E-mealz is an online meal planning site that promises to keep your food budget under control by making use of the weekly sales for your store and give you access to tasty recipes that you can make for your family.
To start, you select which meal plan interests you and I would suggest checking out their sample menus since you can only change your selection once. They have the following plans available for both two person households and a family of 4-6 people: regular, gluten free, low carb, low fat, portion control, and vegetarian. The regular meal plan is available for a variety of stores (Kroger, Publix, ALDI, Wal-mart, and Ralphs) while the specialty plans are not. However, each plan does have an “any store” option, but then you will not have the benefit of matching up the week’s sales.
Each week a new plan is posted for 7 dinners that have ingredients that will total about $90 in your store of choice for the family plan. I saw recipes for beef, chicken, pork, meatless, and fish (no other seafood) dinners. The first page of the plan lists the recipes and the second page is your grocery list, making it very easy to grab the list and go to the store.
I can say that I thought that this would be a great fit for our family and relieve me of the burden of planning out our dinner menus. However, there were a bunch of factors that were working against us. I started off by trying the regular Publix plan, but found that it used quite a bit of canned/processed food that I do not normally buy. I then looked at the sample menus more closely and realized that the low fat plan was more in line with the food that I cook. Once I changed plans I still found myself buying items that I do not normally buy (canned gravy, soup mix), but it was a much better fit.
My family was certainly game to try a few new recipes for a little bit, but that quickly waned. One recipe was too sweet for our tastes (a chicken dish with orange marmalade and toasted almonds) and we also stay away from pork and fish. My daughter is not a big meat eater and my husband loves steak, but it must be tender with no visible signs of fat in it. All of the beef recipes that I saw called for cuts of meat that I knew my husband would not eat and so I was left with only chicken recipes.
I was also never able to use the budgeting feature of the meal plan because we are a mostly organic household and the meal plans were developed using non-organic ingredients. At Publix, the organic sales items are frequently much different than the non-organic sales items.
In the end I did end up with a delicious recipe for Beef Stew that my son loves (the least picky eater out of all of us). Although this did not work so well for my family, it is most likely a wonderful tool for other families. If you have a family that will gladly eat all kinds of food and you do not want to plan out your meals, then e-mealz could be the solution that you are looking for. Check out what other TOS Crew members had to say about it here.
Price: $15 every 3 months (automatically renewed on your debit or credit card)
I received a free trial of E-mealz for the purpose of this review; no further compensation was received.