Meal Planning Service Review
As the wife to an entrepreneur who of necessity works extremely long hours (we own the new Mother Road Brewing Company), I am often solo parenting our three kids; I work from home and homeschool. Sometimes, it's a bit much.
This past fall I felt like I was going to crack under the strain and started looking for anything in my life that I could simplify so I could enjoy my kids instead of feeling exhausted all the time. I thought of meal planning as a place I could delegate, but I was worried about giving up “control” of my kitchen.
The more I thought about it though, I realized I wasn't planning at all and we were spending a ton on food yet eating boring meals.
I found part of my solution when I purchased a subscription to eMeals. They send me a weekly meal plan and grocery list to go with it – I say part of my solutions because the other part has been to figure out some grocery shopping with kids strategies so that I don't get super aggravated at the grocery store.
EMeals has been a big enough help to me that I became an eMeals affiliate as well, so heads up that if you buy a subscription through my links I make a commission (at no extra cost to you.))
eMeals Review and How I use their Service:
To tell you how I feel about eMeals, I thought that the best review I could give you would be to copy and paste the email that I sent to my mom about how I use the service. I haven't edited this or changed it at all (aside from to correct a misspelled word.) This is what I told my mom when she asked about this meal planning thing I’d been talking about:
The meal planning service I use is eMeals. I have the gluten free plan. You are able to switch plans once you've purchased if you wind up not liking the one you're on. I wind up altering their recipes, and I don't usually make everything the plan, but because of the way it's laid out it's still easy to see what to buy and what not to. I find their plans to be easy to tweak and change.
When I download it I usually look over the week's plan, cross off anything that I know we won't like or that we don't need. Then I assign a probable day to each meal. Then at the store if a cut of meat is very expensive I just buy something else and know I'm good at substituting so it's not a problem. Sometimes I'll shop like I'm making all those meals then make other things with the ingredients for a particular day.
So you can see that I use eMeals in a pretty flexible manner. Sometimes I print the plans out, sometimes I open them in Adobe Reader on my tablet and use that as an in store shopping list.
When I looked at meal planning services in the past I was worried about not getting to use my creativity in the kitchen. I also worried that I wouldn't like enough of the menu to USE it. As I said to my mom, because of the way the eMeals plans are structured, I find I am able to alter them easily to suit my needs. This also gives me space to be creative in the kitchen again – my brain space is freed up again instead of being clogged with worries about what's for dinner.
Having a plan written for me means I have a plan to tweak and change to suit our tastes, whereas not having a plan meant I was going to the store and shopping very poorly – buying the same stuff over and over again because I was TIRED and just didn't feel excited about planning meals.
Having meal planning done for me has been saving us money because I'm at the store less often, we're doing a better job of using what I buy, and grocery-list-making and shopping is much quicker. On the weeks when I do fail to use my meal plan and shop from it, I find that I buy more junk foods and less items that really go together to make a meal.
Since this has been so helpful to me, I wanted to share it with you as well, and I'm excited to be an eMeals affiliate. You can find any current coupon code in the sidebar under the eMeals banner and you can see all of the meal plans available as well as download sample plans on their site.
Feel free to ask if you have any questions. I've been using eMeals for quite a while now and would be happy to answer what I can for you – just leave your question below and I'll respond in the comments to you!