Category Archives: Meal Planning & Organization

Frugal Real Food Meal Plans

By | Meal Planning & Organization, Special Deals & Giveaways | No Comments

Frugal Real Food Meal Plans

If you’ve been following my Meal Planning series recently (see Step 1 and Step 2), then you know meal planning obviously takes some time and preparation. While making your plan and prep lists can be enjoyable and fulfilling for some, others would rather have someone else do that part for them. <— If this is you, keep reading!

Also, we all know that Real Food can be more expensive, ESPECIALLY if you aren’t planning or using ingredients to their fullest extent. We are all looking for ways to save money while still eating Real Food, am I right?!

I now have a solution for both the planning/prep list AND the money challenge.

Frugal Real Food Meal Plans is launching TODAY, Dec. 29th. And they are even running a special introductory price through Jan. 5th! Yipee! I love sales! Seriously folks, for the price that you can get during the promotional time, it is WELL worth it.

Frugal Real Food Meal Plans

What the Frugal Real Food Meal Plans Include:

        A Full Month of Dinners     Bi-Monthly Shopping Lists    Tips for hosting company

12 Breakfasts          12 Lunches           Weekly Shopping Lists (for produce)   Frugal Recipe Modifications

       Tips for Freezer Meals       Slow Cooker Meals       4 Healthy Dessert Ideas     Tips for Saving Even More

Bi-Monthly Prep List         Price Points for Each Item          Planning Printables (so you can personalize)


She offers a FREE 14-day PDF download so you can try it out first. It may not be for everyone, but at least you can give it a 2-week trial run and then decide!


Product Launch Promotional Period:

  • December 29, 2014 – January 5, 2015

Product Launch Promotional Pricing:

  • 3 Month Membership – $13/month
  • 6 Month Membership – $12/month
  • 12 Month Membership – $9.99/month ← BY FAR THE BEST DEAL!

(Membership fees are billed monthly. Prices above only valid December 29 – January 5. They will change effective January 6, 2015.)

Special Promotion For 8 Days Only:

You can save an additional 20% off the 12 month membershipmaking it just $7.99/monthwhen you pay in full using a coupon code (will be provided before the sale starts) <—-I will update this area with the code once it’s released. For now, just follow my links here to the Frugal Real Food Meals plans!

With a 12 month membership, this subscription is just $1.84 each week – the equivalent of a bunch of bananas at the grocery store!

BONUS! Making a purchase during this promotional period secures the monthly rate. When it’s time to renew the subscription, you can take advantage of the same low monthly price!

Are you ready to save yourself some TIME, MONEY, SANITY and still feed your family Real Food?! I am! Let’s do this together! Check it out here!




Disclaimer: I have an affiliate relationship with Frugal Real Food Meal Plans and will make a small commission with each sale. I only choose to promote products and services that resonate with the Real Food – Holistic Health – Nutrition focus of my blog. Thanks in advance for supporting this part-time job with your purchase through my links!


Meal Planning Step 2: Make a calendar

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Okay, now that you have your recipe list made (see Meal Planning Step 1 if you haven’t already), now it’s time to plug them into a calendar.

I’m a paper person, so I prefer to go to a calendar-printing website (or iCal) and I print out a monthly blank calendar. If you prefer digital you can do it that way, as well.

Yes, I’m THAT weirdo that still uses a paper planner.

There are 2 options for how to plug your recipes into the days:

1. Just go down your list add assign them a day.

2. Be more intentional and rotate through your categories (chicken, pasta, soup, etc), assigning each one a day.

For example, maybe you will do Meatless Monday, Chicken Tuesday, Soup Wednesday, etc.

I’d suggest planning for leftovers as well, unless you plan to eat leftovers for lunch, etc (that’s what we do at our house).

If you eat out, you can plan that into your meal planning as well.

Right now, I’m assuming we are all just planning for dinners – I am much more sporadic and last-minute with breakfast planning. Mostly because I always have oatmeal, eggs, ingredients for homemade pancakes, bacon and sausage on-hand all the time. Because of that, I can just decide the night before (or morning of!) what I’m going to do. But, you certainly can go ahead and plan breakfasts if that helps your cause.

