Thursday, October 20, 2011

E-Mealz - A Review

Product:  E-Mealz

Price:  $15 / 3 month subscription

To Order:   Subscribe

Creators:  Jane DeLaney & Jenny Cochran

Recommended by Dave Ramsey 

 Brief Intro - From the Website

Manage your food budget and enjoy delicious dinner recipes at home.
Menu plans based on weekly grocery store sales, seasonal discounts
or diet preferences. Be meal-wise and money-wise with E-Mealz.

How it works!

My thoughts:

E-Mealz generously allowed some of the TOS crew members to try out their ingenious program.  I volunteered for two reasons.  I wanted to add some variety to our dinners and I wanted to maintain some sort of dinner budget.  I chose the Walmart Family Plan.
Here are the details of this plan from the site - "You can hardly beat the prices at Wal-Mart SuperCenter! Wal-Mart does not offer weekly sales, but, the savings are consistent from week to week, and we take advantage of their regular Roll-back Pricing in our meal planning. If you are already a Wal-Mart grocery shopper, or you enjoy the convenience of their “one-stop shopping,” you will enjoy this meal plan and you will save even more money. We compile delicious, family friendly meals based the wide variety of produce and meats that Wal Mart SuperCenter consistently provides. The total cost for this weekly Wal-Mart plan ranges from $75-$85."

Signing up is easy.  Pick from several different option plans for couples and families, ranging from gluten free, to low carb, to vegetarian.  Just pick the one that is the best fit for your family.

On your designated day of the week (Walmart's is Thursdays), log in to the website and find the new schedule for the upcoming week of dinners, ready for you to print out.  The print out is awesome.  One page lists the meals by day, with ingredients and very detailed instructions.  The next page is your shopping list, broken into departments such as meat or dairy.  At the bottom, it lists all the staples they expect you to have on hand.  Just in case you are out of them, you can quickly add them to your list.

So how was the variety?  Very nice variety.  Throwing in some bread, veggies, and fruit.  And also making frequent use of the crockpot, which I love! 

How was the shopping list?  Very nice and organized by department.  The staples are listed at the bottom of the shopping list.  I think it would be nice if the staples were listed in the main shopping list, so that they are in the correct departments.  That way if I didn't need them, I could cross them off.  But if I did need them, I wouldn't be as likely to miss them.

I also think it would be great if the shopping list was interactive, so that I could manually add other items that I needed to shop for, combining it all into one list.

How were the prices?  The plan that I chose ranges from $75 - $85 a week for 7 dinners.  That is a little over $10/meal.   Whether or not that is a good deal, depends on your personal budget. Of course, any coupons (which I am a big fan of) would bring this down more.

How easy was the plan to follow?  The recipe instructions were very thorough and easy to follow.  I didn't have any problems figuring them out and everything turned out well.  I found all the meals that we tried to be good.  Of course, we liked some better than others.  A new favorite at our home is the BBQ Chicken Salad.

Since not every meal is going to be a winner, I think it would be great if the program offered an option to allow meal swaps.  Maybe give 2 choices per day, allowing us to pick one.  Or maybe have 2 "bonus" meals at the bottom that we could trade out for some that weren't our favorites. 

Overall, I think this program is a great idea.  It takes the "brain-work" out of dinner meal planning.  E-Mealz provides a dependable budget amount for each week.  It adds some variety to dinner and comes with a prepared shopping list.  Pretty cool idea.

It does take some getting used to.  But anything new like this has a learning curve.  So it may take a few weeks to work all the "bugs" out.  One thing different for us is that I usually make meals that have leftovers for the next day.  But with this program, it is a different meal each night.  Of course there are several ways to work with or around this.

Read more reviews.

Disclaimer: I received this item free of charge to review, as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.

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