Game Changer! Plan To Eat

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

I have recently discovered something that has been a total game changer in our household. After a long, cold winter of being cooped up inside for way too long, Spring signifies a time to adopt some good habits that we'd let slide through the colder months. For us, the biggest one is grocery shopping. Not only do I really dislike the cold, I especially dislike grocery shopping when its cold. Let me tell you about my relationship with grocery shopping: I hate it. Everything about planning our weekly menus, I hate. I despise menu-planning, then list-making then grocery shopping. Because after all that exhausting work is done, guess what?? I still have to cook! And when the cooking is done and everything is eaten, guess what??? I'm still not done-- there's the clean up! It is all just such a process.

But I am off on a little rant. All that to simply say, I'm not a fan of what is arguably one of the biggest parts of my stay-at-home job. A while ago, my sister-in-law suggested a podcast to me called "Inspired to Action" with Kat Lee. I would absolutely suggest this podcast to anyone and everyone! I usually listen to it at nap time when I am cleaning the kitchen. It makes an often-loathed tasked into a not so lame one. (See rant above.) On her podcast, Kat recommends this thing called "Plan To Eat." She even offered a free 30-Day trial. We'd just had one of those weeks where we had nothing in the fridge for days, and resorted to eating out way too much. I had to try it-- and I LOVE IT! It is so simple to use and has cut my meal planning time to almost nothing.

Here's briefly how it works (there are videos on the website that explain it all really well): You can import recipes from any website, and you can even manually enter any recipes you can't find online. I started by going through all my Pinterest food boards and importing those recipes into my Plan To Eat (PTE). I worked on it in the evening when I was watching TV or a movie with Sean. Super easy and it didn't take long. Here's how some of my Recipes look right now:

There are all kinds of ways you can tag and organize your recipes- they're all very customizable. It makes it super easy to find what you want and to mark your favorite go-to's. 

So after you import your recipes, then its time to drag and drop your recipes into your week! You can plan as far ahead as you want, and you can even duplicate entire weeks or months of planning to make it super simple. Here's what the planner view looks like: 

You can see that some of the items are in blue. That indicates that it is a recipe. The menu items in white (like in the second week) are items that I don't use a recipe for, I just know what's in them or I know that we have everything on hand.

You can make a menu for all your meals and snacks or just for dinner. What I like to do is put our basic breakfast, lunch and snack items in the calendar so I know what we have on hand. But we don't necessarily eat the breakfast that is on that particular day.

But NOW.... here's the best part. Plan To Eat compiles your shopping list for you!!! It takes all the ingredients from all the recipes you have planned, as well as the extra items you've added (like waffles, cottage cheese, etc) and formulates a shopping list. You can even customize this shopping list to follow the layout of your favorite store!!! You can add and delete items easily from your list, too. Here's what my shopping list looks like from this week (before I added staples like lunchmeat and bread):  

Seriously, I know I sound like an infomercial but PTE has revolutionized my life. And no, I"m not just being dramatic. This is real life, friends! So here's the deal: you can also get a free 30-day trial of Plan To Eat. They don't take any credit card or bank information. It really is no-strings-attached-FREE. Then after your trial, you decide if you like it. If you do-- awesome! It is $4.95/month or you can pay a year upfront for $39.95 (saving you some cash). But what do I get out of all this?? Aside from sharing my newfound love with you friends, for each person who uses this referral link to sign up, I will get a dollar. So its not much, but its something- and as I hope you will soon be able to tell, it is such an awesome website, you will be telling all of YOUR friends about it!!!

One more thing: this past Monday night, Sean and I took a much-needed overnight date. We stayed at an amazing hotel downtown and planned to go grocery shopping on our way home the next day. Well, I didn't get our menu planned before we left, so I had to do it Tuesday morning, just before we were checking out of our hotel. I set up the entire week's menu AND shopping list in less than 5 minutes on our iPad!!!  It was wonderful!

So tell me... do you hate meal planning/list making/grocery  shopping as much as I do? What is your method for this daily task? Have you tried Plan To Eat? Will you try it?????  Click HERE to sign up for your free 30 day trial! And let me know what you think. :)

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