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I really need serious help in the meal planning department. My life has been a little bit chaotic lately and it is has been more crazy when I don’t plan our meals out ahead of time. I need to plan more than just dinner … I need to plan breakfast, lunch and snack time too! Yikes – that is a lot of food times 8 people. So, here is my attempt at a New Years Resolution. I’m combining two awesome and very different programs in order to get myself (and my pantry) organized!
I had used Once a Month Meals several years ago but I stopped using it because I have a very confusing problem that is most likely autoimmune in nature. I have several “food allergies” which might be from gut issues or histamine intolerance but whatever the reason, it makes meal planning even more difficult for me than it used to be … but it also makes it that much more necessary. I decided that I would use it again if only for the kids and hubby. So, when I opened up their site a few weeks ago imagine my surprise when I realized that they’ve greatly expanded their menus! They have just about everything.
Special Diets (GAPS, Low Histamine, Egg Free)
This is not your typical meal planning software, either. It is a once a month cooking site. You can download the recipes, the meal plan, the grocery list. All you have to do is type in how many people you are feeding and it gives you the exact amount of ingredients! You can choose to cook all at once or divide it up to once day a week. You can label the food and put it in your freezer and have meals for the entire month. If you haven’t checked this out, please do! It is a wonderful website.
You can choose what to print off including the shopping list, the prep instructions, cooking day instructions for the once a month meal plan, recipe cards, labels and other instructions.
I’m combining my use of Once a Month Meals with another website called Plan to Eat. Plan to Eat allows you to search the web or type in your own recipes and then drop them in a file folder online. You can then access this and everytime you meal plan, you have access to menus and a grocery list.
This is a more traditional meal planning software. However, it is good to know that it doesn’t provide you with food to make so it is very flexible. You can decide what you are eating that week and very easily plug it into the program. I like seeing the week all planned out – so if there is a night when I don’t have to cook because we’ll be at a friend’s house or have another engagement, I can mark that on the calendar.
I hope this helps you as much as these two programs have helped me! How far in advance do you do meal planning?