Meal planning. Do you do it?
I’m sure you’ve tried at some point to make a plan and stick to it, but the plan ends with rotten food and wasted money.
I have been meal planning on and off for years. My first foray into meal planning was a paper binder system with my favorite recipes and the templates to plan my meals for an entire month. Yes, you read that right. I would plan meals a month at a time.
It was great until my family grew and we all developed different likes and dislikes and adopted different eating plans.
As my family grew I needed a much more robust system and since I love technology I turned to apps on my iPad. The first one I found that I loved was Paprika. I loved that you could easily import your recipes and effortlessly create grocery lists. Now there is even a meal planner attached to Paprika.
While I enjoyed Paprika I still found it hard to decide what I wanted to eat every night and search for recipes that fit my dietary restrictions. It was all so time-consuming.
Enter Real Plans. Real Plans automates meal planning. You enter your dietary restrictions and how many times a week you want to cook and Real Plans creates a menu for the week. It even includes planning for leftovers.
Real Plans is constantly adding new features and new cookbooks. Let’s delve into some of the most popular features of Real Plans and one new feature that has blown my mind.
Customize Your Meal Plan to Your Dietary Restrictions
This is one of my favorite things about Real Plans recipe management system. Are you on a Paleo Diet? Maybe you are trying the Autoimmune Protocol or a Whole30. Whatever your style of eating you can select what ingredients you like and dislike and Real Plans will show you recipes specifically catered to your dietary restrictions.
Plan when you want to cook
Real Plans gives you the ability to set the days you would like to cook and populates your meal plan for the week based on that data. Once you set the days you would like to cook Real Plans gets to work creating a meal plan.
Don’t worry if you don’t like what Real Plans assigns to a particular day you can drag and drop the recipe to another day or delete it altogether. Think of Real Plans as meal planning ideas that you can tweak any way you see fit.
Automatic Grocery Lists
Another favorite feature of Real Plans is the automatic grocery list. Add recipes to your week and the grocery list will update accordingly.
You can check things off that you have and add additional items that you may need while grocery shopping. The grocery list syncs between all devices you have Real Plans installed on so no need to rewrite the list.
Do you love grocery delivery? Real Plans integrates with Instacart. With the click of a button, you can send your grocery list directly to the grocery delivery service and save a ton of time in planning shopping.
Customize servings per meal
Being able to customize your servings per meal is great for managing leftovers. For example, you may set your recipe for 6 servings and have a family of 4. Real Plans will calculate the 2 servings as leftovers and you can add that to your meal plan as the week progresses. This is an amazing feature for those that batch cook.
Meal Plan Templates
What is a meal plan template?
It is a saved menu for the week that you want to keep handy for future weeks. This would have been a huge time saver for me back in my binder days. Rewriting the meal plan each month was a pretty huge task. With Real Plans create, save and reusing is as easy a few clicks of the button.
Not only can you create your own meal plan template, but Real Plans has templates preloaded for you. Trying your first Whole30 and overwhelmed with all the recipe choices. Chose a template and tweak it to your needs.
Don’t worry you are limited to Real Plans Recipes or the Cook Books they offer. You can import grandma’s recipe for potato salad to reference whenever you like.
You can enter recipes in manually or enter a website URL to have the recipe imported to real plans. Once you import a recipe make sure the measurements and ingredients match. Make any edits that are necessary and save.
Auto-Sync Across Devices
Another one of my favorite features is the auto-sync across devices. That means you can use or desktop or laptop to plan the week on a bigger screen and then switch to your phone or tablet in the kitchen when it comes time to cook.
Auto-sync is possible because Real Plans is storing your data in the cloud.
Assign Ingredients to Different Stores
Do you shop at different grocery stores? Assign store to your ingredients and real plans will sort it all out. You can even mark an ingredient as “always on hand” so it doesn’t show up in your grocery list.
Oops! Did you forget to pull the chicken out of the freezer again?
Real Plans creates a timeline as you add recipes to your week. The timeline will remind you to take out frozen meat a day or two ahead of time. It will remind you to marinate the meat and walk you through each step of the process.
The timeline is great for those who don’t feel comfortable in the kitchen. That was me when I first started with Real Plans. I could barely chop an onion. With the fantastic recipes and easy to follow instructions I’m well on my way to comfort in the kitchen.
The most recent feature that has been added by Real Plans is The Pantry.
As of now, The Pantry is not an inventory of your freezer and cupboards but a way to browse recipes that require what you already have on hand. The Real Plans team went through all of their recipes and determined what was essential in each recipe. When you check off the essential ingredient in The Pantry, Real Plans goes to work to see what recipes might work.
I’m always telling my clients to shop their cupboards first to save money and not waste food. Real Plans now has the feature to do just that.
A note about the recipes you will see in The Pantry. You may not have all the ingredients on hand. Some of the spices may be missing or you have dried herbs instead of fresh. If it is not a required ingredient give yourself permission to experiment.
Now that you have been introduced to Real Plans will you give it a try? I have been using Real Plans for years and it has boosted my confidence in the kitchen, saved me money, and helped me to eat healthier and achieve weight loss goals.
Learn more about Real Plans here!
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