Author’s Note: This is NOT an official THM post. This is my story, my strategy, a portion of my journey down the THM road. THM stands for Trim Healthy Mama, the title of a book written by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett. The book outlines a break from the (or at least my) American tradition in terms of thinking about food, a call to eat and enjoy food the way God intended it. Besides owning the book and subscribing to this way of eating, and routinely purchasing and enjoying their sweeteners, I am not otherwise associated with or employed by THM. I’m just a regular Mama…like you. This post was written under the assumption that the reader has/has access to the book and holds a basic understanding of the meal types and eating cycles. If you don’t currently have the book, go buy it, man!
While there are few guarantees in life, I guarantee that any errors made here are completely mine and absolutely unintended.
Author’s Note, Part Deux: Meal-planning is meal-planning. While I write to you specifically detailing how I meal-plan on THM, my meal-planning life prior to THM was very similar. This is about the process, not necessarily THM. If you are not a THMer, keep reading. This is for you, too.
Author’s Note, III: I’m going to make Volcano Mud Slide muffin now. Amen.
One of the biggest obstacles I faced when beginning the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan was preparation.
The sheer volume of information available out there was overwhelming, to say the least.
I spent literal hours each week trying to figure out what to eat. This way of eating is so different from what I was accustomed to, and the sweet authors have done such an incredible amount of research in the compilation of this 619-page work. Immediately, my logical-mathematical brain went into organizational, survival mode, and I tapped out a quick form for organizing my meals for the week, printed out multiple copies, and stuck them in a binder. In the interest of helping anyone out there who may be (a) having trouble knowing where to start, (b) organizationally challenged, or (c) lacking time to create these helps (or a combination of these, or something else altogether), I want to share them with you.
This first resource is my blank meal-planning sheet. Like I said, I keep multiple copies in my binder. I complete them in pencil, so I can erase and move things as needed. Here’s my process:
1 . Check my fridge, pantry and freezer for ingredients I already have and attempt to put together what meals I can from what I have. My attempt at good stewardship.
2. Ask family members if there’s anything they’d especially like to have in the coming week. After all, I’m not the only one who eats in my house. Their answers generally involve Fooled Ya Pizza (book, p. 276), Cheeseburger Pie (book, p. 326), Just Like Campbell’s Tomato Soup (book, p. 292), Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas from A Home with Purpose, or Almond Flour Cheese Crackers from The Grassfed Mama. For me, in addition to those, it’s the Apple Pancake Bake from Mrs. Criddle’s Kitchen. Mrs. Criddle is my new online food BFF.
3. Work through my Pinterest board (throughout the week, my teenaged daughter and I pin recipes to this shared board), emails (I email myself recipes on occasion that I think I’d like to try), and the book for recipes I want to make.
4. Now that I know what I have on-hand and have an idea of what I’d like to make, I pencil in the Meal Plan Sheet.
Click here to download ====>>>> THM Meal Plan Sheet
5. Next, I take the recipes noted on the Meal Plan Sheet and make a grocery list.
6. Then, I go back through the grocery list, double checking my pantry, fridge and freezer, and cross off anything I already have on-hand. Good stewardship: second verse.
Now, I’m ready to shop.
If that all still seems like too much right now, I get it. Like, totally. I had my book for over a month before I got up the courage to even attempt to meal plan. Because I’ve been there, I’m also including my first week’s completed Meal Plan Sheet here for you. All the recipes are directly from the book for ease, unless it’s just something simple that I concocted, in which case, I included the directions right on the sheet. There’s nothing overly exciting on there. It was all I could do in week one to just make the transition to a new way of cooking/thinking. As I gained confidence, I added more complicated recipes and a greater variety. Many of my current faves are on my Pinterest board (read: Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies). I’ve also learned more about the eating style, what works for my body, what works for my family, what works for my budget, and what I have time to prepare. Turns out, totally rethinking food comes with lots of lessons. Hindsight, and all.
Click here to download ======>>>>> Week One THM Meal Plan
And, because I love you, man, the accompanying grocery list. All of the items on this list I have been able to find either at Kroger or WalMart. The quantity of these items you’ll need to buy will vary based on how many mouths you are feeding. Notice there are no sippers (GGMS, Singing Canary, Wonder Woman Whiskey, or The Shrinker) on the list or plan. I worked those in later; however, you could add them in if you want. Likewise, recipes requiring specialty items (i.e. defatted peanut flour, coconut flour, psyllium husk powder, gluccomannan, etc.) are also not here. I worked into those, too, as my budget (and patience and self-esteem) allowed. I also now use the THM Sweet Blend in place of the Truvia on my Week One plan, but you’ll get there.
Click here to download =====>>>>> Week One Grocery List
Print the Week One Meal Plan Sheet and Week One Grocery List, check for things you already have on-hand, cross them off, calculate exactly how much of each remaining item you’ll need according to the number of people eating this way in your house, add other items you may need (i.e. toilet paper…always toilet paper), shop for what you need, and you’re ready to begin the week. The Meal Plan Sheet starts on Sunday, but you can start on any day you like. I started on Tuesday because I usually grocery shop on Monday, but my OCD (or CDO for those of us who have it really bad and need it to be alphabetized) wouldn’t allow me to start a printed calendar on a Tuesday. My brain doesn’t have a “random” cycle. At nearly 40 years of age, I’ve learned to embrace this about myself.
As my family and I
ate our way went through the first week, I went back to my Meal Plan sheet and marked each meal based on whether we really liked it, tolerated it, or hated it. Then, when I got ready for Week Two, I started planning by transferring our Really Liked It meals from week one to a new Meal Plan Sheet (we ate those jokers again, man!), then filled in the blanks with new meals to try. After a few weeks of that, we had an entire new repertoire of meals we really like.
A Word About the S/E Balance and S-Helpers/Crossovers:
At first, as you’ll see on my Week One Meal Plan, I started with all S dinners and alternated the rest. I wanted my family to have a really satisfying evening meal that included dessert each night in an attempt at getting them on-board the plan with me. Later, I adopted another strategy for balancing between S and E, which I’ll detail in a later post. I believe my Sunday snack is actually an FP, but that was not on purpose, I guarantee you. I tried really hard not to have S-Helpers or Crossovers, as I have quite a bit of weight to lose, and I’m (currently) neither pregnant or nursing; however, either of those can easily be achieved by adding an element to a meal that’s already here.
Are there ways my forms can be improved? Yep. Have I learned as I have gone along? You betcha! Do I keep putting one
fork foot in front of the other in an attempt at moving forward? You know that’s right.
Use these to jump in! Then, you’ll at least be buying yourself another week to look into the depths of the book and other resources.
COMING SOON TO ADVENTURES IN WOMANLAND
Want to get updates on Adventures in Womanland’s posts? Enter your email address in the subscriber box on the right side of the blog. The following THM-related posts are coming up in the near future:
My Family’s THM Tried and True Recipes: An Organized List – a collection of my family’s favorite THM-inspired recipes (ones that we’ve tried and are kid and hubby approved), including directions to those in the book alongside some spins we like to put on them, links to those on other blogs and Pinterest, and a few of our own I’m throwing in as a bonus.
- Low-Carb Broccoli Salad – a delicious low-carb (THM-S) side that’s perfect for summer and good for you!
- Defatted Peanut Flour: Why Did I Buy It and What Do I Do With It? – a tour of the most popular peanut flour recipes in our house.
- Creamy New England Crab Spread – a hot seafood dip that’s a wonderful low-carb (THM-S) appetizer.