How Meal Planning Changed My Family Dinners

Hi, I’m Christy. I’m the CMO at, and I am also a busy working mom with four young kids. My days are busy and my nights are equally hectic. Organization is the key to keeping my life working smoothly.

Several years ago, I stumbled upon meal planning as a way to calm the chaos of weeknight dinners. I discovered Dinner: A Love Story by blogger/author Jenny Rosenstrach. It reads like part novel, part cookbook, and her tales about raising two kids under two, while trying to maintain some semblance of a normal life struck a chord with me. 

At the core of her philosophy is organization, and her bible: the meal plan. She has kept a weekly meal plan (or dinner diary, as she calls it) since 1998. Me, since 2013. 

Jenny Rosenstrach’s dinner diary, which dates back to 1998.
Meal planning for easy weeknight dinners
An excerpt from book #1 filled with my meal plans, dating back to 2013.

I fell head over heels with her sweet approach to family dinners. 

So, I got a journal and started planning our weekly dinners. 

But this is where it gets tricky. I had to dedicate time (I usually do this on Sundays) to thinking through the week and making a grocery list. Then I shop for as much of it as I can so I have it all on hand. This organization helped me answer the question, “what to make for dinner” at the end of a busy day. I already knew, because it was in my meal plan! 

It seems simple, but meal planning takes dedication. There have been many weeks when I have skipped the planning (babies born, moves, burnout), but those weeks are always a little off, and I felt like I was always a step behind. My least favorite question is “what are we going to do for dinner tonight” when I don’t have a plan. 

I journaled my meal plans for years, helping to keep my sanity and keep us all eating healthy dinners, but it took a lot of time and mental energy. I needed something else.

Enter the AI Meal Plan

Fast forward to 2023, and I joined as their head of marketing. I was immediately drawn to their focus on helping people, like you and me, make their lives easier with AI. We started experimenting with meal planning. 

Ollie’s founder and CEO, Bill Lennon (who also plans his family’s meals) and I both lamented about the amount of time it takes to plan meals. It’s hard to find recipes that work for everyone in the family. It takes a lot of mental effort to think through the week and everyone’s needs and desires to make a meal plan that works. But we also knew that it was an essential part of our lives.

As leaders in AI, the Ollie team started to explore how AI could solve this for us and everyone else who is looking for a little help finding family friendly dinners.

In December 2023, the team started to sketch out what this could look like, and we started working with prototypes. 

The team hard at work sketching out the early concepts for Ollie.

I am excited to tell you, friends, that it is GOOD. Within minutes, I was able to tell Ollie what kind of food my family likes, share our tried-and-true recipes, and, perhaps, most importantly, call out our dislikes. Then Ollie generated five delicious meals for us to cook that week and an organized grocery list. 

I had a few adjustments, and with a quick chat with Ollie, the recipes and grocery list were updated. 

Here are the easy weeknight dinners we cooked in our first week using Ollie: 

Sunday: Lemon butter garlic shrimp with green beans 

Monday: Mediterranean chickpea salad with grilled chicken 

Tuesday: Ground turkey tacos (because it’s Taco Tuesday!) 

Wednesday: Chickpea curry with naan 

Thursday: Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with roasted cherry tomatoes

Friday: Quinoa stuffed bell peppers 

Wow, magic, I thought. I just did all this work in a fraction of the time, and I am getting new meals I would never have thought to try but totally work for our family.

The really exciting part is that this is just the beginning. I am just playing with our prototype. The app that we have in development will go much further beyond this, giving you ways to personalize and customize the experience so that you don’t even need to think about planning your meals any more. Ollie does the work for you!

Your AI Assistant for Family Friendly Dinners 

Ollie is launching soon, and we just opened up a waitlist. The app will offer done-for-you weekly meal plans and grocery lists that meet your needs, exactly. If you’re interested in gaining early access to Ollie, sign up here.


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