Best Meal Planning Service for Your Real Food Family

healthy eating

Not too many years ago, when I first became a Crunchy Super Mom, there were very few meal planning services available. The ones that existed relied heavily on cans of cream of everything soups and crunchy onions.

The concept of a meal planning service intrigued me as I didn’t have a repertoire of good meals to pull from. Once I tried a service, though, I was hooked on the concept.

As a busy SuperMom who believes in feeding my family only the best, most nutritious foods, a meal planning service is absolutely mandatory. There is no better way to reduce stress, time and spending than by subscribing to a meal planning service.

I'm happy to chat more about my experience with various meal planning services here in our SuperMom Community. Because I've tried so many options, I'm able to offer tips on choosing the one that fits your needs and interests best. 

Here is my quick review of some of the most promising meal plan services I have tried. If you've found one you don't see listed below, send me a message and I'd be glad to check it out!

Review of Frugal Real Food Meal Plans

Frugal Real Plans does not disappoint with plenty of features despite focusing on low-budget meals. 7 nights a week, shopping list, prep sheets, batch cooking, and desserts

Pros: Jam-packed meal plan at a ridiculously low price. This meal plan is a top pick. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and desserts included. No wasted food. Really pinch your pennies and make everything from scratch...everything!

Cons: Cost of food goes up a bit compared to what Tiffany projects for those on different types of diets but it is do-able. Some of the recipes are forgettable but edible.

Best meal planning service for Penny-pinching whole food families. There is something for everyone here. This is a good place to start if you are just wanting to work on a whole food diet without spending more time in the kitchen than you can spare. This is my number one pick for the family wanting to dive into a real, whole food lifestyle because the cost increase for buying clean food will not be as shocking. 

Not recommended for Foodies. Some recipes are just to fill you up and there is nothing wrong with that--but buyer beware.

Review of The Fresh20

The Fresh20 is the ideal entry-level meal planning service for most families. 5 nights, shopping list, in-season foods only, whole food (no cans), small shopping list as all ingredients sort of overlap which helps the budget out. They have expanded their options quite a bit since I last tested it out so this is really my top recommendation for the average family.

Pros: huge variety, fits all lifestyles (paleo, GF, vegan, traditional), quick, simple--no overly complex cooking, offers a 6-week lunch menu

Cons: A bit too simple sometimes for me personally but I doubt it would disappoint many families.

Best meal planning service for: pretty much everyone. You can't go wrong starting with Fresh20. Now that they offer all lifestyle types, I would consider them a tie for #1 recommendation.

Not recommended for stubborn people who don't want to try meal planning.

Review of Real Plans

Real Plans has evolved into the most comprehensive meal planning service on the market. If you can think it, it can do it...and if it can't do it today, you can ask Antony and Emily for a #featurerequest in the Real Plans Community on Facebook. Plan everything you want to eat within the week and it will populate in your meal plan. Want a quick breakfast on Tuesdays but a full meal on Thursdays? DONE. Want a crock pot meal on Wednesday night and a freezer-friendly meal every Saturday? DONE. Ah-maz-ing. 

Pros: Amazing, amazing recipes. Some of the best we have ever tried for almost every food. Her ethnic, especially Latin, dishes are delicioFoolproofroof! A nourishing traditions/WAPF centered lifestyle is covered by the "traditional" meal plan. Offers Paleo, Keto, AIP, and Vegetarian plans as well. You have access to all recipes and variations of recipes within the Recipe Box. Best feature: seeing three weeks ahead and being able to save your entire breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks/desserts for the whole month. Talk about money and time-saving!

You have access to all recipes and variations of recipes within the Recipe Box and you can choose from new contributors like Nom Nom Paleo, PaleOMG, Naturally Ella (vegetarian), GAPS, AIP and more!

Best feature: seeing three weeks ahead and being able to save your entire breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks/desserts for the whole month. Talk about money and time-saving!

Cons: You might be put off at first if you look at the traditional meal plan. You will make your ketchup, bread, mayo, yogurt etc from scratch. These can easily be subbed out with premade options or omitted entirely. Pretty flexible there.

The total time in the kitchen is nothing compared to making all your food from scratch using your own plan but some people say the time is greater than they are used to. Thus, there is an adjustment period.

Best meal planning service for: People who want advanced meals and a lot of customization. You can't go wrong with this option because of the ability to input your favorite recipes and incorporate them into the planning software but you do need to plan your meals wisely so you have enough time to prepare them.  


Relish! is 5 nights, shopping list, swap recipes, freezer meals

Pros: Cheap and a huge variety of recipes included. $10 per month or $58.80 for the year. (See for their gluten-free spinoff.)

Cons: No cohesion from one night to the next. More waste in food (buy a bunch of an ingredient, use some and have its leftover for the rest of the week with nothing to do with it), not whole food-based and can be pretty heavy on canned items and such.

Best meal planning service for someone wanting to get started with cooking on a limited food budget with a foodie's taste in food.

Not recommended for whole food, dietary restriction families.

What meal planning service have you tried? I've tried a few others but the results weren't worth blogging about. Do be sure to ask me if you have questions about these or any other service! I'm happy to help you find the one that works for your family!

Review of That Clean Life

For the last 5 years, I've been a loyal fan and subscriber to Real Plans so this next review and recommendation will be a total shock for some! I wasn't really looking to make a switch but I was doing what I do- I was trying out every meal planning service available. When my trial expired, I signed up for the paid program...and I have yet to cancel!! 

That Clean Life is a totally customizable real food meal planner. It comes complete with set programs or you can have a blank calendar to fill yourself. You can upload your favorite meals too. All around it is a robust service with some of the best kid-friendly, budget-friendly, and super simple recipes I've ever tried. If you check it out- come and tell me in the SuperMom community! I will be holding meal planning challenges that incorporate this amazing planner (think: sugar detox, real food introduction, Whole30, and more!)

Pros I didn't think this would matter, but the clean interface is truly remarkable. It's so much easier to focus on the recipe and scroll/click less while cooking. While I do love having a plan that populates for me seasonally- I love being able to choose any plan that I want and have it populate...and then I can modify it as well. Genius! Recipes are simple and sometimes repeat through the week in a smart fashion (like having oatmeal more than one morning for breakfast- because who really needs 7 different breakfast options each week?)

Cons So far I have none. Ok ok, I can think of ONE. They tease you with their 40+ programs but you have to have a business account for the more "therapeutic" based plans-- like hormone balancing and postpartum. But hey... I know someone who happens to have the hookup on those meal plans and she happens to offer fabulous coaching along with it. Check her out here and be sure to tell her I sent you so she will give you the SuperMom special. 


Others I have tried and will post reviews on soon: 



Once a Month Meals


Plan to Eat


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