Meal planning. I’m not particularly good at it. I don’t enjoy it, either. Well…I do, but I don’t.
Meal planning for me is about comfort food, what do I want to eat. Typically, what I want to eat is really heavy, and not particularly well rounded. I know what I should eat, but I just really struggle making healthy meal plans for my husband and I. I also don’t have a ton of time to meal plan, find recipes, and work thing out. Due to this, I have subscribed to two different meal planning services.
The first was The Fresh 20. The concept behind this meal planning service is that you have 20 ingredients for the month. They provided you with 5 different dinners for each week. They also follow what I call the ‘whole foods diet’. Meaning, minimal to no processed foods. Whole wheat over white pastas, lots and lots of produce.
They offer a variety of meal plans ranging from your typical dinner (meat most of the week) to gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, kosher and for one. They also have a lunch plan as well. The prices for each vary as well. Most of the plans are $65 for a year. I, personally, don’t find this cost to be bad. It saves me time and adds some variety to my cooking. It also gives me a grocery list, prep list, and recipes for the week.
Now, for the down side. The recipes are a little too out there for my husband and I. We eat a whole foods diet most of the time, so eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies wasn’t weird to us at all. It was more the recipes. They were a little out there. One that I can remember off the top of my head was a watermelon soup. It was the middle of summer, 90 some odd degrees outside, and sounded so delicious. No, not at all. Their fall dishes also use a ton of squash and gourdes. For a veggie and fruit lover, this is one niche of veggies that I have yet to find something I like in. However, they are using seasonal fruits and veggies to keep prices down which is awesome.
Currently, my husband and I are subscribed to $5 Meal Plan. Generally, it is the same idea as any meal planning program. You get recipes and a grocery list. Great right? However, what helped me switch to $5 Meal Plan was that the meals were ‘normal’. They were within my taste bud comfort zone, and there were more than 5 options for the week. With The Fresh 20, husband and I tried almost every recipe, unless I knew it was something we wouldn’t like. So that would leave us with 4 meals for the week most of the time. Okay…so now i have to fill in the blanks for the rest of the week. That is still time consuming.
So anyways, $5 Meal Plan gives you 5-6 dinners, one tends to be a large batch meal, another tends to be crock pot, and most can be freezer meals and/or made ahead. One breakfast dish. One dessert. One lunch. One snack. There is variety here. Don’t like a dinner? Great, use the lunch, or have leftovers from the big batch meal. I have yet to run into a problem where there isn’t enough food for the week. In fact, the meals make at least 4 nice size servings so I’ve been able to stock pile lunches for when school starts back up! I wasn’t able to do this as often with The Fresh 20. The meals were designed for 4 servings but rarely did we have 2 servings of leftovers.
$5 Meal Plan doesn’t promote themselves as whole foods. Nor are they. However, the substitutions are ridiculously easy. Canned veggies, use fresh. Same with fruit. We haven’t had too many duds on the recipes either. Tonight’s dinner (apricot chicken) wasn’t wonderful, but it wasn’t bad. The rest of what we have had this week has been delicious!
The last thing I will say about $5 Meal Plan is that if you don’t want to pay for the subscription ($48 for a year) you can pull recipes from her blog for free. So if you just need some new recipes check it out!
Over the next week I’m going to take pictures of our meals for you guys.
Here is my freezer stockpile!
Lunches for dayssssssssss