I have a confession to make. I use to HATE to cook. Yes, I want my family to eat wholesome, nutritious, real food. But the thought of having to sit down, plan out meals, make shopping lists, and then prepare those meals use to make me break out in a cold sweat.
Thankfully, I have found some tools and tricks that make meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking more enjoyable for me. Granted, I may never LOVE being in the kitchen. But at least now, I do not dread it.
The first tool that I use in meal planning is the e-meals Service.
eMeals is an online service that allows you to pick a meal plan based on your dietary preferences, your cooking style, the number of people in your family, and the grocery stores you frequent. In addition to giving you a weekly meal plan, it also provides a detailed grocery list. For our family, we chose the Paleo meal plan and prepare meals for 4 to 6 people in the family. This option allows us to either have leftovers to use for lunches, or host our extended family for weeknight meals.
Each Wednesday, I receive an e-mail that contains my weekly meal plan (entrees and sides) plus a detailed shopping list. On Wednesday night, I take the meal plan and review it, determining which meals I know Micheal and I will eat, and which ones would not fit either our tastes (for example, Micheal does not like fish, so I also omit those meals) or our schedule for that week. Then I build the recipes into the Cozi Recipe Box.
Cozi Recipe Box is a part of the Cozi app. The Cozi app is an app that allows users to manage a family with shared calendar, shopping lists, to do lists and more. The Recipe Box functionality gives me singular place to store all of my recipes (both those from emeals as well as other sources), the ability to drag ingredients from a recipe into my shopping list, and the functionality to drag and drop recipes into our family calendar for quick meal planning.
And that’s exactly what I do. Since I grocery shop and food prep on Saturdays, I use Thursday or Friday afternoons to review the recipes in the Cozi Recipe Box. Based on what we have in our pantry, freezer and cupboards plus what our local grocery stores have on sale, I am able to quickly create a meal plan and grocery list. A process that use to take me at least an hour, now takes a mere 10 minutes.
I love that Micheal has access to both the meal plan and shopping list right from the app. No more nights of hearing “Honey, what’s for dinner?” . A quick glance at Cozi let’s him see what is on the menu – and he can even access the recipe to start preparing the meal if he makes it home before I do.
I have been following this process for a few months now and am LOVING it. Emeals has provided us with new recipes and meal ideas that I would never have tried on my own, while Cozi allows for quick and easy meal planning and grocery shopping.
Now it’s your turn – how do you meal plan and grocery shop for your family?