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“What’s for dinner?” Like nails on a chalkboard, these three little words send chills down my back and make me want to lock myself in the bathroom until bedtime. Not to make excuses, but between the four kids, a full-time job, and taking a class at night, my brain is somewhat full. There‘s not a lot of room in there left for meal planning. Despite my best efforts to plan and have an answer to “What’s for dinner?” somehow, I always fall short.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m very good at looking at recipes. I’m even quite skilled at shopping for and buying cartloads of groceries. The problem is my two talents rarely come together to make anything productive. So what’s a girl to do?
How about trying eMeals? eMeals is a subscription service that sends weekly meal plans to your inbox based on the information you provide. Subscribers can choose from several meal styles for a yearly charge of $58. Each week (Wednesday for me), they send out a new plan along with ….. a grocery list! A few thoughts about this process: the recipes and grocery lists are pre-made Adobe files, so they can’t be changed but can be printed and “recycled” if you find a family favorite. If you decide you want to mix things up a bit and try a different menu, be selective, as you can only do this once a month.
There are many positive aspects of this service. The recipes are delicious and use “real” ingredients. I already had most things on hand, so I didn’t need to spend much money on expensive items I would only use once. I used the Whole Foods Menu, which went over well but recently switched to the Low Fat Menu to add some new recipes to my repertoire. Other menu choices include Classic, Gluten Free, and Paleo, just to name a few. With the cold weather coming up, I’ll be switching to the Crockpot Menu in October.
Having a plan at the grocery store made shopping so much easier! Even though I bought some items I would have never purchased, at least I knew I had a use for them. Many subscribers claim they save a lot of money using the service, and I agree. If you follow the plan as directed, it does limit, if not eliminate, impulse buys. For those who become completely addicted, there is an option to add additional menus to the basic plan. Adding a lunch menu will cost an additional $4 per month, and breakfasts $3. Even though I knew what was for dinner, I still had trouble during the “busy season,” with three soccer and one football player pulling it all together. Although I loved the idea of the plan and the convenience of the lists, I still had the same basic problem. I had the recipe. I had the ingredients but didn’t have the time to put it all together. Most recipes take about 20 minutes to prepare and 30-40 minutes to cook. In hindsight, I wish I had signed up for the Crockpot Menu first and then experimented once I had more time.
This service is excellent for those who have time to prepare meals and useful for those who don’t. Written by Beth