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Meal planning is not something I have been doing. I tend to go to the grocery store, buy food I know my picky husband and kids will eat, and hope I didn’t over spend on groceries, which I usually do.We have fallen into a food rut lately eating the same four meals over and over again and relying heavily on broccoli as a vegetable, so when Merissa from Little House Living asked me to review her meal planning book I jumped on the opportunity!

We have been dealing with a lot of health stuff here and I have been wanting to get serious about GAPS diet but I just can’t seem to get all the things I need prepared and ready to get going. Instead I decided to try out an auto-immune paleo month with my husband in hopes of kicking our healing journey into gear and getting more serious about our health. This requires a lot of planning, especially with a picky husband, to get the nutrients we need and to plan the meals so that we eat everything before it spoils.

In Meal Planning Made Simple, Merissa discusses three different types of meal plans and what will work best for your situation.

The meal plan types she discusses are:

  • Weekly: For the person who likes to shop weekly sales, who eats real fresh food, or eats seasonally and likes to shop at farmers markets.
  • Once Every Two Weeks: For the person who shops in bulk, uses staples when cooking, and has a day to commit to cooking every two weeks.
  • Once a Month Meal Planning: For the person who has space to devote to prepared meals, hectic schedule that requires time away from home, have a day to devote to creating meals each month.

I definitely fall into the first category. We have been shopping like we are in category two for a while now but that just tends to lead to rotten vegetables in the back of the fridge and wasted money. So I printed out her work sheets at the back of the book.

She includes a meal planning worksheet for each of these plans to help you plan what meals you are eating each day. They have a little space for breakfast and lunch, and a bigger space for dinner.

The next step is to plan out your meals.

Here is what this week’s dinners looks like (though I planned out every meal for the whole week):

  • Sunday: Homemade pork sausage and sautéed rainbow chard, onions, garlic and fennel, and sour kraut
  • Monday: Turmeric curry baked chicken with butternut squash, and carrot ginger sour kraut
  • Tuesday: Beef Stir Fry with Mixed Veggies and acorn squash and sour kraut
  • Wednesday: Turkey with paleo sausage stuffing, sweet potatoes, carrots, and asparagus
  • Thursday: Turkey soup with vegetables and sour kraut
  • Friday: Beef flank steak with roasted fennel and beets, and carrot ginger sour kraut
  • Saturday: Baked chicken legs, squash and sour kraut

We don’t actually eat these foods on these exact days BUT I do have the ingredients for them in my fridge, so I know what we have in the house and what I can easily make each day.

She then suggests you plan a baking day. She advises that the baking day should not be the same day as your shopping day or you will get exhausted.

I TRIED to plan my baking day for Saturday but after writing all day and taking care of the family all night I did not have time. On Sunday I planned to do some baking so that my husband could have lunches for the week and I could at least make my sour kraut and I got it all done but it was a hassle. It is really hard to cut out time from a really busy schedule to just cook. I think it would be easier if I sent the husband and kids off somewhere for half the day while I could just commit to cooking. As it is I finished enough food for my husband to eat at work for three days this week. He will be having left overs the rest of the week which is fine by him. I made some healthy at work snacks for him as well, pre-made some grain free pumpkin pancake batter for my daughter to eat throughout the week, made some grain free muffins for snacks for my daughter, started a batch of chicken bone broth and made 3 batches of sour kraut. This took me about 5 hours that I had spaced out through the day while taking care of a sick baby, an energetic toddler, and a husband with a work deadline. What I am saying is this CAN be done. You just have to commit to it and set expectations.

She goes on to discuss how meal planning can help save money, how to utilize meal planning eating seasonally.

There is a great seasonal produce chart, and a chart about how long foods last in the freezer, which is a very handy guide to have on the fridge when you buy in bulk.

