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How To Review Food

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 6 minute read

You’re probably as busy as the rest of us and struggle to find time to plan meals or cook meals. Constantly dining at fast food joints is bad for both your wallet and your health. Luckily, there are a number of services that can assist you in not just finding the best bargains on groceries, but also in creating weekly meal plans and providing recipes for your family. 

E-mealz is one of the most popular meal-planning websites because Dave Ramsey recommends it. E-mealz is great, but there’s a newer website I like even more called Food on the Table. You may expect many of the same advantages from Food on the Table that you would from E-Mealz, but with even more customization options, which is great if you have a picky eater in the family. 

In addition, the bare-bones subscription is completely free. Manuel Rosso, a busy father of four, founded Food on the Table to find a better way to prepare meals for his family. He and his wife began Food on the Table in August 2009. Over 250,000 people have joined since it first opened.

What Is Basic

There are a few things people can accomplish with Food on the Table:

  • To help you create tasty weekly meal plans
  • To offer fast dinner recipes for kids
  • To assist in maximizing savings at your grocery store
  • To create your grocery list for you
  • To reduce the stress of making dinner

What It Does

1. Choosing a Grocery Store

Create an account, then use the zip code search feature to locate nearby supermarkets. They include a wide range of grocery stores, from discounters like Food4Less and big box stores like Super Target to health food grocers like Whole Foods.

As an added bonus, Food on the Table shows you how many individuals have signed up for that grocery chain and how much they’ve collectively saved over the past 30 days.

2. Decide What Matters To You This Week.

Next, you’ll be asked whether you care more about eating healthily on a tight budget, eating faster, or eating more frequently at home. Then, based on your selection, Food on the Table will propose meals for you to eat.

If you select the saving time option, for instance, you’ll be given meals that don’t require extensive preparation and instead make use of convenience items like frozen vegetables. Conversely, eating healthy meals tends to call for fewer processed ingredients but can take longer to put together.

3. Choose “Vegetarian” or “Meat”

Choose meat or vegetarian from the options. Next, if applicable, decide which kinds of meat you’d like to utilize throughout the week. Based on the store you previously chose, Food on the Table displays the meats that are now discounted. You have an option between the meats that are regularly priced and those that are on sale.

Next, for each meat option you select, Food on the Table will provide two main dish recipes. To maximize your savings even further, they utilize a little yellow sale tag to indicate which recipes use sale ingredients.

4. Select a Recipe

In order to limit your options, browse the recipes Food on the Table offers depending on your criteria and read recipe reviews. Then, just decide which specific recipes you want to make that week. You can upload your favorite family recipes, and Food on the Table will make an effort to 

choose ones that use items that are currently on sale. This is a fantastic function. If you don’t like the meals that Food on the Table selects, you can browse their collection of recipes by clicking “See All Recipes.”

5. Create a Grocery List

Food on the Table generates an ingredients list per grocery aisle when you select your meals. However, unless the store you visit happens to be having a bargain on the item in question, the list will just tell you how many of them you need to buy. 

If so, the ingredient’s location next to the sale price will be italicized, along with information about the brand on sale, the size, the sale price, and the amount you’ll save. Food on the Table singles out a single grocery store, saving you time and effort over visiting a number of different locations.

Expense & Pricing

When you subscribe to Food on the Table at the bare minimum level, it’s completely free. You can now select three dishes per week from the criteria you provided or from Food on the Table’s extensive recipe archive.

For those three dinners, Food on the Table will create a shopping list. You will need to figure out what you will eat the rest of the week, create a shopping list, and look for sales on ingredients on your own. However, this is an excellent opportunity for those who have never tried Food on the Table before to do so.

Multiple paid subscription tiers are available, but they all provide the same core functionality: the ability to schedule seven meals for the week and have a shopping list prepared automatically. 

As for the cost of a subscription, it breaks down as follows:

  • Monthly – $9.95
  • Quarterly – $26.95 (save $1.07 per month off a monthly subscription)
  • Semiyearly – $47.95 (save $1.96 per month off a monthly subscription)
  • Yearly – $69.95 (save $4.12 per month off a monthly subscription)

Pros

1. Savings of Money

How much money you can save is proportional to how you currently spend on food and other necessities. Food on the Table can help you save money by making meal planning and grocery shopping easier if you frequently spend money on fast food and takeout.

Having two fast food meals each week for a household of four might add up to approximately $40 per week in food costs. Instead of spending $40 per week on food, you could save that much just by making your own lunch and dinner at home instead. 

There will be a savings of $1,100 over the course of a year! More money may be saved at the grocery store if you opted for recipes that called for discount items.

2. Savings of time

My family has to avoid dairy products because of health problems. However, I was able to select a grocery store, make a meal plan, and print a shopping list in about 10 minutes. I prefer to eat healthily, and even when I do, it doesn’t take me more than 15 minutes to prepare a dinner from start to finish.

3. Boredom Reducing

Every year, my family makes a large investment in beef, but I just can’t bring myself to be creative with our roasts and steaks. On the other hand, Food on the Table provides numerous options for preparing a wide range of meats.

When I selected sirloin steak as my meat of the week, I was offered two different preparations: honey mustard steak or beef and broccoli stir fry. Though I’m familiar with honey mustard chicken, I’ve never thought to use it on beef before. Overall, I enjoyed it.

4. Tasty Food

The Food on the Table dinners I’ve tried span several weeks, and every single one of them has been amazing. The turkey burger with bacon is my fave. Like a fancy restaurant dinner, the flavor of this burger is rich and satisfying. The burger’s bacon wrapping prevents it from drying out, which is a common problem with turkey burgers.

We eat meatless many times a week to cut costs, and it’s not a sacrifice because the food is delicious. For example, we prepared Vegetarian Chili, which was hearty and packed with nutritious ingredients like beans and vegetables. All three of my picky eaters devoured it without a peep of disapproval.

Cons

1. No Ability to Focus Your Search

Unfortunately, there is no way to filter out recipes that contain components you wish to avoid. To check if a recipe’s list of ingredients is suitable, you’ll need to go through it one by one.

2. Slow Web Page

Growing as quickly as Food on the Table has meant that the site sometimes has slowdowns, especially on the weekends. Finding time in the day or later in the evening to organize your meals is one strategy to lessen the impact of this problem.

3. Unable to Find Sale Ingredients at Several Stores

Food on the Table only checks the selected store for sale ingredients, even if the site enables you to choose from numerous retailers. Food on the Table is not going to benefit you if you’re the type that likes to shop around for the best prices.

Bottom Line

You can save money using Food on the Table by looking for sale ingredients and cooking at home instead of ordering in or heating up a frozen meal. Even at the basic, free subscription level, the savings can add up, and you’ll be better able to provide your family with nutritious, home-cooked meals. What have you got to lose?

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