Thursday, March 5, 2015

Meal Planning Just Got Easier…


If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I am big into meal planning! My husband bought me my first cooking software for Christmas 2005, so I have been at this for nine years.  It has been life changing for me, and has been a life saver.  I am not a great cook, and resorted to box meals many times.  I never could think of anything to cook, so we ate the same junk all the time.  When I got my software and could store my recipes on my computer, actually put them in menus, and make a grocery list, life changed drastically for this girl.  I started to love cooking and tried new recipes.

Sadly, over the years my software has run into some problems.  If you want to update you have to pay for it, and many promised features are either not working, or have never been implemented.  I won’t tell you the name of the software in this post, because I’m not interested in causing them any trouble.  But the glitches have been frustrating, and I’ve been looking for an alternative for quite some time.

My friend posted a link on Facebook the other day to an online site she uses for meal planning.  It’s called Plan To Eat.  I watched the video tutorials and I was immediately sold.  You can capture recipes from the internet on this program SO easily.  You can input your own personal recipes from your files.  You can plan menus for the whole month, but just shop for one week if you want.  The program creates a grocery list with ingredients listed the way you typed them in. No more weird brands like my old software had.  You can also create a staples list of things like toilet paper, shampoo, milk, eggs, butter, etc. You can check that each time you make a grocery list, and just check the items you need for that shop.  You can friend people on the site so that you can share recipes and menu plans.  It is so much easier to share recipes here than on my old software.  You can go to the site on your phone, and save it to your home screen so that it acts as an app.  I can take my phone with me to the stores and do my shopping right from that if I want.  There is no need to print out a grocery/staple list anymore unless I want to.  You can divide your grocery list by stores you shop at, AND all of your items are divided into different areas of each store like: produce, dairy, dry goods, frozen, meat.  It is SO cool. 

I’ve spent the last couple days capturing recipes, and typing in recipes from my own files.  I have planned my first menu for just one week, and I’ll be able to shop with it for the first time this weekend.  I’m so excited. 

When I updated to a new version of my old software, it would cost me nearly $100 each time.  That was frustrating when things didn’t work or features that were promised were not there.  At Plan to Eat, I signed up for a 30 day trial period.  After that I can either subscribe by month or by year.  It is only $39 for a year, so I think I’m going to go with that. If you do it monthly, it’s just $4.95.  It is $40/$5 you will never regret spending.  Menu planning has changed my life.  I never have to worry about what’s for dinner anymore.  With the whole month planned I can print a copy, post it on my fridge, and just check every evening to make sure I have any meat out that needs to be thawed, or do any prep that needs to be done ahead of time.  It’s such a good feeling.

Go here to check out Plan to Eat, and start your free trial today.  If I know you and you decide to do this, let me know so we can share recipes and meal plans! It will also be easier for me to post recipes here, so I’ll be sure to do that!

No comments: