For the past month I have had the luxury of reviewing a meal plan from the popular site E-Mealz. E-Mealz considers itself “a meal planning resource for busy moms and frugal family cooks”. They offer a wide variety of menu plans, including:
- Point System
- Low Fat
- Any Store
You purchase a meal plan in 3 month increments, at $5 a month ($1.25 a week) that’s only $15. They actually recommend that you just work that into your grocery budget each week (so if you normally budget $100 each week, budget $98.75).
Most of their meal plans hover around $75 a week, but they only include dinner options. So you will need to budget a bit more for breakfast, lunch and snacks. They also assume that you have certain staples in your pantry (salt, pepper, eggs, etc), so that cost is not factored into the meal plan.
My Review of E-Mealz
So now that I’ve told you the basics of the plan…let’s move on to the fun stuff. My review! You can see my 3 weeks of grocery shopping with E-Mealz here: Week 1–Week 2–Week 3. I actually did 4 weeks of grocery shopping with them but due to the Thanksgiving holidays my shopping that last week went a bit overboard (buying Thanksgiving goodies for 2 families!), so I did not post it because I felt it didn’t really represent an E-Mealz only shopping trip.
I took advantage of the Kroger meal plan because Kroger is the store that I shop at most often and the most coupon friendly in my area. They make it clear that the Kroger store they base their list off of is the Tennessee/Alabama/Georgia/South Carolina area, but I figured it was worth a shot since Kroger seems to be a favorite amongst my readers.
The Shopping Trips
The list was set up very logically and it was nice not having to put too much thought into gathering my coupons and making a meal plan for the week. That said, when I got to the store I realized that their sales were quite a bit different than mine when it came to proteins. Luckily protein is easy to swap, so I just looked at the meal and subbed in what was on sale at my store. It didn’t personally bother me to do that, but if you would be bothered by that I don’t recommend getting the Kroger list unless you live in the region specified above.
Shopping was a bit different at first because I set up my shopping very differently and pretty much buy the same things most of the time. This isn’t a bad thing though! I wanted creativity and change in my meal planning, I liked buying different ingredients!
I shopped with coupons, so my totals were almost always around what they projected they would be or only slightly higher(even with breakfast, lunch and snacks included). They highly recommend the use of coupons and stocking up, ladies after my own heart!
So how was the food? I have to admit, it was really good! We have several new favorites as a result of using E-Mealz this past month! There were some short cut ingredients used that I don’t typically use, but there is plenty made from scratch as well. In all honesty, even with more processed food than we are used to, we probably ate healthier on E-Mealz than we’ve eaten in months. Every meal is balanced and includes all the major food groups. Now don’t worry, I hope I’m not making it sound like they have you eating frankenfood! Remember, we don’t eat much processed food around here! I’m talking about frozen garlic bread and pre made ravioli. Not canned spam!
I have to admit I appreciated the shortcuts, and I appreciated getting a break in the kitchen while still providing my family with a quality meal!
I highly recommend E-Mealz for anyone who needs a break in the kitchen. Does your mind spin when you think about grocery shopping and meal planning every week (“Didn’t I *just* grocery shop last week!?”)? If so, E-Mealz might be something that will ease your burden and make meal planning fun again and less of a chore. Are you having trouble coming up with balanced meals for your family? E-Mealz takes the guess work out of dinner. Follow your meal plan and you can be guaranteed to have a healthy, frugal meal on the table night after night.
In addition to allowing me to review a meal plan of my choice for the past month, E-Mealz has also graciously agreed to give away a 3 month subscription of the meal plan of your choosing right here on Family Friendly Frugality!
For each requirement you fulfill, leave a comment below this post. You must fulfill the mandatory requirement for all of your entries to count. The winner will be chosen by Random.Org December 10th at 12pm CST, and will be announced shortly after.
- Head on over to E-Mealz and tell me which meal plan you are interested in. Leave your answer in the comments!
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- Blog about the giveaway and leave a link in the comments to your post (5 entries)
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My name is Heather and I am a frugal mommy saving money! Want to learn a bit more about Family Friendly Frugality? First subscribe to FREE daily emails. Next, learn more about our frugal blog by reading our about me post or read the popular series Our Story. Or jump in head first and learn how to reduce the family grocery budget, play the drugstore game, or catch up on the hottest frugality finds!