Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

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scrumhalfgirl
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Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby scrumhalfgirl » Mon Sep 09, 2013 9:51 am

In an effort to get back into a good habit of cooking and meal planning, I've joined The Fresh20 for three months to check it out. http://www.thefresh20.com/

For $6/month, you get weekly meal plans with 5 dinner recipes for the week. I've looked at a lot of different companies offering these types of services, and there are a few things that made me go with this one:

a) each week uses only 20 ingredients, plus pantry basics (brown rice, oil, spices etc)
b) the recipes are planned to make use of a single ingredient across several meals (e.g. I bought a bunch of cilantro, and it will be in 3 meals, so there's no waste)
c) the menus make use of seasonal ingredients where possible
d) there's a component of prepping some things ahead of time (e.g. make rice and marinades on Sunday) or cooking ahead for several meals (e.g. grill 4 chicken breasts, eat two and save two for a salad on Wednesday)

While I've done my own meal planning in the past for years, I like the simplicity of this, and I think it will do a better job of taking ingredients etc into account than I have.

This is my first week trying it - will report back and see how I like it.
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RA.
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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby RA. » Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:57 am

Cool idea! I'll be curious to hear what you think.
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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby orleansrunner1962 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:33 pm

RA. wrote:Cool idea! I'll be curious to hear what you think.


Me too! I am always scrambling a) for ideas; and b) time to make healthy meals -- I like the idea that stuff can be prepared ahead, and I really like the idea that a fresh item is used more than once in the same week so there is no waste!

Can't wait to see what you think!!
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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby Miss*Smiles » Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:51 pm

I can't wait to hear how you like it :D
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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby Stampie » Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:05 pm

orleansrunner1962 wrote:
RA. wrote:Cool idea! I'll be curious to hear what you think.


Me too! I am always scrambling a) for ideas; and b) time to make healthy meals -- I like the idea that stuff can be prepared ahead, and I really like the idea that a fresh item is used more than once in the same week so there is no waste!

Can't wait to see what you think!!

Agreed, this sounds very interesting.

In the past we’ve done meal planning but fell off the wagon as the summer came up due to ours & kids schedules. We are looking to get back on course and I would be curious to see how this works out as well. We have a set sheet/template that we use, but what we find hard is trying to organize for a two week stretch, let alone the day after tomorrow. Our biggest obstacle is repetition. Our kids love past, but seriously how much can you eat?
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toobusy
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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby toobusy » Mon Sep 09, 2013 7:32 pm

Interesting!

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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby Half-Mary » Mon Sep 09, 2013 7:49 pm

Can you put in different dietary or food preferences before you get your recipes? Can you tell it how many people you are cooking for? Leftovers are great, but if every meal is made for 4 people, and I'm only one person then I will have more leftovers than I know what to do with.

I'll be interested to hear what you think of this. How much prep did you have to do yesterday?

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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby toobusy » Tue Sep 10, 2013 7:38 am

Half-Mary wrote:Can you put in different dietary or food preferences before you get your recipes? Can you tell it how many people you are cooking for? Leftovers are great, but if every meal is made for 4 people, and I'm only one person then I will have more leftovers than I know what to do with.

I'll be interested to hear what you think of this. How much prep did you have to do yesterday?


I took a look - the plans generally make for 4 people, but they do offer a cooking for one plan!

they look a little too fancy for my household. My family won't eat half the examples that I can see

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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby scrumhalfgirl » Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:45 am

Half-Mary wrote:Can you put in different dietary or food preferences before you get your recipes? Can you tell it how many people you are cooking for? Leftovers are great, but if every meal is made for 4 people, and I'm only one person then I will have more leftovers than I know what to do with.

I'll be interested to hear what you think of this. How much prep did you have to do yesterday?


They have a couple of different plans - vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, kosher and classic (that's what I'm doing), plus the "cooking for 1" plan toobusy mentioned.

On the classic plan, there's generally 1 vegetarian recipe per week and 1 fish (though this week's recipe has a sub for chicken if you want).

In terms of prep, on Sunday I did the following:

-cooked rice for 2 meals
-chopped onions for three meals
-made a marinade and put it over the chicken
-made a dressing for wednesday's meal.

Last night we had the first dish, and saved some of the grilled chicken and veggies for two future meals.
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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby Stampie » Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:31 pm

scrumhalfgirl wrote:Last night we had the first dish, and saved some of the grilled chicken and veggies for two future meals.

And the question that begs to be asked... How was the meal?

I took a boo at the website last night and the sample menu looks interesting.
PB’s (official race results)
5K – 26:20; 8K – 41:28; 10K – 52:13; 15K - 1:22:43; 21.1K – 1:54:16; 30K – 2:51:34; 42.2K – 4:24:14

What is up for 2018
Feb 11th - First Half Vancouver
TBA
Planning & in my sights
Jun 9th - Puddle Jumper Classic

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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby Ironboy » Tue Sep 10, 2013 5:35 pm

No paleo? ;)

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dgrant
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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby dgrant » Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:08 pm

Cool idea. At that price I'll bet it would more than pay for itself many times over. I'm always buying stuff to use for one meal and the rest goes bad.

