee or tea

Breakfast #2

  • Whole grain cereal
  • Low-fat milk or plant milk
  • Strawberries
  • Walnuts
  • Coffee or tea

Breakfast #3

  • Scrambled eggs or egg whites
  • Sautéed spinach
  • Roasted potatoes
  • Vegetable juice
  • Coffee or tea

Breakfast #4

  • Uncured turkey bacon or veggie strips (a vegan bacon substitute)
  • Whole-grain toast
  • Avocado slices
  • Low-fat Cottage cheese
  • Coffee or tea

Breakfast #5

  • Greek yogurt
  • Banana slices
  • Granola
  • Sliced almonds
  • Coffee or tea

Breakfast #6

  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cooked oatmeal
  • Pistachios
  • Coffee or tea

Breakfast #7

  • A protein shake with protein powder, low-fat milk or plant milk, and frozen fruit

Breakfast #8

  • A whole grain wrap with eggs, sautéed vegetables, and avocado slices
  • Coffee or tea

Breakfast #9

  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Raspberries
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Coffee or tea

Breakfast #10

  • A protein bar
  • Iced coffee mixed with low-fat milk or plant milk

Healthy Lunch/Dinner Recommendations

Lunch/Dinner #1

  • Canned light tuna, avocados, and cucumbers on whole-grain bread
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Coffee, tea, low-fat milk, or plant milk

Lunch/Dinner #2

  • A leafy green salad topped with grilled chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers, hard boiled eggs, sunflower seeds, and an oil-based dressing
  • Coffee, tea, low-fat milk, or plant milk

Lunch/Dinner #3

  • A very lean turkey burger or veggie burger on a whole-grain bun (or lettuce wrap), topped with tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, and avocado slices
  • Coffee, tea, low-fat milk, or plant milk

Lunch/Dinner #4

  • Broth-based soup with grilled chicken, mixed vegetables, and wild rice
  • Coffee, tea, low-fat milk, or plant milk

Lunch/Dinner #5

  • Zucchini noodles with grilled chicken and mushrooms
  • Pesto sauce
  • Coffee, tea, low-fat milk, or plant milk

Lunch/Dinner #6

  • Chili with lean ground turkey, beans, tomatoes, and chili peppers
  • Coffee, tea, low-fat milk, or plant milk

Lunch/Dinner #7

  • Chicken or shrimp stir fry with broccoli, mushrooms, onions, carrots, zucchini, brown rice, and low-sodium soy sauce
  • Coffee, tea, low-fat milk, or plant milk

Lunch/Dinner #8

  • Shrimp, chicken, or salmon kabobs with grilled vegetables
  • Coffee, tea, low-fat milk, or plant milk

Lunch/Dinner #9

  • Baked chicken, turkey, or duck
  • Cooked quinoa
  • Asparagus sautéed in olive oil
  • Coffee, tea, low-fat milk, or plant milk

Lunch/Dinner #10

  • Salmon, tilapia, or catfish
  • Cooked corn
  • Green beans
  • Coffee, tea, low-fat milk, or plant milk

Nutritious Snack Suggestions

Snack #1

  • Greek yogurt
  • Bananas
  • Pistachios

Snack #2

  • A protein shake with protein powder, milk or plant milk, and frozen fruit

Snack #3

  • A protein bar

Snack #4

  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Walnuts
  • Kiwi fruit

Snack #5

  • Hummus
  • Veggie slices (carrots, celery, pea pods, cucumbers, bell peppers, or tomatoes) or pita chips

Snack #6

  • Plain kefir
  • Grapes

Snack #7

  • Canned light tuna or chicken
  • Whole-grain crackers
  • Avocado slices

Snack #8

  • Nuts or seeds
  • Low-fat milk or plant milk
  • An orange

Snack #9

  • Celery sticks, apples slices, or bananas
  • Peanut butter

Snack #10

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh mozzarella

Snack #11

  • Roasted nuts, seeds, or dark chocolate-covered almonds

Snack #12

  • Low-sodium turkey jerky
  • Fruit

Snack #13

  • Edamame

Snack #14

  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Fruit

Snack #15

  • Reduced-fat cheese stick
  • Fruit

Snack #16

  • Fiber-rich bean, kale, or veggie chips
  • Salsa or guacamole

Healthy Recipes Your Entire Family Will Love

Having a few simple, nutritious recipes on hand makes meal planning for working moms easy and eases the burden of meal prep during the week.

Try the delicious, healthy recipes below:

#1 Steak and Tortilla Salad

This mouth-watering, easy-to-make grilled steak and tortilla salad recipe is sure to be a hit with the entire family – even the kids.

Steak and Tortilla SaladIngredients in it are charred tortillas, lean steak, seasonings, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, scallions, arugula, lime juice, and thinly sliced jalapenos.

Simply season the steak, broil or grill it, and toss the vegetables in a bowl with lime juice and seasonings.

Serve the dish with tortillas or pita bread. Replace the steak with chicken, fish, or shrimp if you’d like!

