Picture: Meal Planning by Pennyshima
What do you do for Meal Planning? How do you decide what to cook? Do you first come up with a Meal Plan for the week and then create a Grocery List? Or do you first shop for groceries by buying the ingredients that your family likes, and then cook based on what you have in your pantry and refrigerator?
If you’re like our family, my guess is you’re somewhere in between the two approaches. Although you might plan in advance for cooking a few meals for the week and buy the ingredients required for those meals, when you are at the grocery store, you still end up buying other ingredients.
Outsource Meal Planning?
Figuring out what to cook on a weekly basis can be daunting. One way to solve this problem is to subscribe to one of the meal planning and menu mailer services. These services send you weekly Meal Plans and Grocery Shopping Lists. They cost between $5 – $10 per month. Given that on an average about 1/3rd of all groceries we buy go to waste, spending $5 – $10 per month on a meal planning service could end up being a smart financial decision.
Meal Planning and Menu Mailer Services Compared
Below is a comparison of Mean Planning and Menu Mailer services. You can find more information on how each of these work and how they are different from one another at Life As A Sailor’s Wife. Also, the NY Times article You Plan, I’ll Cook: Leaving the Menu to Others, is an interesting read on how the use of these services is picking up.
|Services||Price Per Month||Price Per Year||Free Period; Minimum Subscription||Meal Customization And Other Options|
|eMeals: 7 dinner and side dish recipes and grocery list per week; Adjusted for eating style, family and preferred grocery store||$7 for Dinner; $14 for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner||$58 for Dinner; $142 for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner||No Free Period; 3 month minimum||Customize by eating style, family size and grocery store|
|Fresh 20: 5 <30-min dinner and side dish recipes and grocery list per week; Using 20 ingredients that are fresh, non- processed, preservative free||$5||$49||No Free Period; 3 month minimum||Gluten free and Vegetarian alternatives|
|Six O'Clock Scramble: 5 <30-min dinner and side dish recipes and grocery list per week; Using seasonal fruits and vegetables and preferred grocery store||$7||$36||2 weeks free; 3 month minimum||Customize for Picky, Vegetarian, Kosher, Dairy-free, Gluten-free and Nut-free|
|Saving Dinner: Weekly recipes and shopping lists; Premium subscription includes customization||$5 Regular; $10 Premium||$47 Regular; $90 Premium||1 week free; 3 month minimum||Premium membership included Low Carb, Heart Healthy and Paleo|
|Relish!: 5 dinner and side dish recipes and grocery list per week; Adjusted for family size||$7||$59||No Free Period; 3 month minimum||Choose from 15 recipes weekly; Scale to family size; Free freezer meals; Ability to enter your recipes|
|Once A Week: 6 dinner and side dish recipes and grocery list per week; Cook once per week and freeze||$10||$90||No Free Period, but 50% off for 1st month; Then Monthly (cancel anytime)|
|5 Dinners 1 Hour: 5 dinner and side dish recipes and grocery list per week; Cook once per week "in 1 hour" and freeze||$5||$60||No Free Period; 3 month minimum|
Have you used any of these services? How was your experience? Do you know of another option that isn’t listed?