Meal Planning 101 with Printables

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.

How I Meal Plan for Trim Healthy Mama

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

 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

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.


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.

32 thoughts on “Meal Planning 101 with Printables

  1. THANK YOU… i am struggling so bad right now… had lost over 70lbs and put 40 back on… (detest myself for this and my looks and clothes) I am struggling with Hypothyroidism, and bad back… I have had their book on Kindle but just ordered it in hardback… .I see too many confusing posts on FB about how to eat and JUST really need someone to hold my hand and walk me thru it.. (OCD, President of Procrastination that leads to Paralysis club!) and am at my wits end… I was ready to find a nutritionist or someone to write it down for me but saw your post…. I am going to print the grocery list and menu out and go grocery shopping tomorrow!! 🙂


    • Tammi, I, too, need a lot of hand holding right now. I am completely over whelmed as well. Heather, thank you for compiling the menu!! Can you eat all S meals, or should an E be incorporated in every day? I looked at week one grocery list and OMG!! That looks like a $200 shopping list. Does that go down as staples are bought? I appreciate all help – hoping to get started next week.


      • Hi, Cyndi! I would encourage you to refer to the book on page 111 under the heading, “Switching Meals” for how to achieve the E/S balance. I only know my experience, and it may be different for everyone. As far as the prices…honestly, switching out my pantry staples for new ones was somewhat more expensive the first month. However, once I got rolling, I’m now noticing a sharp decline from what I was spending preTHM (lots of prepackaged stuff) to now. Does that help? 🙂


  2. Thank you, thank you! I am a THM newbie and it’s all so overwhelming. I am so happy to have your guidance and meal planning.

    Thank you again!


  3. Enjoyed this post so much I took the morning and read your previous postings, Really enjoyed it! I requested Jillian’s book from my library, wish they had the workout dvd. I have the THM book so I look forward to your posts about that too. I find your post informative & funny what a great combo : )


  4. I have had this book for a couple of months! Super excited when I read it! But then when I was ready to start it felt like I just came down with dyslexia and I was overwhelm, confused and pretty much not believing I could do this 😦 I put it on a shelf and forgot about it I have no idea how I came about the Facebook page and now YOU !! I am going to take your “hand” and start this new way of eating and cooking!! I am praying I begin to see a change in my body that will help me rnotivate me to keep it up!!!! Thank you so very much!!!!


    • the only thing that bothers me the more I look at it… is that a healthcare professional I trust told me to eat by my blood type and also no dairy, sugar or wheat…. i am so confused…. i just want to drop the weight (over night no less!)


      • Hi, Tammi! I understand about wanting to lose the weight overnight. Belieeeeve me! I’m not a THM expert, but the admins on the FB groups are. I wonder if one of them can address your health issue question. I do know that I eat no sugar at all. In fact, that’s kind of the crux of the plan. As for wheat, it’s out, too. The only way I get it is in the sourdough bread I make, but it has to ferment for at least 3 days before I can bake it so that the yeast “eats up” all of the wheat-y badness. My dairy is limited to Greek yogurt and cream in dessert sometimes, but you could totally do this without it. This is just MY experience. I encourage you to contact them, though, for sure.


      • ok… so on the meal plan i downloaded yesterday from here… which I was so happy to get… this is no sugar, dairy or wheat? I haven’t researched all the recipes yet… just noticed lots of cheeses on there…. I will keep reading…. I don’t want to hate food… Well… I do enjoy it to much now or I wouldn’t be in this situation… 🙂 thanks Heather..


      • Oh, cheese! Yes, lots of cheese! I’m sorry…forgot. No sugar or wheat should be on there, excepts Dreamfield’s pasta (controversial in these circles). Just switch it out for zoodles (homemade zucchini noodles) or other substitution. Dairy is on there, yes. Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, other cheese, but no milk. Meals/snacks that contain these could easily be switched with another option, either from the book or elsewhere. Does this help? Shoot me a message through my “Contact” page if you need more specific help. I’ll give it a shot, but, like I said, the experts are elsewhere. Jessica Myers, who admins the main THM page, is a gem. See if you can contact her on FB.


  5. Pingback: Printable Meal Plan Plus A GIVEAWAY | Adventures In Womanland

  6. Pingback: THM-Friendly School Lunch Ideas | Adventures In Womanland

  7. I am so excited to find this blog. You have laid it out for me and I feel this week I am doing it right. I have been doing it since April 2013 and have lost about 3 lbs. My body composition has changed but my weight is not moving. I saw a few things I was doing wrong from your menus. I want more, more, if you please.


  8. Thank you so much for this! My brain was overwhelmed with how to get started – REALLY started – and keep it organized without spending HOURS trying to wade through recipes and grocery lists. I can breathe now…
    You rock!


  9. Here it is Novenber and I’m diving into your information like a kid at Christmas. When I decide I want something, I usually want it RIGHT NOW ie a haircut, new shoes, etc. When I found THM, I wanted to start IMMEDIATELY! But didnt want to fail so I’ve been dragging myself through the entire book before starting. This meal plan is AWESOME AND A HUGE THANK YOU TO YOU!! I now feel like I can start and continue to read and learn. I also feel like I need to have coffee with you every morning!


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