Trim Healthy Mama Plan Book Review


The new Trim Healthy Mama Plan book has hit the shelves, and become a nationwide best seller! You may have seen the book in your local department stores and grocery stores- it’s really become a THING! (I’m kinda SUPER thrilled about this!)

Since I reviewed the original Trim Healthy Mama book here on Gwen’s Nest about 2 years ago, I wanted to give you guys the inside scoop on this new book as well.

This is what we’ll cover today:

  • What is the Trim Healthy Plan?
  • What’s New in the New Plan Book?
  • The New vs. the Original: Which Should You Get?

PLUS, I’ve updated the Quick Start Guide with the new Plan and Cookbook info, so I’ll link to that too for you.

Next week, I’ll review the awesome new Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook. And I’ll tell you right now, that post will be FAR more entertaining in the photo department. :) Because: FOOD!

But today we’re going to focus in on the backbone of Trim Healthy Mama: the Plan

The Trim Healthy Mama Plan

If you’re brand new to the Trim Healthy Mama philosophy, then you’ll probably want at least a quick overview of the plan. Is it like Weight Watchers, or Atkins, or…(pick a plan)???

The Trim Healthy Mama premise is that you can enjoy carbs, fats, proteins, and even sweets- while getting healthier and trimming down. The key is learning to pair foods in the right way so that you’re not over-fueling your body. And being carb-smart.Trim-Healthy-Mama-Book-Review-(41-of-41)

There is no calorie counting, weighing out portions, or pre-packaged meal replacements in this plan.
The mantra? THM is about “food freedom.” So what can you expect? Expect a bit of a learning curve if you’re used to other diet plans. The toughest part about Trim Healthy Mama is nailing down the initial food types. But once you have that through practice, it’s super easy to stay on plan.

In the Trim Healthy Mama Plan book, you’ll learn about the meal types: S for Satisfying, E for Energizing, FP for Fuel Pulls, and XO for Crossovers. I share more about what those terms mean and photos of the meals I’ve made in my original Trim Healthy Mama book review here.

The basics of the plan remain unchanged from the original book. But if you already know and love the original Trim Healthy Mama book, there is more to this little beauty- it may be smaller, but it has added content!

What’s In the New  Plan Book?

Just like in the Original Trim Healthy Mama book, sisters Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison walk you through their plan in a warm, friendly, conversational way. The new Trim Healthy Mama Plan book is a more succinct, streamlined version of the original book. It’s just a hair over 300 pages long with 4 sections containing a total of 32 short chapters that wrap up their lifestyle eating plan. Many of the chapters are targeted at different lifestyles, so you won’t need to read every chapter in the book to get the plan down pat.

A Peek Inside

One of the really unique features of the original Trim Healthy Mama book is that both authors implement the plan in completely different ways. And the book is punctuated with commentary- and sometimes playful banter- from each sister giving her view of why or how she would approach certain aspects of the plan.Trim-Healthy-Mama-Book-Review-(32-of-41)

Pearl is a self confessing “Drive Through Sue” who enjoys the occasional drive through burger and buys spray whipped cream. Serene on the other hand is a food “Purist” who enjoys making her own sourdough bread, and culturing her own dairy products.

You’ll still find these two approaches reflected throughout the book in the gray “Chat” boxes.

Let’s stroll through the sections quickly and give you a peek at what’s in store:

Part I: the Basics

Part one of the book jumps right in to get your feet with with an understanding of the plan. In chapter 2, the Basics, we once again meet the cast of characters from the original book: Drive Through Sue, and Farm Fresh Tess are back to tell their story of food frustration. But this time, they’re joined by male counterparts and an additional cast of characters who represent the feedback of thousands of readers over the past three years. This part of the book is to inspire you to look at a variety of different food beliefs and habits, and how those are affecting your overall health.

