I’ve written before about my challenges with meal planning, particularly with a family where each person has particular preferences and dietary needs. For starters, I’m a big proponent of meal planning; without fail, the weeks when I “wing it” are inevitably ones where we wind up spending more than our budget, wasting food, or falling into ruts.
My approach to meal planning goes like this:
I take an inventory of what we have in the pantry, the fridge and the freezer, focusing on what needs to be used up, and make a list divided into two columns: We Need and We Have.
I look at the ALDI circular to see what’s on sale.
I consult the calendar — what evening appointments and weekend events are on the schedule? Is there a morning when I have a little extra time to throw something in the slow cooker? What can I prep ahead?
I make a list of dinner ideas that fit our weekly schedule, what’s on hand, and what’s on sale by looking through my binder of Tried and True recipes and perusing Pinterest for ideas. I then add the ingredients to the grocery list, and head to the store, where I usually purchase the same items to make the same meals, week after week.
This prep time takes about an hour, plus the time needed for the actual grocery shopping. There has to be a way to streamline this, I recently thought. Some sort of program or system that would make this easier and — dare I say it? — more enjoyable.
Years ago, I had a software program called MasterCook where I imported my own recipes. I loved it because everything was searchable. But our life has changed and I needed something with that capability AND the meal planning portion.
Introducing Plan to Eat.
While catching up on several blogs, I discovered Plan to Eat, a powerful subscription-based online program that allows you to use your own recipes — everything from old family recipes to ones you’ve saved from around the web — to create customized meal plans.
I’ve only been using this for a few weeks but it has already changed my approach to meal planning.
It does everything I’ve been searching for.
Then, if you like it, consider purchasing a one-year subscription. This happens to be the best time of year to subscribe to Plan to Eat because between today (Black Friday) and Cyber Monday, all one-year subscriptions are 50% off.
If you know someone who would also enjoy Plan to Eat, you can give a gift subscription — which are also eligible for the 50% deal through Cyber Monday.
Click the button below to get started and learn more:
Full disclosure time: I’m a Plan to Eat affiliate, which means that by clicking on any of the Plan to Eat links in this post (whether that’s a free trial or one year subscription) earns me a small commission.