Your life is busy and filled with lots of responsibilities, from work to family, so making time to prepare healthy meals can seem like an impossible task.
From finding recipes online to figuring out calorie counts, creating nutritionally balanced meals is hard and time-consuming.
Take-out meals are convenient but costly and having lots of fast food isn’t ideal for those looking to eat healthy. For those who want for an easier way to manage daily meals, a meal planning service is a great solution.
These types of services provide you with a wide array of recipes to choose from and a list of the ingredients to make them.
This way, you’ll have more time to enjoy spending with your friends and family while eating a whole lot healthier.
Why Use a Meal Planning Service?
A meal planning service takes the guesswork out of what you’ll be eating for the week.
These services allow you to choose what types of meals you’re looking for, what ingredients you want to avoid and even let you choose calorie-conscious meal plans that assist you in losing weight.
Meal plans are great for those on restricted diets because they provide many options for vegans, vegetarians or those who are eating kosher. If you’re on a specific diet like keto or paleo, you can tailor your meals for that too.
Even better, if you’re dealing with conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, meal planning services can help you make healthy dietary choices that could help you feel better.
Food allergies and intolerances are a concern for many of us and by choosing a meal planning service, you can ensure that none of your selections will contain unwanted ingredients.
Plus, you’ll save money and reduce food waste because these services let you know exactly what to buy and the amounts of ingredients to buy each week.
You don’t even need to spend tons of time slaving away in the kitchen because these plans account for those who have limited time to cook and even those with limited cooking skills.
Don’t worry if you’re not Gordon Ramsey because you don’t have to be a gourmet chef to enjoy tasty meals using a meal planning service.
What You Get with PlateJoy
PlateJoy is a subscription-based meal planning service that allows you to tailor your diet according to your ingredient preferences, dietary restrictions, health conditions and even your weight loss goals.
This service lets you choose from a wide variety of recipes for all your meals throughout the day, even snacks.
Once you create a list of meals for the week, PlateJoy will generate a shopping list for you to follow.
Use this list to shop at the grocery store of your choice or you can transfer your list to your Amazon Fresh account or Instacart for easy online ordering of ingredients.
PlateJoy Summary Table
|What you get||Creative recipes crafted by nutritionists
Plant-based recipes and meat, fish and dairy recipes
A shopping list of ingredients and amounts
Access to their app
The ability to add your own recipes
|Food delivery||Amazon Fresh
|How often||Users can shop as often as needed after updating their existing pantry with the service|
|How many recipes||You get access to an entire library of recipes.
12 recipes for each meal type are added every week.
|Meal prep time||Breakfasts/Snacks/Desserts: 5-10 minutes
Lunch: 10-15 minutes
Dinner: 20-40 minutes
Batch Cook: 30mins – 2 hours
|Meal tailoring||Meals can be tailored to three meals per day with snacks and dessert or less.|
|Diets catered to||Low carb
Low FODMAP (for those dealing with IBS)
No red meat
|Allergies it allows for||Any – users can enter ingredients they want to avoid|
$69 per six months or
$99 per yearWeightloss Subscription:
$89 per six months
$119 per year
|Reviews||4.5 out of 5 stars from 214 reviews.|
|Website||PlateJoy Custom Meal Plans|
Any further considerations?
PlateJoy offers a 10-day trial of their product before you are charged, letting you explore their menu selections and other options during that time.
If you cancel before the end of the trial, you will not be charged.
Start their 10-day free trial here: PlateJoy Trial
In 2012, Christina Bognet, an MIT neuroscience graduate, started PlateJoy to help others eat healthier and lose weight. She had lost 50 pounds by changing her diet and wanted to share what she learned during her weight loss journey with others.
The goal was to make healthy eating easier and more sustainable by using technology to personalize one’s diet.
The company offers a regular and weight-loss version of their subscription-based service for users that is tailored to their needs, weight loss goals and dietary restrictions.
Customized Dietary Restrictions
Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or flexitarian, PlateJoy offers recipes catered to your needs. Vegetarian diets include eggs and dairy while vegan diets include no animal products.
You can also choose meal plans that are dairy free, gluten free or free of red meat. Best yet, if you’re following a clean eating, low-carb, 30-day cleanse, paleo, ketogenic or Mediterranean diet, PlateJoy has you covered.
