e-Mealz – As Easy as 1, 2, 3 {TOS Review}

I find it quite ironic that as much as I love to cook, I always feel like a deer caught in headlights when one of my children asks me “what’s for dinner?” How should I know? My attempts to have a better response, have been foiled by my inability to put together a decent menu plan each week. That is probably why on some evenings you will find me running from the pantry to the refrigerator and back hoping some combination of a healthy and well planned meal will suddenly pop into my head and end up on our dining room table. Let me tell you, it has not happened yet.

Well, thanks to Jane DeLaney, founder of e-Mealz, weekly, well-planned menus are at my fingers tips and meals that require minimal preparation are now gracing our dining room table and allowing me more time out of the kitchen and more time sitting around the dining room table enjoying a delicious meal with my family.

e-Mealz really is as simple as 1, 2, 3. With three simple steps you can go from a disorganized mess to culinary chef in as long as it takes you to choose, print & shop, and cook & enjoy. For my first month, I went with the Low-Fat Meal Plan which states clearly at the top of the page that “this low-fat plan is NOT a weight loss program! This is a BASIC low-fat, family friendly meal plan based on the GENERAL GUIDELINES found in most low–fat eating plans.” I guess this is to eliminate any confusion. I was not confused.

To get started, all you need to do is choose from one of the 28 e-Mealz dinner menu plans. You are able to make your choice based upon preferred grocery store (ex: Ralphs, Kroger, ALDI, Wal-Mart, etc.) or based upon specialty diet preferences (ex: Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Portion Control, Low Fat, etc.). A new meal plan is released every week with plans for serving 4-6 people (seven meals) or 1-2 people (five meals) depending upon which dinner menu plan you choose. The only time throughout the year that meal plans are altered (reduced to four days) is during major holidays (ie: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and Easter).

Meal plans are released five days a week and on the release day of your meal plan, all you do is print it, and head to the store. On the printed sheet are the meals that you will be preparing that week for your family. The ingredients and directions for cooking each meal are included, but what really makes this sheet such a useful tool is that it also includes a grocery list of all of the items you need to make the meals for the week. You don’t have to go through the recipes and list everything to be sure you don’t forget to buy something at the store.

Expected pricing of the groceries needed for weekly meals is between $60 to about $85 a week. They do list expected pricing for each store, but as you know prices vary by regions so the listed pricing may not always match up with the food prices in your area.

Once you are home, then you are ready to cook and enjoy an evening of good food with your family. Make the Sweet & Sour Chicken.

MY EXPERIENCE
The release date for my menu was on Thursday and I did look forward to seeing their suggestions for my menu of the upcoming week. I did not feel rushed to print everything because the menus are available online for two weeks before they are replaced with updates. There were some menus we did not use because there were meats used that we do not normally eat or packaged ingredients I preferred not to use. I am still a “scratch cooking girl” at heart and I like cooking with fresh, natural, and more whole foods. The menus were easily adaptable and I made adjustments where necessary.

As far as the meals I did make which contained meat, they were well received by everyone. The Sweet and Sour Chicken (shown above) is now a staple on our menu. Everyone came back for thirds. I guess it must have been good. I will have to take their word for it because I do not eat chicken. I think I am going to make a shrimp version the next time I make the recipe. Until then, here is the Sweet & Sour Chicken recipe with pictures.

MY THOUGHTS
The convenience of e-Mealz really cannot be beat especially at only $15 for a three month subscription ($1.25/week) that may be easily canceled at any time before the renewal date. The variety of recipes is great and the fact that they are not repeated each week (random repeats occur about five or six months into the subscription) gives you something new to look forward to and also new recipes to try.

Having the choice of 28 options is a lot to choose from, so it was helpful to have access to sample menus from each option. Since members are given the chance to change their plan once every subscription quarter, then that gives you the chance to try other meal plans created by e-Mealz.

Granted, if you have the patience and the time, then you can put together a weekly menu plan for yourself, but this service is for busy people who either do not have the “know-how” or the time to put together a new menu plan with new menu options week after week.

Something I would love to see are pictures of the meals. Pictures of good food is what makes me want to cook. It would really be nice if e-Mealz had pictures of the dishes so that members could see what the meal they are making should look like before it is devoured.

PRICING AND AVAILABILITY
Bringing more organization into the home, making you a master menu planner, having an answer to the one million dollar question of “What’s for dinner,” and giving you more time with your family to actually sit down and enjoy dinner with them…$5 month. That is priceless. Join e-Mealz and give it a try. Dave Ramsey would also be proud of how you spend your money.

You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members on The Homeschool Crew Blog.


The product featured in this review was provided to me free of cost by the manufacturer or representing PR agency as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced by monetary compensation.
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