Ask any mother – working woman or stay-at-home mom, contented chef or takeout pro – busy families need meal inspiration. Use the Local Mom’s Network meal-planning guide to get breakfast, lunch and dinner on the table simply and easily. In this installment, we look to Trader Joe’s for their delicious, cost-effective, and quick food choices. MEAL PLANNER Meal Planner meal planner
Time isn’t on your side in the morning. Choose one or two days a week to make a proper breakfast. On the other days, use TJ’s shortcuts. Keep your fruit bowl packed with bananas and mandarins and your refrigerator full of berries that you clean and prep on Sunday afternoon.
Monday: Overnight oats. Prep your own on Sunday night or buy one of their pre-made versions.
Tuesday: Scrambled eggs and toast with mandarin oranges
Wednesday: Trader Joe’s frozen chocolate croissants (make sure you prep them the evening before) and Greek yogurt with berries
Thursday: Cereal of choice with almond milk (or whatever your milk preference)
Friday: Uncured bacon and egg cheese bites – just one minute in the microwave!
Bonus weekend idea: Trader Joe’s hash browns and uncured dry rubbed sliced bacon
Invest in a bento box. Fill the night before so you aren’t scrambling in the morning. Children as young as kindergarten can help fill the spaces with things like pretzels, chocolate chips or animal crackers as a treat. You’ll see some food items will reappear on the weekly list since you won’t use an entire bag of carrots in just one day.
Monday: Chicken caesar wraps, pretzels and strawberries
Tuesday: Ham-wrapped Monterey Jack cheese sticks and carrots
Wednesday: Cucumber and cream cheese finger sandwiches with yogurt cups
Thursday: Turkey and avocado rollups with cinnamon graham crackers
Friday: Bagel with cream cheese and jelly (or your spread of choice) and cucumbers and carrots.
Use the rest of your chicken caesar bag (or buy two) for Tuesday night dinner. Make it a bit more fun with fresh homemade chicken nuggets. Pizza Friday will now forever be Flatbread Friday. Buy extra because they are that good. Hosting friends instead of the kids? Serve Trader Joe’s incomparable flatbreads to the Book Club ladies with a spinach, avocado, parmesan and caramelized walnut salad with balsamic vinaigrette and they will wonder if you ordered food from your local prepared foods store.
Monday: Fried rice, dumplings and edamame.
Tuesday: Chicken caesar salad with tomatoes and avocado.
Wednesday: Marinated skirt steak and frozen seasoned cauliflower (buy three bags and cook with sesame oil and soy sauce for a divine side)
Thursday: Lemon Rosemary Chicken with cauliflower rice, jasmine rice or baguette and frozen broccoli.
Friday: Flatbreads (Hint: The “Tarte Aux Champignons” aka mushroom tarte baked with a mix of cheese on a puff pastry crust will make you rethink eating any other type of “pizza.”)