I never knew how much of my adult life would be spent on trying to think about what to eat or what to feed my family.
Have you ever gotten to the evening and thought to your self, “Why do they want dinner every single night?” I definitely have and it is exhausting. The cycle of deciding what to feed a group of people on the spot is draining. Multiply that feeling by three meals a day, add in snacks, and we have an equation for food fatigue.
The only cure I have found for this specific exhaustion is meal planning. A little planning upfront saves a ton of frustration during the week. Especially with kids in activities and crazy work shifts, it’s nice to know what’s for dinner every day.
What Can Meal Planning Do for You?
When I don’t meal plan I often find myself staring at items in the pantry and fridge wondering how I can combine them to make something that sounds good enough to eat. While it’s a to watch professional chefs on shows like Top Chef to be thrown ingredients from a vending machine to make a 5 star meal, the real life version of this challenge is exhausting.
If we are in the overstressed dining out cycle, we spend so much time trying to come up with which restaurant we want eat at. Everyone has an opinion. Usually someone is upset that his or her selection wasn’t chosen. Oftentimes we are even more stressed by the time we get there because of the whole process. (Seriously – what a first world problem!)
What if there was a way to make feeding your busy family healthy meals each week easier?
A few years ago a friend shared about using Plan to Eat as a tool in her home that had helped their family spend less and eat better by using meal planning. I signed up for the free month trial and after the month, I realized I finally had an inexpensive tool I could use to make my life easier and to help my family.
What is Plan to Eat?
Plan to Eat is the perfect tool to help you with family meal planning. It is a way to collect and organize your recipes from anywhere and to add those recipes to an online meal-planning calendar. Recipes can be added to your account from websites, cookbooks, recipe cards… or anywhere else! Then Plan to Eat will automatically create your organized grocery list based on the recipes on your planner.
Meal Planning is a Key to Staying on a Budget
When our finances seem to be spiraling it can usually be related to times of stress. Sometimes kid activities cause our family’s schedule to become hectic. Other times it is when work hours get long. And as any military family knows, when you are preparing for a PCS and having home showings while juggling kids and pets it can send your stress level through the roof.
One of the first things to go out the window to ease the stress of a busy schedule in our home is cooking meals. At first I resort to easy meals at home, like sandwiches or hot dogs, but it doesn’t take long before we are at restaurants or ordering take out non-stop. While this makes life easier it gets expensive very quickly and soon the stress is not only time based but also financial.
The fastest way to get our family back on budget is to eliminate (or drastically reduce) dining out expenses. I struggle with this because cooking is not a passion of mine. Tools that help make cooking less of a chore are a must in my world.
Spend Less Money on Food and Eat Healthier
Apparently I am not alone in finding that Plan to Eat saves money! Over 2,500 people who use Plan to Eat were served and the average monthly food cost was reduced by $47 per person in the household.
How many times have you thrown things into your grocery cart and never eaten them? I am a champion of buying a bag of salad with great intentions and letting it go bad in the fridge because we didn’t get around to using it. When you plan your family’s meals and only buy the food that is on the list to make those meals, you will find you waste less food. Only buying the food you need helps you use more of the food you buy.
Or maybe you go the opposite direction and find yourself grocery shopping when you are hungry. Have you ever done this and gotten home to realize you just bought all the junk food?
Yep. I’m guilty of that too!
When I spend time planning out what my family will eat for dinner I find I am able to focus on healthy food rather than just getting them fed. I am able to use fresh, healthy ingredients by cooking at home. To have the ability to calendar our meals for the week (or longer) I am able to simply drop in recipes that are healthy and enjoyable. Then my organized grocery list isn’t sending me to load up on all the junk food.
Save Time with Meal Planning
Not only does meal planning save you money, but it also helps you save time each day not having to think about what to eat. When you batch plan your meals its easier to focus on food and condenses the amount of time you spend deciding on what to eat.
Additionally using a meal-planning tool like Plan to Eat that creates your organized grocery list for you, you can finish your grocery shopping much faster, giving you even more time to do things that you love.
Don’t have to call someone for a recipe at midnight
Plan to Eat has been a valuable resource for me as a military spouse. Living in different time zones, its not always conducive to call someone up for a recipe. Having recipes that are shared across the platform makes it easy to pop in a recipe from a friend or family member into my weekly meal planning no matter the time of day.
Not having to track down recipe book in moving boxes
We always unpack our kitchen first. We’ve unpacked our kitchen 7 times in the last 11 years. Each time I end up with my dishes, pots and pans all stored in their new locations, but my recipe book or cards are not found until much later.
Sometimes they are placed in a box with books from the office or kids room. Other times they are at the bottom of the box that the kitchen junk drawer was dumped into. Once they were in with pantry items – including a box of potato flakes that had opened during transit and spilled out into everything.
Isn’t moving with the military so much fun?!
Meal Planning During a PCS
Plan to Eat has saved me on a couple of our last moves because I was able to plan meals for our family ahead of time.
I was able to create a menu for things that could be easily cooked for the month we lived in a hotel.
When we first arrive at a new home, getting to the grocery store to restock a fridge and pantry isn’t always first on my mind. Thankfully when I’ve used Plan to Eat my grocery list is made for me so all I have to do is pop my order into Walmart Grocery and I’m on my way to having everything loaded in the car for me.
Plan to Eat is the Gift that Keeps on Giving
Do you have someone on your gift list this year that you need a creative idea for? I just gifted my sister-in-laws Plan to Eat because I know that they are busy parents and can use something that makes life a bit easier. Plus, it’s a fun way to connect! When they find a recipe they love and put it in their plan to eat account, we are all able to add it to our meal plans and try it out.
Each year after Thanksgiving, Plan to Eat has a sale where they offer the yearly subscription for 50% off. That means you get the whole year for just $19.50 (or $1.60 per month) – even if you are renewing! For several years now I have made sure to renew my subscription during this sale window because I can’t imagine going the next year without Plan to Eat.
I also love gifting Plan to Eat subscriptions. You can buy as many gift subscriptions at the sale price as you would like and send them when you are ready. The best part is the recipient’s subscription will not begin until they redeem it… like at Christmas (hint, hint)!
Plan to eat is the perfect gift for teachers, coaches, friends and extended family.