Kristen, the queen of healthy meal planning, has written the ULTIMATE meal planning cookbook that deserves a place in every kitchen. Trish Rosenquist | founder of Mom on Timeout, mom of 2
Stop Wondering What's For Dinner
If there is one thing you can do to make your kitchen life easier and less stressful, meal planning is the answer every time.
Ask me almost any question about how to eat healthier, save money on groceries, stop stressing about what's for dinner, or learning to cook. My answer will always be meal planning.
To say I am obsessed with meal planning barely scratches the surface. I even wrote an entire cookbook about it!
Meal planning truly is the thing that will make the biggest impact on your health, budget, stress level, and cooking skills.
With that said, the most important reason you should start meal planning is to enjoy mealtime again. Feeding your family should feel good. It should bring joy. But for too many of us, that's just not the case.
Mealtimes can bring feelings of stress, guilt, and frustration. With hectic schedules and busy lives, mealtime moved from a special time to connect with our families to another task on an ever-growing to-do list.
I am here to tell you that meal planning will break that cycle. Meal planning makes it possible to get a healthy meal on the table night after night. Meal planning changes the daily mealtime battle.
Instead of staring into the fridge every night, hoping for an answer, let us help! Our weekly meal plans ensure you know what's for dinner and that you have everything in the fridge to make it.
Learn more about our meal plans.
My Food Philosophy: Healthy-ish
Eating healthy and feeding a family is hard work. While I realize that looks different in every family, after some time, I have landed on my personal healthy-eating philosophy.
Let's call it “healthy-ish.”
I could write an encyclopedia about what this means, but at its core, it's simple and really all comes down to balance.
Our recipes are packed with lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and tons of veggies. But they also happily include melted cheese, chocolate chips, and pasta. Food should be delicious, fun, and exciting.
It's really all about balance and moderation. To break it down further here's what healthy-ish looks like for my family:
- Always choose real food over processed when possible.
- Focus on balanced meals that include lean protein, whole grains, fruits and/or veggies, and healthy fats.
- Try and include fruits and/or veggies in every single meal.
- Use natural, unrefined sweeteners (e.g., pure maple syrup and honey) over refined sugar as much as possible.
- Cook one meal to feed the whole family. (I'm speaking to mental health here!) If needed, get creative about how it is served.
- Cook food that works for your family and lifestyle. No guilt.
- Eat food that gives you energy and makes you feel good.
- Don't worry about the occasional treat, restaurant meal, and splurge. Food should be fun! Eat the chocolate chip cookie, enjoy dinner out, and make your favorite family recipe! Food is meant to be enjoyed.
Noteworthy Media Mentions
As Slender Kitchen has grown, it has been featured and shared in numerous media outlets including CNN, Insider, Chalkboard Magazine, Medium, Glamour, Healthline, Parade, Buzzfeed, Intuit, Everyday Health, Today.com, Huffpost, Self Magazine, Purewow, and more.
Between the website and social media channels, Slender Kitchen reaches millions of people every single month.
Fun Facts About Kristen
- Education: I received my bachelor's in Business Administration and a minor in Spanish literature from the University of Notre Dame. I received a Masters in Education from Loyola Marymount University.
- Before the blog: Before working on Slender Kitchen, I was a middle school teacher in Los Angeles, CA through the Teach For America program. I taught ESL and Social Studies for 3 years and then worked in non-profit education for another 5 years.
- Living: I was born in Massachusetts, went to college in Indiana, and then lived in Los Angeles for 18 years. Three years ago, my family and I moved to Oahu, Hawaii, and love it here. However, we are currently considering an international move. We love adventure and travel.
- Favorite food: This question is so hard! It's a toss-up between a classic New England clambake with lobsters, steamers, and sweet summer corn and really good fish tacos. I love any and all seafood.
- Most made recipe: We eat tacos or tostadas at least once a week! I love that everyone can build their own and it's a meal I know even my picky 5 year old will eat.
I come from a long line of women who love to cook and somehow do it effortlessly. While I was growing up, my mom got dinner on the table every single night–between a full-time job, three kids, and endless activities.
To her, that time was sacred family time. Whether it was 9:00 p.m. after a soccer game or we had three extra friends squeezed around the table, we were eating a home-cooked meal every night.
Now, with two kids of my own, I have no idea how she did it. She was just one of those people who naturally made it happen. Unfortunately, that's not me. The gift of effortlessly whipping up meal after meal was not one I inherited. I have to work at it.
However, this story and my love of cooking actually started with my struggle to lose weight, eat well, and find a healthy and happy balance in my own life.
If I look back 10 years, I was 30 pounds overweight and I knew how to cook exactly one dish that didn't come directly from my freezer. I was tired. I was uncomfortable in my body. Quite honestly, I was exhausted after years of trying diet after diet without any long-term success and felt far from my best.
Deep down, I knew something needed to change. I was done with not feeling like myself. I was done with always being tired and having no energy. I was done with throwing myself into another quick-fix solution that ultimately didn't work. I was done with constantly trying to camouflage myself. It was time to make a real change.
That's when I found cooking and meal planning. After talking to countless friends and family who had either successfully lost weight or simply lived a balanced, healthy lifestyle, I learned two things that would change my approach to food and eating forever:
- It was time to learn to cook
- It was time to start planning my meals.
Following the advice of my aunt—“If you can read, you can cook”—I devoured blogs, cookbooks, magazines, and videos. With each healthy recipe I followed, I grew more confident in the kitchen.
I also started meal planning. Each week I sat down on Sunday and planned my meals for the week. I built shopping lists, adjusted serving sizes, and planned meals.
It worked. Over the course of the next year, I lost a total of 35 pounds. More importantly, I started to feel good again. I gained energy, confidence, and freedom—freedom from the negative thoughts, constant stress about what to eat, and battle to simply feel good.
And that's what brings us to Slender Kitchen. These days I have two little girls and life is busier than ever. It would have been easy to throw everything I learned to the side, but instead, I find myself relying on these recipes and meal planning more than ever.
It saves my sanity.
I hope Slender Kitchen can do the same for you. Our recipes take the hard work out of meal planning and getting a healthy dinner on the table. I couldn't be more excited to be here with you! Let's make dinnertime stress-free, delicious, and joyful.