She discusses the challenges that come along with meal planning like having no time, the idea that you might have to rely on processed foods, busy life style, and more and discusses solutions to each of these problems. This was really helpful to me. It make me really be honest with my self about the meal planning and come to understand that yes I DO have time to do this, I just have to make it clear to my husband that I need time to make the plan and do some food prep ahead of time.

I really appreciate the detail she puts into these plans, and the examples she includes to make the book accessible and easy to use.

The forms are detailed enough to let you know exactly what you will be eating for the next week, pay period, or month without being overwhelming.

She includes easy recipes for the grain eaters out there for things like bread and tortillas to make on baking day and save some money in the process.

It is a great organization process for those of us who might otherwise be not-quite-so-on-top-of-things.

If you would like to buy this great book it is very reasonably priced at $4.99 but for a limited time you can use the coupon code MEALPLAN for $1 off! You can purchase it by Clicking here to visit Little House Living..

Meressa was kind enough to offer a giveaway  of this book to my readers! All you have to do is fill out the rafflecoptor form to enter to win! Be sure you enter an e-mail address that you check often.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


This post shared on: Thank Your Body Thursday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways

About Amanda

Amanda is a mother of two amazing toddlers. She is an herbalist, natural living guru, and real food, gluten free eating pro. She loves to help educate others on how to take control of their own health through natural living, real food, herbs, essential oils, and most of all - a positive mind set. Her other business Natural Herbal Living Magazine is all about helping people learn about how to use one herb a month on a deep and profound level.
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17 Responses to Meal Planning Made Simple Review and Giveaway

  1. Lauren says:

    I think the worksheets and charts would really help me. I feel overwhelmed when it comes to meal planning. Seems like this would be a good book for me!

  2. Laura says:

    I meal plan already, but I’d love to have some charts to use rather than my very plain and pitful Google Docs table.

  3. Nancy W says:

    This would be great to help me plan our meals better!

  4. amy guillaume linderman says:

    i’d like to learn about eating seasonally and saving $$

  5. Guinevere S says:

    I already meal plan weekly, but I would love to get a worksheet to help me do it more effectively! And the tips in the book have to be great! So excited!

  6. lily says:

    This is what I was looking for

  7. Emma says:

    Between having a toddler and a teenager and a picky husband, it would be amazing to be a little more organized when it comes to planning and making “real food” meals 🙂

  8. Sonya D says:

    I could use any help with meal planning! Does it come with motivation too? 😉

  9. Angela says:

    Some weeks I make a plan and some weeks I don’t. When I don’t take the time to plan, I usually end up with a bunch of random food in the fridge and a stressed out me standing there trying to figure out what to do!! This book sounds like a great help. I love your menu too, my goodness does it look tasty!!

  10. Susan H. says:

    I just need something to get me organized, I seem to be waiting too long to have anything prepared.

  11. Heather Anne says:

    I am in desperate need of help when it comes to planning our meals. Between my allergies and my son’s allergies, it is getting very hectic. A completely whole foods diet is great, but I’m in a rut because I just don’t plan ahead!

  12. Valoree says:

    This sounds like just the thing I need!

  13. Ghada says:

    Trying to stop eating processed foods & grains but have a hard time planning the meals and I think the book will help alot.

  14. I love this idea. My husband is allergic to gluten, eggs, and soy AND has candida (no sugar, low/no carbs), so we go for a Paleo-like diet.

  15. Ada Mangoes says:

    Successful meal-planning is a huge mystery to me despite trying to use several online tutorials about it. We end up eating out a lot more than I would like simply because we’re really hungry at the end of the day and figuring out what to cook is just too daunting a task at that time. I think having a book that both husband and I can read together and use would benefit us immensely.

  16. annie says:

    I’ve tried meal planning in the spring but have gotten out of the habit so now I find myself at the store every week which results in more spending. I think this book would really help me get back into it and do a better job at meal planning and save us money!

  17. […] on buying organic foods on a budget. She has also written a wonderful book called “Meal Planning Made Simple“, which is a huge help for my disorganized self. You can read my review […]

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