Disclaimer: This piece reads like sponsored content. It’s not, I just really love this program.
Good food, saving money, and learning how to cook, there’s a lot to get excited about in meal planning.
For those that don’t know, meal planning is figuring out what to make for a week and then buying all those groceries in one shot. It is a huge time saver because it only requires one trip to the grocery store in a week. It’s also a huge money saver because there is no food bought only on good intentions. Watching food rot in the fridge is like the visual reminder of money rotting and being thrown out.
On the assumption that all the food gets cooked, it saves a huge amount of money on not eating out. Buying a sad, soggy, chicken wrap from Tim Hortons in the SUB will cost you seven dollars. Ten dollars (depending on sales) can make four wraps that are way less sad than a soggy chicken wrap. Healthier and cheaper.
Apps and websites can ease meal prep
Cooking is hard. Sometimes unfamiliar. Don’t know where to start? While some apps will make people choose their own recipes, sites like Cook Smarts will pre-populate a weekly recipe list. These recipes are very simple, very straightforward, and auto-compile into a grocery list for easy shopping.
Full disclosure: I use Cook Smarts. For a couple years meal planning was boring. I still did it, but it was always the same meals over and over and over and over. This website made cooking and meal planning fun for me. A monthly subscription costs between six and eight dollars, and includes weekly meal plans and access to an archive of previous recipes.
The recipes are simple enough that even someone with limited cooking experience can easily make a meal or two. It also tells you what weekend prep you need to do so the meals are even faster to prepare whenever you need or want to. Meals are adaptable to dietary restrictions and size, and automatically change your grocery list to match.
Platejoy is a similar concept, but maybe even a bit better than Cook Smarts. It’s hard to tell without joining.
Other meal planning apps that come up online frequently are the Paprika App and Anylist. Paprika and Anylist allow the user to save any recipes that can be found online and lets the user create meal plans and grocery lists with those recipes. But the problem, if you’re in a rut, is creating a meal plan with the same tired recipes over and over. It’s not populated weekly with recipes.