The great thing about the new book is how quickly and succinctly it rolls into the actual plan details. You’re getting a basic recap of the plan before you hit page 25. And by chapter 3, you’re already digging into learning the S meal…in the original book, you were 8 chapters in before you found the chapter on S meals.

Part 2: Let’s Go

This section of the book helps you take the basic meal types that you’ve learned and start rounding it into a practical, doable plan that fits the way you live.

Here, the sisters answer a lot of the basic questions surrounding snacking, timing your meals, what sweeteners you can have on plan, eating out, and even cheating or treating. While some of this section is in the original book, there is a lot of great new info based on readers input and questions over the past 3 years since the original book came out.


One BIG difference from the original book is that now there is a whole line of Trim Healthy Mama ingredients available. In the original plan book, the sisters shared recommended brands that they used and loved, but within six months of the release, several of the key products (sweeteners, protein, etc.) changed formula and were no longer appealing or on plan with the new additives.

So the families took matters into their own hands and sourced the highest quality ingredients they could find to create fairly priced, great quality products with their label. This is reflected in the new books.

One of the key questions for those just coming to the plan is, “Do I have to use special ingredients?”Trim-Healthy-Mama-Book-Review-(31-of-41) The answer is, “Only if you want to.” :)  If you enjoy a meat and veggies lifestyle with just good, whole, basic foods, then you will probably not feel the need to order specialty foods.

But if you really love your brownies and carbs, then you may be more interested in replacing your favorite sugary snacks with on plan, and health promoting versions made with slower carb ingredients.

Part 3: Menus, Eating Tips, and What to Expect

This section of the book is completely revamped or new from the original book. And you’ll love it! In the original book, the sisters shied away from making menu suggestions, because they didn’t want to limit your freedom to create a meal plan that worked for each person’s unique tastes.

But they found that many of their readers really needed to see examples of how this plan looks in real life to get their training wheels on before taking off on their own. Trim-Healthy-Mama-Book-Review-(30-of-41)This section of the book dedicates 10 chapters to women and men from all walks of life: Drive Through Sue, and the purist…the working woman, those on a budget, the vegetarian, pregnant & nursing Mamas, slow losers, those on allergen free diets, and yes- even the men get their own chapter. Trim-Healthy-Mama-Book-Review-(28-of-41) And in most cases, example menus. It’s exactly the type of help that readers have been asking for. Once again, Pearl and Serene show that they are listening and really connecting with and responding to their readers over the past three years.Trim-Healthy-Mama-Book-Review-(29-of-41)

One thing you might notice is that many of the menu suggestions do point to their cookbook. So if you’re just getting started, I do recommend going ahead and grabbing both books from the onset. They are meant to function together and compliment one another.


There are some significant changes in the Fuel Cycle chapter, written to readers who struggle with slower weight loss- again based on what reader’s feedback and additional information since the original book was published.

Part 4: Trim Healthy and Beyond

The Trim Healthy Plan book rounds out with a short section covering other basics: exercise, skincare, balance (which covers some of the science topics of interest to food purists), and how to get connected with others who are doing the plan for support. Which I really think is key. Trim-Healthy-Mama-Book-Review-(35-of-41)

I also LOVE the Appendix in the back, which is a handy Meal Types Recap that you can flip back to when you need a refresher.

***Tip: Bookmark that section if you’re just learning the plan!***

The New Plan vs. the Original Book

“Which one should I buy?”

My personal preference is for the newer book, but I love the more streamlined, succinct approach with the helps and lists. Trim-Healthy-Mama-Book-Review-(26-of-41)

However, the original book may be your favorite if you really love to delve deeply into the “why” behind the plan. They spend a lot more time discussing the science behind their approach, as well as cover topics like faith and food, hormones, exercise routines and fueling for workouts, and even a chapter on a healthy sex life. The original book is also punctuated by black and white illustrations of the sisters that coincides with the friendly banter narrative that runs throughout the book.

