If like me you have a family who enjoys eating a variety of different meals then planning meals for the week can get really difficult.
I know because I’ve been there myself so many times.
I’m always trying to think of healthy recipes that the whole family can eat.
If I’m being honest most of the time I fail miserably, simply because old habits die hard.
It’s difficult to start introducing healthy meal options when you are already used to eating in a particular way.
Have you ever wondered how some families manage to always have time to rustle up something new healthy and fresh every single day?
I wondered too for a very long time.
I’m all for freezing meals and I don’t see anything wrong with that at all but I also want to be able to occasionally put a fresh meal on the table.
It would be nice to be able to do it without it breaking my grocery budget and it not mean that I have to spend 2 hours in the kitchen each evening.
Let’s be real here no one has time for that every day.
So you might be wondering what the secret here?
It’s simple really – A family meal planner
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What is a family meal planner?
A family meal planner is a great way to get organized in the kitchen.
The planner will help you to plan out your meals weekly or monthly so you don’t need to think each day about what you are going to eat.
Some people like to have planners that are solely for dinner but you can also include breakfast and lunch with this too.
There are lots of benefits to family meal planning, some of which I will go through in a moment.
If you struggle with providing healthy meals for your family then I would highly suggest you keep reading.
What are the benefits of a meal planner?
What I love about meal planners is that they enable you time to get on with other things.
You can create your own family meal plan by spending hours thinking about what to cook for the month and then plan the ingredients around it. Or you can take a look at some of the healthy meal planners that are already available (and tailor-made) for you specifically below.
Meal planners are great for:
- Saving you time as you will no longer have to sit for hours and think of meal ideas and if you have the right ingredients.
- Allowing you to come up with healthy meal options – This is a huge benefit in our household!
- Once you have your meals set for the week it makes shopping for ingredients so much easier
- You’ll have much less food wastage once your meals are set in advance
Who is meal planning for?
Meal planning is revolutionary for families because of the time and stress that it reduces.
Meal planning is not restricted only to families. Meal planning can also work for individuals and couples too.
If you looking to diversify your meals, eat more cost-effectively or healthily then meal planning is for you.
There are some really great meal planning services out there. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Eat At Home Cooks
Eat at home cooks has 4 different types of meal plans:
This includes meals that contain a mixture of meats and vegetables.
These plans include everyday foods that you can easily find at your local grocery store. They include meats, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains.
Slow cooker / Instant pot
This plan consists of meals that can easily be created in a slow cooker or instant pot. 1 weeks worth of this plan also includes meals that you can easily prepare and freeze too. How awesome is that!
No flour/ No sugar
Meals that include no flour or unnatural sugars.
This would be great for those wanting to cut back on sugar or who are perhaps diabetic.
How does it work?
Firstly, choose if you want to sign up monthly, annually or quarterly (Annually is the most cost effective option)
Next, you will receive access to all four meal plans.
You can then print out the recipes along with their accompanying shopping lists.
Have the ready-made shopping lists saves tons of time on planning.
Plan out and make the recipes as you please for the month.
It will include step by step instructions on how to prepare each meal. You won’t have to be the worlds best cook in order to use the service.
The great thing about East At Home Cooks is that the recipes also come with side suggestions as well.
You also get access to one dessert recipe each week too.
How much does it cost?
You can sign up for as little as $7 a month.
When you think about it that is nothing compared to the time and money you will save by not having to think about meal ideas and trying to put the shopping lists together.
You can check out a sample menu here to give you an idea of what is on offer.
If you feel ready to go for it and what to sign up now you can click here to head on over and register
They also offer a 30 day money back guarantee if you are unhappy with the service so you have nothing to lose by giving it a try.
Platejoy is another great family meal planner. The emphasis on Platejoy being that the meals are very much tailored to your family and what you like to eat.
There are many different ways you can plan out your meals.
You start by taking a quiz which will allow Platejoy to know a little bit more about you and your family and food that you can and cannot eat.
Your meals can be very much tailored in this way. It will even accommodate for fussy eaters too.
How does it work?
After completing the short quiz Platejoy will know all about your needs, be that weight loss, time constraints or healthy meals.
You then get to set your meals for the week.
Your meals can be suited to every diet and the plan will accommodate the following:
- Low carb
- Clean eating
- Gluten free
- Dairy free
- Allergy free
- Batch cooking
- Kid friendly
Platejoy offers unlimited access to recipes which can help you to achieve your healthy eating goals.
The is also an option for you to have all your ingredients delivered straight to your door with instacart which makes things super easy and very hands off until the moment you have to start cooking.
How much does it cost?
The plans start from as little $8 a month.
You can try out the program free for 10 days and get $10 off by using the promo code GET10 at the checkout!
$5 Meal Plan
The $5 meal plan is a weekly meal planning service that aims to provide you with healthy meals each week.
For the cost of $5 a month, they will send you a weekly meal plan that will cost you about $2 per person to make.
How it works
The plan can be used in 2 ways, you can use the meal plans as they are premade, or you can custom build your own unique plan with their drag and drop builder.
Every week on a friday you will get your new menu which will include a meal plan along with the shopping list.
The menu will include 5 dinner entrees along with a side. It will also include one lunch and one breakfast option.
How much does it cost?
Surprise surprise, it costs $5 a month to sign up for this program, cheaper than a coffee and cake at Starbucks!
Final thoughts on a family meal planner
Family meal planners are a great way to get your whole family eating much more healthily.
They also help you if you get stuck on what to cook throughout the week.
All of the above planners give you an option to try them for free so you can’t really go wrong in that respect.
In my opinion, Platejoy seems to have a much more tailored program whereas the $5 meal plan is more to do with your budget and Eat at home cooks give you variety on traditional/ slower cooker /sugar-free meals
Depending on what your needs are you can choose to try any one of the above risk-free.