I am terrible at planning meals and cooking. I used to find a few recipes online, go to the store to get the ingredients (usually forgot a few of those ingredients and purchased other things instead that had fun packages), and would come home and just make a frozen meal because I didn't feel like cooking anyway. I don't have a natural ability or even interest to cook, I usually burn whatever I am cooking and always put in the wrong combination of spices. Then I discovered The Fresh 20 from a podcast and it has helped me plan and easily cook, healthy, fresh food for way less.
The Fresh 20 is a service that sends me an email each Friday with a list of meals for the next week and a shopping list for the store. The idea with Fresh 20 is that the shopping list will have 20 fresh ingredients or less (not including items you would already have in your pantry) and each meal will only take 20 minutes to prepare each night. The meals are very simple; even I can do it! It also has a weekend prep guide (that takes about an hour) with directions for what you can do on the weekend to prep your meals for the weekdays. It does this all on a budget too; the shopping list each week even estimates your grocery list. I would venture to say that I am spending about half of what I used to on groceries because I am being deliberate about what I purchase, buying things in season and spending less on frozen, expensive items. The plan is also set up that if you use half of a tomato in one meal you use the other half later in the week so it maximizes the ingredients you do purchase which I appreciate.
Here is the list of meals I got this week to give you an example. the first page always has the weekend prep guide as well.
Here is the shopping list for this week. The plan I have is supposed to be for a family of four so it makes quite a bit a food. So I usually only make two or three meals each week and we eat leftovers but that is not a problem. The shopping list has the numbers for the meals next to it so you can buy only the ingredients for the meals you want to make.
I signed up for a 3 month subscription for Vegetarian meals ($18) I have been doing this for about 6 months now; I got away from it in the summer when I was traveling and now that I am doing it again I remembered why I loved it so much. They have a 3 month subscription option for Classic Food and Gluten-Free food in addition to the Vegetarian plan I have. They also have specialty 12 week plans for Kosher, meals for just one person, and Dairy Free. They also just started a 6 week lunch plan which looks cool.
Grocery shopping is easier and cheaper for me and I feel empowered that I can actually cook good, fresh food although- as Bennett as my witness - I still set off the smoke detector almost every time I cook.
You can try a weekly plan for free to see if you like it. Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page and just put in your email. Let me know if you try it!