PLAN TO EAT REVIEW

Is Plan to Eat Worth the Cost? - Mommy Standard Time
The key to epic meal planning - one meal planner to rule them all - Mommy Standard Time
What is Plan to Eat? - Mommy Standard Time

Buckle up, folks. I’m fixing to completely rock your meal planning world.

The hunt is over! I have found THE BEST way to meal plan. Seriously, the best. It’s an online meal planner and app called Plan to Eat. Whether you love meal planning or you hate it, this meal planner is for YOU!

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After going through cancer treatment, I had an awakening of sorts. It came as I was sitting down to meal plan and create my weekly grocery list on a Saturday morning (because that’s what I ALWAYS did). The lightbulb went off, I stopped mid-list and wondered “WHY am I doing this every dang Saturday?”

I realized that I was wasting so much of my hard-fought life on FOOD. Not in the fun “let’s go out to eat!” way, but the TEDIOUS way: Choosing the food, listing the food, pricing the food, buying the food, loading the food, unloading the food, cooking the food, eating the food, cleaning up the food, and on and on. Every. Single. Week.

And I was tired of it.

I wanted to make meal planning and grocery shopping a mere blip on my monthly radar, rather than a weekly production.

Does this sound familiar?

If you have a similar desire, then I think Plan to Eat is just what you’re looking for. This is going to knock your socks off.


First things first, I don’t want you to read this post with skepticism or hesitance in the back of your mind, distracting you from the awesomeness that I’m about to share with you.

You know what I’m talking about….those distracting thoughts like: “Yeah, this all sounds great, but how much is it going to cost?”

I’m going to put that to rest right now by telling you that YES, Plan to Eat has a cost.

You can pay $4.95 a month or $39 if you pay for a year up front (which works out to only $3.25 a month). It is worth EVERY penny. Trust me, after experiencing the perks of this program you’ll be pulling out your wallet for the full year.

You can also try out Plan to Eat for free with no strings attached. You don’t have to input your credit card information and then remember to cancel before the month is up (like most “free trials” nowadays). It truly is one month FREE.

So with that out of the way, let’s get down to business so you can see what you get with your three or four bucks a month.

WHAT IS PLAN TO EAT?

Plan to Eat is an online meal planning program where you can store and sort your recipes, create (and save) menus, visualize your meal planning in calendar form, create a shopping list, and easily share your recipes with others.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

This list is impressive, but you really need to see it to believe how SLICK it is. So let’s dive into each feature and why it can save you so much time:

STORE AND SORT RECIPES

Recipe collection in Plan to Eat

Plan to Eat uses YOUR stored recipes for meal planning. They do not provide pre-made meal plans. It’s all you, my friend!

For those of us with picky eaters, this is heaven-sent. So many meal planners that I’ve seen supply the recipes, which is all well and good if you have adventurous eaters. Otherwise, you spend so much time adapting the recipes or even just skipping some, that it’s a waste of energy AND money.

At first glance, this particular feature of Plan to Eat could seem daunting.

Yes, it can be time consuming to build your Plan to Eat collection but it is really VERY simple. Plus, the time up front is SO worth the time you save in the end. The folks at Plan to Eat make it super easy to add recipes to your account, which you can do in five main ways:

