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28 Cheap and Easy Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms

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Make ahead meals are perfect for those times when you don’t feel like cooking.

And let’s face it… When you’re a busy mom, that happens quite often and usually leads to more drive-thru visits than we’d like to admit.

The drive-thru is okay every now and then when you need a quick fix, but it can become an expensive habit fast.

That’s just one more reason to love make ahead meals.

Not only will they help you stay sane during those times when life is just CRAZY, but they’ll also help you save money because you’ll no longer have to hit up the fast food lines.

I only wish I had planned and prepped better before my second baby was born. Looking back, it would have made my c-section recovery so much easier!

Love printables? Snag 10 meal planning templates right here!

Best containers for make ahead meals

Before we jump in to the recipes, you might be wondering what containers to use for freezing food or just meal prep in general.

There are endless styles and types of containers you can use for your make ahead meals, but here are my top picks:

Plastic Containers

Freshware Meal Prep Containers [15 Pack] 1 Compartment Food Storage Containers with Lids, Bento Box, BPA Free, Stackable, Microwave/Dishwasher/Freezer Safe (28 oz)
  • ✅ SAVE TIME & MONEY: 15-Pack of Bento Boxes features 1 compartments in one container. Each meal prep container can store a total of 28oz which are the perfectly portion controlled to stay full, yet fit and healthy!

Plastic containers are inexpensive, light, and easy to store. I recommend going with BPA-Free dishwasher/microwave/freezer friendly containers like these.

Glass Containers

Prep Naturals Glass Meal Prep Containers - Food Prep Containers with Lids Meal Prep - Food Storage Containers Airtight - Lunch Containers Portion Control Containers Bpa-Free (5 Pack, 30 Ounce)
  • Prep meals at home, then eat it on the go – Make a lunch box with home-cooked food for the whole family and bring it to work, school or gym. You can cook your food right in the containers then save and reheat the leftovers.

I love glass containers if I’m only storing in my fridge vs. the freezer. Glass containers are so durable and will last forever!

Side note: You CAN also store glass containers in the freezer if they are tempered. Just make sure to leave enough space (about 3/4 inch) between the food and the lid (source).

Mason Jars

Mini Mason jars are my favorite for making meals like overnight oats in a jar.

Freezer Bags

Reusable Storage Bags, 20Pack BPA Free PEVA Reusable Freezer Bags,Reusable Gallon Bags, Reusable Sandwich Bags, Silicone Food Bags for Women, Men and Kids
  • Food Grade Eco-friendly Fresh Bags-Made of food-grade PEVA material, reusable storage bags are PVC-free, lead-free, chloride-free and BPA FRE, an eco-friendly and recyclable material. They are not harmful to the environment. Also,you don’t need worry about your heath with these food bags.

And, of course, freezer bags are always an option. Want to save money and help the environment? Try these reusable storage bags.

Make Ahead Breakfast Recipes

1. Overnight Oats in a Jar

Overnight oats are easy and delicious. Definitely some of the best make ahead meals for busy mamas.

When I make them, I usually make 4 at once and boom! Breakfast is solved for the next 4 days.

Here are 10 delicious ways to make overnight oats in a jar:

2. Breakfast Quesadillas

Breakfast quesadillas are another super easy and versatile make ahead breakfast idea. Not into dairy? Skip the cheese. Don’t eat gluten? Use gluten free tortillas instead of the usual wheat flour tortillas.

Here are 4 ways you can make breakfast quesadillas to give you some ideas from Family Fresh Meals.

3. Breakfast Sandwiches

An Egg McMuffin alternative you can make at home and save time AND money? *swoon*

You can make these pretty much ANY way you want, but these make ahead freezer breakfast sandwiches from Aberdeen’s Kitchen look reallyyyy promising. Minus the Canadian bacon.

4. Potato and Omelet Breakfast Bites

Don’t have time to chop potatoes? You can use tots instead. Pair with fruit and breakfast is complete!

Potato and omelet breakfast bites via Ella Claire

5. Breakfast Burritos

Everybody loves breakfast burritos. Your spouse. Your kids. The perfect make ahead breakfast for us busy moms!

Check out this Breakfast Burrito Bonanza recipe from Mom on Timeout for step-by-step instructions.

6. Mini Breakfast Pizzas

Pizza for breakfast?! Yup. I love creative recipes like this!

Mini Breakfast Pizza recipe via The Girl on Bloor

7. Breakfast Bowls

Breakfast bowls are yet another super easy and versatile make ahead breakfast idea. All you need to do is combine scrambled eggs and roasted potatoes (AND veggies if you want). Then, top with your favorite toppings like salsa, cheese, etc.

