Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Menu Planning


My mom has been bugging me to try e-mealz for a long time because she thought it would help simplify my life. I kept putting it off as motherly advice and something I didn't need. During her last visit, though, I finally gave in to her nagging suggestion. : )

I'm so happy I did. I love, love, love this system!

I've tried online meal planning systems before and they just didn't work.

Here's how this one is different:

1. The meals taste really good!

We've been doing this for two weeks now and haven't had a meal we didn't like. My family has been very happy! With the old plans we were lucky to get a 50% family approval rate. Some of the meals were terrible.

2. Easy to read and only two pieces of paper-

Each week on Thursday, I log in and print off my menu plan and grocery list for Wal-Mart. It is well organized, easy to read, and fits on two pieces of paper- one grocery list spreadsheet and one menu plan spreadsheet that include all of the directions for preparing the meals. The other plans I tried, I would have to print pages and pages of directions and recipes.

3. I'm not wasting ingredients-

The old plans would have me buy a jar of expensive pesto sauce for one meal that I would never use again. I've noticed that with this plan, ingredients get used again to prevent being wasteful.

4. It's easy to skip meals we won't use-

The grocery list is numbered according to what meal the item is needed for, so it is very easy to mark off items if I know I won't be making that meal this week. If we are going out to dinner or to a friend's house one night, I just cross off one meal from the menu plan and each item on the list that has that meal's number.

5. Not every meal is some complicated major recipe-

I got burned out on cooking with the old plans. With this one, there are some more detailed recipes (like Chicken Florentine Lasagna- YUMMMY!!!) but one night we had Pigs in a Blanket (hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls- which the kids LOVED) and another night was soup and sandwiches to use up the leftover meat from the roast the night before. It is so practical and easy!!

6. It is easy to budget for-

When I signed up, I chose the grocery store I would be using (Wal-Mart) and the grocery list gives me an estimated cost for each item and an approximate total. I've noticed that they try to include items on sale that week in the recipes for the week.

The whole system only costs $5 a month (billed every three months for $15), and because I found a coupon code from Dave Ramsey, it only cost $12.50 for these first three months. (The code was DAVE) I can budget for the cost out of our grocery budget.

I cannot put into words how great it has felt to:

1. Not get to 5:00 and have to ask the dreaded question, "What are we going to eat for dinner???"

2. Feed my family well.

You can also choose to do a menu plan for only 2 people if you are newlyweds or empty nesters or you can choose a diet plan like Weight Watchers or low carb.

I'm sorry if I sound like an infomercial. I'll stop now. I'm just so thankful for this and wanted to share the joy. LOL. : )

Here's the link again if you want to give it a try:



Sally Jo said...

I told you so :)

missy said...

2 questions for ya. Has this saved you money? My grocery bill is insane.....and.....you know my freakish granola tendencies....will this work for me?

thanks becky.

Becky Avella said...


Each week's menu so far has averaged about $70 in groceries from Wal-Mart. We like being able to budget ahead for the month. That doesn't include other grocery items that are for dinner.

I'm not sure how well the natural eating will work for you. I was pretty happy the first week we did this to see that most of the food was "real" food and not too processed. The processed food seems to be mostly in the side dishes and I usually just substitute those things for healthier options like the produce we buy from our co-op. I'm still taking babysteps w/ granola eating so it works OK for us. They have a sample menu on the website that might help you see what its like. And you can always cross off a meal you don't think is good and make one of your own recipes.

Hope that helps a little. : )

Becky Avella said...

Oops...That was supposed to say "That doesn't include other grocery items that are not for dinner." : )