Meal Planning Made Healthy, Easy & Affordable (to save you money)
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The Dinner Daily Review
What’s for dinner?
It’s one of the hardest questions for me to answer every day.
I do have a meal planning system in place that I love (you can check it out here), but sometimes “same-old-same-old” just doesn’t sound good. Ya know?
I’ve recently started branching out to find someone help me plan new meals for two reasons:
- I’m extremely busy and it’d be awesome to save some time on this daily chore.
- I’m kind of tired of eating the same things all the time. I like to try new foods!
I did have a small dilemma.
I’m not your average grocery shopper.
I use store ads to buy what’s on sale and plan my meals that way to save money. (If possible I try to stack coupons into the mix too.)
I want healthy, but I also want budget friendly.
Healthy and budget friendly don’t usually go in the same sentence together.
So I looked around and found The Dinner Daily. (you can get a 2-week free trial by clicking here.)
The Dinner Daily Meal Planning Service
The Dinner Daily was recently featured in Rachel Ray Every Day as a recommended meal planning service, so you know they've got to be good.
The idea behind this dinner planning service is they plan your meals around your store ad!
The meal plans also have a strong focus on healthy meals.
Bodabing! Just what I need!
Each week they send me an email (on the day my store ad starts) with 5 dinners planned for me.
- Editable menu plan. If you don’t prefer one of the dinners they’ve selected for you, you can select a new one from a drop-down list. All the meals are based on your store ad. You can also change the suggested side dish if you prefer.
- Shopping list of items to buy. Once you’ve finalized your menu, you can get your shopping list ready. It tells you what’s on sale! You can edit your shopping list and remove items you already have at home.
- List of coupons. A list of printable coupons is available for any of the ingredients from all menu items.
Cost of Dinners
I spent about $50 on fresh groceries to for the meals I was planning. This was mostly fresh meat and fresh vegetables.
I had most ingredients I needed at home. I don’t have a picture of my receipt, but I did save 20% by buying most of these items on sale.
This put my dinners around $10 a night for dinners.
Not too shabby!
One thing I really like is there is some flexibility to the menu. There is a pre-selected menu for the week, but you are able to adjust it to your liking. Simply edit the menu for any day of the week and pick something that suits your families tastes.
You can select your preference to include the types of meat you prefer (red, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish) or select a vegetarian option.
You can also fine tune your preferences if you would prefer low-carb meals, want to avoid dairy or eggs, or have food allergies gluten, soy or nuts.
I like a little bit of everything, so I love that they give a variety of choices.
What about Delivery?
Meal delivery services sound like a dream come true. Unfortunately for me it's too expensive for my family.
While The Dinner Daily doesn't offer a food delivery service, there is a work around that gets you the same result for less money.
Option 1 Get delivery right from your local grocery store. Grocery stores in many areas are offering pick up or delivery for free or for a small fee. (Daydream with me a little as you imagine someone else doing your grocery shopping for you and then bringing it right to your car or even to your house ... awww, luxury.)
Since The Dinner Daily creates your shopping list for you, simply transfer your list into your stores online shopping cart and have it delivered or use a pickup service.
Get delicious dinners planned, and the shopping done for you for a fraction of the cost of the big name dinner delivery services. Score!
Who It's Good For
- Busy families or couples who need help coming up with unique meals.
- Meal planning is problematic because you don’t have time.
- You want to save money at the grocery store without overthinking it.
- You like a variety of foods and like to try new recipes.
Who Wouldn't Like It
- Very picky eaters who like to stick to a known meal routine. Although, The Dinner Daily does let you choose an option to "stick to the basics". It could still be worth doing the 2-week trial to see if your family would like it.
- Those who don’t like to cook or take the time to prepare meals.
Is it Affordable?
There are different subscriptions available, so depending on what you decide you would pay between $4-$6 per month. That’s it.
That’s a great deal if you ask me.
Ask yourself this, would you pay someone $1.50/week (at the most) to plan a healthy menu for your family based on what’s on sale at your store, give you all the recipes, a shopping list and a list of potential coupons available?
I already pay someone (cough, McDonald’s) a little too much and a little too often for food that I don’t really like. I’d much rather have a home cooked meal.