These Country Breakfast Bowls from Budget Bytes are simple to make and budget-friendly.

8. Make Ahead Spinach and Tomato Frittata

Are you looking for a gluten free or low carb option? Frittata. ? OR pair it will a slice of toast or some fresh fruit.

Try this Spinach and Tomato Frittata from Simply Recipes.

9. Egg Muffins

If you’ve ever done any meal prepping before, you’ve heard of egg muffins. These are a favorite of mine because there’s honestly no wrong way to make them. I always make these when I need to use up leftover ingredients in my fridge.

If you want to follow a recipe for your first batch, try these Healthy Breakfast Egg Muffins from Well Plated.

10. Green Smoothie Packs

If you’ve never had a green smoothie, don’t let the color fool you. You can’t taste the greens at all! I love prepping these because all I have to do is pop the ingredients into my Ninja Fit and I’m done.

This recipe from Dessert Now Dinner Later is perfect for beginners.

11. Banana and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cups

I love this twist on traditional oatmeal. If you ever wake up with a sweet tooth, this one is for you.

These Banana and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cups from Organize Yourself Skinny look divine.

12. Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal

You’ve seen that heavy breathing cat meme, right? That’s me at this very moment…

Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal via Shaken Together

13. Pancake Muffins

My son loves pancakes, so I know he is going to fall head over heels for these. For this recipe, I love that she uses store-bought mix. Sometimes it’s just not practical to make every single thing from scratch.

Freezer-Friendly Pancake Muffins via Forks and Folly

14. Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars

Of course we had to throw a bar recipe into the mix! I don’t know about you, but I’m just not a fan of store-bought breakfast bars. These, on the other hand, have won me over.

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars via Vanilla and Bean

Make Ahead Lunches & Dinners to Freeze

15. Baked Chicken Nuggets

Bacon chicken nuggets seems to be every kid’s favorite meal. You can make these ahead of time too!

These Baked Chicken Nuggets from Natasha’s Kitchen look oh so crispy.

16. Orange Chicken

Skip the takeout and try this easy make ahead orange chicken instead.

Freezer Friendly Healthy Orange Chicken via Super Healthy Kids

17. Veggie Lasagna

Lasagna is one of my favorite comfort foods. I love that this recipe has added veggies. Maybe the kiddos won’t even notice?

Extra Summer Veggie Lasagna via Super Healthy Kids

18. Taco Casserole

Did I have you at taco? I’m glad we agree.

Try this Easy Taco Casserole recipe from Eating on a Dime

19. Stir-Fry Kits

Stir-fry is one of my weekly go-to meals. Yet ANOTHER easy way to use up any leftover veggies you need to get rid of.

Healthy and Delicious Stir-Fry Kits via Feeding Our Flamingos

20. Creamy Tortellini Vegetable Bake

Your kiddos won’t even mind the veggies.

Creamy Tortellini Vegetable Bake via Chelsea’s Messy Apron

21. Twice Baked Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potatoes

These look divine~ I’m always seeing sweet potatoes on sale at Aldi, so this is a budget-friendly winner for sure.

Twice Baked Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potatoes via The Creative Bite

22. Tomato Bisque

Bisque is a fancy way of saying grilled cheese and tomato soup. (At least in the South).

Tomato Bisque recipe via Thriving Home

23. Black Bean Taco Soup

Another winner for Taco Tuesday.

Black Bean Taco Soup via Six Sisters’ Stuff

24. Chicken Parmesan Casserole

I have a confession. I’ve never actually tried chicken parmesan that I can remember. But if I ever DO give it a try, I think this will be the one!

Chicken Parmesan Casserole via Thriving Home

25. Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

Stuffed shells remind me of my childhood. Love how this recipe has added spinach! Just a little extra vitamin K, folic acid, iron, and calcium.

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells via Kristine’s Kitchen

26. Black Bean Quinoa Casserole

I’m learning to love quinoa. At first, I thought it had a weird texture and a weird name. But it’s really not so bad. This recipe makes it look delish.

Black Bean Quinoa Casserole via iFOODreal

27. Mini Turkey & Veggie Meatloaves

I looooove mini meatloves. These would go perfect with a quick baked potato.

Mini Turkey & Veggie Meatloves via Thriving Home

28. Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

And, of course, you know we can’t forget the pot pie! Except this one isn’t made with sponge meat. ?

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie via Meal Planning Magic

There you go, mamas!

28 EASY and delicious make ahead meals for busy moms!

Don’t forget to pin for later!

Make ahead meals to prep for the week for busy moms