For some, menu planning is intimidating because there is a belief that following a menu plan will be restrictive and may result in food being purchased that will be eaten once and maybe not again because ingredients in the plan aren’t popular with the cook or the family. Well, not all menu planning services are created equal and it’s to your advantage to research because you can end up saving money and finding an easy, flexible solution for enjoyable, healthy and tasty meals.
There are a few reasons why menu planning is so popular today:
1.) Busy cooks don’t have the time to figure out different meal ideas for their families. This is especially true for dinner meal-planning.
2.) Food costs are rising and menu planning offers a strategy for planning meals, according to a budget.
3.) We now know more about food and the effects of bad food on our bodies. Thinking consumers want to take steps to avoid foods that are unhealthy. Menu planning helps you to plan menus according to nutritional values that are beneficial for you and your family.
So how should you go about searching out good meal planning services for your household? Here are some factors to consider:
1.) Ease of use. No matter how much or how little you spend on a service, if it is too cumbersome to use, you won’t use it and that will be a waste of your hard earned money. Most good menu planning services offer a trial period. Take them up on their offer and try it out before making your decision.
2.) Automated grocery shopping lists. Make sure your menu planning service offers a feature that will generate a grocery shopping list for you. If you’re paying for a menu service, you shouldn’t have to devise your own grocery list based on the ingredients in the menu.
A good menu planning service will ensure that the quantities of each item on your list reflect the number of people to be served that item in a given time frame (e.g., one week). So if you’re preparing two dinners during a week that both require, say scallions, your grocery list should indicate adequate quantities of scallion for those dinners -- no more, no less. If you were to purchase too many scallions some might go to waste since scallions won’t stay fresh for long. Purchasing just the amount you need saves you money and our environment by reducing waste.
Dinners in a Flash is one of the leading online menu planning services offering all of these features and more.
3.) Customization. You should be able to customize your menu planning service, as needed. Let’s say your dinner menu requires romaine lettuce but everyone in your family prefers arugula. A good automated dinner menu planning service will allow to you easily replace the romaine with arugula so your recipe and grocery list reflects your preferences.