eMeals vs. Real Plans

When it comes to meal planning, I’ll take all the help I can get. I’ve posted before about eMeals, the very first meal planning service I used.

Last year, I decided to give Real Plans a try. Elias has a mild gluten and dairy allergy, so I wanted to see if another meal planning service may be better for my family.

After using Real Plans for a few months, I opted to return to using eMeals. Here’s why:

Real Plans offers really nice features that allow you to fully customize your meal plans. You can even exclude very specific ingredients. Once you make your selections, your plan will be delivered to you each week. It’s great. It was just too many options for me.

eMeals delivers a weekly meal plan with minimal customization. I prefer that approach. I want someone to hand me a meal plan. That’s what eMeals does – I don’t have to do anything except for choose which category I want. I subscribe to the Paleo plan and make minor substitutions when I cook if needed to accommodate the gluten and dairy allergy.

Real Plans offers breakfast, lunch and supper planning options for the price of your subscription. That’s also great. However, I found that I didn’t use the breakfast or lunch planning options. eMeals has separate subscriptions for each meal. When they offered half price subscriptions in the fall, I purchased both a lunch and supper plan.

Each plan has recipes that my family does and doesn’t like. Each plan offers a good variety. Each plan is worth the subscription fee. I’d recommend either one; you really have to test drive them to find the best fit for you and your family.

For me, eMeals is the simpler of the two, and it works for my family.

 

A Home-Cooked Meal Every Day? Yes, Please!

E-mealz - a meal planning resource for busy moms and frugal family cooks.Before my Little Bundle of Joy arrived on Christmas morning, I spent a considerable amount of time on food preparation: selecting recipes, creating a weekly menu, developing a grocery list, shopping for groceries and preparing the food.

Well, after my sweet little baby arrived and much-appreciated meals from family and friends stopped showing up on our doorstep, BP and I were once again responsible for feeding ourselves. And that, my friends, resulted in way too much take-out than I care to admit. That wasn’t going to work for me on a long-term basis. It’s not only bad for the budget, but it also is bad for the waistline. In addition, I want the Little Bundle of Joy to learn how to cook for himself, and I believe that sitting down to a well-balanced meal, as a family, is very important. Calling out for pizza isn’t going to teach him any of that.

Several months ago while browsing the Dave Ramsey website, I happened upon an endorsement for E-Mealz, a meal planning subscription service.

At first, I gave it no more than a passing thought. And then, as I ate yet another slice of take-out pizza, it occurred to me that I could really use just such a service.

It is awesome. Seriously and for real.

The entire week’s meal plan fits on one 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, complete with really, really simple instructions. The grocery list is already done. The meals taste good. There’s variety. We even get side dishes with our main courses. BP doesn’t have to eat chicken every single day of the week, which makes him very happy. (Chicken was my go-to “quick meal” staple, but only if we were all out of spaghetti.)

You can choose from a variety of meal plans, including plans based on specific stores’ ads that week (how is that not budget friendly?), or plans for a family or just two. BP and I follow the low-fat meal plan for two, since the Little Bundle of Joy is still eating food of the pureed variety.

E-Mealz is worth every single penny of the $5/month that I pay for it. We have saved well over that simply by not resorting to yet another take-out meal due to lack of planning.

If time and money are things you’re short on, E-Mealz may be a solution for you, too. Check it out!

(And in case you are wondering, no, E-Mealz is not paying me for writing this post.)