With 2 kids under 5, life is busy and crazy and awesome! Getting healthy and yummy meals cooked everyday can be a huge challenge. And then there are lunches for everyone for work or daycare. What I used to do was go to the grocery store whenever (usually Saturday or Sunday) and buy the same stuff every week getting whatever version of a product that we like that was on sale that week (example, for meat I would get whatever cut of chicken was on sale).
That got boring, we ended up throwing out a lot of food because it went bad before we ate it and I ended up stressing about what I was going to make for supper on my drive home from work every night. Then lunches were frozen premade meals or a bagel or whatever was easy to grab in the morning before heading off to work.
I liked the idea of meal planning because it seemed much more organized but I had no idea how to go about doing that. I tried to grab some of my favorite recipes on Sunday (enough for at least Mon-Fri) and then get what I needed for each recipe at the grocery store. That didn’t work very well…I ended up needing to buy things like tomato sauce for example, use a table spoon and then the rest would go bad or just get thrown out because I knew I wouldn’t use it up. It ended up costing a lot of money and resulted in me creating these huge lists of things I needed at the grocery store.
I figured there must be a better way! I decided I’d grab my phone and do a search for any good meal planning aps. Before I continue, I will say that I am in no way, shape or form affiliated with this company. A bunch of apps popped up in my search and I checked out a few not knowing anything about any of them. I decided I would try this one called Mealime. The recipes looked healthy and tasty and it was free so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try it. That was back in September 2016. It’s now June 2017 and I’m still using it every week!
Now, with this app, I am not stressed about what I’m going to make for supper or what we are going to have for lunch during the week. On Sunday I check out the flyer at my favorite grocery store to see what is on sale, then I grab my phone and Mealime app and I decide how many meals I want to cook for the coming week. I usually do 5 or 6 and I chose how many servings of each meal I want. I choose 4 so that we have it for supper that night and then we have the rest for lunch the next day. Then I flip through the many many tasty and healthy recipes and choose which ones I feel like eating that week. Once I have my recipes picked out, the app creates a shopping list for me, I go to the grocery store and get the items, checking each one off on my phone as I get it. The list is all organized by grocery store section (all the veggies will be in the fresh produce section of the list for example). Maybe the grocery store is all out of an item you need…no problem, just click on the item on your phone and it will provide you with a substitute item.
We don’t throw out much food now…we pretty much use it all up by the end of the week. My stress level is greatly reduced, and the meals for the most part are awesome and getting us eating a lot more veggies than we used to and trying new flavors and things like boy choy and leeks and things we have never tried before! Don’t like mushrooms? Allergic to peanuts? No problem, you can let the app know that and it won’t create recipes with those items in them.
There are more features on the free version of this app (which is the version I’ve been using since the fall). There is also an upgraded version that you have to pay for. I don’t think it’s much…$8 a month or something like that. And it has even more features. I might just try out the pro version eventually.
In the months that I’ve been using this app there has only been one recipe that I made that I hated…and I mean hated…threw it out and couldn’t eat it lol! There have been a few that have been ok or good and there have been many that have us all saying yummmmmm, when can we have this again?!
Here is the link to the Mealime website. You can go and just browse some of the recipes there and see if it might be something you want to try. Do any of you have any other tricks or tips on how to stay organized and keep the stress level down when it comes to preparing meals?
My kids (ages 4 and 2) do like many of the recipes that I have tried using this app. Not all of them, but many of them. If they don’t like what I’ve made then I just grab something for them like cheese and crackers, or peanut butter on toast or something quick and easy…not ideal but life with kids isn’t perfect is it? lol