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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Meal Planning?



Are meal planning services worth the hype?  I think so!  Last year I tried out one that was great for family friendly and gluten free ideas.  It was great, the family loves when I still cook some of those recipes but they were not always the healthiest and contained many highly processed gluten free products!  I'm trying to get healthier in food choices, the kids are growing up and are apt to eat better as well, but it's a constant struggle to sneak healthy things in their diets!  Plus I work full time and devote a lot of time and energy in my essential oil business. Cooking is one of my favorite things to do in life and if I could get buy cooking all day I would.  But it's like being a rock star, not realistic for me or my family.  So I turn to any help I can get with planning my weeks meals out and sticking to a budget!  Well I've found a really nice service, Real Meals!

The links I am going to post are affiliate links, but I never talk about products I don't stand behind or haven't tried, so I'm telling you, this one is nice!  It might be a little more time consuming or contain some staples that you might not have on hand always than other services, but planning makes it so much more manageable. I found out about this services from my friend Jackie of The Paleo Mama Blog: http://thepaleomama.com/  and signed up to try it out!  I later found out from her that it is run by another blogger that I follow Emily from Holistic Squid: http://holisticsquid.com/  I've been following these ladies for several years so I know the stuff they post is wonderful!

First, when you sign up, you can choose what plan you are needing for your families needs, Paleo, Traditional or Vegetarian.  The Paleo option is what I chose and it gives you an option to include primal ingredients like dairy! When you log in, you are started off with your weekly meal planner that includes all the meals for the week.  It has a timeline tab that tells you what to do during each day to prep if needed.  Suggestions include, when to defrost your meats, when to prep condiments, even tips like hit up your local farmers market!  Next tab is a customized shopping list with options to print or email.

Second is the Recipe box, It shows all the meals included for the month.  So if you don't want to eat fish today, and you don't see anything else on your weeks plan that you want to substitute, go and get a recipe out of the box and substitute!  Genius idea!

Third is the All Meals Tab, this shows me what is planned for the entire month.  A quick reference with links to the recipes!

Fourth is the Support Tab and it has FAQ's and videos!  Also instructions on how to import your own recipes into the planner.  Who does that?  This is great for me because I find that many paleo planners include tons of seafood.  My family can eat it, but I can't so if it's a recipe I can't sub anything for, I either scrap it or cook something else. So importing my own is awesome!

Fifth is the change tab, it's your profile and billing information.  Sixth is the Getting Started Tab and this is a great source of information and cute little videos! The last tab is the Switch to Mobile Tab and this is a great feature to have because I can just take my phone with me to the grocery store and check off items on my shopping list and have the recipe there!

Don't think that this is all just some boring dinners, you get some cool extras!  Several deserts, condiments and even things like cocktails are included!  Here is a sample of New Years Eve's Plan: Bacon Wrapped Dates, Deviled Eggs, Shrimp Cocktail and Rosemary Infused Sparkling Cranberry Cocktail!

Here is the Paleo link: https://realplans.com/paleo-meal-plans/?AFFID=190412
Here is the Traditional link: https://realplans.com/traditional-meal-plans/?AFFID=190412
Here is the Vegetarian link: https://realplans.com/vegetarian-meal-plans/?AFFID=190412