By Holly Reisem Hanna
If you’re anything like me, when late afternoon starts rolling around the age old question of … “What’s for dinner” enters into your head. For me this is a daily pattern of frantically searching online for a recipe, finding one that I like, and then searching for the ingredients. Often I don’t have all of the required ingredients on hand, so it’s back to the drawing board, searching online and thumbing through cookbooks to find a new recipe, until I’m finally frustrated and I just call my husband and tell him to pick up some take out.
If you really think about it, the idea of having to plan and prepare 7 nightly meals a week or 365 evening meals a year, makes dinner one of the largest time consuming tasks for women (and men).
And for me my biggest challenge as a work at home mom is finding enough time in the day to complete all of my business tasks while balancing quality time with my family.
So what is the solution … menu planning!
Menu planning saves time by reducing the amount of time aimlessly searching for a recipe, looking for the required ingredients and making unnecessary trips to the grocery store. Secondly, menu planning saves you money, because your shopping becomes more focused and impulse buys are reduced. Additionally money is saved by cutting down on visits to restaurants and ordering takeout food. Lastly, menu planning allows for healthier eating by decreasing impulse buys and by decreasing convenience meals like, frozen pizza and fast food.
There are many different menu planning options available from doing it yourself, using monthly menu guides from magazines to purchasing an online menu planning subscription. The problem with doing it yourself is that it still takes a great amount of time, but you’re able to tailor the menu to your preferences, dietary concerns and budget. With guides from magazines and online menu planning subscriptions you save time by not having to think about what to make, but the meals may not reflect your likes, dietary needs (low sodium diet or allergy concerns) and or lifestyle choices (vegetarian or vegan diet).
Clint Bounds has come up with the perfect solution … Plan to Eat is an online menu planning subscription that allows you to plan your weekly meals by simply adding recipes from your own personal files or by adding recipes from over 100 recipe websites, such as All Recipes.com. After you have added your recipes you just drag and drop recipes to your meal planner and then print your shopping list – voile dinner is planned and you now have more time for more important activities. Plan to Eat also has a very unique feature where it allows users to share recipes with each other – almost like a social networking site for home-based cooks.
Are you ready to start saving time and money?
Plan to Eat offers free 30 day trial of their meal planning service and then charges $4.95 a month or $39.00 a year to use the site. From my own personal experience meal planning has been a life saver, it has saved me time and money, but the greatest thing is it has reduced my stress and simplified my life.
Make sure to check out my meal planning board on Pinterest!
What other menu planning services have you used?