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Every couple of weeks I make a new commitment to meal planning. At least, I used to. The need to meal plan would hit me during late Sunday afternoon. I’d realize I had no idea what I was going to do for meals in the week ahead so I’d pull out the cookbooks and start browsing blogs. I’d plan out a full week and feel proud of myself. The best of intentions made me commit to doing it every week, but I didn’t. It would be two or three weeks before I’d sit down to do it again. I kept putting it off because it was so time-consuming. I wanted to meal plan but I needed something faster.
About a month or so ago I discovered a secret weapon in meal planning – Mindful Meal. It’s like the Pandora of meal planning. Really, it’s amazing. You just tell it what you like to eat and it plans it all out for you, including the grocery list! You’re going to be amazed at how simple it is to use. It saves me so much time that I am able to meal plan in less than 10 minutes which helps keep me committed to doing it each week.
Here’s how it works…
How to Meal Plan with Mindful Meal
When you first sign up for a Mindful Meal, you choose from 1 of 3 subscription options. You can choose to pay monthly, quarterly, or annually (it’s very affordable and you can get up to 50% off your membership by signing up here). I’ve chosen to go quarterly. It’s basically commitment without fully committing.
Once you have registered and logged in, you’re able to create a family profile. This is the fun part! Add every member of your family here and fill out their dietary preferences and requirements.
I filled out a vegetarian profile for Brandon and myself. Even though I’m not 100% vegetarian he is and I don’t cook any kind of meat at home. I didn’t want Mindful Meal to suggest any carnivore meals so I selected “Vegetarian with Egg” for both of us.
If you have picky eaters at home you’ll love this feature. Type anything they refuse to eat into the dislikes box and Mindful Meal won’t show you recipes that include that ingredient. No more trying to find last minute substitutes, trying to hide it in the food, or stressing over finding the perfect mix of ingredients everyone will eat. Mindful Meal does all of that for you. Imagine it! No more meal planning anxiety. It’s so helpful.
My personal profile looks like this:
Set your meal preferences and click Create Meal Plan to have your meals planned for an entire week at a time. You’re able to choose the number of days for your plan which is really convenient. If you only cook at home 4 days a week, choose a meal plan for only 4 days. Mindful Meal also prepares your shopping list so choosing the correct number of days prevents you from buying food you won’t use. No reason to be wasteful if you can help it.
I generate a meal plan for 5 days because there’s usually at least one day where we eat leftovers and another day we go out for a date night. You can also choose the cooking time so if rely on 30 minute or less meals due to your family’s busy schedules full meetings, practices, and other obligations that’s all you’ll get.
When your preferences are set, click Create Meal Plan.
Mindful meal searches its database of recipes and returns your meal plan for the week. Everything they’ve planned for me has been great. I haven’t had a bad meal yet.
In the past, we’ve tried a couple of those food subscription boxes, namely HomeChef and Love with Food. I still order Love with Food every month. They provide healthy snacks that you don’t find in stores. They are way healthier than what I normally eat during the work day and it makes snacking easier. I was disappointed in HomeChef the first time I tried them (and shared it on FB Live) but I tried them a couple of times after that and it wasn’t terrible. I initially signed up with them because I thought it would make meal planning easier. It did, sort of, but I felt like it was more expensive than what I would normally pay for groceries. Mindful Meal is affordable and plans meals I make myself. My most recent meal plan looked like this:
If you like a recipe, save it to your favorites. When you’re on your meal plan screen, you can substitute a meal with a favorite that appears over on the right side column. I haven’t bothered to save any favorites yet because I want to try more new recipes but I’m sure eventually we will. When you’re ready, just confirm the meal plan. Mindful Meal creates your grocery list so you can go shopping. That’s it. You’re done.
Guys, I love this service. I don’t have to worry about being home to receive a box or stressing over whether food will spoil during transit. My Sunday nights are mine again because I’m not spending hours browsing cookbooks and food blogs. Although, let’s be honest, I’m still browsing food blogs. 🙂
If you want to give Mindful Meal a shot (and I recommend that you do), you can sign up here and get up to 50% off your subscription. If you have any questions about the service, just drop ’em below!