If you have a preference for the type of milk you prefer to use in your recipes, PlateJoy lets you choose from almond, one-percent cow’s milk, two-percent cow’s milk, skim cow’s milk, whole cow’s milk, lactose-free cow’s milk, soy milk, hemp milk, goat milk, rice milk, coconut milk or oat milk.
Health-Based Dietary Considerations
For those suffering with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, a low FODMAP diet may help and PlateJoy offers recipes that cater to this diet.
They also offer meal plans that cater to those who are diabetic or pre-diabetic, need a low-sodium diet or those who are pregnant or nursing.
If you have an allergy to one or more ingredients, PlateJoy allows you to list it in your profile at signup or to add later to your account.
You can choose from a variety of ingredients to avoid or write one in yourself if it is not on the list.
The ingredients that PlateJoy allows you to choose from include added sugar, avocado, beef, bell peppers, chicken, cilantro, eggplant, eggs, lamb, mushrooms, peanuts, pork, raw onions, seafood, shellfish, soy, spicy foods and tree nuts.
Each recipe that PlateJoy generates will not include any ingredients that you list that you are allergic to.
When you’re on a budget, you don’t want to spend a fortune on your groceries and PlateJoy understands that. You can choose to have more variety in your meals or less variety to save money.
PlateJoy also allows you to make larger amounts of servings in one meal so that you have leftovers for the next meal, saving you time and money.
At signup, you can also choose whether you will be shopping in more expensive specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods or Wegmans or less expensive regular grocery stores like Kroger and Safeway.
This allows you to save money because PlateJoy will tailor the ingredients in your recipes to your shopping preferences.
Plus, PlateJoy lets you keep track of what is in your pantry so that you can use it up with their recipes.
Not everyone has unlimited time to prepare meals.
PlateJoy gives you several options for breakfast and dinner, ranging from under 10 minutes for breakfast and snacks to anywhere between 10-40 minutes recipes for lunches and dinners.
If you are someone who prefers to make meals in advance they also have their ‘Batch Meal’ options. These recipes are made once and create several portions that can be enjoyed over the week.
Some recipes can take longer to make, ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours. They’re a great option for those who want only make-ahead meals that they can heat up and enjoy.
You can also choose whether pre-chopped vegetables and proteins are acceptable or not as an additional time-saving option for busy people.
For those looking to lose weight, you can choose that option at sign-up, entering in your current weight and goal weight.
PlateJoy will create recipes that will help with weight loss based on your information.
Those who want to include only seasonal produce in their meals have that option with PlateJoy.
You can also choose to include non-seasonal produce as well.
What Meal Subscriptions Does PlateJoy Have?
PlateJoy has two meal plan options. Here’s a look at their plans:
- Regular Meal Subscription
Costs $69 per six months or $99 per year.
- Weight-Loss Meal Subscription
Costs $89 per six months or $119 per year.
See the details of each here to decide which one you prefer: PlateJoy.
What Does a PlateJoy Subscription Include?
A PlateJoy subscription includes:
- Unlimited recipes that are tailored to your dietary needs.
- A list of recipes that you can add your own to.
- Nutritionist-designed recipes for meals.
- A grocery list that automatically generates based on your recipe choices.
- Grocery delivery through Instacart or Amazon Fresh
- A handy app to access your recipes and grocery list from your smart devices.
- An ability to change your dietary preferences at any time in your subscription.
How Do You Shop for Ingredients with PlateJoy?
Because PlateJoy is not a pre-boxed delivery service, you shop for meals on your own. They do not deliver the food itself. Instead they help you organize your meals and your grocery list to save you potentially hours each week.
PlateJoy does connect with Instacart and Amazon Fresh, automatically adding the items on your shopping list (based on your meal selections) to your cart.
In addition, you can print up a shopping list to take with you to the grocery store and purchase items in person. You can also use the app to access your shopping cart while in the store and shop that way.
PlateJoy Reviews & Testimonials
PlateJoy got an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars from 214 reviews over one platform (Trustpilot).
Most users noted that PlateJoy helped them plan meals for the week and save money with their weekly shopping.
They also noted that having the shopping list available on the app was a time-saver when heading out to the grocery store.
Some dissatisfied customers said that PlateJoy didn’t work correctly with Instacart for them and that they had trouble cancelling their subscription, especially before the end of the trial period. Others were dissatisfied with the variety of recipes available for them based on their dietary restrictions or felt that recipes should be more specific with their instructions, especially when it concerned seasoning “to taste.”