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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby chunkymonkeymelonhed » Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:29 pm

Took a peak at the website and have to admit that I am intrigued........
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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby orleansrunner1962 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:13 am

Sent off for the free sample menu, and it looks really yummy -- will likely try once we're back from vacation in a couple of weeks -- this could be a really good solution to the endless "What's for dinner" dilemma in our house!
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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby Dr. S » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:35 am

That looks really interesting and it's pretty cheap. I am really tired of meal planning and we end up always eating the same meals since I'm tired of finding new recipes... I don't have access to the website from work, there's an example of what a weekly menu looks like? I'll check it tonight
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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby scrumhalfgirl » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:39 am

Reviews of the first two meals!

Monday was Tandoori Chicken with Mint Rice and Grilled Zucchini

Overall, this was a typical sort of meal we would make (grilled chicken and veggies), but the marinade was yummy, and I am looking forward to re-using some elements again later in the week

Tuesday was Prosciutto Wrapped Halibut with Balsamic Tomatoes and Pea Puree

Super good! Not something we would normally make, but really easy and full of flavour. Instructions were easy and clear enough for DH to make, while our toddler was running around under foot.

General observation: the recipes are supposed to make food for four, but we've basically gotten enough for 2 active, hungry adults and one good-eater toddler. If I had older kids, I'd want to be sure I was picking large pieces of fish or big zucchinis to ensure there's enough food.
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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby Half-Mary » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:12 pm

I looked at the website, and I'm disappointed that the meals for one don't come with a vegetarian option. I looked at the vegetarian option, and the meals seem to be pretty heavy on tofu and cheese, two things which I don't eat a lot of.

I don't think the meal plans would work for me, but I love the idea of it - especially how they use up leftovers, like cilantro.

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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby Dr. S » Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:29 am

scrumhalfgirl wrote:General observation: the recipes are supposed to make food for four, but we've basically gotten enough for 2 active, hungry adults and one good-eater toddler. If I had older kids, I'd want to be sure I was picking large pieces of fish or big zucchinis to ensure there's enough food.


Thanks for the reviews! We will try the free vegetarian menu next week and since I want leftovers for lunch, it's good to know the portions are on the small size.


Unlike Mary, we do like tofu and eat lots of cheese!
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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby fe.RMT » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:42 am

Is there an option to scale the numbers of meals? I work weird hours and don't always eat a 'full dinner' every night of the week. But I could possible shift some of the meals over to a lunch.

I am going to take a look as well because I am struggling a bit these days with meals and prep and not wasting groceries.
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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby scrumhalfgirl » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:47 am

fe.RMT wrote:Is there an option to scale the numbers of meals? I work weird hours and don't always eat a 'full dinner' every night of the week. But I could possible shift some of the meals over to a lunch.

I am going to take a look as well because I am struggling a bit these days with meals and prep and not wasting groceries.


Each week has five dinners, operating under the assumption that two nights of the week you'll be out, or not have time to cook etc. You could just skip 1 or more of the meals, but you might end up with random leftover ingredients.
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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby fe.RMT » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:34 am

scrumhalfgirl wrote:
fe.RMT wrote:Is there an option to scale the numbers of meals? I work weird hours and don't always eat a 'full dinner' every night of the week. But I could possible shift some of the meals over to a lunch.

I am going to take a look as well because I am struggling a bit these days with meals and prep and not wasting groceries.


Each week has five dinners, operating under the assumption that two nights of the week you'll be out, or not have time to cook etc. You could just skip 1 or more of the meals, but you might end up with random leftover ingredients.


I see they also have a lunch option. It looks like an ebook of 12 weeks of lunches but their buying option isn't clear. I am going to assume that you buy the ebook and it is yours to keep vs. buying 12 weeks of access.
The rumours are true......

2013:
Thanksgiving Day 5k: 27:26

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ORW Half Marathon
NYC Marathon 2014

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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby Samantha » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:58 am

Dr. S wrote:. I am really tired of meal planning and we end up always eating the same meals since I'm tired of finding new recipes...


me too! Plus it takes up a fair amount of time. :shifty: I think I'm going to try it too - just not sure if it's the classic or the meal for one. Probably a lot of it I won't eat (basil pea puree? really?) but I can just sub a regular veggie :lol: for the weird sides. It's not much money so even if I get a few meal ideas out of it it's not a huge waste.

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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby scrumhalfgirl » Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:39 am

I'll also add that when you subscribe, each week's plan is a PDF document. You can download them from the site and save them. On a monthly plan, you get access to the last three weeks (e.g. I joined first week of september and got access right away to the last two weeks of august, plus first week of september). On a yearly plan, I think you get access all year, but not certain how it works with past recipes.
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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby Irongirl » Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:19 pm

do you get a weekly grocery list as well? (you might have mentioned that above...)
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Re: Fresh20 - Meal Planning Service

Postby scrumhalfgirl » Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:07 pm

Irongirl wrote:do you get a weekly grocery list as well? (you might have mentioned that above...)


yep! page 1 of the PDF is the cook-ahead guide so you know what you need to do, page 2 is the shopping list, including quantities, estimated cost, and the "pantry items" you need to have on hand.
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