I am working on this post much later than I wanted to, because I was too busy setting up my very first bullet journal, including starting a section on blog post topics:

The verdict is still out on this bullet journaling thing. So far, my impression is that it’s primarily crack for creative and organizational types but not actually a sustainable practice.

But that’s not really what we’re here to talk about today.

No, today, I want to talk about dinner.

Specifically, cooking dinner.

Did you know that eating home cooked meals is a REALLY good thing you can do for yourself?

Research has shown that people who eat home cooked meals regularly

  • Are happier
  • Are healthier
  • Have higher energy levels
  • Have improved mental health
  • Even live longer!

I mean, don’t you want all of that in your life?

Now…Perhaps you are one of the blessed, born with a natural love of meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking.  To you I say…

Congratulations, you have won the lottery! Perhaps you’d prefer some advice on organizing your spice cabinet instead.

I personally was born without any of those skills.

  • I get frustrated trying to scour the internet and sometimes, even, cookbooks trying to find dinner recipes for the week
  • I get overwhelmed trying to compile all the recipes into a grocery list
  • I end up using the same meals repeatedly, which gets boring real fast
  • I do not enjoy the process of hauling myself to the grocery store, wheeling around for hours looking for what creative place management has decided flatbread should go in this week and debating over the correct softness of avocados, waiting in line and then lugging everything home
  • I don’t have any freaking clue how to cook

Do any of those sound like you?

Talk about winning the lottery! I was lucky enough to hate all parts of the meal process – but for you it may only be one or two parts of the process that cause you stress. But, for many of us, it’s that stress that causes us to give up on trying to cook dinner and instead we graze or just order out.

But by doing that, we’re missing out on allllll those benefits that will actually make us happier, healthier adults.

So how do you hack the stress and get yourself cooking?

Betcha thought I was going to say a meal kit service!

Nope.

Here are the problem with the meal kit services.

  • They’re expensive. Despite what they claim, the actual cost per meal is not a good deal.
  • They restrictive. You really don’t have much flexibility – you cook what they send you.
  • They’re not comprehensive. Meal kits don’t cover all 7 days. So then you’re still responsible for planning out the rest of the week.
  • They’re not flexible in portion size. Seconds? No way. Leftovers? Ha!
  • They’re wasteful. I know some of them try to be green but…you’re still having all your food packaged into tiny little pieces of plastic and cardboard that will be promptly tossed.

So in my opinion, leave the meal kit services behind.

Instead, sign up for

A meal planning service

What’s the difference? These services send you recipes for the week instead of the food.

Why does that matter?

  • Meal planning services take the guess work out of what to cook for the week
  • But at the same time, they provide the flexibility you need in real life. They let you add, remove and swap out recipes so you can come up with a weekly menu that works for you
  • They provide multiple options like vegetarian, gluten free, paleo etc.
  • They provide you with that wonderful variety of new and different dishes, so you never get bored
  • You can change serving sizes to accommodate seconds, thirds, leftovers and anything else
  • They usually incorporate the same ingredients over the week so that you can use up everything and reduce your food waste
  • They build a grocery list for you, so you don’t have to try to cobble together a list from all your random recipes
  • They know you probably don’t know how to cook so they usually provide detailed instructions and tutorials along the way
  • Meal planning services are VERY INEXPENSIVE (we’re talking a few bucks a month)

Here are a few meal planning services:

I’ve used a few meal planning services but I personally decided to go with CookSmarts (I’m not affiliated with them, just love their service!) and it’s been a game changer in the dinner game.

Here is what my CookSmarts week looks like:

You can see I’m not going to be able to cook Wednesday or Thursday, so I skipped those meals.

And I increased the portions for Monday and Tuesday so that I could use the leftovers for lunch but not Friday, since I know I’ll be meeting some friends for lunch the following day.

 

Oh and if you hate grocery shopping like me…

Most of these services are already connected to a lot of grocery delivery services. Meaning you just push a button and your grocery list goes right to the grocery delivery site.

But even if they’re not connected or they aren’t connected to the service you use, all you have to do is sit at your computer, choose your grocery delivery service of choice, pull up your already put together grocery list and click on the items you need.

So now, what used to take me Many. Frustrating. Hours. on the weekend has turned into a 15-30 minute process that I usually do over the weekend while watching something on Netflix (current obessession: Roseanne, the original) and the result is that Mr. Juris Doctor and I eat at home almost every night.

Ready to cut the stress and be a happier, healthier, adulting adult? Give meal planning services a try! If you already use them, what’s your favorite?