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Our Story

Our story begins a few years back when I started writing real food meal plans through my blog. These plans were a huge success, mostly because they removed the stress and monotony from the age-old question – “What’s for dinner?”


Hi! I’m Emily – a.k.a. Holistic Squid.

It seems like just yesterday that I fell in love with making home-cooked, real food for my family. I was so into it and wanted to do it all – simmer bone broth, master my slow cooker, even make ketchup and mayonnaise from scratch. But mostly I wanted to get delicious, home-cooked dinners on the table for my family. I soon realized I was going to need a plan to get it all done.

Over the years I have perfected meal planning and discovered hundreds of great recipes in the process.

While I can’t crawl through your computer screen and get to cooking in your kitchen, I have just the thing to share my secrets and help make your life easier.

The evolution of the perfect meal planner

A few years back, I started writing real food meal plans through my blog. These plans were a huge success, mostly because they removed the stress and monotony from the age-old question – “What’s for dinner?”

As time passed, I got great feedback from our meal plan subscribers – I noted and considered each and every request and comment.

Many folks asked for dietary modifications to recipes. Others wished the portion sizes were adjustable for their larger or smaller families. Still others dreamed of a mobile app to make their shopping trips easier.

Knowing I couldn’t do it all myself, I teamed up with my uber-geeky partner, Antony, and together we created Real Plans…

My delicious recipes and meal planning experience

+ his technical brilliance

= a meal planner like none other

Real Plans not only presents you with mouth-watering, nutritious, simple recipes, but you can also plan, cook, and shop the way that works best for YOU.

Kitchen-tested, family-approved recipes

We know you don’t have hours to slave away in the kitchen each day, so we’ve carefully crafted our meal plans with recipes that are simple, easy to pull together, and turn out great.

As a real foodie and health practitioner, I’ve got a passion for food that is both scrumptious and deeply nutritious.

As a mom, it’s important to me that my family eats well and enjoys the meals I serve.

Our goal is not perfectly-plated works of art, but delicious, nutritious home-style meals that your family will love to eat.

There are plenty of high-tech meal planning services out there to choose from, but unlike those other companies, we share recipes that have been personally tested – by me, my family, and a few trusted friends. We’ve got a recipe box brimming with over 1,600 tried-and-true, nutritious dishes that my whole family loves – and we know you’re going to love too.

(We’ve also teamed up with some of your favorite food bloggers to bring you even more delicious diversity.)

What’s more is that our family personally uses Real Plans each week for planning and shopping. So you can bet that I’ve guided my hubby and our tech team to create the most useful and easy-to-use product possible. (Thanks, honey!)

Fully customizable to your family’s size and tastes

A complete family meal plan including five breakfasts, five dinners, one lunch, and a condiment.

Image via Real Plans web app

Adjust for your family size

With Real Plans, whether you’re cooking for one or twenty-one, we’ve got you covered with portion sizes that can be set and adjusted as needed.

Throwing a dinner party? No problem. Change your portion size for that day, and your recipe and shopping list will magically accommodate.

Kids off to college? While we can’t cure the empty nest, you can certainly downsize so that your shopping list matches the number of mouths at your table.

Feed special diets and picky eaters

Our plans cater to most dietary requests including gluten and dairy-free, paleo, AIP, keto (low carb), and vegetarian.

If you have additional changes you’d like to make – say, you’re allergic to fennel or your kids have yet to discover their love of shrimp – you can modify each recipe to your heart’s desire and your modifications will be saved for the next time you need them.

Add your own recipes – only if you want

While our weekly meal plans are packed with more than enough delicious, family-friendly recipes, sometimes you may simply be in the mood for something we haven’t dreamed of yet.

With Real Plans, you can add your own recipes – from your grandma’s mac-n-cheese to your favorite blogger’s paleo pancakes – with a simple import tool.

Sending your spouse or a helper to the store?

I don’t know about you, but sending my significant other to the store with a shopping list can often result in some surprising purchases that end up in my kitchen.

With Real Plans, you can add notes and even pictures of your favorite brands so you get exactly what you need – the first time around.

Real Plans Mobile for stress-free shopping

No more toting around bits of paper at the grocery store or standing in line hoping you have everything you need.

With Real Plans Mobile for iPhone and Android, you can access your shopping list when you’re out and about – whether you want to shop for the next few days or the next few weeks.

The timeline includes all of your shopping, prep, and cooking.

Image via Real Plans app

The shopping list shows what you need, and how much of it.

Image via Real Plans app

As you walk around the farmer’s market or your favorite shops, you can check off items you purchase, making your trips quick and efficient.

You can also set your Real Plans app up to send notifications when you have a step to complete in the kitchen. You will get a notification to defrost your meat, or to start your meal in the slow cooker.

Technically Challenged? We’ve got you covered too.

Simply watch a quick instructional video to learn how to print out your shopping list, meal plans, and recipes – old-school style. If you prefer, you can still shop with an easy-to-use, PDF print-out or email your shopping list to any mobile device.

If you ever get stumped – either by technology or a cooking technique – simply reach out to one of our customer service gurus by email at support(at) and they will get you on your meal planning way as quickly as possible.

Curious about who’s behind the scenes? Meet the Real Plans team.

Meal planning for your busy life.

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