The new Plan book is devoid of illustrations, with the exception of a few small illustrations explaining the meal types.Trim-Healthy-Mama-Book-Review-(40-of-41)

Another plus of the original book is that you get both recipes and plan all in one. However, the recipes are written in a conversational non-typical format, which some people find frustrating.  The index is also frustrating in the original version. It’s split into a recipe index and topical index. If you’re looking for that yummy chocolate frozen drink, you have to remember the exact name “Fat Stripping Frappa” to find it in the recipe index, instead of finding it under “drinks” or “chocolate.” The new books use a more standard and user friendly formatting for the index. But I’ll cover more on the recipes next week.

All in all, the new Trim Healthy Mama Plan book is a book worth reading and owning for those who are serious about unraveling a healthy approach to eating that doesn’t remove any of the micronutrient groups. Its casual approach to communicating the plan is refreshing, and the plan is very doable once you understand the fuel types and premise.

Be SURE to come back next week for an amazing, colossal surprise that I’ve been cooking up for you. Hint- it has to do with giving.

Ready to Get Started?

Be sure to check out my updated Unofficial Trim Healthy Mama Quick Start Guide here.This free Trim Healthy Mama Quick Start Guide has been called the "Mac Daddy" of resources for starting THM.

Get the stuff via my affiliate link at the Trim Healthy Mama website!

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  1. Chrissy says

    Hi Gwen! I truly appreciate your review and the time you invested. I’m very thankful I found you. I’ve been “side-eyeing” the THM ever since I saw them on the CBN.

    Here’s the deal (and I’m sure I’m not alone)…family of 4, 2 picky “don’t eat that” kids, and a husband who is worse than the kids. Every cookbook is an epic fail in my house. How could this remotely work? We are the family that can’t do co-ops b/c most of the box would go to waste. I really really want to try THM, but I fear another dusty cookbook.

    I’m not saying write my meal plan, but is this realistic for that 1-in-million difficult family…know what I mean?

    Stumper right? I know, I have to cook for these people!

    Again THANK YOU!!

    • says

      Hi Chrissy!
      So, there are two things happening here. One is that your family being picky can be related to the fact that their digestion is very picky in what it wants to deal with. Some people just really are addicted to simple carbs. It’s SO hard when your spouse is setting that example, but it’s important to see it as a serious health issue, IMO. I write about Digestive Bitters, and their role in improving digestion and health here. MSG is another culprit in keeping people addicted to junky foods, and (under its different names) it’s found in most bottled dressings, sauces, and processed foods.

      Trim Healthy Mama may be something that you start out with JUST for yourself. Get a feel for it, and for how it works, and let your family carry on with their normal way of eating. The book has single serving lunches and breakfasts, and it’s easy enough to make a main dish for the family that all of you can eat, and then just make an extra side dish for the kids, and tailor that to what they’ll eat, and make sides that you can enjoy.

      If you come to THM looking to just directly replace bread, cookies, etc. it’s much harder to embrace. But if you come to it with the desire to move toward health and start looking for new ways to enjoy food within the principles, then it’s REALLY not hard at all. :) There are LOTS of things to love on the plan. And lots of meals that are “normal”…will your family like them? I don’t know. But I know that my family is pretty picky and they like many of the meals I’ve tried.

      I think it’s ALWAYS worth it to have these conversations and to pursue better health and a healthier diet. :) Sometimes the Mama gets on board first, and then the man comes around after seeing how the changes are affecting her life. And it’s REALLY loads easier when you’ve got Dad on board with setting the example for the kids.

      I’m not an advocate of trying to sneak healthy foods into other people’s plates, but I take a pretty low key approach, and just say, “I’m going to be eating some different stuff and trying to get healthier, but you guys can still eat what you like.” Then let them see the changes. And they may even ask for bites! :)

      • Chrissy says

        OMG G-W-EN!!

