As you know, December is Menu Planning Month at KOAB. Every week, I am sharing two or three posts to show how menu planning can be a money-saving, time-saving and sanity-saving tool.
I know that many of you are ardent fans of menu planning already, but for others, it just feels like one more overwhelming task to add to your already busy week. It doesn’t matter how often you read “It’ll save you time in the long-run”, in the short-run, it’s all too much!
Your concerns have not fallen on deaf ears. For the past two months, I have been checking out menu planning sites that aim to take the burden out of menu planning.
Some looked promising, but ended up being more work than they were worth. Some seemed really streamlined, but came with a huge price tag. Others had everything going for them – except that none of their meals were kosher… or even remotely kosher-friendly.
Enter Food on the Table. The folks from Food on the Table actually contacted me back in September, but with the chagim, I didn’t have time to really dig into this site until last month.
When you read everything that this site can do for your menu planning process, I think you are going to be very excited!
How does it work?
Food on the Table matches local grocery store sales with recipes that are customized just for you and plugs them into a weekly menu plan.
Now, I’ve heard this claim before – and ended up with a lot beef stroganoff and chicken pot pie suggestions – using non-kosher recipes, based on sales on non-kosher meat. Ugh.
If you keep kosher – as I know most KOAB readers do – you are in luck. Food on the Table is the only menu planning site that includes kosher recipes. There aren’t that all that many now, but there are some. And as you load your own recipes – and tag them as kosher – they will expand.
You can specify the stores you like to shop at, so the menus are based on sale items at convenient stores.
After you finalize your menu plan, Food on the Table even makes a grocery list for you – and emails it to you, or sends it to your iPhone (if you have one) via their app.
What if I don’t like / can’t eat the food they pick for me?
At first, you may find that Food on the Table chooses some menu suggestions for you that you don’t like – no worries, just go in and edit those out.
You can also upload your own recipes, and instruct the app to choose from those.
And you can specify your favorite foods – as well as the foods you won’t eat (pork, shellfish, liver… ew!) You can even specify the number of days you want to eat vegetarian – for us, that’s 5 or 6 out of 7.
In my experience, it will take some fine-tuning and a bit of time to get Food on the Table working up to full-speed for you. But for those of you that are looking for a tool to make your meal planning (and grocery shopping) simpler, this is it!
How much does it cost?
There are two options with Food on the Table – a paid plan and a free plan:
Sign up for a FREE Membership to Food on the Table – You get to plan three meals per week and make all your grocery lists. You have full access to the stores, but somewhat limited access to the recipes. If you want to play with the program a bit and see if it’s for you, I recommend this option to start with. When you are ready to go full-time…
Sign up for a Paid Membership to Food on the Table – For just $5/month for the first three months, you get to plan and organize an unlimited number of meals and shopping lists. And you have full access to all the recipes. After that three-month trial, you rate goes up to $9.95. You may find that you’ve got three months worth of menus and you’re good for now, so you cancel at that point. Or you may love the list making feature so much that you stick with it at the increased cost. Either way, I am 1000% convinced that your monthly investment will save you at least 10 times that.
Bottom line: If you’re already groovin’ with your menu planning, stick to what works. But if you find yourself struggling to get started – or wanting something simpler, more streamlined – I really encourage you to give Food on the Table a closer look.