Meal Planning and Budgeting
We have been subscribing to The Fresh 20 for 2 years now. A friend introduced me to the website and when the annual plan went on sale, I signed up. This program, designed by Melissa Lanz, is the answer to a healthier lifestyle (especially if you’re busy).
The concept is simple: every week you download the meal plan (dinner only but there are leftovers sometimes), using 20 fresh ingredients. You’re given the meal plan, the grocery list, and a prep ahead guide. The recipes are easy to follow and by Wednesday, dinner can take only 15 minutes to prepare.
We first signed up when we were living in Canada. The ingredient measurements (imperial vs. metric), as well as the general cost of groceries, don’t quite work out but we were using it for the convenience. I didn’t have to come up with a meal plan and dinner wasn’t taking me over an hour every day after work.
Living in the US, it’s a no-brainer! The budget is fairly accurate and the measurements are a breeze. But whether in Canada or the US, we rarely struggle to get the ingredients listed on the plan which is excellent! You’re not having to substitute ingredients all the time, unless you want to. This meal plan will push you out of your comfort zone and introduce you to new ingredients and how to prepare them. At first, my husband and I were hesitant on that front. You can only eat SO much butternut squash. But even in the last year, the meals have improved so much and the flavours are so good that we’ve incorporated some meals into our weekend plan (meal plan doesn’t include weekends).
Mad Cooking Skills (Compared to Before)
Prior to this meal plan and having a baby, my husband did 90% of the cooking. I had no idea what I was doing when it came to cooking. So when I went on maternity leave, I started doing more of the cooking and it was same old, same old every day. The Fresh20 launched me out of my comfort zone – both from a cooking and a food perspective. I actually almost enjoy cooking now which is a huge improvement for me.
Sunday meal prep day can be very tedious (especially when soup appears on the menu), but it’s so worth it to just throw everything together during the week. Fridays tend to be a vegetarian dish but it’s fairly easy to work a meat protein in there if you want.
For people on eating plans and diets, Fresh20 works really well. It limits salt and oil intake and the ingredients are fresh with no preservatives. The other concern I would have is the child-friendly aspect. I say, yes it is. It’s going to push your kids (I have a toddler who won’t eat anything anyway), we just hold back on the cayenne and paprika. You can also keep the different elements separate to some degree if you need to.
She also does “cleansing” challenges almost every season. The concept is no dairy, no sugar, and no gluten for 3 weeks. You are given a full meal plan (breakfast, lunch, and supper) as well as workout options. You’re also added to a support group on Facebook. There is an extra charge for these programs in addition to the regular subscription. I haven’t done one of these exact plans before (I did a different one she offered at Christmas) and joined the Facebook Group and people do really well on these plans if you stick to them.
There are a number of different kinds of plans available to suite your needs, classic, gluten-free, vegetarian, etc. It’s a great time saving hack and some good skills to learn as well. I honestly can’t remember life before Fresh20. So HUGE thank you to my friend who introduced me 2 years ago! Click here for more information.