Find what works for you, these are simply suggestions that might help!

I need to update it, but here’s what one of my past months’ worth of dinner planning looks like: 30 Days of Dinners – My Menu Plan

Now, you might be reading this and are beginning to think:

“This all just too hard and too time-consuming. I want someone to do this FOR me”.

Well, you are in luck!

There is a great meal-planning service that will be launching after the new year. I am in the midst of giving it a try (they are allowing some of us who are affiliates to try it out) and so far I am impressed!!! If you’d like to get on the list you can do that HERE.  ***Bonus, they will also be offering some “Real Food on a Budget 101” videos for FREE as well. I will be sharing a post VERY soon about this.

Frugal Real Food Meal Plans

I think sharing and supporting each other is so important. Please comment below and share with us how the meal-planning is going so far.

Have you had any challenges or victories?


Calendar photo credit

Meal Planning Step 1

Meal Planning Step 1: Getting Ready to Plan!

By | Meal Planning & Organization | 2 Comments

Meal planning can seem very overwhelming, can’t it?

When I think of meal planning, I think of hours of my time, magazines and cookbooks piling up, stressful searching of the internet and Pinterest, and messy, complicated lists.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

So many of us WANT to plan our meals but we don’t know where to start.

I’m here to help! I don’t consider myself an expert in meal planning at all, but I know enough to know what NOT to do and what makes it easier.

My methods might not be the ones for you and that’s okay. But, maybe you can pull a few tips out from this series that will help you make your meal planning easier and more streamlined.

First things first – please know that we are going to take this SLOW. In fact, I will give you some tips today and I probably won’t have the next Meal Planning post up for this series until a week from now. And you can always come back to these and go at your own pace.

How to Get Ready to Meal Plan

1. Make a list of your favorite meals and recipes.

This doesn’t mean you have to search the internet for new ones. They might not even be things that are “recipes” (ex. grilled cheese and tomato soup). Just make a list of your family favorites – the ones that you know you and your family will eat. You know, the usuals.

We can get “fancy” later and add some new recipes, but for now, just keep it simple.

meal list


2. Extra credit: Put those recipes into categories.

Depending on your food preferences, these categories might include chicken, beef, seafood, chicken, soup, meatless, casseroles, vegetarian, pasta, etc.

This step isn’t necessary, but if you are a little OCD like me, it will help prevent you from having chicken 4 nights in a row. :-)


That’s all. This is the only thing you have to do to get started.

Keep a list on your refrigerator and when a favorite recipe comes to mind, put the name of it on your list. It might take a while and that’s okay. You can use your recipe box, your saved links in your email folder and Pinterest.

I recommend somehow having the actual recipes/ingredient lists easily accessible. The next step will be plugging these into a calendar. So, as you think about that and as you make your list of recipe names, be sure you can find them back when we move to the next step!


 To check out or purchase the food books in my main picture, visit Amazon:

Cooking from the Farmers’ Market

Wolfgang Puck Makes it Healthy

Cooking New American

American Classics



5 Time-saving Tips for Real Food Eaters

By | Kitchen & Real Food How-to's, Meal Planning & Organization | 2 Comments


My time is valuable.

And making/eating Real Food takes time, creating a big dilemma: Do you sacrifice time in order to eat Real Food or do you “settle” for less of it?

When I have “settled”, my experience has been the feeling of regret and guilt knowing that with a little more advance thought and planning I could have been feeding my family more Real Food.

In fact, I recently polled readers on my personal Facebook page and asked this question: “Assuming everyone would WANT to eat more Real Food (health benefits, etc), what are the main challenges holding you back from doing so?”

Here’s how they commented:

“The amount of time it takes to prep, especially if you sprout, ferment, make everything from scratch.”

“Time, money, effort.”

“I do the best I can every day, and while appreciate all the healthy food/living bloggers efforts to educate, sometimes I feel like I do more wrong than right. I make the best choices I can for meat, chicken, fish, eggs, oils and grains. But I know there are things slipping through the cracks. Sometimes I feel more discouraged than helped when I read new blog posts.

“Time and Money.”


