If you haven’t figured it out yet, I love to cook. I make most breakfasts, lunches, and dinners at home, from scratch. I love trying new things, but I often find that I get stuck in a rut. And I can’t possibly be the only person who sits staring at the fridge trying to figure out what to make for dinner that night. Fortunately eMeals is helping me out – I received a free one year membership as part of their blogger program, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts and you know I’m always honest, right?
eMeals offers suggestions for meals seven days a week. You choose what type of food you want to cook, and the standard dinner only meal planning is $58 per year (or $30 for 3 months) with weekly menus arriving in your inbox. You can also choose to add weekly lunches for $48 and breakfasts for $36 per year. I appreciate that you also choose the size of your family – either 1-2 or 3-6 – so that the recipes are appropriately sized. The last thing I wanted when I was single was huge meals for a family, and the reverse is true now.
The variety of diet and food preference options was impressive. They range from gluten free to portion control to slow cooker and more. I’d love to see an option where we can specify ingredients that we don’t like so that our meals could be further customized – nut allergies or mushroom dislikes, for example, but I’m not complaining. With seven meals each week, there is plenty for me to figure out what to eat, especially since I already have some of my favorite recipes.
I chose the Paleo plan because it’s a diet that I am intrigued by and I’m not comfortable enough with it to create my own meal plans there yet. This is a great introduction, and I appreciated that I could go into each type of meal plan and see sample menus so that I could truly determine what is the best fit for me and for my family. Even better? I can update my preference up to once a month to change the type of meals I want to receive.
Making the meal planning much easier, the plans arrive with a weekly shopping list, as well. The list is set up in a very logical manner, something the analytic side of me appreciates. It is divided into sections of the grocery store – produce, meats and seafood, frozen, etc. Each item in the list has a little number to the left of it showing which meal it belongs to – 2,6 means that my chicken goes with both the second meal in my menu and the sixth. If I chose to only cook meals 2, 5, and 7 this week, it’s easy to see what I still need and what I can skip. It clearly lays out the pantry staples I need, too, so I can quickly do a check to make sure I haven’t run out of something key like balsamic vinegar.
As with any meal planning that is created by someone else, there are some items that I look at and know won’t work for my family, but with seven meal options each week, it’s easy to find plenty of new and fun dinner ideas. I can’t wait to keep growing my Paleo dinner ideas so that I have a library of favorites I can start going back to.
Or maybe I’ll move to the slow cooker recipes. Or the simple gourmet. Or maybe Mediterranean. I’ll be honest that it was hard for me to select just one meal type. The one dish chicken and green bean salad was amazing and definitely not something I would have made myself. And oh did we all enjoy the Asian beef lettuce wraps, although I’ll admit that I omitted the mushrooms. There have been hits every week. Personally, I can’t wait to try the Bacon Wrapped Shrimp with Garlic Oil that’s a part of the Paleo Meal plan. Yum, right?
I appreciate that the meals come with side suggestions, too. That’s where I tend to struggle. I’ll come up with a great main course, but I tend to go to my same old same olds for sides far too often. I can’t wait to continue experiment with sides. I see this getting me into a much better habit with my meals, and it’s never a bad thing to find ways to eat healthier, too.
None of the recipes that I’ve received so far have been hard by any stretch of the imagination. The directions are clear, and there are few steps to each of the recipes so they are doable for newer cooks and those who are coming home from work and need something to make on a weeknight. Many of these I can see making on the weekend (the aforementioned chicken salad, for example) and eating a couple days later, saving me time and effort when I may have a busier day.
Think this might be something you’d like? I have a great promotion for you. If you join eMeals during November or December, you receive a free holiday meal plan. It has all you need for a traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas meal in classic, Paleo, and clean eating menus. And of course there’s a discount, too. Use the code HOLIDAY to get 15% off your plan. That makes the annual subscription $49.70 – just over $4 per month or $1 per week for your meal plan.