How does emeals work?
Ok, so here's the deal with emeals... You pay for 3 months, 6 months, or a year's worth of meal recipes, and emeals sends you a PDF every week of your menu, plus a shopping list to go with it, and it corresponds to the store you choose (or there are generic plans). I used Walmart (more on that later) and chose the Gluten Free plan because I am experimenting LOL... Some other choices are Low Carb, Paleo, and one I want to try, Clean Eating! The lists also show you the prices of all the items so you can budget. Awesome!
My shopping trip
So yesterday I went shopping with my very first list. I loved how nice it was to go to the store and know exactly what I was getting, plus a few staples for the kids, my breakfasts, etc. - plus how much it was going to cost! No more wandering around the store aimlessly, trying to figure out a few meals to throw together. It was fast and easy, and pretty stress-free EXCEPT that our Walmart is like the ninth gate of hell. I hadn't been there in a while (for good reason) and remembered why as soon as I got in there. It was dark, their produce looked SO bad, and I couldn't find anything that was organic, which was not cool since I try to get certain fruits and veggies without pesticides since the kiddies eat them raw with the skin, etc. There were also at least 5 things on my emeals list that they either didn't carry (despite emeals saying they did) or they were out of. Like sweet potatoes - who runs out of sweet potatoes?? Anyway, I literally abandoned my shopping trip halfway through and opted to go to Meijer, another store about 5 minutes away. But it was cold outside - and sleeting. And I had to park way out in the boonies because it was a Sunday and everyone was out. I was not amused with Walmart AT ALL at that point! I will be changing my plan to the "generic" one so I can shop anywhere I want.
So back to Meijer - it was heaven. I walked in, took a deep breath, and enjoyed the pleasant aroma of fresh produce and people who had showered. It was fabulous. They had everything I needed, and some things were cheaper than the list specified - score!! I got home and tallied up all the groceries I got, minus the extras I bought like deodorant and juice, etc. - and I was within $3 of the total listed on the sheet! It was so satisfying! Most emeals shopping lists on my plan (Gluten Free family plan, which serves 3-5 people) were anywhere from $80 to $90 per week, BUT since I had some of the ingredients in my freezer or pantry, mine came out to $56 this week. Emeals offers various plans that include breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but we have only the dinner plan right now. My other meals are pretty much set, as you will see.
My meal planning strategy:
My husband is on second shift, and we eat our "big meal" at lunch time, so keep that in mind. I will have my regular breakfast of oatmeal or Kashi Go Lean and a protein shake (or Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.) and then we will have the emeals meal for our big lunch. Hubby will then take the prior or current day's leftovers as his "dinner" at work. For my dinner, I have Shakeology. My snacks will remain the same. (Watch for a future post regarding what I eat in a day!) So we are going to be saving a good bit of money by making a bigger meal and splitting it up, AND this should also help with any "mindless eating" since it is all planned out. I'm very excited to see how this works out - I'll keep you posted!
Want to know the most awesome part??
I got emeals through Groupon for over 60% off! So it was only $29 for the whole year. They are running this particular deal for another 2 days, but what's nice about Groupon is that a lot of the deals repeat. If you are reading this after 1/15/13, or the handy link isn't working for you, just Google Groupon and emeals and something should come up if you dig a bit!
Have you used emeals? I'd love to hear your feedback!