Meal Planning Trial & Error…So Many Errors

Emeals Months 1 & 2

A while back I recounted some of our more recent Meal Planning adventures.

Over the past month, we have been using emeals to plan our menu and grocery list.

Emeals is a service that emails you a menu and grocery list each week. This menu is according to a meal plan you selected. There are dozens of plans you can select.

  • Paleo
  • Vegetarian
  • Slow Cooker
  • Gluten-Free
  • Clean Eating
  • Budget Friendly

Plus you can select to have a 2 person plan or a family plan!

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In addition, before you commit, you can see samples of the menus online and “try” it out for a few weeks that way.

I was impressed with how they indicated the smallest possible size to purchase and really grouped meals into the same week that utilized like ingredients (i.e. Monday uses 1/2 container of mushrooms and Wednesday also uses 1/2 container) so you are minimizing waste where possible.

Emeals also offers you a side dish for each meal! It is tailored to go along with the main dish and it often includes a vegetable. I love how complete the offering is. The directions for the side and main dishes are not combined however, so it can be difficult to arrange your timing while cooking and prepping.

After compiling a few weeks of meal plans from the samples available, I found this method to be effective for us. I wanted to get a feel for how they wrote the recipes and how difficult it was to find the ingredients. I did not have any difficulty finding most ingredients at our local stores and the meals were not difficult to prepare or clean up.

odd veggies

In the end, we signed up for 3 months of meal planning with a lunch meal plan. I have the most difficulty with spending around lunch time, if I do not have pre planned/packaged lunches ready to go. It never fails. If I have to do too much for the lunch, I will forgo it. Every Wednesday they will email me a menu for lunch and dinner for the week.

Two Month Review: September & October

Each Sunday, I sat down with our emeals menus (one dinner and one lunch) and planned our week. I am responsible for selecting and arranging the meals for our week. I tried my best to accommodate busy nights ver slow nights. One week we did so poorly I was able to use the ingredients/menu the following week.

Brocolli

Breakfast was always a smoothie on the weekdays. One weekend day we will stay in for breakfast and one day we will go out. Lunches from emeals have not been overly convenient. They were only achievable if I prepped 90% on Sunday. Actually, several have been very delicious! We’ve just been making those over an over again.

Meal Planning

We averaged about 2 meals a week following the strictly emeals inspired menus. I followed our general meal planning scenarios and posted the menu on our calendar. Still, we didn’t do well with making those meals.

Remember how you get a side dish recipe with your meal? it is listed below the recipe for the main dish. I found myslef not leaving enough time to prep ingredients for the side or veggie dish. We would just end up with a main dish. I started to prep more of the sides in advance to try to increase our chance of success. MAYBE one more meal eaten at home? Mid-way through the month, I began to prep the meals more in advance. That marginally increased our adherence; we maybe ate more lunches from home?

When everything went well, it’s been awesome. I need a challenge…or a change. I wonder what our Budget Review will do?

 

-L

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