I've been following macro counting with Stronger U for over a year now and one thing that has always come up in the community are Lillie Eats and Tell recipes! I always keep meaning to try them, but life tends to get in the way and I never got around to it.
When I heard that Lillie Eats and Tells was releasing a new cookbook Planned that included complete meal plans, I decided this was the time to try it out to see what everyone was talking about. After reading through some of the free recipes on her blog and reading a bit more on the blog, I decided to buy a copy on the day that it launched!
I'm still waiting on my copy of the physical version, but I've had the digital cookbook for a few months now and have had a chance to try out some of the recipes! In this post I'll share with you my thoughts on the new cookbook and if it's worth buying!
Table of Contents
What is Lillie Eats and Tells?
First off - who and what is Lillie Eats and Tells? Lillie Eats and Tells is a blog that creates macro friendly (or recipes that include macronutrient nutritional breakouts) recipes and cookbooks. The creator behind the website, Lillie is also a mom and when she started counting macros herself years ago, she found the recipes she used were lacking something. She decided to create her own healthier versions of recipes and created a website where she shares them all! Her website is really popular among macro counters, like the Stronger U community, and she has a huge following on Instagram.
Planned Cookbook Review
I decided to buy the Planned Cookbook because I'm all about the Done-For-Me things right now. I have an infant and toddler at home, and one of the things I struggle with is finding time to meal prep. I bought the book Cook Once Dinner Fix and fell in love with this concept of cooking 1 protein to be served in 2 different ways, so when I read about this new Planned Cookbook I was sold! My only problem with Cook Once Dinner Fix is how high calorie everything is so this new Lillie Eats and Tells Planned cookbook seemed to solve that problem.
I was in Greece when the cookbook released so I was anxiously waiting for the shop to go live (I was quite a few hours ahead of time). When it did, I bought a copy as soon as I could and downloaded it instantly to read (is anyone else a nerd and love to read cookbooks? No? Just me?). The cookbook was organized into 5 weeks of meals, each with complete grocery shopping list, recipes, and meal plan. Unlike the Cook Once Dinner Fix book I have, this one is complete with breakfast, lunches and dinner. There's also a section in the book with bonus recipes too that includes recipes that haven't been on her blog before!
As soon as I got home from my trip I rushed out to the grocery store to buy the first week's grocery list! The only thing I didn't end up buying was the ingredients for the breakfast - I'm a little picky when it comes to breakfast and have finally cracked the code on a breakfast that fits my macros and keeps me full until lunch, so I didn't really want to mess with that (and if you're curious, my go to is a protein shake and cinnamon english muffin with 5g butter). My grocery bill was a bit expensive that week, but I think it's because I had to buy things for the recipes for the first time - for example, one of the sandwiches called for drizzles of hot honey. But now I have it on hand so when I make this again it'll be less expensive.
The cookbook is easy to follow and what I like is that there aren't any hard to find ingredients. The only ingredient I slightly had a problem with finding was chipotle in abodo sauce, but this was more because my grocery store has been having inventory issues rather than it being easily found. I eventually was able to find it in another store and was ready to go with the chicken.
Since the book focuses on batch cooking proteins, you cook all of the chicken at once and then have it all week. I definitely underestimated this process and it ended up taking me quite a bit to cook all the chicken, but eventually it was done and I was able to move on to prepping the rest of the food.
The first recipe we tried were Roasted Red Pepper and Hot Honey Chicken Sandwiches which were amazing! The thing that I liked is that these were really customizable so we could add as much of the toppings as we wanted. The cookbook called for a lot of toppings - bacon, homemade pesto, yogurt, hot honey, etc. and I accidentally forgot some of them when I went shopping (how do you forget bacon?!! ugh!) but the sandwiches still turned out amazing! This was the first time I had been introduced to hot honey and now it's one of my favorites!
In addition to the recipes in the book, each recipe also has a barcode that you can scan to log the meal into My Fitness Pal (MFP). Lillie's set up all the recipes already in MFP so it's easy to track! I like that she also gives options - for example for the chicken sandwich recipe, there's a scan for both to include bread and one without the bread. Unfortunately at this time there aren't listings in Cronometer, but Lillie lists the macros in the book so you can easily enter them in.
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What I really appreciate about the book is that it's pretty basic and it doesn't require high level cooking skills. Depending on the recipe, the recipes will be cooked on the grill, Instant Pot, oven or stove top and are pretty easy to cook. I followed Lillie's timing on our chipotle chicken and it came out perfect!
Adapting the Recipes
One thing that I look for in cookbooks now is the adaptability of the recipes. I've come to accept that as a mom to 2 little kids I just don't have time to dedicate in the kitchen right now. But, at the same time, I do want to keep making healthy meals for my family. I've found a good balance in this by making recipes but also utilizing store bought ingredients as well. For example, recipes that might call for making your own BBQ sauce I'll just sub out the BBQ sauce for store bought.
The Lillie Eats and Tells cookbook allows me to do this! Of course macros will change when I do this, but I like having the flexibility of making the recipes as easy or as complicated as needed. One example is in the Chicken sandwiches where Lillie calls for homemade pesto - sometimes I have time to make a batch, but other times it's just easier for me to buy a store bought version. The recipe has come out delicious each time!
Are the Recipes Kid Friendly?
Overall I've found the recipes to be pretty kid friendly and my 4 year old has been a fan of almost everything we've made. The only one we've kind of had an issue with was the chipotle chicken being a little too spicy, but that was easy to fix by giving her some pieces with a little less seasoning and having her dip it into greek yogurt.
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Are the Macros Accurate?
I use Cronometer so when I was going in to enter in the recipes I became curious about the accuracy of the macros. I decided to test it out and create a recipe and compare it to the macros in the cookbook, and I'm happy to say my macros tied out to the cookbook!
Naturally there will be some discrepancies depending on brands used, as well as ingredients (like if you forget the bacon like I did - whoops) but overall I was impressed that they tied out so closely.
Is It Worth Buying?
Overall I do think the cookbook is worth buying! The recipes are delicious and I love how easy it's made macro counting. I also appreciate that the recipes are flexible and can be made as easy or complicated as you want/have time for.
Why Is It So Expensive?
One thing that you might notice is that the Lillie Eats and Tell Cookbooks are more expensive than your typical cookbook. The digital and printed version of the cookbooks are usually about $60, way more than the usual $15-$20 you'll find on Amazon. The reason the cookbooks are so expensive is because the Lillie Eats and Tells cookbooks are self printed, instead of other cookbooks that have publishers. This means that the Lillie Eats and Tells team has to cover all of the costs associated with printing, shipping, and marketing the cookbook.
The good news is that you can find the digital versions of the cookbooks for a lot cheaper so if you don't want to spend a lot of money that is an option as well. You can also keep an eye on Lillie's instagram and sometimes she'll also post discount codes!
The Lillie Eats and Tells Planned Cookbook is a fantastic resource for those who are looking for an easy to follow meal plan that takes the guesswork out of macro counting. The recipes are delicious, kid friendly, and can be easily tailored to your own liking.
The Lillie Eats and Tells Planned Cookbook can be purchased on her website here.