There are good things to be said for all of them. The pen and paper method is free. Plan to Eat is cheap, and it’s great if you already have a go-to collection of recipes. But, Real Plans is revolutionary for me.
First. My friend Jessica introduced me to it, I was hesitant at first because I had a current method. So I paid for my meal plan subscription. This isn’t a paid endorsement. I do have an affiliate link you can click.
I don’t eat meat. My husband is a carnivore. I am trying to reduce carbs, gluten, sugar, processed foods, etc. Sure I can find recipes that meet my needs and add them like I had been doing.
OR. I could find a service that does it for me.
Yep. It fills my week with a meal plan that meets every one of my dietary requirements. Don’t like what it put in? Change it out. Need to add an extra meal for the carnivores? Add one. It has a recipe roulette tool to replace meals so I don’t have to go in search of one.
And I can SEE a thumbnail of the food. I am a visual person, this is huge for me. I can move them around if I need to change things up. I can see what side dishes I may want, or, it actually makes suggestions for me.
I can add any recipe to the planner so I can keep my favorite recipes. I have been looking up Julia Child recipes and importing them so I can have the ingredients in my shopping app.
Then, it sends a shopping list to the app on my phone.
Also, every meal I have made has been delicious.
Why it is different than other meal plan methods?
It can auto populate my week with a meal plan. This alone is mind blowing. If I lost track of time, didn’t have time to manually select my meals, I have a fail-safe ready to go! This is where my current meal plan method fails me most. I needed time to meal plan. Now, I don’t!
It asks you which meals you want to cook! Don’t need 7 nights of meals, select how many. I use a lot of left overs for lunch so I was able to put in what I needed.
It asks me how many servings I want and adapts the recipe. Why is this great? Because I have 8 freaking people in my family. That’s usually twice the size of meal portions. Want to make extra so you have leftovers? Bam. Need less because birth control actually works for you? Reduce it down to what you need.
It can do it with special recipes that meet several different diets: Vegetarian, different varieties of paleo (normal, primal, or AIP) whole 30, GAPS, Keto, gluten-free, dairy-free, or just plain traditional. If you have a special diet, you know how awesome this is.
If you want to specify a quick meal, a make ahead meal, or a wildcard, you can do that. Which is awesome when I want to meal prep my lunches for a week. Want seasonal recipes so you’re saving money on produce at the store? Of course it has that. Becasue this thing is genius.
It allows you to add on subscriptions to some of your favorite food blogs that meet those needs. I have been loving Love Real Food, so I added Cookie and Kate recipes.
And… wait for it…. it TELLS YOU WHAT TO DO! It pushes notifications to your phone so that if you have to defrost something, or make something ahead of time it sends you a ping. Ping, go take your chicken out. Ping, make your chia pudding for tomorrow morning.
Why it is worth $$
Do you really need more after the above? Okay, it is pricey. My girlfriend recommended a trial to make sure I was in love. I did a three month subscription to make sure. It was love at first recipe. I think 72$ is a lot and I totally value my dollars. But, when I fail to meal plan properly I can easily blow 72$ in one grocery trip. So, I actually feel this will save me money in the end. No need for all the junky processed foods for when I screw up and don’t have a dinner planned, even frozen pizzas can cost our family a good chunk of change. No need to eat out because I am too lazy to figure out what to cook. I can’t even add up the ways that blows our grocery budget.
They also have tons of videos on their site: Real Plans
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