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The Pandemic and My Third Child Made Me Finally Embrace Meal Planning (And I’ll Never Go Back)

by Ariel Knutson
April 7, 2021
Photo Credit: Jayme Burrows

Before the pandemic, Clean Plates founder Jared Koch thought about meal planning the same way many people thought about meal planning: It seemed like a good idea; He should probably do it! But for whatever reason — Life! And a big move! And a third baby on the way — he just never got around to it. 

Then the world went into lockdown.

Like many people, Jared and his family were forced to adjust their shopping and eating habits. “The pandemic — and our 3rd child — forced us to finally try meal planning,” he says. 

And now that he’s on the meal planning bandwagon? “I wouldn’t go back to doing it any other way,” he says. “We’re saving time, saving money, and eating healthier.”


How Meal Planning Saves Jared Koch $5,000 a Year

For starters, meal planning means less time figuring out what to eat. “We were spending so much time thinking and talking about what we were doing for dinner,” Jared says. “It was a big distraction.” 

Now? Jared has a list of 8-10 go-to meals that allow for flexibility and variety every week. “Having a set plan for meals makes sure I reuse leftovers and ingredients, so there’s that good feeling of being resourceful and not wasteful,” he adds. Even if they repeat some of the same dinners, they change up the sides, sauces, and seasonings so they don’t get bored. 

He estimates this saves 15-30 minutes every day and maybe more. Instead of trying to figure out what’s for dinner every day after work, he spends it doing something else — hanging out with his wife and kids, meditating, or working out. 

Meal planning also saves his family around $100 every week on groceries. “I know we’re shopping for those particular meals,” he explains. “It makes it very simple and much more efficient. I don’t overbuy on random small ingredients anymore.” He’s also found that he only shops once a week rather than 2-3 times per week, which adds up to even more time savings. 

Finally, because he and his family are eating out and ordering in less, they’re saving around $25 per meal that they make themselves. Not to mention, the meals they make themselves are healthier than the meals they’d otherwise be ordering out. 

Put it all together and this adds up to very real savings of time and money. 

These tangible savings made Jared realize that other families were probably struggling with the same problems. Which is why he was inspired to create the Clean Plates Meal Planner.


How the Clean Plates Meal Planner Works

The idea behind the meal planner is simple: Save time and money while eating healthier, satisfying meals that make you feel good. 

The mobile and web application has 15 ready-to-go meal plans to choose from. But you can also pick and choose from more than 300 recipes that meet a wide range of different diets and ways of eating, from vegetarian to Paleo to low-carb to Mediterranean. 

In less than 5 minutes, the Clean Plates Meal Planner maps out two weeks of meals, customized for your specific needs and tastes. And don’t worry: Once you choose a plan, you’re not locked in: You can try a different plan whenever you want. 

Once you’ve selected (or created) your plan, the Clean Plates Meal Planner streamlines shopping through auto-generated grocery lists and one-click ordering

After that? Sit back, relax, and wait for the doorbell to ring. Or, take those extra minutes of your day and get some quality playtime with your kids, make yourself a calming cup of tea, or check something else off your to-do list. 

Sounds great, right? If you want to try Clean Plates Meal Planner, it’s free for 7 days. So why not?

See you on the other side.

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