• Upgrades have been completed! Including conversations, 😁😎🏀⚾⚽ Emojis and more.. Read more

Ideas for a tired and busy mum- help!

Hi everyone,
I'm really glad I found this forum- I've been struggling with getting my head round SW and have nearly given up. :cry:
I've been on Extra Easy and lost 2 lbs the first week. Then the 2nd week I stuck to the plan exactly- no cheating at all- and stayed the same. This week I've fallen off the wagon and I'm trying to get back on!

The problem is that I can do SW when I have nothing else on... but when life gets busy or stressful I end up not having time to properly prepare meals and reach for sandwiches, ready meals, or whatever's easiest. Or I end up eating the piles of fruit to keep going (and then feel sick!).

Can anyone give me ideas for what to eat when I run out of time? Quick and easy ideas that would feed the kids and myself... Literally grab and go type of things. So far I've found Uncle Ben's ready made rice, little packets of pot noodle that are syn-free. What I really need are things that don't require cooking for lunches on the go and quick meals for the occasional rushed tea...

Thank you so much!
Get Rid of this ad and join in on the conversation for free today! Tap here!
Welcome to the forum.

I am tired and busy and also a mum so I do sympathise a little BUT life is always going to get in the way and I'm afraid that you will have to find the time to cook proper meals. I always prepare things the night before when my daughter has gone to bed, often at past 10pm but if I'm not prepared things go wrong.

Don't start to rely on pot noodles or ready meals too much (by the way - ready cooked rice in a pack is not syn free.....), you won't do yourself any favours and will soon get bored and you won't really be getting much nutrition either!

It doesn't take long to cook some pasta and make a simple sauce with veg and tinned tomatoes. Add some grilled chicken or salmon or tinned tuna and you have a very healthy and balanced meal.

Or, when you are not really busy, why not make a huge batch of chilli, curry, shepherds pie or bolognaise and freeze it?
Have a look through the recipe threads for ideas.

For lunches I almost always take left overs either out of the freezer or from dinner the night before - always cook extra to accomate for this.

Ready meals are okay, someone posted about quorn cottage pie being a good option and for 4.5 syns it isn't bad if you don't have time to cook. My lifesaver is a jacket potato - stick them in the oven and forget about them for an hour or so, then add your toppings. You can cook extra and they keep well in the fridge for a few days ready for microwaving for a quick lunch.

There's no simple answer really other than having to find or make the time in my opinion. If we want to lose the weight we've got to do it!!
Hi Knittingmama - have posted one idea in a thread below entitled 'quick and filling dinner idea'...Zxxx
Planning is definately the key to this plan working.

I get up early to prepare my lunch which is usually pasta/rice/potatoe salad, I love quorn so will usually have that with it. I always take fruit to snack on.

I'm very lucky, my OH works shifts so he'll make tea, but sometimes I'll make spag bol, chilli, sausage casserole in the slow cooker so it's ready for when I get in.

You can prepare veggies either the night before or in the morning.

I agree with Jaylou ready meals are ok, but not in the long term. You could make these meals yourself but syn free & just as nice.

Take a look at the diaries & let us know how you get on;)


Wishing and hoping!
Having a slow cooker is a good investment to have as you put all ingrdients in pot and let it coo all day :)
quick meals that I can think of is things like risotto, spag bol, cottage pie, corned beef hash (corrned beef is synned) this type of comfort food can make extra portions and be freeziable for a later date :)
I made a really lazy mixed bean chilli when I was staying in a cottage on my holiday last week
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 400g tin Tesco Ratatouille (2 syns whole tin)
1 400g tin Tesco mixed beans
1 400g tin chilli beans in chilli sauce
1 knorr veg stock cube
bit of Splenda
Chilli powder

I just bunged it all in and simmered it then served it with Jacket potatoes and a bit of grated Catherdral City lighter. It made 4 huge portions and I'd definitely make it again now that I'm at home.
Having a slow cooker is a good investment to have as you put all ingrdients in pot and let it coo all day :)
quick meals that I can think of is things like risotto, spag bol, cottage pie, corned beef hash (corrned beef is synned) this type of comfort food can make extra portions and be freeziable for a later date :)
The c beef hash thingie sounds lovely, can you point me in the right driection for a recipe please... x

