eMeals is a meal planning app that provides recipes and weekly menus. Each week, the app provides a new rotation of recipes, you select the ones you’d like to prepare that week, and the app will generate a shopping list for you.
When you start an account, you get to choose your preferred meal type such as Paleo, Budget Friendly, or Diabetic. Their site says the recipes are, “crafted and curated by a professional food team and registered dietitians.”
The meal planning process with eMeals is simple, you select the recipes you want to make for your week and then a shopping list is created for you. The program also encourages its customers to use their grocery delivery option to simplify the meal planning process even more. The program is mainly focused on dinner recipes, but they do have the option to add breakfast and lunch recipes to your plan.
What I like about it.
- You can select recipes from any of the pre-defined plans. All the app’s recipes are available to you at any given time, so you’re not limited to only the dietary preference you selected in the beginning.
- There is a seasonal selection of recipes like tomato dishes in the Summer or squash recipes in the Fall. These seasonal dishes are great for adding variety and unique flavors to your recipe choices.
- The recipe images are appetizing and not overly fancy, so they feel approachable.
- You can add recipes to a “Favorites” folder. This allows you to access and use them again, even if they’re not in the current weekly meal options.
- While scrolling through the menu options, each recipe gives you a time stamp for how long the recipe will take to prepare. This is great if you are specifically looking for quick recipes.
- Most of the recipes include a veggie or grain side dish for the meal, so you don’t have to pick one separately.
- In the shopping list, most of the populated ingredients automatically merge. Since all the recipes come from the same database, the ingredient titles are similar and simply add up the quantities needed for the selected recipes.
- When items are checked off the shopping list, they go into a “completed” list at the bottom for quick reference.
- The grocery delivery feature is very helpful and intuitive to use.
What I’m not a fan of.
- The automatic wine pairings for recipes. While the wine is optional, you must opt-out of wine being added to your shopping list. I would prefer the option to turn off the wine pairing completely.
- The recipe servings are not scalable within the program. When you start your account, you select a generic number of people to serve and the recipes cannot be manually adjusted. With many recipes, I like to increase the number of servings to accommodate leftovers and that doesn’t seem to be an option with eMeals.
- The recipes and their ingredients are unable to be edited. I like to be able to edit and adjust recipes when I make tweaks that suit my palette better.
- I can’t use my recipes in their program. There’s no option to import recipes from outside the eMeals database.
- Not being able to plan recipes for specific days of the week. The selected recipes are simply added to a list that you can reference. I like having a calendar for my meal plan and plan around specific events in my week.
- Payment information is required upfront and your paid subscription starts automatically after your trial.
- Adding breakfast and lunch recipes to your plan adds an additional cost to your subscription price.
Who might benefit from this app?
Since eMeals offers recipe choices, someone who wants recipes to choose from, but finds large recipe databases overwhelming would find this app helpful.
Many of the positive app reviews praise eMeals for taking the thinking out of meal planning. Since all the recipes are already provided, it’s like meal planning on autopilot. If that type of system sounds works best for you, then eMeals could be your best choice.
How it differs from Plan to Eat.
There are a few large differences between eMeals and Plan to Eat, one of them being the recipes. eMeals provides you with recipes and weekly menus, while Plan to Eat does not provide recipes or meal plans.
The philosophy behind Plan to Eat’s Recipe Book is that all the recipes in your account should be ones you love and want to cook. With the Recipe Clipper, you can add recipes to your account from around the web, or you can manually enter your family favorites.
The next difference is that Plan to Eat has a meal planning calendar. With eMeals, you simply select recipes for a general meal plan. In Plan to Eat, you build a meal plan on a calendar (with the recipes you’ve added to your account) and a shopping list is generated from the meal plan. This is great for people who want a meal plan to work around their schedule and activities.
Plan to Eat also has more customization options compared to eMeals. Recipes can be categorized, edited, and scaled to meet a customer’s needs. Entire meal plans can be saved to use again in the future, there’s the option to keep track of batch cooking and freezer meals, and the shopping list can be customized to fit the layout of your grocery store.
Plan to Eat also doesn’t ask for payment information when starting a free trial, so you don’t have to remember to cancel.
Plan to Eat is meant for someone who enjoys meal planning, has their own “family favorite” recipes, and wants control over when and what they’re cooking and eating.