If you're like me, you find meal-planning for your family to be a cinch. Easy. Quick and painless.
Um, yeah. Even though I'd love to tell you that I plan meals well as a homeschooling mama, like I used to do before being a homeschooling mama, that isn't the truth.
Unfortunately, like a lot of other moms, I stand in the kitchen around 5 p.m. and think, "Hmm. I wonder what I should make for dinner tonight?"
Uh, yeah. Not so glamorous, is it? It's not necessarily because I've been lazy during the weekend, and I didn't get any planning done. It's more that my mind is so busy from all the details of life, that planning and organizing one. more. thing. is going to put me over the edge.
Well, almost. Not really.
I was excited to find out a few months back that there are a variety of meal-planning websites these days, to help moms and dads do a bit better in the "planning department."
E-mealz is one of them...and I'd like to share a little bit about using e-mealz in our family.
If you're not familiar with e-mealz, the #1 benefit of this program is that it tracks weekly grocery sales for a number of grocery store chains and matches those sale items to recipes using combinations of those items purchased on sale. The website then gathers those recipes together for you on a weekly basis, and it also includes a shopping list for the week's groceries. Nice!
This makes meal planning as simple as . . .
Okay, so here's where the fun begins. Are you ready for this?
This is what I need to do on a weekly basis with my e-mealz.com account:
1. Log into www.e-mealz.com and my account. If I'm happy with my meal plan, I can make no changes. If, however, I decide that I want to change the type of meal plan I'm getting each week, I can change this up to once per quarter.
2. Download this week's new menu plan with accompanying shopping list, and print those pages.
Instead of this . . .
. . . it's this:
3. Make any adjustments to the shopping list (adding and deleting items I already have or don't need to purchase).
4. Head to the store and purchase the full week of dinners plus some lunches and desserts using the new e-mealz menu.
What I love about e-mealz:
1. Quick, painless, organized shopping list with accompanying recipes. That's about as easy as it gets!
2. The ability to change my meal plan version once per quarter, if I feel the need to do so.
3. The wide variety of meal plans that exist, including:
5. The professional layout of the website, meal plans, and shopping lists.
6. The inexpensive cost of signing up for e-mealz ($1.25 per week; $5 per month). It pays for itself easily in one week's time!
Here's a sample of a WalMart weekly meal plan, if you'd like to check it out. I don't shop at WalMart very often, but you can take a look at it.
What I'd like to see improved with e-mealz:
I live in the Pacific Northwest. E-Mealz is designed more for families who live and shop in the south or the southeastern areas of the United States. Because my town doesn't have a SuperWalMart with full groceries, there really isn't a meal plan that will have prices matching the grocery stores in my area (meaning, the exact items won't necessarily be on sale). I did find, though, that Fred Meyer stores in the Pacific NW are owned by Kroger, so while the sale prices and sale items won't be exactly the same, there was quite a bit of overlap. As well, I can also use their "any store" meal plan.
Here are some of the changes I'd love to see happening at e-mealz.com:
1. Add a few key stores from the Pacific Northwest to e-mealz.com weekly menus and shopping lists, like Fred Meyer, Safeway, Costco, and WinCo.
2. Choose recipes that are more typical like what we'd see in the Food Network magazine, or Taste of Home. Maybe it was just the weeks that I was signed up, but some of the dinners were southern food, all the way. I'm not opposed to southern food, but up here in the Pacific NW, we usually don't use as much gravy and butter in our foods. I think, though, that e-mealz.com is now offering a wider variety of recipes on their site.
Note: you can easily cross out a menu or recipe and use something else you have around the house for a meal. Or, if you're wanting to include a recipe on your own, just add it in. It's not hard to do.
3. I'd love to see e-mealz.com sending me an email once a week to remind me to download my newest weekly menu, complete with a log-in link in the email newsletter. It is easy to go to the website on my own and do the download, but it's also easy to forget in my busy days.
4. The #1 thing I'd appreciate most seeing new on e-mealz.com is to have a "whole foods/real foods" menu and weekly pricing goals to accompany that.
So, what's the verdict?
I love e-mealz.com. Easy meal planning; saves money ($75 per week grocery budget for 7 meals each week for 4-6 people); very organized website; my family enjoyed the recipes we used.
You can find out more about E-mealz on their website and see samples of their other menus here. E-mealz charges $15 every three months to your debit/credit card and is automatically renewed every three months unless you decide to cancel before the renewal date.
My TOS Crewmates are also reviewing E-mealz, so you can check out what they think HERE.
What kind of meal-planning do you do for your family each week?
Disclaimer: I received a 3-month subscription to www.e-mealz.com for the purpose of sharing my opinion about their product here. No other compensation was provided.
Hi! I'm Julieanne!
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