I know, I know. I was touting mealsbytheweek.com just a couple of months ago. But my cheap subscription ran out, and while I still love their system, I kind of like this one more. I get a nifty PDF I can print out. This is terribly important, but I didn’t realize it until I could do it, not when I couldn’t do it. I absolutely have a folder of them in my kitchen now.
Upfront – I totally get a small kick back if you register from this link: http://emeals.com/amember/go.php?r=292582 &i=l0 I do not get a kick back if you register from this link: http://emeals.com So while this isn’t a sponsored post (I am not getting paid or reimbursed for posting it), I do get a kick back if you sign up using my link. But I use their menus more often than I don’t. So there you go.
That out of the way, I love this site! Yah, I can meal plan my damn self for free. Except it costs me more than I pay in time, so for weeks I haven’t planned or days I don’t want what I’ve planned, it’s fab!
I subscribe to the Gluten Free & Paleo plans, which work for any store. They also have Whole Foods, WalMart, Aldi, Target and some other stores that aren’t local to me. They try to tie the plans into that weeks sales too, if you pick a store (like Publix, or Whole Foods, or WalMart or Aldi, theres more too!). I also got the lunch plan, which isn’t as useful for us now that our diet has changed, but it’s still a good guideline for the kids lunches. I can usually convert the main dish into something GF/Paleo friendly. It also has a complete break down of how much your shopping trip should cost you. It averages about 150$ a trip, but I shop every other week and don’t shop strictly to this menu and spend about 400 – 500 $ a trip for seven or eight people.
You can get sample plans here: http://emeals.com/meal-plans
I got this as a Groupon a few months ago, so I got a year really cheap. They recently sent out an email to extend my subscription by a year at half off. Now, I’ve been printing out my PDFs (and saving them too of course) and sticking them in a folder in my kitchen, so by the time my year is up I’ll have 52 solid plans. I didn’t need another year. What I did do was email and ask if I could get the same renewal rate but a concurrent subscription to another menu and they hooked me up within an hour. I adore quick customer service. You have no idea. There is also a “freebie” every week. They had one for St. Patricks too (IIRC it was a crock pot recipe and sides), and one week it was a recipe for cake pops, and another it was a lemon cake and there was a Cinco De Mayo one as well. Since the new year it’s been the same, so they might be discontinuing this, but you never know! Maybe they are just spacing them out more? You just have to remember to log in to get the freebie – but they email the PDF to you every week so you don’t have to remember to log in to get your menu.
These are super easy things my 11 y/o can make too – easy to follow directions, includes a side. It’s perfect for us. They have a Mother’s Day menu this week that I’m going to give him so I don’t see the same toast and yogurt mix I usually get ;) (Not that I am knocking toast and yogurt, and I love love love he brings me breakfast in bed multiple times a year, but yogurt is hard for me to face at 7 in the morning) Like I said, I do get a kick back if you sign up – and if that makes you uncomfortable and you still want to sign up, feel free to go directly to http://emeals.com – but I bet you can put together a pretty comprehensive set of recipes just from the free samples to try out!
As I said, I was using another service (also a Groupon steal!) but I really prefer this one. Do we eat all the recipes? Nope. But after three weeks (that’s 21 meals!) I had a pretty good plan of attack and can put together two weeks at a time easily. Now that I’ve had it for a few months it’s even easier. There are free sites to do this too, and I use Paprika as a recipe manager (that is a whole other post! Maybe later!) and can do it through that, but sometimes I just don’t have time or get overwhelmed looking through so many recipes. This just limits my options and makes life way easier for me.