Menu planning and planning a grocery list can be a daunting task for some. I decided to try out Emeals.com to see how their menu planning worked along with their supplied grocery list for the week. I have tried out several of the dinner plans and wanted to provide an honest review of what I thought of their process as well as some of the menu items. A review on their breakfast and lunch menus will follow next week so check back!
Emeals is a website where you can select from several different menu plans for dinner. Some of the selections include: Simply Gourmet, Slow Cooker, Low Carb, Low Fat, Paleo, Portion Control, and a Classic plan. Once you select the plan that you want to try, you can choose between 1-2 servings and 3-4 servings. Some of the plans such as the Classic plan will ask you to select a local grocery store chain. This will provide you a menu built around sale items and will also give you an approximate cost to obtain the groceries if you were to make all the dinner meals that week. The recipes for the week are also labeled at times as ‘kid friendly’ or ‘slow cooker’ when you are on other plans besides the slow cooker plan. Finally, they sometimes utilize items from one meal in another meal so read carefully as you are planning for the week.
This is a great service if you are busy or want to start menu planning and are lacking a lot of good recipes and variety in your meals. The cost of the dinner plan is reasonable and if you sign up for three months, you can cancel at the end of those three months. I have also noticed discount sites such as Groupon and Livingsocial providing the option to try out Emeals at a reduced cost. Side dishes are often suggested with each meal and it helps you to build a good staple of items to keep in your spice rack and pantry. I especially liked knowing the approximate cost of items on the Classic Plan to help with budgeting.
The downside of the service is if you are somewhat particular in what you eat. For example, I don’t eat seafood and I’m not that adventurous when trying new foods. I also have extremely picky children. This presented a problem with most of the menu plans in that I was unable to utilize an entire week and had to supplement with other recipes from other sources or would combine recipes from different weeks to create a menu.
So far, I have tried the Classic Family Plan, Slow Cooker, and Simply Gourmet plans. Out of the recipes that I have tried, several have been really good and I will definitely fix them again. Those include: Tuscan Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Sloppy Joes, Tortillini with Spinach and a Pesto Sauce, Dijon roasted red potatoes (a side item recipe) and a Stir Fry Pork recipe. Some of the recipes have been a miss and I wouldn’t try them again. This is going to be true for any new recipe you try as some your family will like and some they won’t. It does add a lot of variety to the menu and has given me a lot of new recipes to try.
I have two more months left on my three month plan and want to try some other dinner plans such as Low Carb, Paleo, and Organic. You are able to switch your plan at anytime, however, your account will prevent switching more than a few times in the beginning. This is easily remedied by emailing Emeals support and they will manually switch the plan for you as many times as you like. Their support is extremely fast and my plan was switched within a half an hour on a weekend evening once.
Finally, they do have some special plans they highlight at times that are a bonus with your subscription. One of those being a tailgate menu that is available right now. This highlights some of the typical tailgate foods and also gives you some new things to try and add variety in to your cooking and meal planning.
Stay tuned for a review on the additional Breakfast and Lunch menus that are a reasonable add on cost with your Emeals subscription.