  • TYPE IN YOUR RECIPES – This is the most time-consuming method. However, the form for inputting the recipe is very user-friendly. They even have bulk input where you can just copy and paste into one part of the form and they will split it up by line item for you. Even though it might take you a while to type in your recipes, it’s worth it to have them all in one place. I’ll show you why in a minute.
  • WEB BROWSER BUTTON – This is one of my favorite parts of Plan to Eat! Any time you are on a website and you find a recipe that looks good, all you have to do is push the “Plan to Eat” button on your browser and the program pulls the recipe info from the website and it populates the recipe form for you. You can even choose an image…just like Pinterest! Then you just need to look things over and add any other information you need before clicking save. It takes just a few seconds. It’s literally as easy as pinning something on Pinterest, but it is WAY more useful than your mountain of pins that you have to sort through every time you are making your grocery list. Keep scrolling to see why…
  • COPY AND PASTE URL – Similar to the web browser button, you can copy and paste a URL from a recipe’s website and Plan to Eat will pull that information into the program for you.
  • SHARE WITH FRIENDS – A fun feature of Plan to Eat is the ability to share recipes with “friends.” They have a friends request feature, similar to social media, where you can gain access to the recipes that people have shared. Once you are friends with another Plan to Eat user, you can view and use their recipes as-is or you can copy them and make adjustments for your own taste. You can adjust the privacy settings of your own recipes just like social media; some can be shared with friends while others are for your eyes only. Or none can be shared. It’s totally up to you. Also, becoming friends with people to see their recipes (such as when you click my link) will not automatically unlock access to YOUR recipes. They would have to send you a request. This is similar to Instagram follows.
  • INPUT FROM ANOTHER SOURCE – If you have a spreadsheet or other online database of your own recipes, you can upload the CSV or other compatible file to your Plan to Eat account. In addition, you don’t have to worry about Plan to Eat suddenly disappearing along with your account. Your work in gathering recipes won’t go to waste if you decide to switch, either. You can export your recipes as CSV and take them with you.

Once you have all of your recipes in Plan to Eat, you also have the ability to sort your recipes using tags, keywords, main ingredients, cuisine type, and/or meal type. Get creative here! I tag my recipes to help me with once-a-month grocery shopping. You could also tag and rate recipes to help you sort them by how much your family enjoyed each recipe. The options are endless!

What I love about the recipe storage on Plan to Eat is that it is made with both planning AND cooking in mind. You can open a recipe, then switch to a different view to make it easier to read the recipe when you’re cooking.

CREATE MENUS

Let’s say that you routinely make a ham and then follow up with certain meals for leftovers. Or your week is so busy that you tend to make similar meals on certain days of the week. Or maybe you want to plan out how much breakfast food you need for a month and you typically eat the same breakfasts throughout the week.

Plan to Eat can help you with ALL of those things with their menu feature! If you have a routine meal plan that you love, just save it to the program as a menu. Then you can easily drag it into your calendar when it is time to meal plan, instead of dragging each meal one at a time. (You can even import your friends’ shared menus to your own calendar!) .

Just keep in mind that everything is completely customizable! If you want to swap out one meal from a saved menu after putting it on your calendar, it is very easy to do so.

CALENDAR MEAL PLANNING

Plan to eat calendar

I’m a visual person. No matter how many ways I’ve tried to meal plan digitally, I have always gone back to the paper-pencil method with my trusty calendar.

Until now.

Plan to Eat is the first digital meal planner that works for me. I absolutely LOVE their drag-and-drop visual meal planning calendar. All you do is search for what you want in your recipes, then drag it over to your calendar. It’s as simple as that.

This is when tags come in handy. For example, when I’m meal planning for once-a-month grocery shopping, I will search for my “Week 4” tag to fill out the trickiest part of the calendar first, then work my way backwards by searching for each week’s tag.

But it doesn’t end there: If you put any prep notes in your recipes (such as “Defrost chicken 24 hours before”) those prep notes end up on your calendar at the appropriate time. You don’t have to set separate reminders for yourself…Plan to Eat does it for you!

Plus, your meal planning calendar doesn’t have to live in the Plan to Eat app (who needs yet another thing to check?!). You can use iCal to sync your meal plan with the digital calendar of your choice; it updates automatically, PLUS you can adjust how often it updates.

But you need to brace yourself now, because it gets even BETTER!

SHOPPING LIST

Now that you’ve done the work of inputting your recipes and creating a meal plan, it’s time for the time saver of all time savers: The shopping list.

