Meal planning has never been a great strength of mine. Even though I know it’s very helpful and saves time and money, I’ve just had a hard time making myself do it! This article gives some information about eMeals, which may help you (and me!) get better at meal planning.
Lately, I’ve felt like I was doing just what you see in the photo above–spending lots and lots of money to feed my family! And the problem is that, even though we eat leftovers and try not to waste food, we are still using far too much of our income on food. We’ve cut way back on junk food (which is terrible for our health and which we don’t need to be eating anyway), and that has helped. We’ve also cut out all sweets except on either Saturday or Sunday (when we each get one sweet treat). Those two things were done for health reasons and budget reasons. (We are determined to vastly improve our eating habits in 2013. So far we are doing pretty well!) As I cut out lots of junk and sweets, though, I realized that I was really getting into a rut as far as meals go. In my efforts to make healthier meals and not waste food, I was making the same. boring. meals. over. and. over. My poor children were afraid to ask what was for dinner!
I had tried out eMeals before and knew that I liked their dinner menu plan, but that was before we made our resolution to eat healthier. I decided to take another look at their plans to see if they had something that would work for us now. I was surprised to see that they offer 10 different meal plans now! And they even have a lunch plan and a breakfast plan as well. Several of their dinner plans would have been good options for us, but I chose the low fat one because it looked like that one offered more meals that I thought my children would eat. I personally would have liked to try the clean eating plan or the natural & organic plan, but I didn’t think my children would be as happy with those. I also decided to try out the lunch and breakfast plans.
So far I have been really happy with the plans I chose! It has been wonderful to know ahead of time what I’ll be making for dinner. I have totally shocked my children when they’ve asked what’s for dinner and instead of the usual “I don’t know,” I’ve said, “We’re having shredded beef burritos, Spanish rice, and fruit salad.” :)
Because we had gotten into the habit of having the same things over and over, it has been a bit of a challenge to get my children to try some of the new meals I’ve introduced to them. They really are enjoying some variety, though, and my husband and I definitely are enjoying deviating from the “same old same old.” I try to go through the menu each week and pick out at least 3 or 4 meals that I think we all would like. Then I add in 1 or 2 meals that are on our “tried and true” list. That way we are trying new meals, but we also have some meals that are familiar to us.
Also, I don’t necessarily plan ahead of time exactly which meal we will have on each day. I have a master list of the dinners we’ll have that week, and I decide each morning which particular one we will have that night. This works well for us because we never know when we might have to change our plans at the last minute. For example, if my sister needs me to babysit her children, I choose a quick meal or a crock pot meal for that night. If I see that we will be home all day, I might choose a meal that takes a little more preparation for that evening. I’ve also been having my 10-year-old daughter help me prepare the meals that take more time. She is enjoying gaining experience in the kitchen, and we are enjoying working together in the kitchen and just spending some extra time together.
It has also been great to save some money! For one thing, we aren’t wasting nearly as much food this way. For another thing, it’s easy to make my grocery list and stick to it. The eMeals plans come with a grocery list for each meal. It divides everything up into categories (bakery & deli, produce, dairy, etc.) to make the grocery shopping easier. It also lists staples needed for each meal, and I usually have those on hand already. I do so much better at the grocery store when I know exactly what I’ll need that week! It helps keep me from putting lots of things in my cart that I don’t really need but think I might need.
The plans are reasonably priced, so you might want to give them a try! You can get a dinner plan for 3 months for $21 ($7 per month), 6 months for $35 ($6 per month), or 12 months for $58 ($5 per month). The lunch plan is $4 per month, and the breakfast plan is $3 per month. I decided to try all 3 plans. Even though I didn’t include information about the breakfast and lunch plans in this review, I have been enjoying those 2 plans as well! In fact, sometimes we eat something from the breakfast or lunch plan as our dinner.
You can go here to see all of their meal plans and get information about each one. You can also go their blog at http://blog.emeals.com/ to find tips about budgeting, losing weight, getting organized, etc. I think you will enjoy the information you find! And I would love to hear about your experiences with eMeals once you try out their plans. Be sure to come back and leave us a comment!
NOTE: This post contains our eMeals affiliate link. Also, I purchased my own eMeals subscription for the purpose of doing this review. The opinions expressed in the review are my own honest opinions. The photo at the top of this post is from www.freedigitalphotos.net.