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I’d like to start off by giving mad props to inkWELL Press and Tonya Dalton for the magnificent ongoing play on product names. Check it – inkWELL Press, the liveWELL Planner, and now the eatWELL Meal Planner. Yes, genius. I just felt that needed to be stated.
As a lover of inkWELL’s products, including the Fitness Planner, I must say that I was so stoked about the eatWELL Meal Planner. I also love that the colors continue to be consistent throughout the inkWELL planners, so everything matches sitting on my desk. In fact, seeing the eatWELL Meal Planner resting next to the Fitness Planner just makes me happy. Partly because they look nice side by side, and partly because they both serve the purpose of helping me lead the healthiest, happiest life possible—and those are my main concerns every day.
The eatWELL Meal Planner comes in two cover options: the Ombre Scales and Multicolor Triangle. Because I love turquoise almost as much as I love black, I naturally went for the scales. In addition, it has a gold wire binding and gold foil label in the bottom right corner of the front cover. It’s the exact same size as the Fitness Planner (6×8 inches) and comes with the same high-quality paper you can find in all of the other inkWELL Press items.
The Heart of the Matter
The inside of the eatWELL Meal Planner is all about planning out your meals for the week. This can be done with a focus on health, weightloss, or simply meal management for your family. Meaning this meal planner can be used by anyone, no matter what the main driving force. It’s a very straightforward, simple meal planner, which makes it easy for anyone—even beginners— to start using.
The eatWELL Meal Planner is undated, so it can be started at any point in the year. Each of the 24 weeks starts with a weekly meal plan—this is a two-page spread where each day gets a column. You write down the meals for each day, how many stars you would rate them, and the source of the recipe if you need or want to note.
Because there’s no right or wrong way to use this meal planner, you can write down each meal for each day or just write down dinner. Whatever you need, it can do for you. You can also write down the meals before you eat them as a way to plan, or after you eat them to use it as a food log. Again, this is customizable to fit whatever you need.
There are also three columns for breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas. These columns are more for brainstorming before you assign meals to specific days of the week. Following this two-page spread is a grocery list, which also takes up two pages. This grocery list is already divided into all of the different grocery store sections and food types to make it easier for you to grocery shop. There are columns for:
Deli and bakery
Breads and grains
Spices and condiments
Seafood and meats
Beauty and pharmacy
Absolutely every single possible grocery store section is covered, so grocery shopping will be a smooth and organized process.
The Extra Goodies
Holiday Meal Plan
At the back of the eatWELL Meal Planner there are some extra add-ons. These bonuses start with Holiday Meal Planning. There are three two-page spreads dedicated solely to what you’re going to cook for three separate holidays.
On the first page you have a space to write down what you’ll be making for appetizers, main dishes, sides, and desserts. There are columns for the specific recipe, the cook time, oven temperature, and the person in charge of making it (because no one person should ever have to handle the holiday cooking alone). The next page is where you write out your game plan—i.e. what needs to done, prepared, and cooked by a certain time. This has spaces for 30 days before, 14 days before, seven days before, one day before, and finally, the day of the holiday.
After the holiday pages, you have some reference tools to fill out. First is the section for “Takeout Favorites.” Here, you write down you and your family’s favorite take-out restaurants, their phone number, and favorite dishes—there are even check boxes for whether or not you can order online.
Quick and Easy Recipes
Following is a two-page spread for you to write down quick and simple meal ideas. It has just two columns on each page with little ribbons just big enough for the name of the food item and a small box for how long it takes to make. This can come in handy as a reference when you’re in a major time crunch.
Seasonal Fruits and Seasonal Veggies
These two charts may just be the best part of the entire meal planner. It can be easy to forget what produce is in season when. To help you out with this, so you can plan your meals around in season fruits and vegetables, inkWELL included two pages dedicated to outlining that for you.
There’s a long list of fruits and veggies (alphabetized for convenience) on the left-hand side, and at the top are the four seasons—and months within in them. If a fruit is in a season at a certain time, those months and season are shaded in. For example, apples are in season from August through November, so there’s a shaded row on those months spanning Summer and Autumn.
By choosing fruits and veggies that are in-season, your weekly grocery expenses will be lower. We all know that buying strawberries out of season will cost you an arm and leg. It’s best to know when to make those strawberry-reliant recipes than trying to make strawberry tarts in January.
Because we all struggle to remember how many cups are in a pint, pints in a quart, and so on, inkWELL included a handy dandy conversion chart at the back of the eatWELL Meal Planner. Any possible conversion you could need while cooking dinner are covered. Tablespoons in an ounce? Check. Pinches in a teaspoon? Double Check. The difference in weight between flour and sugar? Triple check.
The Extra Extras
The last pages of the eatWELL Meal Planner are filled with much-needed information about buying organic, food expiration dates, and cuts of meat. The first page is dedicated to explaining which foods you should buy organic and which ones you shouldn’t, in order to help you make the right choice for your wallet and health.
If you’ve ever struggled with food expiration dates (and who hasn’t), like the difference between “sell by,” “use by,” and “best before,” then the explanation in the eatWELL Meal Planner is made for you. It goes over just what all of those dates mean and how you can make sure you’re throwing away food when you should and eating it before it spoils. There’s even some helpful information about your refrigerator and freezer temps to assist in keeping your food fresh.
The very last page of the eatWELL Meal Planner has a drawing of a pig and a cow outlining where the different cuts of meat come from. This isn’t something you need to know when asking for four t-bones, but it is fun information to have and serves as a great visual to end the meal planner with.
Overall, inkWELL has created a comprehensive, straight-forward, helpful meal planner for you with the eatWELL Meal Planner. It has all of the space and information you need to manage your meals and achieve any health goals you may have. It’s only $29 (which is a steal for all that it provides). In my opinion, you couldn’t possibly want anything more from a meal planner—except maybe one that cooked the food for you.