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The Fresh 20: 20-Ingredient Meal Plans for Health and Happiness 5 Nights a Week Paperback – April 23, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 180 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Melissa Lanz has created a brilliant solution to reducing the consumption of processed foods by showing how easy it is to create delicious, healthy, budget-friendly meals for your family using locally grown, unprocessed foods. It’s easy to make The Fresh 20 a lifetime habit. (Mark Hyman, M.D., author of The Blood Sugar Solution)

The Fresh 20 cookbook is an essential guide for every mom trying to meal plan using tasty recipes the entire family will love! (Catherine McCord, author of Weelicious)

From the Back Cover

The End of "What's For Dinner?"

Say goodbye to grocery lists with 80 items that will eventually go to waste. No more boxed mac 'n' cheese or canned-soup casseroles. No more wasting money on endless nights of takeout. With The Fresh 20 cookbook, the focus is on creating meals the whole family can enjoy together.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks (April 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062200984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062200983
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

MELISSA LANZ is the founder of The Fresh 20, an award winning meal planning service using only 20 whole food ingredients a week.

Melissa has been cooking since she was 8 years old and believes health and happiness run thru the kitchen. A former frozen burrito and takeout addict, Melissa has transformed her family food culture by making small changes and switching to a unprocessed diet.

The Fresh 20 is her first cookbook aimed at helping families get to the dinner table without stress and within budget.



Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because while I can cook, I often times have a hard time coming up with weekly meal plans. I tried meal subscription plans [not Fresh 20, though] in the past but didn't like how many of them either used [a] a lot of processed junk that my family doesn't [or shouldn't. we're working on the doesn't] eat; [b] 50+ ingredients for a weeks worth of meals, many of which would only call for half of what you'd buy in the store, wasting product and money; or [c] the meals didn't repeat [husband's complaint, which I understood because sometimes you want to eat a dish more than once a year]. So I was looking for a cookbook with meals that would accomplish the exact opposite of these three things.

The Fresh 20 did exactly that.

The ingredients truly are fresh, seasonal ingredients, most of which are things you've [probably] heard of, if not at least eaten once before in your life. The recipes are presented in a weekly format, four weeks per season, with a coordinated shopping list before each week [and let me tell you, the first time I went grocery shopping using this book, it was liberating to just be able to take a picture and walk out the door. Literally. It was amazing.]. Because there are only four weeks of meals per season, that means you can repeat the weeks up to four times, giving you FOUR repeats a year! My favorite part about the meal plans is that there are only five days, giving two extra days for events, leftovers, or for a cook to add some family favorites in. Now if you don't regularly keep her suggested list of pantry items [grape seed oil? Never heard of it before this book], it can be a pain to purchase them at first but she does use them week to week and in such small quantities that they last you for a while.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished the first week (5 recipes) in the book and want to share some of my experiences. I am NOT a Fresh 20 subscriber, so this is my first experience with a meal planning concept.

First off, I love the shopping list and layout of the book. Very convenient. I was confused about the "20 ingredients" mantra, because it took me a bit to realize that it's 20 ingredients plus a hundred herbs/items you probably have on hand. In other words, the recipes involve a lot of items.

Week 1, spring menu (ratings from 1-5*)
Parmesan Chicken Nuggets with Herbed honey carrots - 4*
Coconut Curry-style Fish with lime coconut rice - 5*
Korean-style short ribs with braised napa cabbage and brown rice - 5*
Pan-seared chicken panzanella - 4*
Baked potato soup with simple cabbage salad - 1*

As you can see, 4/5 recipes were excellent, but the baked potato soup was bland and flavorless, even with extra salt (and optional cheese & bacon).

Each week has a "prep ahead" section, but I quickly learned that each recipe has far more prep than expected. There is a lot of chopping involved, and every recipe took far longer to cook than anticipated. I am hoping to find a few weeks that we like and then just repeat them over and over.

A few problems I encountered:
-The prep ahead included making bread crumbs and 2" bread cubes. I followed the directions and ended up with "croutons" that were 2x2x2 (a 2" cube). I didn't realize this was the final product, and I ended up having to chop them all up for the salad. I think the author meant 1" cubes. Spending 40 minutes preparing bread crumbs and croutons was a lot of time spent!
-My toddler isn't much into eating a salad for dinner, so this presented some obvious challenges.
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2 Comments 141 of 148 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very rarely can I say that I encounter something that I can buy with money that can change my life forever. The fresh 20 has done just that, changed my life! I grew up poor and was raised by a single mother who also happened to be a bodybuilder. My mother worked long hours and my idea of dinner became fast food and steak. This lasted well into my late 20s. It got to a point where I would have fast food for lunch and dinner. My best friend that I lived with on and off for three years would laugh about my dinner staple of spaghetti, frozen dinners, and fast food. I did not know how to cook outside of heating canned food or boiling water for pasta. Two years ago I quit eating fast food and from there I slowly made healthy choices. I knew nothing about cooking and would use different websites and books for recipes only to find I would buy 30 ingredients for one recipe. I felt it was all such a waste of money and that I would much rather eat out since it came out to be the same cost. I found the healthier the meal the more expensive it was to buy (Hawaii grocery store prices are higher than stateside prices). I came across the fresh 20 online and decided 50 dollars for a year was a small fraction of what I paid in groceries and seemed I would save that amount within the first month of joining.

Now before continuing on I am engaged to a Texan. He loves his BBQ and his texmex. He is not the biggest fan of vegetables and was very nervous about me cooking with all the different ingredients I would buy. He noticed I would mainly be in the produce section getting what I needed for the week.

Within a month of joining the fresh 20 I was receiving nightly compliments on how delicious my food was and I finally felt as though I was taking control of my health.
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