This giveaway is now over
Creating a weekly menu plan is something I highly endorse and recommend here at Skinny Mom’s Kitchen. It is one of the main strategies that I use consistently to keep me on the healthy eating track. I am pretty sure without a menu plan I would be roaming aimlessly throughout my kitchen wondering what to eat before I ended up settling for a bowl of cereal. By starting the week of with a menu plan I eat with intention making it more likely that I will consume healthier foods, smaller portions, and fewer calories.
The downside to menu planning is that it takes time – sometimes lots of time. You need to research and organize recipes, write a grocery list, and figure out when to eat everything. It can get overwhelming especially for menu planning newbies. Because of the effort involve, especially at first, people shy away from menu planning. I have been menu planning for about 2 years now and have developed a system that takes me about 1 – 1 ½ hours to prepare. However, there are times I wish someone would just hand me a menu plan filled with delicious recipes every week so the only thing I need to do is shop for the ingredients.
Well, a few weeks ago, that is exactly what happened. Heather from emeals.com contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing their meal planning service. I was happy to do so. I was getting really busy with summer activities, work, and blogging so I could use a little help. Remember, even us super moms need a break once in a while. Plus, I love to review products and services that I think would make your life easier. Not to mention I have been intrigue by their service ever since hearing about it a few months back.
Emeals is impressive – very impressive. For someone who understands the benefits of menu planning but does not have time then this is for you. Or even, if you are like me, and enjoy menu planning I can still see this being a very useful resource. We all have those weeks when before we know it the weekend is here and our menu plan has not even entered our minds. Yep, that is when you turn to emeals and print out a quick menu. Did I also mention they provide a grocery list? Seriously, this meal planning service is awesome.
Emeals does not just provide one basic menu plan. They understand that families have different dietary needs and therefore do not provide just a basic one size fits all. The different menu plans you will find at emeals are Clean Eating, Gluten Free, Low Carb, Low Fat, Portion Control, Vegetarian, Natural and Organic. The just recently added the very popular Paleo menu plan as well as breakfast and lunch menu plans.
Here is a screenshot from their site.
It was difficult to choose between all the options. I decided to go with the clean eating menu plan because that mostly fits my family’s needs. I made the oregano chicken, grilled summer vegetable salad, and made the lemon risotto tonight. The recipes are simple, delicious, and very easy to make. This was a plus because not everyone is comfortable in the kitchen or has the time to prepare complicated recipes. A lot of the ingredients I already had in my pantry and was able to adapt easily when I didn’t.
Here is a screenshot of a sample clean eating menu plan. This is just a small sample. They have MANY more to choose from.
Another thing I was looking for when reviewing this service was how easy it would be to make these meals ahead of time and/or freeze. As a busy working parent I like to prep and/or freeze as much as I can on the weekend to make it easier during the week to throw meals together. This is another strategy that I use to keep on track during the week. As I reviewed the recipes I found them to be easily adaptable to a make ahead or freezer meal.
Another major perk to emeals is they link up most of their menu plans with store sales. That is huge! I know a lot of you clip coupons and follow store sales so that service would save you tons of time. Just imagine what you can do with all that extra time…hmmm
The only drawback I see to emeals.com is that, besides signing up for the specific plan, you don’t get options for the recipes. You get a weekly menu plan with all the recipes already picked for you. However, the point of the service is so you don’t have to think about the recipes and what to make. I actually found this to be refreshing especially when I was very busy. If you need more control over the recipes then this might not work for you. But I encourage you to give it a try because it is really nice to have someone else do the work for you once in awhile.
Now some of you may be wondering why I would promote a paid meal planning service when I create and post my own menu plans right here on Skinny Mom’s Kitchen. Well for starters, my menu plans outline what my family is eating each week and does not take into consideration dietary restrictions or other special diets. Emeals does. Like I said you can choose from a variety of plans to suit your needs. Also, I don’t menu plan around sales (sorry not that organized) so there is no way I could provide that service. Emeals does. They combine meal plans with many of the major chain stores, including Whole Foods, Kroger, Walmart, Aldi’s, and more.
Quite simply emeals offers more meal planning services than I would ever have the time to do. It is truly an amazing resource for busy parents. And for $5 – $7 a month that is really a steal – I spend more on coffee.
**This giveaway is closed ** Want to win a free 3 month subscription to emeals? Good! Because emeals is givng a free 3 month subscription to one very lucky SMK reader. Woohoo! You are going to love this!
Go to the emeal’s site and check out their meal plans. Then come back and tell me in the comment section what meal plan you would choose.
Additional Entries (please leave one comment per entry):
1. Like emeals on Facebook. (1 entry)
2. Like emeals on Pinterest (1 entry)
3. Like Skinny Mom’s Kitchen on Facebook (1 entry)
4. Like Skinny Mom’s Kitchen on Pinterest (1 entry)
*This contest is open to US residents only 18 years + and will close on September 4th 2012 at 8pm Eastern time. One winner will be selected via the website random.org. Winner must provide a valid email and respond back within 48 hours of being contacted. If no contact is made within the that time frame another winner will be chosen. Winner will be announced on this blog.
** Disclosure: I was provided with a free trial membership to test out and review emeals meal planning service. All opinions are my own. Seriously, I was really impressed with this service and will be keeping it past my trial I am also an affiliate of emeals so if you subscribe to their site I get a small commission. Thanks!