I'm a few weeks late in posting the promised review of the eMeals app, because I had a heavenly little ski vacation in the middle. So first let's bottom line this: eMeals is a great resource as long as you remember to use it. It's like the rule of making lists: they're great as long as you remember to go back and actually read them.
Here's the skinny:
I downloaded the app and set it up. Very straightforward. My only complaint is that I wanted something that was a hybrid of the "vegan" plan and the "clean eating" plan. I eat mostly plant-based, but I found the vegan plan had a lot of meals that were trying to mimic meals that usually have meat - like casseroles or nachos with chili - so many of them called for fake cheese and fake meat. I don't eat either of those ~ I feel like they are so full of chemicals, you'd be better off eating high quality meat and high quality cheese. REAL FOOD, people. The clean eating plan had a lot of meat-based recipes, but what's nice about eMeals is that you're not locked in. You can pop over to another plan and download recipes, so that allowed me to pick and choose recipes from other plans, such as the Mediterranean plan or the Quick and Healthy plan.
The app gives you a set of recipes for each week. You choose which ones you want, and then it puts the ingredients into your shopping list. This is the part that took me a few minutes to figure out. (I can hear my kids saying, "Okay, Boomer" right now, which is when I always remind them that their GRANDPARENTS are in fact the baby boomers, they should be saying "Okay, Gen-Xer" to me when they roll their eyes).
The shopping list allows you to check off anything you already have in your fridge and pantry, then you send the rest to your shopping app of choice ~ I chose Amazon Fresh in hopes of getting mostly Whole Foods items, but you can also use Instacart, Walmart, etc. The downside here is the universal downside of letting someone else shop for you: they're not going to pick the best produce. But I figured I owed it to y'all to try every step of this, plus I'm not going to lie, grocery shopping is not my favorite.
I sent everything over to Amazon Fresh. I was pleased to see that for each item, you get a choice of what brand or quantity you want to buy before it goes into your shopping cart. Once that was set, I picked a delivery window and done! Of course I forgot that one of the ingredients was wine, so I had to scramble to make sure someone over 21 was at my house to sign for the groceries. Again, not eMeals' fault. (On the bright side, I had just finished taking a lot of y'all through the 14-Day Reset Cleanse, so I poured myself a little of that wine while making the farro recipe, and thought lovingly of my spirit animal, Julia Child: "I enjoy cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.")
That week, I made farro with spinach and mushrooms and an orzo dish with lemon, spinach and crispy broccoi. They were both delicious, and I'll likely make them again.
Then I got off track. Because we went out of town for a few days, and my husband dipped into my "eMeals supply" to make other things, I found myself with some random ingredients, like gnocchi, sundried tomatoes, tamari, and lots of peppers and beans, because I ended up not making some of the other recipes like Chickpea Quesadillas and Southwest Chili Pot Pie. But it worked out well because I made a quick dinner of the gnocchi one night with organic marinara sauce and steamed spinach, and as I type this, my husband is whipping up some vegetarian chili for the Super Bowl.
All in all, I think eMeals is a great concept and a useful resource as long as you stay with it, otherwise you end up paying $60 a year for nothing. If you're like me, you have to pop into your AMEX or VISA account periodically to see what recurring charges you forgot about. But the real value here is that it eliminates the dreaded "What should we have for dinner?"
The most important thing to keep in mind ~ if you don't have buy-in from your roommates/spouse/kids, it's really not worth it. You're basically doubling your grocery bill and your work. This is a tool that is supposed to make life easier, not more complicated.