One of the main reasons people often give up on their weight loss is that they say cooking different meals is taking too much time. Another is that it is easy to be tempted off-plan by the kids if you are a busy mum!

So, with this in mind and having followed Slimming World but also gained weight and have done my own thing for a while too.

I wanted to share my advice to help other busy mums out there, particularly a busy mum like me.


So here is my guide to weight loss from a busy mum’s perspective. It is not like celebrities with personal trainers, a chef and a nanny.

We have to juggle and manage to remember sometimes to put ourselves first!

Jen and Ben in the sun close up


Do they need to have sugary cereals that will tempt them? Give them something you can have too, you are a busy mum, porridge is still ok when it’s cold and they will love something different. Or using porridge oats why not try some overnight oats or baked oats?

If you can then all eat together there is less opportunity to pick at theirs.

overnight oats selection

Throw their leftovers in the bin straight away so you don’t eat them.

Add fruit to everyone’s breakfast. It won’t do the children any harm and is good for them!

A close up of food on a table

If you are a busy mum and don’t have time to weigh your cereal then when you buy the pack weigh out into food bags the entire box then it’s easy to grab in the mornings.

If you have toast just buy the one you can have as your healthy extra b choice (wholemeal usually). If you buy them white thick crust you are more likely to eat them!

I have a whole post full of breakfast ideas and allowances so why not take a look.

Ben aged 8 months covered in porridge in a highchair


If you don’t have time to prepare your lunch in the morning because you are busy being a busy mum sorting school bags, finding lost shoes etc then could you do it the evening before?

Consider low-fat and low-calorie bought lunches. There are so many healthy options.

If you follow Slimming World don’t forget Iceland have a great range of their meals. They are pricy but if they suit you the choice is yours.

Weight Watchers also have a range of ready meals.

microwave meal as a healthy option for a busy mum

If you need to buy your lunch then jacket potato is a great option. Here are some syn values if you follow Slimming World of different places jackets!

Make extra of an evening meal to have for lunch the following day. Most meals heat up well, particularly pasta dishes and soups.

two boxed prepared lunches

If you have time to make a special lunch for you for work here are lots of ideas.

Don’t buy the kids things for their lunches that will be in the house tempting you. They don’t need crisps and chocolate, a healthy yoghurt, sandwich, drink and fruit is more than fine.

If you do want to get them snacks then choose low-calorie ones you can enjoy too. My selection should help if you follow Slimming World but give you an idea of healthier choices too if not.

Remember as a busy mum it is ok to want a snack yourself!

A bowl of salad on a table

Make time for lunch – it is easy not to when you are busy but if you miss lunch you are likely to just pick throughout the day on things you shouldn’t!

Make sure even if you are home alone it is built into your meal plan so you can’t miss it or be stuck with nothing!

If you work from home this is equally important so you don’t work through lunch and spend the day with nibbles on your desk picking. I know I have done it!

Fakeaway burger meal

Evening Meal

Plan a meal that everyone loves so that you can make it healthy and suitable for everyone.

For example, the Slimming World plan is just healthy eating there is no reason it wouldn’t be suitable for most children (and partners!).

Unless you are following some kind of really low-calorie diet, the chances are it is fine for the rest of the family too. Why should any busy mum cook more meals than necessary?

butternut squash adn sweet potato veggie burgers

Try to all eat together because if you eat after the children you are more likely to pick on their leftovers because you are hungry.

If you are usually hungry when you are preparing food then plan for this and have some grapes, carrot sticks or similar to pick on while you are cooking.

Only give the children the amount they will eat that way they are less likely to have tempting leftovers.

grilled chicken sliced on a slate

If you have leftovers when serving up put them in a container for another day immediately.

There is less chance of you nibbling at unneeded extra bits when you tidy up the kitchen. Plus another day when you are busy this is a ready-made meal for someone!

Do you need dessert? For many people, this is part of the meal however why not have fat-free fromage frais and fruit?

Ben holding sweet banana pot recipe with three of the desserts in front of him


If you wish to buy children sweets or crisps buy ones you don’t like so you won’t be tempted to eat them.

Ensure you always have a full fruit bowl with fruit everyone enjoys and make that the usual in-between meals snack.

Have a set snack time in your busy schedule rather than a constant nibbling.

If you are out of the house, take snacks with you. Even if you choose to buy snacks for the children at least take your own snacks out.

mixture of grapes on a wooden table

Choosing Meals for Everyone

These are my favourite family-friendly meals that are full of flavour but not too spicy for younger children and worth having a look at. Succeeding at losing weight largely depends on your ability to cook one meal for everyone.

Chicken and bacon carbonara

KFC style chicken

Gardeners Pie.

Sausage Casserole.

Leek and Macaroni Cheese.

Homity Pie.

There are so many more in my recipes section so do take a look! A great one for the kids to make themselves is a dessert of Sweet Banana Pots.

Leek macaroni cheese with steamed vegetables

Meal Planning Weekly

The biggest key is weekly meal planning which makes shopping easier too. Meal planning frees up more time for yourself and less time in the supermarket!

When you plan your meals there is less chance of you going off-plan and you spend less time dithering wondering what to make for a meal! There are so many reasons meal planning is amazing I actually wrote a post all about it here.

What are your top tips for dieting as a busy parent? If you hate meal planning then try my ready-made meal plans written for you.

More you may find helpful

To read all my posts with tips and experiences of various diets, and lots more check out my comprehensive Weight Loss guides.

11 ways to survive the summer holidays on Slimming World

How to get a great workout without leaving the house

Mummy tums but not as you know

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  1. Jen, these are such helpful tips! I’ve put on at least a stone since the first lockdown and now trying to get back on it, so I’m going to keep this post for help!

  2. Meal prepping can be SUPER helpful throughout the week. I am generally a very organized person, so these tips are really great. Thanks for sharing!