I have a good friend who recently told me about a online meal planning program that she uses called Plan to Eat. I was hesitant at first to add any more “things” to my plate, but after spending over 4 hours working on a meal plan recently, I decided I would look into the meal planning program she was telling me about.
Meal planning for our family is vital. We crash and burn if I fail to meal plan. With the amount of people depending on me to come up with 3 meals a day for 11 people, there is no “winging it”! The stress and pressure I am under when I do not take the time to plan our meals is incredible. However, meal planning is a tool that relieves that stress and pressure during the day. It makes our days run smoother and allows me to focus on other things that need tending.
My problem was that I was meal planning by hand — writing everything out — and for the amount of food that I was having to deal with on a weekly basis, it took me hours to come up with a simple meal plan and grocery list for my family. Because this proved to be really cumbersome, I usually stuck to the same foods over and over and had a hard time thinking about new things or variations.
My good friend thought of me and saved my life when she gave me the low down on Plan To Eat. Since it has helped me out, I thought I would share how it works with yall. I love it!!!!!!
Here’s how it works:
- Extensive, Custom Recipe Book: You create an online recipe book that has recipes that you import from websites, blogs or you can input them from your cookbooks or recipe box. You can see nutritional values, change serving sizes automatically (which is a huge plus for our big family), and all the recipes are searchable and can be tagged (like Mexican dishes, Easy lunches, vegetarian, soups etc.). It also keeps track of how often you have planned that specific food or recipe. Tired of having lasagna 3 times a week… you can easily space out your meals and try new things because you can quickly drag and drop.
- Drag and Drop Meal Planner: Quickly drag and drop recipes over to your calendar in the breakfast, lunch, supper and snack. You can also add individual ingredients, notes and events to your calendar. I love the ability to visually see our week and quickly drag recipes, notes, events to different days on the calendar. I can also quickly delete and rearrange items.
- Automated Shopping List Maker: Immediately creates your shopping list! The shopping list based is created from your meal plan. I go through my shopping list and put anything that I already have back in to my pantry by clicking ” To Pantry”.
- Lots of cool features like “cook from the pantry” options. I can also import items into my pantry and then click the cook from my pantry option and have it pull recipes from my recipe book that I can make based on what ingredients I have. It will also tell me what recipes I could almost make…like missing 1 ingredient to make Chicken Pasta or missing 2 ingredients to make Banana Bread.
- Mobile Ready: Have a iPhone or Android other smart phone? Plan To Eat is mobile ready! Easy shopping list right off your phone from your meal plan.
- Share your recipe book with friends…. socially interactive. I can share my recipe book or a portion of my recipes with other friends. Neat tool to try out other recipes and interact with other meal planners.
- They have a free month trial, after that it is $39 for the year or $4.95 a month. You can also earn credit for referring people who end up signing up. It’s already been well worth it to me.
I’ve found it very helpful in saving me time and allowing me to almost effortlessly plan a large menu for a large family with minimal time. The biggest time investment is in the beginning when you make your recipe book. Once you get a basic recipe book put together…you’re good to go! I showed my 12 year old daughter how it works and turned her loose. She created our recipe book and altered lots of recipes to fit in with our family needs. Great tool for getting your daughters involved in meal planning and grocery shopping.
I’m so glad I did… It’s made meal planning fun and enjoyable. Check it out here: Plan to Eat