Keep reading for details on how Once a Month Meals works and how you get take a test run for FREE!
There is this assumption that food bloggers eat awesome meals ALL THE TIME. When in reality, most of our meals are pretty simple, and we too have occasions where our fridge is bare and we are relying on our freezer and pantry to get dinner on the table quickly because the kids are starving.
But how do you stock a Paleo freezer and pantry when the goal of Paleo is to incorporate an abundance of fresh produce and protein at every meal? Well, we have shared our Paleo pantry secrets here, and are about to let you in on a life-saver approach to the freezer: Once a Month Meals.
It is exactly what it sounds like – once a month you cook and bake an assortment of foods that will keep in the freezer and taste freshly cooked when thawed. We have a number of recipes on our site and in our books that are freezer friendly, and now we’ve partnered with Once a Month Meals to share those recipes to make sense of the batch cooking and freezing process!
When I initially heard about Once a Month Meals I was a little apprehensive. I don’t have any kids, and I am already pretty good at putting a decent meal together. However, there is one area that I struggle with – the back up food I turn to when we are in a pinch with dinner!
My fiancé and I started a homestead last year (where we raise and grow as much of our own food as possible), and come spring and summer our weekends are jam-packed with projects. Like heavy-lifting, sweat-all-day and come-in-covered-with-dirt projects. At the end of those days, I have just enough gas in the tank to shower and collapse on the couch. And we can only eat my famous “salmon a la can” with lard potato chips or salad so many days in a row. And by salad, I mean lettuce with dressing…
I imagine that when you have kids, every day can feel like this… is that true? Please tell me that’s not true!
So, I needed help with quick, make a head meals for the times when I don’t have a moment or an ounce of energy to spare. I am guessing you have days when you feel that way too? Enter: Once a Month Meals.
It’s not complicated, but it is a multi-faceted meal-service (which is good, because that means it is adaptable to your needs and individual situation). The namesake, and the backbone of Once of Month Meals is the idea that you dedicate one whole day to prepping and freezing meals that will last the entire month. They take all the thinking out of it: give you the shopping list, prep instructions, recipe cards and even labels, so that you will always have something healthy and homemade ready for breakfast, lunch, dinner AND even snacks!
Love it! Planning ahead and making sure you have healthy foods available is the key to succeeding with the Paleo diet, especially if you have a family to feed or are generally too busy to cook.
Once a Month Meals caters to other dietary options besides Paleo, such as gluten-free and dairy-free, vegetarian, traditional, whole foods, and even offer special baby and toddler menus. They also have options for autoimmune protocol, low histamine, low FODMAP, nut-free, GAPS, Whole30 and more.
And even better – many recipes have complete nutrition facts (great for anyone tracking macros) and even have info for things like Weight Watchers points and Zone, if you or a member of your family are following those diets.
Building a Menu
To get started, you select the type of menu you want – in my case I chose Paleo. Then a whole list of different monthly menus comes up. There are new menus every month, or you can choose from any of the existing menus, and many have a theme or seasonal flare to them. When you see one that catches your eye, you select it and then take a look at all the dishes you’ll be making.
This is where my favorite feature comes in, the ability to “swap” recipes in your meal plan (available with a pro membership). If there is something that just doesn’t sound good or you know your family won’t eat it, you can swap it out for any other recipe in the database. You can even build your meal plan to be anything – for example, you can make all dinners if you want, which I love, because dinners are what I need the most help with! And if you’re really ambitious, you can build your entire meal plan from the ground up.
When your menu is set and looks good, you pick the number of people you are cooking for, and Once a Month Meals immediately generates everything for you: shopping list, recipe cards, preparation instructions and even labels. You can print out (or just view from your web browser) the master plan for your day of cooking.
But What if You Don’t Have a Full Day to Dedicate to Cooking?
Once a Month Meals also has “mini menus,” if the thought of spending a whole day in the kitchen makes your head spin. A mini menu might consist of 4-6 different recipes and should take just a couple hours to crank out. By the way, you can get a FREE MINI MENU delivered by email to try for yourself, no strings attached!
Because their website is so flexible, you can build whatever you want, which is what I did. I chose a mini menu, made a few swaps and got started!
My mini menu consisted of Crockpot Mongolian Beef, Paleo Pulled Pork, and Slow Cooker Mexican Beef. I used the recipe cards and preparation instructions and in about 30 minutes I had three different meals made and in zip top bags ready for the freezer. And since I needed something for dinner that night, I planned for one extra meal and threw it right in the crockpot.
I was impressed at how simple and straightforward the directions were. Everything was thought out for me and presented in an easy to follow way.
What Once a Month Meals has done is taken their own original recipes, plus recipes from your favorite bloggers and cookbook authors and adapted them to be freezable and quick to prep at meal time. In fact, you’ll even find many of your favorite Paleo Parents recipes in their database —> Like in this Kid’s Mini Menu!
I really appreciate that using a meal plan service like this helps me to try new things. I often get stuck in the rut of making the same old meals week after week (because they are easy and I know how to make them!). Once a Month Meals makes making and trying new things incredibly easy.
They have an awesome youtube channel with videos on what it looks like to go through the process of meal-making day, and also some instruction on how to navigate the website and make the most of it. A great resource if you are considering this plan, but aren’t sure if it is right for you.
Whether you need planned and prepped meals to help you make good meal choices, you need some inspiration in the kitchen, or you miss the convenience of being able to pick up a meal on the way home or throw a pizza in the oven, I think you’ll love Once a Month Meals!