The tool that revolutionized my weekly meal planning
A few months back I wrote about a meal planning service I’d discovered and liked, and I was excited to share it with all of you. I have something to confess: I never actually used it myself. I was mostly excited because it was a great resource for all those requests I get (and I get a lot) for meal planning help. But we already have our own family-favorite recipes, and I’m only up for making new stuff once or twice a week.
I got a little note in my inbox about some upgrades this service had undergone. They’d moved from weekly PDFs to an online service that is completely customizable to your needs. It will base your meal plan on their recipes, or yours, or a combination of the two. Now I was interested in playing with it myself.
The result: I’m hooked.
Completely, utterly hooked.
You see, if I had the brainpower, time, and technical support to make a meal planning service, here are the key features it would have:
- It would come with options – I could choose my meal type (paleo, traditional, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc) and the recipes it would give me would be based on the food paradigm I specified.
- It would give me menu ideas, but give me total flexibility to move things around according to my week, to upload my own recipes, and to skip days completely if I feel like it.
- It would “read” my recipes and automatically generate a shopping list based on exactly what I’m cooking that week. And this shopping list would be editable – I could go through and mark off what I already have, I could add things that are weekly basics even if they aren’t ingredients in the actual recipes. In other words: it would be just like my paper list, but much of the hard work done for me.
- In my perfect world, this shopping list would travel with me on my phone, and I could mark things off as I do my shopping. No paper required.
So imagine my utter delight when I learned that these features are EXACTLY what the new service offers, plus a couple more that are so fancy and helpful, I didn’t even dream they were possible:
One of my biggest pet peeves about meal planning is that you never know how many people you’re planning for – is it a recipe for 2 or 4 people? What if 6 are eating that night, but only 2 the next night? This can make a huge difference in the volume of groceries you need to buy, and how much food you end up making. Most meal planning services default to planning for 4 people, but what if you’re single?
This upgraded meal planning service has built in the coolest feature where you can adjust the number of servings per meal. Yes, per meal. So if on Tuesday night it’s just you, but on Friday night you’ve got all the kids plus their best friends over for dinner, this software will do all the math for you and adjust both your recipe AND the grocery list accordingly. Now that is seriously cool!
And this isn’t just for recipes in their system – once you’ve uploaded one of your family favorite recipes, it will do it automatically for your recipes, too. Pretty amazing, right?!
Next week I’ll share my four steps to effortless meal planning – the system I use every week to make sure our family is eating a healthy, yummy and nutrient-dense diet.
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