“What’s for dinner?” (Meal Planning 101)

If you are like me, I absolutely hate the question, “What’s for dinner?” and I usually try to ask it to my husband before he can ask me.  As a mommy of 3 littles, I have tried so many different ways to deal with this question. Here are a few recommendations for services and apps to help with your dreaded meal planning for the week:

Meal Subscription Services: Recipes and Ingredients will be sent to you on a weekly basis

  • PLATED: A bit more pricey than some of the other options but they also provide more options.  For example, if you pick the 3 meal per week version, you will be able to pick the three recipes /  meals from 9 options.  For 2 people 3x per week you will pay $74.  If you prefer 4 meals per week it is $96. Many subscribers noted that this is a good choice for a couple, not a family.
  • BLUE APRON: Seems to be the winner among these types of subscription services because the price is a bit more palatable and the recipes are yummy and interesting but not super difficult.  For 2 people, BLUE APRON will run you $59.94 per week for 3 meals.  For a family option, you will pay $69.92 for 2 meals a week and $139.84 for 4 meals per week.
  • HELLO FRESH: The comments in regards to this subscription is that the recipes and ingredients are very basic but still very fresh. This may be a better option for people or families who want very healthy meals.  For 2 person meals 3 times per week, it will cost $69.  For 3 meals a week for a family of 4, it is $129.
As you can see, these are not cheap / inexpensive services and will cost more than if you were to do your own meal planning and shopping list and shopping but let’s be honest, you are paying for convenience and the comfort of not having to think about what is for dinner a few nights a week.
Another option that I have tried is Fresh 20 which sends the customer a list of 5 recipes per week and the shopping list.  The idea is that you only have to purchase 20 fresh food items from the grocery store in order to make all of the recipes.  Initially, I liked this concept because it helped me not waste food and I felt like the recipes were pretty healthy.  I have friends that really love this option but I haven’t been able to keep up with it.  I live overseas though and some of the items just aren’t available to me. This is an inexpensive choice with an annual price of $65, 3 months for $24, and 1 month for $10.
If meal subscription services aren’t your thing and you are a meal planning pro, you may still find these well loved apps helpful:
  • Cook Smarts:  This is similar to Fresh 20 where they will send you recipes and shopping lists for the week. Their aim is to help people improve their cooking skills while making meal planning easier. This will cost you $6 per month
  • Pepperplate:  This is a free app where you are able to import recipes and the app will help you organize them.
  • Ziplist: This is a free app with a shopping tool and organizer
  • Plan To Eat: Helps to organize recipes by incorporating your calendar and a shopping list generator.
  • Paprika:  Another recipe manager with list generator.
As you can see, there are various tools available to help you with your meal planning… now it is a matter of what suits you and your family.  We would love if you comment with your thoughts / ideas on meal planning and what works well for you!

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