Anyone who eats food is a meal planner... in some form. You may fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants and plan tonight’s 6:00 family dinner at 5:45, which may result in a “fun” and “spontaneous” trip to the drive-through, but at some point you have to make a decision about what you and your family are going to eat, which may be a bowl of cereal, which is not a good meal plan.
A bowl of cereal, a trip to the drive-through, or a trip to the microwave; these are the meals that happen when we practice flying-by-the-seat-of-our-pants-meal-planning, which is how my family survived before we started Plan to Eat.
We would often have a refrigerator that was completely empty, or it was full of food we couldn’t use. We hated grocery shopping because we would buy what we didn’t need while forgetting the things we did. Our “fun” and “spontaneous” meal plans, which actually lacked any form of a plan, landed us at restaurants more than we wanted. Our bank account suffered because eating out is expensive. Our health suffered because what we were eating was not good for us.
Fortunately, I was introduced to what can be done with a good meal planner. Here is what I found:
Planning what you will eat means that you are less likely to make impulse purchases at the grocery store, more likely to purchase food you are actually going to eat, and less likely to settle for eating out.
“We are on an extremely tight budget (think $50 a week for a family of four!), so having a tool that will help me stay within my budget and know exactly what I need is so helpful! Plan to Eat is one of those things that helps moms like me continue to stay home with kids despite a rough economy. It has allowed us to prioritize what's truly important.”
Meal planning is an up-front investment of time, but having a plan will ultimately use less of it. With a plan you will have fewer trips to the store and you will know what you need when you get there. A good meal planner will allow you to invest as little up-front time as possible by giving you simple meal planning tools and putting your shopping list together for you.
“Just planned our weekly menu + shopping list in 7 minutes with Plan to Eat! Woohoo!”
A good meal planner will also save you time at the grocery store because your list will be organized the way you like to shop. It will get you in and out of the store as quickly as possible, yet have everything that you need so that you won’t have to waste your time with a second trip.
“I set up my grocery aisles in order...place all the ingredients on their correct aisle. Went shopping last night with my shopping list printed at the click of my mouse.”
A good meal planner allows you to cook in batches by preparing multiple meals at one time and putting some in the freezer. This saves you time in the kitchen. It also gives you access to meals that can be defrosted and quickly put together, which is helpful for those long days when you simply don’t have time to prepare a meal from start to finish.
“I LOVE this site. I am a teacher and just finished my first week of school which is always crazy, but with this site, I planned, shopped, and did all the prep over the weekend before and was able to have a nice meal for my family every night this week. That is amazing!”
Without a meal plan a lot of food is thrown away because you buy food that you don’t need or you simply buy too much. With a meal plan, food that is left over from one meal can be scheduled for another.
“I'm saving time, money, and realized now I'm saving food. Every week there is less and less waste as I use everything I'm buying and nothing is going bad before it gets used! I'm on a small budget so this is important to me and now instead of shopping week to week, I'm starting to be able to stock up as well as plan & purchase past the week I'm buying for!!! This is by far the best thing I've ever done for my family.”
When you know what you are going to eat for dinner, you are far less likely to head to the drive-through. If you want to eat real food, the kind that doesn’t come from a microwavable plastic tray, the reality is that you are going to have to plan to make a lot of it yourself. A good meal planner will give you a straightforward and efficient list of directions and ingredients to help get you through the cooking.
“I have a 9 month old girl and a 9 year old boy and have been a stay at home mother for a year now. However, I am now looking for work and realizing how important meal-planning will be when I go back to work, I have tried many different meal planning websites and apps. None is as good as yours and I'm SO pleased I've finally found something which is going to make my life a lot easier. I absolutely refuse to feed my family processed fast/convenience food and insist in cooking proper food from scratch, so planning is vital. Your website will play a key part in providing us all with a healthy diet.”
Last minute worries about what you are going to eat is stressful. A good meal plan gives you a thoughtful and strategic answer when someone asks you “what’s for dinner?”
“It was so empowering knowing when I got home that I actually had what I needed to make dinner for the next four nights, instead of just a hodge-podge of stuff... Before PTE, it would've just been pinned and forgotten. No more excuses!”
Our family was flying-by-the-seat-of-our-pants-meal-planning and it was uncomfortable. We needed a good meal planner, and out of this need Plan to Eat was born. Now we want to share it with you so that you don’t have to fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-meal-plan anymore either. Try it free for 30 days by starting a new account using the form below, and let me know what you think.
- Clint and Lisa
“I am a long-time meal planner. I am a wife, mom of three energetic young kids, full-time professor, and wanna-be yogini, so meal planning is not an option for us, rather a necessity — but Plan to Eat has revolutionized my system already.”
Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them. It automatically makes your grocery list, organized the way you like to shop, using the recipes you’ve selected. Plan to Eat makes it easier to eat real food, prepared at home, with your family gathered around your own table.
You are invited to a free, 30 day, full-service, no strings attached trial.
No payment information is required and your feedback is welcome.
At the end of the trial you can subscribe for $4.95/month or $39/year.
Wow, that sounds like a great gift!