The nutrition breakdown for this recipe is:

  • Calories per serving: 340
  • Protein: 41 grams
  • Fat: 17 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 9 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams

#2 Chicken Skewers

This tasty chicken skewers recipe is simple and flavorful.

Chicken SkewersIngredients in it include pitas, chicken breast, olive oil, cherry tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice, shredded lettuce, onions, dill, and other seasonings.

Simply toss the chicken in oil and seasonings, thread it onto skewers, and combine the tomatoes with garlic, oil, and seasonings in foil.

Cook the tomatoes and chicken on the grill.

Toss lettuce, oil, lemon juice, dill, and other seasonings in a bowl and serve the mixture with the grilled chicken and tomatoes.

Nutritional information for this recipe is as follows:

  • Calories per serving: 415
  • Protein: 30 grams
  • Fat: 14 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 42 grams
  • Fiber: 5 grams

#3 Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Mustard Vinaigrette

You’ll be surprised at how much your entire family will low this simple, nutritious grilled pork tenderloin recipe.

grilled pork tenderloinIngredients in it are pork, green beans, olive oil, mustard, red wine vinegar, shallots, mayonnaise, grape tomatoes, baby kale, and seasonings.

Brush the pork with olive oil, seasoning it with salt and pepper, and grill it on medium heat until it's cooked through.

Mix together the mustard, red wine vinegar, shallots, oil, mayonnaise, and salt.

Toss the tomatoes and kale in half your vinaigrette dressing and serve the mixture with pork, beans, and the remaining dressing.

The nutrition facts for this recipe are:

  • Calories per serving: 290
  • Protein: 32 grams
  • Fat: 13 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 11 grams
  • Fiber: 5 grams

#4 Salmon and Brussels Sprouts Bake

This salmon and Brussels sprouts recipe is bursting with flavor.

Ingredients in it are salmon, chives, Brussels sprouts, garlic powder, brown sugar, onion powder, and smoked paprika.

To prepare this dish, mix salmon and Brussels sprouts with oil and seasonings and roast them in the oven according to recipe instructions.

Serve the dish with chives if you'd like!

The nutritional information for this recipe is:

  • Calories per serving: 280
  • Protein: 35 grams
  • Fat: 11 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 11 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams

#5 Lemon Herb-Baked Flounder

With just a few ingredients, you won’t have to slave away in the kitchen for hours when choosing this lemon-herb baked flounder recipe.

The ingredients in it are flounder fillets, lemon, butter, croutons, salt pepper, and parsley for a garnish.

Arrange the fish fillets in a baking dish, top them with salt, pepper, lemon, and melted butter, and bake your fish according to the recipe instructions.

Sprinkle chopped croutons on top of the flounder and garnish it with parsley. Serve the fish with salad greens and dinner rolls.

The nutritional breakdown of the recipe is:

  • Calories per serving: 190
  • Protein: 16 grams
  • Fat: 12 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 5 grams

#6 Vegetarian Grilled Tofu Salad

Regardless of whether you and your family follow a vegetarian diet, this grilled tofu salad recipe is for you!

It’s as delicious as it is nutritious. Ingredients in it are extra firm tofu, peanuts, radishes, ponzu sauce, spinach, soba noodles, salt, and pepper.

Press the tofu with paper towels, season it with salt and pepper, and grill it over medium-high heat.

Cook your noodles according to package instructions and toss it in ponzu sauce with spinach, radishes, and tofu. Top the dish with peanuts and enjoy!

The nutrition breakdown of this recipe is:

  • Calories per serving: 360
  • Protein: 18 grams
  • Fat: 10 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 51 grams
  • Fiber: 6 grams

Ways to Stay Motivated When You're a Working Mom

To help you stay motivated for meal planning for working moms, join the sisterhood of busy mothers by subscribing to the Fit Mother Project’s Facebook page.

There, you'll gain inspirational support from other busy working moms just like you!

If weight loss is your goal, try the Fit Mother Project 30X (FM30X) program, which is a weight loss plan designed for busy women of all ages.

It’s helped thousands of working moms get excess weight off and keep it off for life.

Try the FM30X FREE 3-day weight loss jump start kit today!

You’ll receive a free personalized meal plan, free fat-burning workout, and free health coaching from medical experts.

Don’t let meal planning for working moms intimate you, as it’s easier than you ever thought possible with the Fit Mother Project and Fit Mom community support!

Your new friend & health coach,

Erin Coleman

Erin Coleman, B.S. – Nutritional Science, Registered Dietician, Licenced Dietician

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Our Fit Mother 30X Program (FM30X) is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside FM30X, you’ll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Mother Meal Plan with easy recipes for you and your family.
  • The metabolism-boosting Fit Mother 30X Workout (under 90 min/week) to kickstart your metabolism for fast fat burning.
  • VIP email coaching where we’ll personally walk you through the program.
Learn More About FM30X  > Read the FM30X Program Overview letter here

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on twitter