Hi, I'm Karissa. Welcome to Hope and Plan Journal!

Are you looking for some gluten and dairy free meal ideas? Or a complete meal plan? On a tight budget? That your kids will actually eat?


Are you trying to save as much as you can? As much money? As much time? As much space? As much sanity?


Are you curious how someone else is doing this? Looking for examples? Are you perhaps new to this way of eating and don’t even know where to start?

This place was made for you.

Hope and Plan Journal exists to provide you with simple ideas to feed your whole family (even the picky toddler and the kindergartner who hates veggies) gluten and dairy free without breaking the bank or living in the kitchen. Here, you will find meal plans and ideas; processes; tips, tricks, and hacks; places to shop; what to buy; how to save time and money; encouragement; and more.

What do I Know?

Well, my family friendly gluten free and dairy free journey and low budget lifestyle started long before I had my own family to feed. I found out I had intolerances to gluten and dairy when I was in elementary (and the symptoms started long before that). My family and I have been navigating the gluten free and dairy free lifestyle on a low income ever since. I now have a family of my own with similar symptoms and find myself treading the same waters for them. 

Needless to say, I’m “used to it by now.” I might not have perfected everything about it, but I have experienced it in several stages of life and tried “all the things.” I own all the books and know all the rules. I’ve tried applying it all to my kids and I’ve let them “just have whatever.” My family has been a 2 income family with a kid in daycare and both parents working 9-5, as well as a one income family on a tight budget with kids home 24/7.

smiling author casually leaning against porch column outside
Author (Karissa) and family (husband, son, and daughter) posed at Christmas time for family photo

Who am I?

Currently, I’m in the “pregnant at home with 2 kids 24/7 on a low budget” stage where I found myself googling “budget family friendly gluten free and dairy free meal plan” for at least the third time this year. And, as usual, my search results fell short. These search results might lead to an idea that meets one criteria, but not all of them. Don’t get me wrong, I could use new ideas and inspiration. But, quite frankly, I’m in a season of life where I want someone to do it for me. I just want a meal plan that will work; spelled out, that I can follow without modifications, even for just a week. No matter which words I search, I can’t find what I’m looking for. Why isn’t this info out there already?

Why am I here?

So I decided to start a blog. Yep; this might seem like an extreme or even completely irrelevant solution. However, the thought has crossed my mind several times over the last few years. Doing so might not exactly solve my problem, but I presumed I wasn’t the only one facing this issue and I really thought the information shouldn’t be so challenging to find. Sharing what works for our family might help others navigate the same issues we have faced. Plus, building a community would probably help us all.

What's it to you?

Trying to feed picky kids a well balanced gluten free and dairy free diet is much different and more difficult than trying to feed two “wanna be healthy” adults said diet. Throw in the fact that you really need to do so on a tight budget and you likely find yourself in a rut more often than not. That is probably when you find yourself scouring the internet for your next pre-made meal plan; wishing someone would just tell you exactly what to do and how to do it to make it all work better.


So, that’s what I’m here to do for you; share my examples and experiences to make this all simpler and easier for you. You’ll find entire meal plans, what I’ve learned throughout the years, and everything I’m learning and figuring out now. 


To ensure you don’t miss a post, receive exclusive coupons, see my favorite new finds, or just be the first to know all the things, be sure to join the Hope and Plan Journal email list!

Disclosures and Disclaimers

This blog contains affiliate links on many posts and pages. If you click on one of those links and purchase something there, I will earn a small commission (like a referral fee) at no cost to you. Among other programs, I am an “Amazon Associate” (part of the Amazon Affiliate Program). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I only recommend and link to products that I actually have used and love. Thank you for your support of my family, my dream of trying to help others, and me.


The purpose of this blog is merely to provide ideas, help, support, and encouragement for those trying to eat a gluten and dairy free diet on a budget. I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or health expert by any stretch of the imagination. No information on this blog is intended to serve as medical advice or even suggest what is best for you or your family. Please reach out to your healthcare provider or expert for any nutritional or medical advice.


Please note that, as a family, as of this writing, we are wheat and dairy intolerant (NOT allergic). My husband is considered allergic to dairy. My kids and I are intolerant, but we are not allergic to wheat, gluten, or dairy. As a child, my doctor provided me with drops to consume and instructed me to limit wheat and dairy in my diet. To this day, I have various side effects from consuming wheat, gluten, or dairy and prefer not to feel that way or deal with those inconveniences daily. My family has a range of side effects as well. However, we are not dealing with a life threatening situation if one of us were to consume one of those ingredients in moderation. That being said, from life practice, I am aware of what ingredients my foods do or do not contain and feel competent and aware enough to share basic ideas with you. However, I am also aware that our family may have quite a bit more flexibility in this way of eating than some others. This blog may contain ideas that will not work for you or your family; some ideas might seem too strict and others might seem too lenient; some might not work right now, but could work later or vice versa. That is okay. Please use the ideas you like, leave the ones you don’t, make modifications as needed, and take all ideas with a grain of salt.