by Malcolm Jolley

Joanne Lalonde Hayes was a successful corporate strategy planner who found herself with three kids in three years. She decided she’d better get organized and when she applied her strategic planning know-how to feeding her family properly she decided her system was too good not to share. For more than 15 years More Time Moms has helped families get good food on the table, and their new book, More Time Moms Family Meals offers a comprehensive plan to get seasonal, local, fresh meals into everyone’s routine. I sat down with Lalonde Hayes recently to talk about what she does and why. The resulting interview is below.

Malcolm: Joanne, you’re the author of More Time Moms Family Meals and President of More Time Moms meal planning…What exactly do you do?

Joanne: We build tools to make parents’ lives easier so they can spend more time with their children. …we built this new tool, the More Time Moms Family Meals cookbook to make it easy for you to feed your children healthfully and easily.  It includes 6 weeks of menus, recipes and grocery lists based on Canada’s Food Guide. More than a cookbook it is organized as a tool to take the worry and concern out of feeding your family. The meals are healthy and quick to prepare. They are delicious and kid-tested but mostly they are easy to prepare. In addition the book comes with free grocery list apps. This means you can carry your grocery list on your smartphone, so it is quite revolutionary.

Malcolm: Now does this mean going to the supermarket and buying a big box of fishsticks?

Joanne: No we didn’t include fish sticks… but we did include grocery lists full of fresh healthy foods.  We don’t include processed foods in Family Meals. All the cooking is done with fresh ingredients that can be put together quickly.

Malcolm: And one of the things that’s kind of neat about your book is that you encourage and explain is how to get your kids to start cooking too so that there is even less work.

Joanne: Yes delegation is key to finding more time. The first thing you need to do to organize the children is figure ‘who can do what?’.  If the proper foods are on hand children can prepare their own breakfasts by the time they go to school and can make their own lunch by about 10 years old. The cookbook is so simple and well organized that teenagers can do some of the dinner prep for you when they get home or cook with you when you get home. And the grocery lists make it easy to delegate the grocery shopping.

Malcolm: Now, there’s more to the program than just the book. There is a calendar and I think you said. Tell me about the system and how it would work in say, my house.

Joanne: We started out by building the More Time Moms Family Organizer, maybe you are familiar with it. It’s basically a very large calendar that we designed so moms can have a place to build their life. A place to plan, because if you can see it, you can do it and it’s a place to just take control of your life really. A place to list important things and avoid unimportant and stressful things. It also acts as a command central for the family’s comings and goings…

We’ve been selling the Family Organizer for the past 16 years. It was the first family calendar on the market and it is still going strong. And now we’ve brought out a tool to try to do the same thing with mealtime, just take all your worries away.

Malcolm: So tell me about how you became a family meal planner and how you developed this career.

Joanne: I started out as a strategic planner in the business world and then had three children a year apart. I was lucky enough to stay home with them after the third one but instead of things being organized like they had been at the office, chaos ensued. I was just sort of reacting to one upset after another and so I sat down one day and said “I just really want my life to be calm and happy all the time so how am I going to do it?”  I started to design tools. There was no support for moms or dads at home when I stayed home in the way of tools. So that’s how I built the business. Trying to find ways to cope.

Malcolm: You’ve done the work, you’ve suffered for everyone else.

Joanne: I suffered, exactly, I come by it honestly. But hopefully it will help. It’s a tool for young moms too. Moms who haven’t had a lot of experience cooking. And it’s really good for couples because now the work is written down and so it makes it easy to share and contribute evenly instead of one or the other carrying the load.

Malcolm: There a whole list of things you talk about in the book including saving money, saving time, helping to plan it, eating healthily, it’s sort of all there.

Joanne: Well if you sit down and say, “I’m going to design a system to make things easy and healthful” you may as well make it the very best and most helpful that you can.  And so that is what I did, I tried to maximize the healthy, the quick, the economical, the kid-friendly, the delicious and the easy factors. …I established a lot of constraints because I wanted it to be excellent.

Malcolm: But you still managed five meals a day not three, five….. There’s a whole six week cycle in the book

Joanne: We have a problem right now in North America with childhood obesity and there are a lot of moms who are not eating properly. Eating 5 small meals a day of fresh foods will help keep your blood sugar steady. Children need a snack at school between breakfast and lunch and then a snack when they get home before they do their homework and go out to play. Some children like a small bowl of cereal before they go to bed and so add a sixth. This is the healthiest way to eat for both adults and children. And the 6 weeks keep it interesting.

Malcolm: Well thank you very much, sounds like a great plan

Joanne: Thank you Malcolm.

Malcolm Jolley is the Managing Editor of Good Food Revolution and Executive Director of Good Food Media, the non-profit organization that publishes GFR. Follow him at

This video was made possible through the kind support of Fortessa Canada / Schott Zwiesel.