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Meal Plan Services Serve Up Healthier Meals in 2015


For many people - us included - the new year marks a chance for new beginnings. At our house, we're recommitting to eating healthy, balanced, kid and mama-friendly meals. But, let's be honest, for many of us that is a big effort. It takes time, planning and dedication to make it happen night after night. That's why we're thrilled to share some websites that do all the heavy lifting by curating delicious and healthy recipes, creating grocery shopping lists and delivering it to us every week. There's a good number of sites dedicated to aiding families in meal planning and they range from providing fixed recipe plans to recipe databases to delivering all the food you need. Here's a quick look at six great services to help you serve up healthier food in 2015.

Set & Flexible Meal Plans & Grocery Lists

Relish! New meal plans are added weekly and community members can tweak the plan to fit their family's needs. Relish members can add their own favorite recipes so you can still incorporate your family's favorites. Check out some sample 30-minute recipes.
Favorite feature: You can scale the servings to automatically adjust the grocery list.
Cost: $7 per month.

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Saving Dinner. The original Menu Mailer takes the guesswork out of what to cook for family dinner every night. With a subscription, you'll receive a weekly PDF of recipes and shopping list for a variety of diet preferences: Classic, Paleo, Low Carb, and Daytime menus delivered to you each week. For even more options, the Premium Menu Mailer allows you to build your own meal plan from previous Menu Mailers and the database of recipes. The result is a custom meal plan with shopping list.
Favorite feature: Access to all the meal plans for various diets.
Cost: $12 per month for Premium Menu-Mailer. $15 for 3 months for Menu-Mailer.

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The Fresh 20. Full disclosure - my family subscribes to The Fresh 20 and we love it. The idea is you stock your pantry with basics and essentials and then every week you get a meal plan based around 20 fresh, whole food ingredients. With an hour of prep work at the beginning of the week, cooking a healthy and balanced dinner throughout the week takes only about 20 - 30 minutes. Submit your email for a sample meal plan.
Favorite feature: The whole plan is based on buying 20 fresh ingredients that you use throughout the week.
Cost: $24 for 3 months.

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The Six O'Clock Scramble. The website is a meal planning tool to help you organize healthy meals and grocery list that adapts your family. Each week you get a meal plan with five meals, you customize for your family and schedule and then shop with a complete shopping list. Sample weekly meal plan.
Favorite feature: No meal takes longer than 30 minutes to prepare. And it includes crock pot options!
Cost: $29 for 3 months.

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Everything But the Chef

Blue Apron. Take the prep a step further with this service that delivers fresh ingredients and recipes to your home. They literally plan, shop, measure and deliver everything you need to prepare healthy and delicious meals. They deliver to a good portion of the country through a network of farms and family-owned purveyors.
Favorite feature: Opportunity to be adventurous and gourmet without any guesswork.
Cost: $9.99 per person per meal.

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HelloFresh. The goal is of HelloFresh is to help people make "nutritious and delicious" meals in their own home. They promise simple recipes that take only about 30 minutes and help reduce waste by providing pre-measured ingredient. Delivers classic or veggie boxes nationwide on the day of your choice. See sample recipes online.
Favorite feature: Veggie options!
Cost: About $10.75 (meat) or $9 (veggie) per person per meal.

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Do you plan your meals and shop strategically? Have you tried a service, website or app that helps?

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