Ever feel like you could use some help with your menu planning? Check out these two reviews about eMeals, a 7-day menu planning service for busy families.
Wendy’s turn . . .
I was so fortunate to be given an eMeals subscription to try out, and it came at a perfect time too! This summer, one of my goals is to get back in the habit of meal planning. I am using my eMeals subscription to help me get back into that habit. Then by the time fall gets here and we’re back to all of our outside activities, I’ll already be in that habit and hopefully won’t be doing the “last minute scramble” every evening at dinner time!
According to their website, eMeals is “a simple system to solve your dinner time dilemma with easy meals based on delicious recipes and a consistent grocery budget.” Basically, once a week I receive an email containing a whole week’s worth of dinner-time meals. It includes the recipe names, ingredient lists, and cooking instructions. That way, all I have to do is take a look at the list, do my grocery shopping for the week, and I’ll be ready every night with a plan and all the necessary ingredients and instructions.
Something I really like about eMeals is that they have a variety of plans to choose from. They have plans based on grocery shopping at a particular store (like Wal-Mart or Kroger). They have plans based on the number of people you need to cook for — whether you cook for just yourself and your husband or for a family of 4 or 6. (If you’re feeding more than 6 people, you would need to double the recipes.) They even have “specialty” plans for folks who follow a certain kind of diet — like gluten free, low fat, whole foods, etc.
Another great thing about eMeals is that it helps me stick to a grocery budget. I tend to go to the grocery and over-spend because I never know what I might need. Using their meal plan helps me to know exactly what I’ll need each week, so I don’t pick up lots and lots of “extra” ingredients. In fact, the ingredients on their list are even numbered. For example, if I need chicken for meal #3 and meal #5, the ingredient list will have 3,5 beside “chicken.” That way, if I decide not to make a particular meal or to double a meal, I know whether I’ll need that ingredient and whether I’ll need the listed amount or extra.
You can see a partial sample of a menu plan and shopping list here: http://cdn.emeals.com/sites/emeals.com/files/media/samples/sample-walmart.pdf
You also get choices with your eMeals subscription. You can change meal plans if you decide you want to try out a different plan. (You are allowed to change plans once a month.)
You can give eMeals as a gift for someone who’s getting married or about to have a baby or for a birthday. The subscriptions are not expensive, so I really like the idea of giving a subscription as a gift.
- A 3-month subscription is $21 ($7 per month).
- A 12-month subscription is $58 ($5 per month).
- A 2-year subscription is $96 ($4 per month).
If you want to take a look at eMeals so you can see for yourself what they offer, just go to www.emeals.com. Be sure to click on the demo video. Besides being cute, it explains a bit about how eMeals works. And if you decide to try them out, be sure to let me know how you like it!
Wendy lives in the South with her wonderful hubby and 3 great kiddos! She is a Christian, homeschooling, work-from-home mom. She and Scott were high school sweethearts and have been married for more than 20 years. Her oldest child has autism, and Wendy began homeschooling her at age 2. Her son, a typical boy, would rather do anything than school! Her youngest child is a little social butterfly and people lover. Wendy loves reading and quilting and will hopefully return to scrapbooking some time soon. You can visit her personal blog at Homeschooling Blessings.
Cindy’s turn . . .
Cooking dinner is a struggle for me to say the least. I have such a tendency to ignore it until 4 or 5pm, and I also have a tendency to be so hungry by 4 or 5pm that I want to eat NOW, not after I cook something. Keeping a menu plan helps me tremendously because I can look at the plan each morning and start thinking/planning for dinner in plenty of time. Except I’m not at all consistent about creating and using a menu plan.
That’s the gap that eMeals aims to fill. This service provides a different dinner menu each week, based on meals that are generally appealing to adults and kids alike. When choosing a subscription, you can select the store where you typically shop, the number of people you cooked for, or the type of meals you prepare (such as gluten free or low fat).
I chose Kroger for my subscription since that’s where we usually shop. This means that, as much as possible, my weekly menus use items that are on sale at Kroger – saving my family money without my having to spend time searching through the grocery ad papers and trying to come up with meals to match. eMeals has done the work for me!
At the beginning of each week, I can go to the eMeals site and print off a PDF of the current week’s menu, accompanying recipes, and shopping list. This makes it easy to pick up the items I need at the grocery store and plan for each meal in advance. I can also view and print the previous week’s lists. It would be nice to be able to view the next week’s menu at least a few days early, but I have to wait until Sunday to see the new week.
I have to confess, though, that I’m really not able to use eMeals to its fullest. Though we eat a healthy variety of foods, my family isn’t keen on trying new or unusual dishes. And I don’t just mean the kids – my husband and I aren’t adventurous in our eating either.
While the eMeals menus certainly aren’t “exotic,” I was able to find only one or two meals each week that we could use. So, while I really like the premise of the eMeals service and the way it’s set up, it wasn’t a great fit for my family.
Is your family
picky choosy too? I’d suggest taking a look at the sample menus from each of the meal plans that interest you. (Go to the “How It Works” page at eMeals.com, select the plan that interests you, and then click “View Sample.”)
At just $21 for a 3-month subscription, eMeals can still be valuable for families who use only a few of the meals/recipes each week. The cost savings gained by the weekly sales match-ups are more than worth it.
Cindy and her husband, Jon, live in beautiful West Virginia with their three sons – Nick, age 11, James, age 8, and Robert, age 4. They homeschool with a relaxed, eclectic style and enjoy reading great books together as a family, geocaching, and visiting historic and scenic places. Along with teaching Sunday School, knitting, and baking, Cindy loves geography and is the author of Expedition Earth: My Passport to the World. Visit her blog at Fenced in Family.
We’re excited to give away one 3-month subscription to eMeals for one of our dear Hip Homeschool Moms!