Top critical review
Three star healthy meal prep cookbook
Reviewed in the United States on June 18, 2019
I will start off by mentioning that I am a fellow dietitian who enjoys reading Toby's works and was very excited to get my hands on this book. Though a good read, it did not meet all my expectations.
A list of my pros and cons are as follows:
-The healthy meal prep tips and principles are smart and practical
-The pantry staples and shopping lists included for the three 2 week meal plans are helpful and time saving
-Recipes are labelled to indicate dietary restrictions and preferences that apply (ie: dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, paleo, vegan).
-The nutrition information, number of servings, and serving size are listed for each recipe
-Storage recommendations for the refrigerator and freezer are provided for each recipe, in addition to how to best warm up leftovers
-Sunday meal prep step-by-step instructions make the execution of the weekly recipes fairly easy (~2.5-3 hours start to finish)
-9 out of 10 recipes I've tried thus far have been very tasty (poached salmon with chimichurri is a new favorite)
-Bonuses: there's a full chapter on ready to go snacks, sauces, dressings, and staples that make great additions to a healthy cookbook
-Out of 100+ recipes, there are very few photos of the recipes, which is not something to skimp on when crafting a cookbook
-The cookbook is somewhat lacking in providing vegetarian entrees
-The nutrition information is missing the amount of total and added sugars
-While I appreciate and understand the principles behind the "clean eating" plan, the label "clean eating" has been associated with fad diets and moralizing food. This meal plan could be relabeled to general healthy eating as all three meal plans are based on whole, minimally processed ingredients.
-The calorie recommendations provided for each of the meal plans are over generalized, and there does not appear to be a basis for the recommendations. The calorie recommendations in this text are likely geared towards middle aged men and women with little activity. A calorie range for men and women looking to maintain weight, lose weight, or gain muscle would be more appropriate. A table in the appendices or reference to the latest USDA dietary guidelines for estimated energy needs based on sex, age and activity levels would have been helpful.
-It's stated that the three 2-week meal plans provide 5-6 meals and 1 prepared snack, but some of the meal plans fall short and are missing at least one entree. The muscle building meal plan #2 is a prime example as it contains recipes for 2 snacks and for 4 meals (2 breakfast and 2 lunch or dinners), which really isn't enough to cover a week.
-Some of the serving sizes are on the low side and may not yield that many servings for your household, without the addition of sides.
-There are often no pairing suggestions for the entrees that contain just proteins and sauce, resulting in a less than complete meal. For example, one of the meals in the muscle building meal plan #2 is a slow cooker Tuscan Chicken, which is simply chicken breast that is slow cooked in a canned tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and spices. I ended up cooking quinoa and making a salad to round out this meal and fill us up! Additionally, it's a missed opportunity to go without recommending a pairing with one of the vegetable/whole grain/bean recipes in the cookbook.
Overall, this is an easy to read text with useful meal planning/meal prepping tips and healthy recipes that taste great. However, there are shortcomings with the meal plans not providing a true week's worth of (complete) meals, the lack of photos, and minimal vegetarian entrees may be a deal breaker for some.