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One of the things that help me keep my sanity every week is meal planning. I can tell you, without reservation, that meal planning makes life SO much easier. I am in a season of life right now where I often find my days filled to the brim and time is at a premium. While it would be a lot easier to just grab some takeout for dinner, I know that is just not ideal for helping my body feel its best every day (and it’s definitely not budget-friendly!).

Nourishing my body with real food is what makes me feel good. While I no longer following a rigid, militant style of eating, I do know what foods leave me feeling energized and healthy and what leaves me run down and groggy. I need all the brain and body power I can get right now, so keeping the real food on the table is key. Meal planning is the primary way that I ensure this happens every single day.

Meal planning can be easy and it can also be complicated, depending on how you approach it. I started out meal planning with a piece of paper and a pen. Then I’d search online and through my own recipe collection to carefully craft a week’s worth of meals. Then I’d make sure I did a full inventory of my pantry, fridge, and freezer and put together my weekly shopping list. Then I’d head to the store and get the week’s groceries.

This approach definitely worked and also saved my butt when the question, “What’s for dinner?” popped up. It also helped me save money because I was only buying what I needed (for the most part…). BUT, it was still time-consuming and frankly, I found myself skipping more and more weeks because I didn’t have time to find new recipes and I was bored with all of my old recipes.

The other thing that I noticed is that even when I’d be super organized with my meal plan, actually getting dinner cooked each night was taking longer than I wanted. Since I eat a pretty veggie heavy diet, getting everything prepped and cooked in a time crunch can be challenging. Prep, cooking, and cleanup were taking way more time than I had to give.

A New Approach to Meal Planning {Great For AIP & Other Restricted Diets}

While my old methods of meal planning did help cut down on stress and food waste, they still took too much time. When dinner time rolls around, the last thing I want to do is slave away in the kitchen for an hour or two. I want real food, made easy and made fast.

That is why I take a new approach to meal planning now and also why I co-founded the meal planning website called 20 Dishes. Seeing that one of the most common complaints I see in the Delicious Obsessions community is how much time and effort it takes to eat real food, I knew I couldn’t be alone in my meal planning frustration.

20 Dishes is unlike any other meal planning site out there. Meal plans are a dime a dozen — you can find them anywhere. A simple Google search will yield thousands free and paid options for meal planning. When we (myself and my friends Kelly and Orleatha) created 20 Dishes, we knew that we had to go beyond simple meal planning.

Everyone can meal plan, but what we do differently is we show you how to take that meal plan from paper to plate in record time. We have a special “secret sauce” strategy that our members get access to that sets our meal plans apart from the rest.

One of the main reasons that we created 20 Dishes was to help people on restricted/therapeutic diets have an easier time adhering to that way of eating. The Autoimmune Protocol Diet (AIP) is one of the most commonly used healing diets and one that we specifically cater to in our meal plans. In addition to AIP, we also cater to anyone following a Paleo, gluten-free, vegetarian, or clean eating (think Weston A. Price style) way of eating.

AIP is one therapeutic diet that holds a special place in my heart. Having personally done the AIP twice (once for 6 months and once for 12 months), I can attest to how tough it is. When I was going through the AIP (back in 2012/2013), it was still a really new thing. There were very few resources for me to refer to, let alone meal plans to help make life better.

It. Was. Hard.

I had to eliminate pretty much every food it seemed, and then what I was left with required hours of prep every week. Life was not all that fun during that period of time.

When 20 Dishes was created, we all knew that helping those on restricted diets was really important for us. That’s why it’s one of the five dietary styles that we offer and our AIP members love being able to stay on track with that style of eating without spending hours and hours and hours preparing food.

Melissa C., one of our long-time 20 Dishes members, said:

“Oh sweet goodness! I am feeding a family of 7 … sometimes 8 … strict AIP compliant dinners. We have 5 kids 10 and under… You can imagine, finding a meal that everyone loves is quite the challenge. Lately, we’ve needed to add some more mushrooms onto our diet to up our Vitamin D uptake and so I tossed some into the Lemon Asparagus Chicken recipe I had on the menu this week… THE ENTIRE family loved it! Like not just ate it, but all but one had seconds! So. Whoever created that one, THANK YOU!”

When she emailed us this, my heart literally jumped for joy. THIS was exactly what we wanted to do — make people’s lives EASIER (and more delicious).

Special Offer for Delicious Obsessions Readers

If you’re on the AIP (or Paleo or gluten-free, etc.) and feeling a bit lost and overwhelmed, let us help. Let us show you how easy it can be to eat real food without slaving away in the kitchen for hours on end OR breaking the monthly grocery budget.

We are currently extending a special offer to our Delicious Obsessions readers. If you are interested in improving your health with real food without becoming a slave to the kitchen, this offer is for you. Right now, you can get your first month’s membership with 20 Dishes for $14.99 (normally $24.00). No coupon code required, simply purchase through this link here.

With your monthly membership, you will receive:

  • Weekly curated menus in all 5 dietary styles (choose one or choose all, or make your own with our fully customizable interface).
  • Corresponding shopping list for each week’s menu (fully customizable).
  • Our revolutionary simple food prep guide for each week’s menu.
  • Access to 200+ breakfast recipes at no extra charge.
  • Access to 65+ Instant Pot recipes at no extra charge.
  • Access to our private 20 Dishes community support group.

In addition, our meal plans, shopping lists, and food prep guide are all accessible through your favorite mobile device so there’s no need to waste paper or ink each week. Just pick up your favorite phone, tablet, or laptop and you’re ready to go!

Let us help take the overwhelm out of the AIP (or other restricted diets) so you can spend more time living your life and less time slaving away in the kitchen. It’s OK to ask for help and we are here to serve. Click this link to get your first month’s membership for only $14.99.

If you’re looking for more info on the AIP, I have a section on my site where you can find all my AIP blog posts. Click here to see that.

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