 “All of the above. Sugar cravings.”

“Conflicting information on what’s good for us. I feel like most sources of food info I get seem to originate from one of two sources: The government (e.g. eat low fat dairy products and avoid all saturated fats) or Weston Price. I’d love some info from some fresh sources!”

“Understanding labels like organic, natural, free range, etc…”


And I’m guessing they aren’t alone in these Real Food “Roadblocks”, right?

I’m hoping to offer you a few tips to help save time when preparing Real Food for your family. Here are some things I have found which help us eat Real Food, (at least 80% of the time, that is!)

Tuesday's Tidbits

1. Plan Your Meals (dinners mostly).

This is probably the MOST important step. Without doing this, you will daily have the issue of “What’s for dinner?”. I hate that feeling, don’t you? Ugh. Makes me cringe just thinking about it. A great solution is to take a hour or so per month to sit down, plan out the meals and grocery list. You will be thankful every day, I promise! I share how I plan out my meals over at 30 Days of Dinner: My Menu Plan.

This is really important as oftentimes when you are eating Real Food it means soaking beans, cooking more, chopping up more veggies, and making more from scratch. If you can plan your dinners for a month you can schedule more “complicated” dinner on the days you have more time. Or, you can prep your meals ahead of time (ex. cutting up the veggies you will need for the week, etc). Reminders like soaking/cooking beans can be written into your meal plan.

2. Cook Whole Chickens in your Slow Cooker.

Seriously. This sounds like a weird “tip”, right? But here’s the reason: The day you cook it, you can have it for dinner with a side of veggies, potatoes, etc. Then, a day or two later you can use the leftover chicken in another dish or a casserole. In between, stick the bones back in the crockpot (this is the one I use) with some other goodies and make Homemade Chicken Broth Then, put it in containers in freezer to use for future recipes and soups. I usually do 2 rounds with the bones to make broth.

So, if you spend $13-$18 on an organic, pastured-raised chicken, you can easily get 2 meals PLUS 16 cups or so of good, real bone broth out of it. Not only is this frugal and easy, but it also saves time when you need chicken broth for a recipe or soup.

3. Save Your Veggie Scraps.

I have a large Ziploc bag in my freezer that I toss things in to use in my homemade Chicken Broth later. I put in things like broccoli stems, celery leaves or celery stalks that are getting “rubbery”, leftover onions (they don’t last long in fridge anyway), any any other pieces of veggies that you don’t want to throw away but aren’t sure what to use them for.

Then, when you are read to make Chicken Broth, you have some great veggies to throw in the pot. This saves time (no need to chop anything up) AND money as it helps prevent throwing away valuable food.


veggies cooking

4. Double Your Recipes and Freeze Some.

This is perfect for those busy nights or long days when you don’t feel like starting a meal from scratch. There are so many recipes that can be doubled and then frozen so you have an easy meal for another time.

A few of my favorites to do this with are:  Beef & Bean Casserole, Chicken Veggie Rice Soup or any other Soups!

5. Join a Food Buyers Club.

If you aren’t sure what a Buyers Club is, you may want to read my post “Join a Buying Clubto learn more. Basically, you order together with a bunch of families, thus saving money buying in bulk and obtaining better prices. It saves TIME because it’s sort of a one-stop shopping. You generally order once a month (another reason monthly meal-planning can come in handy!) and pickup your items once a month. No running from store to store to get different items that you need.

*I’m moving this summer to the Zeeland, MI area. If you live near there and would like to be a part of my new Real Food Eater Buyer’s club, please contact me!


More Resources for Cooking Real Food:




Learn how to teach your kids to LOVE Real Food! No arm-twisting or coercing. Includes 29 Real Food recipes that kids love!







Learn how to prepare and nutritiously cook Real Food! Both easily prepared and delicious!



Real Plans


Real Food Meal Plans – 4 wks at a time, with shopping lists, prep instructions and recipes (yours or theirs)


12 weeks of online classes (that you can access at your own pace) and more for learning how to Cook Real Food!

Do you have time-saving tips to add to this list? If so, please leave a comment so we can learn from each other!


Top Photo Credit