Last week I told you about my sources for free and deeply discounted Kindle cookbooks and other eBooks. If you started following the sources I recommended, then you might have downloaded the book “How to Meal Plan: A Step by Step Guide for Busy Moms” by Crystal VanTassel yesterday for free. VanTassel hosts the blog Crystal & Co, a resource for moms, and her book seems to bring together much of the advice she has shared on her blog about getting dinner on the table.

I’ve downloaded many organizational type books that were free deals for my Kindle, and this is the first one that I thought was worth sharing with readers. What I liked most about this book is that VanTassel makes it clear that if “you do not create your plan on your needs and the needs of your family, it is not going to work.” Too often, organizational type books are rigid, assuming that people who want to get organized with meal planning or clearing the clutter or getting their paperwork in order can snap into being a Type A personality just because they desire to do so. Oh, how I wish this was true, but it’s not.

With the premise that each family needs to create a meal plan that works for them, VanTassel goes about outlining five steps for creating a custom meal plan. She gives tips for creating a base of rotating recipes that work for your family’s needs, putting together a grocery list, letting your family know what’s on the menu for the week, and being flexible with the menu so it fits your busy schedules.

I love that she advises adding a leftover night, something that I call clean out the fridge night. It helps to save money and curb food waste. She’s also a big proponent of slow cooker meals like I am.

The book says it’s a “step by step guide for busy moms,” and I imagine that most of VanTassel’s readers are women. But, this is really a step by step guide for busy families, whether it’s mom, dad, grandparents or teenage kids creating meal plans and cooking the dinners. It’s flexible enough for families with a stay-at-home parent or parents who work out of the house.

“How to Plan a Meal” is now back to its regular price of $5.99. (The free deal was only good for one day.) But, if you’re struggling to make a plan that will help you get meals on the table so your family can enjoy the benefits of family dinner, I’d say this book is worth the investment.

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