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Budget Basics 101 // Meal Planning

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“What’s for dinner?” seems to be the age old question that, when asked constantly, is enough to send anyone over the edge. Serving ones family by planning meals, shopping for them and preparing them seems like an easy enough task but amongst all that wives and moms do, it often becomes a point of frustration and discouragement. I remember as a newlywed I spent hours each week researching recipes online, making shopping lists and preparing a meal plan hoping to be this super awesome wife who was a mix of Sarah, the woman described in Proverbs 31, and Martha Stewart (pre criminal activity, of course).

I tried to come up with new ideas but found myself intimidated by the whole process and ended up repeating meals quite often. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this but my poor husband became tired of certain meals and would graciously let me know when it was time to switch it up. Honestly, I was tired of the same meals too.

Once I became pregnant and had our daughter, I didn’t have hours to set aside each week for researching recipes. I was also way more tired in those early months and would often forget to write items down on my shopping list which was very frustrating, especially if a meal depended on said item. We were beyond blessed to have our Texas church family provide meals for the first month of our daughter’s life but after that I knew I would need to find a solution that would best serve my family.

I looked into a few meal planning services, desperate for a solution but found that they weren’t quite the fit we were looking for. I used emeals for a while and liked it overall but many of the recipes in our meal plan included fish, which I don’t particularly like and steak, which we only buy a few times a month and usually only if it’s on sale. I had also seen posts for $5 Meal Plan which is similar to emeals but at the time I tried it, they weren’t offering paleo which is primarily what I like to prepare for my family.

When I saw a post in a Facebook moms group for Plan to Eat, I knew I had to give it a try. After signing up for the free 30 day trial, I was sold. Plan to Eat is the best option for me because it gives me the flexibility I need when it comes to meal planning. Financially, it makes SO much sense because we only buy what we need – no food goes to waste and we don’t go over our grocery budget.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

Some of my favorite features of Plan to Eat are:

  • The flexibility to add recipes from anywhere – copy and paste a link or manually type it in.


  • The drag and drop calendar – I’m a visual person, so this is really helpful.
  • Being able to add to the calendar – we buy miscellaneous items that aren’t necessarily recipe ingredients (i.e. snacks) and Plan to Eat allows me to type them in on the calendar which automatically adds them to the shopping list.
  • Adding friends – I LOVE this feature because once you become friends with another Plan to Eat user, you get instant access to all their recipes. If you choose to sign up, feel free to connect with me, my user name is LDuPrez.
  • No mobile app – this might seem a bit behind the times but Plan to Eat does have a mobile site which allows me to physically check off items as I purchase them. For me, this is way more practical than printing out a list and carrying it around the store, especially since my one year old would probably eat it at some point (not that we’ve ever had that happen or anything. . . ) and this means one less app taking up space.
  • Adding my Meal Plan to my Google Calendar – Google Calendar is simply one of my favorite apps (yes, I know I’m a nerd) and having the ability to take my meal plan and place it on my calendar is a great feature. With the Plan to Eat calendar, users are provided with links to their recipes, ingredients and notes – you have the flexibility to add whichever calendars you want to your Google Calendar or other calendar apps that allow import via URL. I may or may not have imported our recipes to my husbands calendar to keep him from asking, “What’s for dinner?” (and of course, he still asked just to be obnoxious).

Overall Plan to Eat is a win because it is extremely flexible, it does the work for me, it makes it so easy to find new recipes, it saves me a TON of time and I can add my meal plan to my calendar – I’m so grateful that the meal planning madness has finally come to an end!

Check out the slideshow below to view my personal Plan to Eat interface to see how it works.

Overall Plan to Eat is a win because it is extremely flexible, it does the work for me, it makes it so easy to find new recipes, it saves me a TON of time and I can add my meal plan to my calendar – I’m so grateful that the meal planning madness has finally come to an end!


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