Food on the Table

So, one of the blogs I read posted a promo for the website Food on the Table. I’m sure she is getting compensated in some way for it (good for her!), I am not. The promo is offering lifetime premium membership to their “Meal Planning Service”. I decided to give it a whirl. I like menu planning and I like free, so it should be a slam dunk, right?

According to the Food on the Table website: “Our meal planner template combines the weekly sales from your local grocery store with your family’s food preferences. What this gives you is a meal planning template that is ideal for creating a family-friendly and healthy meal plan based on kid-friendly recipes hand-picked by our chefs.”

Well, apparently what we have here is a failure to communicate.

See, to me a “Meal Plan” for a week would include Monday’s breakfast, Monday’s lunch, Monday’s dinner, etc. etc. for the whole week. It would not include recipes placed in an order determined purely by the order in which they were picked. And a “meal” includes at least 3 of the major food groups. It can be a one pot meal, it can be a 3 course meal, I don’t care. But “Grilled Chicken” does not make a meal at our house. And “Service” means YOU are actually doing something for ME. It does NOT mean I am picking out recipes from your little selection, possibly editing them for my family’s tastes, adding additional recipes so that I can actually have full “meals”, adding additional items to the grocery list, etc.etc. It seems like a lot of work on my part and nothing but maintaining a database on their part. Oh, but they will send me alerts! To go grocery shopping. Not to remind me what I had planned for dinner tonight – because that isn’t part of their version of “Meal Planning”.

This is grocery store trip planning. And frankly I can’t believe they charge $5 a month for it. There are websites out there which give you actual menus filled with actual meals, with accompanying grocery lists and recipes that range from free to $20/month. Although even these ignore breakfast and lunch usually.

This service might be a good one if you are planning a big OAMC day using their recipes. That would be when having recipes in no particular order, and maybe heavy on the main dishes, makes sense. But for week to week planning. Nah. I will stick with my MacGourmet database and meal planner.

But maybe in the Fall, when life starts getting crazy with school and Scouts (both Girl and Boy next year!), I might try out a few of these meal planner services. Although when they tout 5-7 dinners for 4 for less than $100 as amazing savings, it makes me cringe. I still keep my grocery budget between $75 and $130 a week for 15-20 meals a week for 4, and that includes shopping at the Farmer’s market.

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