The hardest part of being a mom for me is trying to cook healthy meals for my family.
We never plan.
We buy groceries and normal staple type stuff and generally wing it.
“What’s for dinner today?”
“I haven’t planned that far ahead.”
So we dig out a cookbook and scrounge around for ingredients and throw something together at the last minute. Sometimes we even run out to the local grocery store to pick up what we need for recipes regardless of the extra cost. And sometimes we resort to boxed dinners.
I always dreamed of being able to plan my meals. To go armed with a shopping list of everything I need for the week. To make healthier meals for my family without being rushed to make something more convenient. To save the successful recipes we make in a single, easy to access place.
I tried a meal planning service there they emailed you weekly recipes and a shopping list. 90% of the recipes were things I wouldn’t eat, let alone try and get my kids to eat. Having someone dictate the meals just wasn’t working for me.
That is where PLAN TO EAT enters the picture.
Plan To Eat is a meal/menu planning website service that allows you to organize, import and share recipes. It helps you plan your meals weekly, monthly and even yearly. It also creates a grocery list for you from your meal planner.
I discovered Plan To Eat while scouring the web for something that went beyond emailing you a set list of weekly meals.
I signed up for the free 30 day trial, and after just a few minutes of using the service I was hooked.
IMPORT, ORGANIZE AND SHARE RECIPES
The first thing you need to do in your Plan To Eat account, is add recipes. You can manually add your own from cookbooks or you can even search for them or import them right from recipes sites like AllRecipes.com, Food.com and a whole slew of others. You can copy and paste the recipe URL from your favorite recipe site and PLAN TO EAT automatically imports it into your recipe book. Or you can use the Plan To Eat bookmarklet in your browser and import recipes with a single click.
In short, this is an amazing tool that allows me to find the best recipes across the web and in my cookbooks and keep them in a single place. I can modify them to my liking, substitute ingredients and even add my own photos.
Plus, if you friends are using Plan To Eat, you can easily share your recipes with them and vice-versa!
For meal planning you see an entire month’s calendar laid out in front of you. You can scroll back and forth to see past and future months and to add recipes you simply drag them from the left onto the appropriate meal on the calendar. You have the ability to completely plan each and every meal and snacks for every day of the week. Not only can you plan dinner but school lunches just got easier too! Especially because the meal planner turns everything into a shopping list for you automatically.
After planning your meals you can click over to the shopping list and you will see it automatically populated with the ingredients you need to make your recipes. You can set if it shows you items for the whole week, a few days, or even set a specific date range. Also if there are items that you already have on hand you can add them to your “pantry” so they don’t show up on your shopping list.
If you buy groceries at multiple stores, you can setup the store names and assign the items to a particular store. Then your list is even more organized!
I love too that they have a key so you know which shopping item belongs to which recipe, just in case you have to change something on the fly, like omit recipe because the store doesn’t have all the ingredients or they are not on sale.
The shopping list section also has a tab for “staple items” that might not necessarily show up on your meal planning list but that you want to include on your shopping list. Why have multiple lists? Plan To Eat lets you create your entire shopping list even if it is not related to your meal planning.
Once you have your list organized you can easily share it by copying it into an email or print in an easily readable format for shopping.
I can’t say enough good things about Plan To Eat. I’m still sort of in the recipe gathering stages and my son having football practice from 6-8 each night has had me scrambling to find “set and forget” type recipes, but I’m slowly beginning to rely on Plan To Eat more and more.
It is smart, useful and I can’t imagine being in my kitchen without it.
PLAN TO EAT is just $4.95 a month or only $39 for an entire year.
It’s worth EVERY PENNY.
If you’re not sure, you can take advantage of their FREE 30-day trial. You don’t even need to enter a credit card to check it out.
Click the banner to the right to signup for your free trial so you can see first-hand how great PLAN TO EAT really is!
There’s nothing to lose, plus if you sign up for a free trial, I’ve got some bonus entries for you in the giveaway below.
ENTER TO WIN A 1-YEAR MEMBERSHIP TO PLAN TO EAT
Two winners will each receive a one-year membership to PLAN TO EAT!
HOW TO ENTER (mandatory):
To enter, leave a comment and tell me how you think Plan To Eat will help you out in the kitchen.
EARN EXTRA ENTRIES (optional):
Must complete required entry in order to qualify for extra entries.
- Tweet the following or something similar (leave the link to each new Tweet each day) – 1 EXTRA PER DAY
Enter to win a 1-year membership to PLAN TO EAT meal/menu planning website from @WhatsThatSmell http://ow.ly/5Yf6v
- Follow me on Twitter – 1 EXTRA
- Like my page on Facebook – 1 EXTRA
- Like Plan To Eat on Facebook – 1 EXTRA
- Follow me on Google Friend Connect (on the right sidebar of my site) – 1 EXTRA
- Leave a comment on any other NON-GIVEAWAY post – 1 EXTRA per separate post commented on (leave post title or link so I can verify comment)
- Sign up for the FREE Plan To Eat 30-day trial – 5 EXTRA (leave your Plan To Eat username here for verification)
- If you signed up for the trial, add me as a friend so we can share recipes (WhatsThatSmell is my username) – 5 EXTRA (leave your Plan To Eat username here for verification)
Please leave a separate comment for EACH extra entry. Provide links to Tweets, etc. as required for the entry.
Giveaway is open to the USA and ends on August 26, 2011 at noon CST. Winner will be selected at random from all eligible entries and will be contacted by email. Winner will have 48 hrs to respond. Please add firstname.lastname@example.org to your trusted email filter. If original winner does not claim their prize within 48 hrs, it is forfeit and a new winner will be selected promptly.
I was provided with a Plan To Eat membership in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are my own.