When you are ready to go to the grocery store, you just hit the “shop” button and specify the dates of the meal plan for which you want to shop. The program will combine all of the ingredients from your planned meals and create your shopping list.

Woman holding paper copy of Plan to Eat shopping list

I’ll say that again: Plan to Eat will combine ALL of the common ingredients from the various recipes you’ve planned and tell you how much of each ingredient you need TOTAL. Magic!

You can even go in and manually add ingredients on each day. Let’s say you don’t really have a recipe for chili dogs, but you plan to eat that meal one night. Just manually type “Hot Dogs,” “Hot Dog Buns” and “Canned Chili” onto the date when you’ll be making chili dogs and those items will be added to your shopping list as well.

But that’s not all!

You can actually create a list of the stores where you shop and tell the program which ingredient you buy from which store. You can also tell the program which store is your favorite and it will place all of the ingredients there unless you put an ingredient somewhere else. And it REMEMBERS your preferences until you tell it otherwise.

For example, since I buy all of my meat from Safeway but I buy pretty much everything else from Fred Meyer, when Plan to Eat creates my shopping list it will give me one list for Safeway that has all of the meat I need to buy and it will create a different list for Fred Meyer with everything else.

Plan to Eat shopping list with recipe codes

One of the coolest features of the shopping list is that they create a one-letter code for the recipes you’ve planned. So on my shopping list, where it says green bell peppers it will list the various ways I will be using it in the recipes (diced, sliced, even optional) AND it will have the codes for the recipes that contain that ingredient.

Why is this so helpful? Well, if you see the word “optional” next to an ingredient, you can double-check the codes to see which recipe calls for the optional ingredient and decide if you actually want to buy that item.

This is perfect for me since chemo fried my brain. My memory just isn’t what it used to be and I love the quick reminders of why I have a particular ingredient on my shopping list.

The shopping list includes all of the kitchen staples as well. You just need to give it a quick once-over and mark the boxes of the ingredients that you already have on hand. Those items can then be removed and hidden from your shopping list.

I often forget to check my staples before running to the store, so I actually like to see exactly how much cornstarch I’ll be using that month. Then I quickly check the pantry before I leave. This feature helps me catch things that are running low and prevents me from making an extra trip to the store later on.


So that’s Plan to Eat in a very quick nutshell. Is your mind churning at the possibilities yet? I guess it’s time for the most important question:

IS IT WORTH THE MONEY?

Go ahead and see for yourself! I think you’ll find that Plan to Eat is worth every penny! For the cost of one fancy drink from your favorite fancy drink place, you can completely streamline your meal planning and grocery shopping every month; it really CAN become a blip on the radar instead of a never-ending production.

I even have a way for you to get a head start on building your collection that I didn’t have: Click here to use my referral link and you’ll automatically get access to my constantly-growing collection of recipes! (I receive a small commission from referring you to the program, at no additional cost to you.) But believe me, this wasn’t a sales pitch. This isn’t even a sponsored review. This is genuinely how excited I am about this meal planner and I want to save YOU some major time and headache. And just as a reminder, this will not give me access to YOUR recipes. It’s a one-way street unless I send you a friend request.

Remember, following my link will not sign you up for a paid subscription. It will be a FREE 30-day trial. You don’t even need to get up off the couch and find your credit card; they only need it if you decide to keep going after the 30 days. Click here to check it out!


Now that I’ve introduced you to this meal planner, I’m excited to dive into the various features and show you some things I’ve learned for saving even MORE time while using Plan to Eat. I know this review has been bit of a rave, but there are a few features that take some getting used to (none of them are deal-breakers), so be on the lookout for more tips from me! You can sign up for my mailing list (below) or follow me on Facebook to make sure that you don’t miss anything.

I’d love to know…are you a Plan to Eat user? What do you love about it? Leave me a comment below!

Pin this post if you want to come back to it later! Or, better yet, {click here} to follow me on Pinterest to see many more time-saving and time-savoring ideas!


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