Friday Review


Have you heard of e-mealz before, or perhaps Mealtime Makeover? I'm pretty sure I may have come across it before, but never really took the time to check it out. However, as part of the TOS "Crew" I was asked to check it out and give you a review.

After reading up on I have to say, I really do love their mission behind why they do what they do. I honestly think it's a great idea, but I will also give you an accurate glimpse into how this program worked for me.
Honestly, it took me a little while to work this program into my schedule. But in the end, I'm a fan.

Even though I knew it was a good thing to try, I had to get motivated to actually put it into action. Although much of the work is done for you, you still gotta' get out there and get the ingredients that are called for. Although I am a big fan of meal planning, it is one of those things that is easy to get out of the habit of doing. I know it really is worth it once you get back into the swing of things.

Also, part of my hesitation was wondering how this would fit into the type of food we try to eat (minimally processed, whole grain, no processed lunch meats, etc.). The simplicity of the program is beautiful though. Simply choose a plan, print your list, get your ingredients and eat!


I will say, a program like this is awesome for people who are extremely busy and want someone to tell them what to fix and what ingredients you need to make those meals. The program costs $1.25 per week and you are given the grocery list for that week's plan as well as the recipes needed.  If you choose a Kroger meal plan for example, it will cost you about $75-$85 a week (I'd say that $1.25 per week cost for the program was worth it!). So, say you have 6 people in your family and you spend $85 a week, that works out to feeding each member of your family for only $14 a week with a homecooked meal!

In case you're wondering, has several options to choose from, depending on your family size (family plan: 4-6 people or the regular plan: 1-2 people), dietery needs (gluten free, low fat, low carb, portion control and vegetarian), and select store choices. I would have preferred to have chosen a specific store, but it was not available for my region. However, I did have the option of choosing "any store" and they match the recipes with items that are generally on sale for that region.

Since I chose the "any store", there wasn't a price total for the meals listed. However, when I chose the special "Family Week" recipe it did give a price for the whole meal, which I think is awesome. I'm guessing they do this if you pick a particular store because they are choosing meals based on what is on sale that week at that store.

I honestly think a program like this would work great for some people. At first I wasn't sure if something like this would work for us only because I try to not buy processed foods (e.g. Texas Toast, etc.) and sometimes seeing it on the list is a big temptation for me to just buy it. (Not that there's a ton of processed foods on the lists and also, there were some things I never would have tried on my own, but were healthy and part of the meal plan so I gave them a whirl, and it was actually good!)
At the same time, it would take just a little more planning on my part to make my own healthier version of whatever was suggested that I didn't think I should buy.  The other hesitation for me is if I were to buy the healthier version at Whole Foods of salami, for example, I'm going to be paying a pretty penny for something that I normally wouldn't buy. Overall though, I just try to make the best choice on an ingredient by ingredient basis.
If you're the type of person that likes to use your own recipes, you can certainly include those with the suggested meal plan for that week. That would work great if there's a particular meal that you don't care for.  I've also noticed that I can sometimes make the meals last for at least 2 meals (we have 5 people in our family with 3 being 6 and under) so that helps stretch the budget as well.

I will say, if you have never done meal planning before, or if you are struggling to get back into the swing of things, do yourself a favor and sign up for this. For an average of only $5/mth I think it will help teach you the basics of meal planning and help you get in the habit of planning to eat. I would give yourself about 6 months. After that, you can re-evaluate and see if it is meeting your needs or if you are ready to branch out on your own. Personally, I'm ready to sign up!

I do wish I had the option to choose a specific store for my region because if I knew what was on sale I could easily look up coupons that corresponded with those sales. If it's "any store" I don't necessarily know if it's on sale at the store I'm going to. This would be to maximize my savings. You might suggest I still use a coupon. However, I have found that it is generally cheaper to buy the store brand even if I use the name brand with a coupon. That is why I prefer to use my name brand coupons on name brand items that are on sale. That's the way to really save. (update: a reader recently signed up and chose the Kroger option even though she doesn't live in that region and she said the sales still pretty well match up. It probably just can't be guaranteed. I think I might try switching to the Kroger option and see how it goes. Thanks, Sue for the tip!)

As a side note, I would love it if they had a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods option to choose from. I think that would be great!

If you have any questions about how this program works, you can probably find your answers here.

Overall, I think this program is a brilliant idea! What a great gift for your child's teacher, a new bride or anyone else in your life that is busy. If you're interested, you can surprise them with a gift certificate. It's a great way to encourage someone in the right direction of "planning to eat."

If you want to sign up, click on the icon below.


If you'd like to see what other Crew Members are saying, go here.

**Disclosure: I was given a free 3 month subscription to in exchange for a candid review. This post does contain affiliate links.

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