Stir frys, anything pasta related, salads can be very filling with a bit of protein with them (wegg or chicken etc) and I would defo defo defo make time to do some batch cooking so you can get some stuff frozen and on stand by



Wishing and hoping!
Corned Beef Hash

Corned beef -as much as you like, baring in mind it needs to be synned.
1 medium onion - roughly chopped
1-2 cloves garlic - minced
1 medium tomato - chopped (optional)
1 medium potato - peeled and diced
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp spray light

  1. In a pan or saucepan, heat the spray light.
  2. Saute the garlic and onion in medium heat until it is translucent.
  3. Stir in the tomato and cook until soft.
  4. put cornned beef in the pan. Mash the corned beef and mix well.
  5. Add water and bring to boil.
  6. Add the potatoes and stir to mix. Cover pan, lower heat and simmer until potatoes are cooked.
  7. If you want it a bit drier, remove cover turn up heat to medium and cook for a few minutes more. Dish up and serve.
I also have it with beans yum yum :)
I would say you would be better off batch cooking then in your free time, either evenings or weekends. I tend to try & batch cook for these occasions.

Also a slow cooker - you can bung everything in of a morning & come home to a yummy cooked meal :)
i found out recently Tesco stewed steak in gravy (canned) is free so that could be super quick with some frozen veg and some rice. If you have access to the s/w website you could look up pre-cooked chicken pieces (SOME are free, be careful and check) and chuck those with a salad. I also find quorn mince incredibly quick to cook, and if you just add canned tomatoes & beans, frozen veg and chilli flakes/powder you can have a speedy hot meal. Or if all else fails, spaghetti hoops!
Grab and go-wise, try extra light cheese triangles, ryvitas/finn crisps and pre-packed sushi which are all lifesavers for me!
Waves hand at being a busy and tired mum juggling work, son, hubbie, house and a MIL who suffers from progressive altzheimers!!
I try to be as organised as I can, on the nights I have more time I make bulk meals and freeze them......however when things go pear shaped at last moment I veer towards:
Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Mushrooms and Tomatoes - Takes 5-10 mins :)
Sainsburys Extra Lean Stewing Steak ( can ) with whatever fresh veg comes to hand
Prawn Curry ( 15 mins )
Quorn Burger with SW Chips ( ready in 30 mins )

I also use time at weekend when not working to make a big curry or chilli if I know the weeks going to be a tough one.
The key has to be planning and organising though...wishing you loads of luck
Thank you, thank you!!

Thanks for all the great ideas. I just did a big Asda shop and have stocked the fridge with loads of fruit and veg, and made a huge batch of beef chilli from the Extra Easy cookbook. Yes it's 10:30pm and I am just eating my dinner now, but I feel organised for the rest of the week. MIL has agreed to whip up an almost syn-free meal for us tomorrow night, as I work during the day, and I have ingredients for soup, cottage pie and probably loads of other recipes! The food diaries are really helpful- I picked up a bunch of Mugshots which will be good if I'm ever running out the door to work and haven't got anything else. I suppose it takes time to figure out what time savers are out there, and lots of organising to make sure there's always something in the freezer. I can't believe I gulped down a pack of pre-made rice thinking it was syn-free today! Ooops. Anyway thanks very much, I am off to read more food diaries. :clap:
I think the biggest time saver is online food shopping. Would definately recommend Ocado if they deliver in your area. They price match Tesco and if you're canny with your shopping they're not dear. The first shop might take a long time but once you're used to it, it's a doddle:)

Just realised you didn't really ask that
Yes but any suggestions as to how to save time are welcome! I wish we had Ocado- then I could shop from my phone. I've done Tesco deliveries before, although they're a bit hit and miss with the fruit and veg.

You can tell it's been a long day. Found a tip on microwaving Alpen bars so they get all gooey and feel more indulgent- I just put mine in the micro with the wrapper on and it nearly set on fire.... zzzzzz :eek:

Similar threads