I was single for 10 years before meeting my now husband, Christian. During that decade I developed the perfect “single girl” dinner: bowl of popcorn, sliced up apple, cheese or peanut butter, and crackers. Mmmm. So good. Occasionally I would cook a “real meal” but more often than not I would do something simple and easy. Then I got married, and suddenly needed to make “real meals” all the time. Like, every night!
Although I enjoy cooking, I discovered that I was really bad at coming up with things to make. We would go through 5 or 6 basic menus every week – tacos, spaghetti or italian, stir fry, some kind of meat and veggies, or eating out. Sometimes I would get fancy and make salmon, soup, or a big salad with meat on it. Am I the only one who has this problem of repeating meals? Maybe so, but I am guessing I am not alone.
We had our first son 18 months after getting married, and having a newborn only makes coming up with recipes and cooking harder, not easier. I knew I needed help in the creative and easy meals department. I heard about eMeals and decided to give it a try after hearing some great recommendations. We found a Groupon deal for 6 months of weekly dinner plans for $35 from eMeals, which is $20 off the website price, and almost instantly my cooking improved. Meal planning made easy!
What I like about it: Variety! Options! Easy to follow recipes! There are over 16 different meal plan options to choose between, from Clean Eating, to Budget Friendly, to Paleo, to Mediterranean, to Kid friendly, to Quick and Healthy, and many more. They give you the ability to change meal plans whenever you want, so we were able to try a bunch of different meal plan types which gave us a wide variety of recipes each week.
There is an app, and you can select which meals you want to make (we found that we made 4-5 of the 7 they give you each week), and it creates a shopping list for you. If you have additional things to get, you can also add those to the list. Having this list made it easier to stick to our grocery budget and we found that we made less impluse and unnecessary purchases while using eMeals.
Most Favorite Elements:
- 14 day free trial – we did this, and liked it enough to get the 6 month dinner plan through Groupon. You can also preview all of the different menu types.
- Flexibility – we could change the meal plan we had each week, which gave us so many different recipes!
- The meal plans are delivered via email with the recipes included as a pdf, so you have them forever. It is not a deal where you only get the recipes that week – they are yours to keep. This was one of the main highlights for us.
- You can choose recipes for either 2-3 people or 4-6 people, and your shopping list is created according to how much you will need.
- The food was delicious and creative – we only found a couple that we would not make again, and overall liked everything we tried.
- The recipes were easy to follow, and most take 45 minutes or less to make
- You have the option of connecting your shopping list to a grocery store and doing grocery pick-up. Genius.
Things I Would Change:
- The app. There is an eMeals app that is pretty good, but occassionally did not work well. Ideally, it gives you your meal plans on your phone, with your shopping list, favorite recipes saved, recipe directions, etc. It worked most of the time, but sometimes I would open the app and nothing would be there. I would have to close out of it and restart the app, sometimes multiple times. The recipes come by email as mentioned, so the app is a bonus and not necessary to make eMeals work, but it would be nice if it worked all the time.
- The new meal plans are sent out on Wednesdays. This was the only thing I really did not like about eMeals. I used to do meals from Sun-Sat, or Mon-Sun, but with eMeals I had to plan meals for Thurs-Wed, with shopping on Thursdays each week after the new plan came out. Not a huge deal, but just annoying to have to start the new meal plan in the middle of the week.
Cost: Varies by plan. The 6 month weekly dinner plan is $55 on the website, or $35 on Groupon. They also have options for adding breakfast, lunch, or all three that are more expensive.
Where you can get it: eMeals.com
Summary: We found eMeals easy to use, delcious, and helpful in varying our dinner menus. I now feel more confident in my meal planning, and have 6 months’ worth of recipes that I can refer back to over and over without having to go searching for ideas. For us it was definitely a good investment of $35 and worth it for the 6 months, and would recommend it to anyone looking to improve your meal planning and dinner menu.