        After I finally stopped hyper-ventilating…I bought the Plan and the Cookbook. I could not stop reading it; it’s just like I’ve been desiring to eat (minus the hard to find specialty items…lol). However, there is only one “work around” and that is the bread sources. I make EVERYTHING from wheat berries (red, white, kamut, spelt, beans, corn meal), you name it I pretty much grind it. With that said, I don’t EVERRRR by shelf stable flours.

        My guess is that I would use my current bread making system and tweek what I can??

        As for those picky eaters, they can eat or starve. I pitched that one to my 9-year old the other day (he was diagnosed with Autism at age 5) and he ate his dinner with a “face”. Lol! BUT, I will start slow, just like I did when we transition to real whole wheat.

        Again, that you soooo much for your feedback. I’m sure I’ll be bugging you later. 😉

        • says

          Hi Chrissy! You ABSOLUTELY can continue making your own breads. :) Check out the very fast Easy Bread Recipe…it’s one of the most popular on my site, and it makes an incredible pizza crust or foccacia that’s a fantastic E on the plan. I also grind my own wheat for it, and I prefer it in flatbreads due to the density of whole wheat. Loaf breads are trickier, but if you’re already a pro, I know you can make it work. :)

          As for kids, they should LOVE the Trim Healthy Mama recipes, and they’ll naturally be enjoying crossovers if they’re not needing to lose weight. It was an easy transition here…usually just an added side dish to cross over the folks who need to gain or maintain. Enjoy!

  2. Cynthia says

    Thanks so much for comparing the new and old books as that is what I have been wondering about! Looking forward to your review of the cookbook.

  3. Deborah Ragno says

    I had just purchased the original book when the news of the new books came out. I am really hoping to be able to get these books and I appreciate your review of the plan book. And I am looking forward to your giveaway next week.

  4. Amy says

    Hi Gwen! I’ve been trolling your blog since I started the THM plan. It’s been such an awesome source of information–thank you! My husband has lost 20 pounds(we started Dec1,2015), but since I only have about 10 pounds to lose, mine has been pitifully slow. I was very interested in your parathyroid journey as I,too, am feeling MUCH older than my 45 years. However, I was hit by a car while biking a year ago, and have attributed a lot of those feelings to that…but now,I’m wondering. And, I had no idea that you’re from the Atlanta area until reading your journey, which leads me to ask how you went about finding a doctor who is open to holistic options??

    • says

      Hi Amy! Oh my goodness! I’m so very sorry about your biking accident. I learned about Dr. Rob through a friend of mine who was seeing him for some baffling health issues. His practice also does chiropractic work with patients too, so that might work well for you if your issues started after your accident.

  5. Ann says

    So I guess the real question I have is a gluten free question or more specific a grain-free question. Is this plan conducive to a grain free lifestyle or am I going to find most of the recipes calling for grain flours? Thank you:)

    • says

      Hi Ann! The THM plan is not specifically grain free, but it’s easy to adapt to grain free. For instance, their Muffin in a Mug recipes are grain free. There are going to be low glycemic, whole grain options and recipes, but loads of variety of recipes using no grains at all. :)

  6. Kendle Laycock says

    I really enjoyed the new Plan book plus the cookbook. I now am borrowing the original huge plan book from the library to copy some of the recipes in there that aren’t in the new plan book or cookbook. But I have to say, the new plan book is less overwhelming, more organized, concise to understand the plan and helpful. Only beef with the ladies? They need to spiral bound their cookbook, they all fall apart fast!

  7. Peggy Marinello says

    Thank you for the review of the 3 THM books. I’ve been chipping away at the 2 new ones since January and was given the original book in May. I made your Unofficial Quick Start notebook and found it helpful, too. Recently I ordered the THM Recipe Tin with pre-printed THM recipes and find being able to set cards out on the table is helpful for menu planning. I have not figured it all out to the point where I can say I am doing the plan consistently but most every recipe I have tried has been a hit with my husband and that is really encouraging.
    Looking to learn more,
    Peggy M.