Online meal planner? – Reader Q&A

RelishI am looking for an online meal planner and shopping list generator…any suggestions?

As I sit down to plan the meals out and do up a shopping list, I think to myself, there has to be a digital way to do this. -Aine

If you really want everything from soup to nuts (heh), check out Relish. For a totally reasonable monthly fee, they’ll email you recipes each week from which you can pick the ones you want to make for your family. After scaling the recipes to fit your family size—-an awesome feature if you have just one child or a whole bunch of eating machines—-Relish generates a grocery shopping list for you, on their free iPhone app if you’d like. 

Each Relish recipe is coded for different attributes like vegetarian or quick or low calorie. The only thing it won’t do is dishes. Rats.


Six O'Clock Scramble


The SOS Six O’Clock Scramble to the Rescue Cookbook is my go-to book at 5:30pm when I need to make dinner FAST, but it does require me to sift through pages to figure out what ingredients I have on hand. 

Instead, have author Aviva Goldfarb email you recipe choices each week, along with a super-handy shopping list. All you do is join up with her subscriber-based online dinner planning service aptly called The Six-O’Clock Scramble. The best thing? All her recipes follow her cookbook formula of taking less than a half-hour to prepare, which is just about all the time I have before hungry children start nipping at my heels.

YummlyOr if you find yourself spending way too much time jumping from site to site to find a chicken dish your kids will eat, you may want to check out Yummly instead. Drawing from such huge recipe sites as All Recipes and Epicurious, Yummly will sift through thousands of recipes to find those that fit your criteria, though I didn’t see a filter for “no icky green things”. -Christina




Christina

Senior Associate Editor Christina Refford loves homeschooling, running, cool kids’ music, and coffee. Not in that order.

11 Comments

  • Reply February 19, 2011

    Lauren Johnson

    Allrecipe’s DinnerSpinner app for the iPhone is also really helpful. It hooks up to your online recipe box at Allrecipes, let’s you limit by dietary restriction, and helps you find recipes to use up what you already have in the pantry.

    I use it once a week to plan our meals for the next 6 days, and then we throw whatever is leftover in to making baby food on Sunday for our blog, http://www.yumnums.com. Cheap and easy!

  • Reply February 19, 2011

    jennifer w.

    I can vouch for Relish. I recall a few years ago, maybe Oprah gave a list of 5 or so sites of this type. Some had funky formatting, or focused on filling in the recipes you normally ate, or used too much mushroom soup to my liking. Relish is the type of food we were eating – just taken up a notch. Where I might have just steamed broccoli, relish suggests adding bread crumbs and parm cheese – yum! The recipes are relatively healthy, don’t require a ton of ingredients to make something special (the grocery list generated divides your list into things you probably have and the rest are divided into categories. I can’t say enough good things about this site!!

  • Reply February 19, 2011

    Erin

    Another vote for Relish – I’ve been using it for 2 years and my family loves it! It’s a rare occasion that we don’t like the entree that I chose, and they have a huge variety of side dishes now (plus the ability to change the side dish associated with each entree). I have found so many “favorite” meals using Relish!!

  • Reply February 19, 2011

    Erin

    Another vote for Relish – I’ve been using it for 2 years and my family loves it! It’s a rare occasion that we don’t like the entree that I chose, and they have a huge variety of side dishes now (plus the ability to change the side dish associated with each entree). I have found so many “favorite” meals using Relish!!

  • Reply February 19, 2011

    Beth

    And another vote for Relish.we’re at the two year mark, too. We may not eat every meal off of Relish, we eat so many that it truly isn’t funny.

  • Reply February 20, 2011

    michelle

    I’m going to have to check out Relish! Sounds great. I’ve also used http://tastyplanner.com/ since it’s free and it has a good amount of recipes on it.

  • Reply February 21, 2011

    Karin

    I’m a HUGE fan of The Scramble. I’ve been on it for over 2 years and just signed up for another 2 years. Plus, they have an iPhone app for the grocery list. We love the variety. The foods are healthy and great tasting. We’ve trimmed our waistlines and grocery expenses. I now have 4 friends using The Scramble.

  • Reply February 21, 2011

    Charissa

    I may be in a unique situation – I plan and shop but hubby does the cooking during the week. We tried Relish and I loved the grocery list format etc the recipes were just a little too fancy for us to justify. I did pick up some wonderful recipes though. I think they probably take a little longer than 30 minutes mostly. I love using Cozi to get my grocery list as a text msg. We add things on-line all week (not just while I’m standing in my kitchen at my refrigerator list) and then just send it as a message. I also can’t believe no one has mentioned supercook.com. Not a recipe or meal planning service, but so helpful in the – “Oops, forgot to plan” instance :)

  • Reply February 24, 2011

    Heather

    http://www.e-mealz.com is great! They have several options to choose from, including gluten free, vegetarian, Points System, etc. You select the grocery store you want to use (Aldi, Publix, Walmart, etc.) Next they generate a weekly menu (based on the size family you selected) that includes recipes and a grocery aisle sorted shopping list. The cost is $15 per quarter (every 3 months). If you use the coupon code DAVE you get $2.50 off the first quarter. They have a lot of sample plans you can view before purchasing too. The meals are simple and easy to prepare and really tasty too!

  • Reply March 7, 2011

    Amy

    Thanks for all the tips here. Will have to check them ALL out. Really feelin’ the love for “Cool Mom Picks” too, right now. You guys are the BEST! Thanks for all that you do. -Amy

  • Reply February 1, 2012

    Bob Smith

    I use a really cool site The Shopping List Generator. You can plan out your meals and generate a shopping list from your plan. You can even add recipes to the mealplan!

Reader Comments