Local woman launches meal planning service


Caroline Ivey's four children never had to ask "What's for dinner?" while they were growing up.

"I would always post the menus for the week on the refrigerator. They always loved that, and their friends would come over and often comment on the menu hanging on the fridge," said Ivey, a Walker County resident.

Ivey used the meal plan to help her stay organized and to ensure that her family was getting some variety at the dinner table.

After she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder two years ago, Ivey made the switch from healthy eating to clean eating. 

"Still, I wanted it to be delicious, beautiful food that everyone would enjoy," she said.

Now Ivey has put all of her knowledge about nutritious cooking and meal planning into her online business, MenuAffair, which launched last month.

For $5.99 a month, subscribers receive recipes and a grocery list to cover lunch and dinner Monday through Friday. Each meal plan comes with nutrition facts and tips for adjusting the serving size to accommodate two, four or six people. 

Menus for the following week are sent via email each Wednesday so that subscribers have ample time to purchase groceries. For those who want to check grocery shopping off their list as soon as possible, Ivey's website, menuaffair.com., has links to several major grocers.

"It's hard for busy people to sit down and plan out meals. It takes a lot of time to come up with the recipes and the grocery lists. One thing I've heard from subscribers besides the fact that they love how everything tastes is that it is saving them so much time," Ivey said.

The weekly menu plan is the same for all subscribers. As the business grows, there may be an opportunity to address specific food allergies. For now, Ivey offered some suggestions to one subscriber who is allergic to shrimp and reached out after noticing that shrimp was on the menu.

Menus will change with the seasons.

For some, Ivey's menus may be a tool for shedding some extra pounds and adopting a healthier lifestyle. For others who live with chronic pain, it may bring relief by introducing them to anti-inflammatory foods.

"I know that this works. Clean eating overall can have the biggest benefit, short term and long term. I love having the opportunity to share it," said Ivey, who had often been asked to share what was working so well for her and used the recent quarantine to formalize it into a business plan. 

Since the launch on June 10, Ivey has enjoyed hearing positive feedback from subscribers and seeing pictures of her recipes pop up on social media feeds as her friends feed their families.

One subscriber let Ivey know that her daughter had used some tomatoes she had grown in that week's homemade salsa recipe.

"I love that. Mealtime is such an important time, not only for the nutrition part of it but it's also a time for community and building relationships. A lot of healing takes place at the table," Ivey said.  

Ivey is currently offering a seven-day free trial. To subscribe, visit https://menuaffair.com.