Of the positive reviews, most users noted the ease of meal planning using PlateJoy, the wide variety of recipes available and the convenience of having recipes that cater to dietary restrictions.
My PlateJoy Review After 1 Week of Meals
I was able to try out several recipes using the PlateJoy meal subscription service. I found that the recipes I chose were easy to put together and came out quite tasty.
Breakfast meals included lots of options for things like oatmeal, fruits, yogurt and other healthy staples which I found delicious.
Lunch recipes included many bento box options, which were simple to put together and great for snacking right at your desk. I chose mainly dinner recipes that took 35 minutes or less to prepare and this worked great for my lifestyle.
Plus, none of them took longer than this time frame, which I was hoping would be the case.
The main thing I liked about PlateJoy is that I had control of the ingredients that I included in my meals. If something was on sale, I could choose that over another option at the grocery store.
I did shop for many of my ingredients in the store, but I was able to use Amazon Fresh to order others as well, which was a good mix for me to use.
Some of the ingredients needed to be tweaked a bit when transferred to Amazon Fresh from PlateJoy but that only took a few minutes to adjust.
Most importantly, I thought that it was great to view the calorie count, fiber, sodium, sugar, fat, carbs and protein content of each meal so that I knew exactly what I was eating (as you can see from the example below).
PlateJoy portioned out each recipe for me and my husband, so that was also a plus.
Do PlateJoy Meals Taste Good?
I found the meals that I made with recipes developed for me by PlateJoy to be quite tasty. Because I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on breakfast but still wanted to eat something healthy, I appreciated the recipes I found that included things like rolled oats and fruits.
The dinner options were simple to prepare and no recipe I chose took longer than 35 minutes, which was ideal for my schedule.
PlateJoy Recipe Test: Breakfast
My first PlateJoy Recipe was this Chai oatmeal which was simple and straightforward.
There are only seven ingredients needed to make this tasty “Chai Maple Oatmeal with Raspberries.”
I mixed up the ingredients and microwaved them for a little over 3 minutes.
Then I added the nuts and berries for a healthy breakfast for two.
PlateJoy Recipe Test: Lunch Recipe 1
This lunch was a snap and used store-bought ravioli. There were only eight ingredients needed to make “Pre-Prepared Ravioli with Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato.”
All I had to do was boil the prepared ravioli first. I chose butternut squash ravioli for this recipe.
Then I chopped and mixed up the fresh ingredients.
The end result was a healthy and delicious dinner.
PlateJoy Recipe Test: Lunch Recipe 2
I love fettuccini alfredo and was lucky enough to find this recipe on PlateJoy.
It only had ten ingredients altogether to make “Quick Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo.”
I also put aside some store-bought salad dressing in case I needed to add some to the greens (along with the quick vinaigrette included in the recipe), but I didn’t end up using that because the vinaigrette was more than enough to give the greens a flavorful touch.
Cooking the pasta was easy and quick. I heated up the chicken and alfredo sauce separately while I cooked the pasta.
In the end, the meal turned out delicious, especially when garnished with some fresh basil.
PlateJoy Recipe Test: Dinner
My final recipe was a delicious and healthy salmon dish. It featured ten ingredients to make a tasty “Honey-Glazed Salmon with Sesame Green Beans.”
First, I mixed up the marinade for the fish, set the fish on a baking sheet and covered it with the marinade before baking it. Then I boiled the green beans and covered them in the remaining ingredients and sesame seeds.
After taking out the salmon, I combined the ingredients to create a tasty and exotic salmon dish garnished with a bit of cilantro.
Is PlateJoy the Best Meal Planning Service?
I found PlateJoy to be the best meal planning service in terms of how much you can personalize your meals and the quality of the recipes on offer.
It allows you to customize the recipes you receive completely, based on your dietary preferences. You can even lose weight by choosing their weight-loss plan.
Plus, it allows you to batch-cook recipes to save time on busier days of the week with their Batch Meals.
Because this service doesn’t provide pre-boxed ingredients, you have the freedom to shop at your local grocery stores and order ingredients through online delivery services.
You can connect your PlateJoy Shopping list to Instacart and Amazon Fresh to create an automatic grocery delivery too.
How Do You Sign Up for PlateJoy?
Signup for PlateJoy is relatively easy but does involve going through a thorough number of dietary questions to personalize your meal plan for you and your family.
You will need to provide your credit card information to start using the service, although you won’t be charged until after the 10-day trial period.
After letting PlateJoy know how many people you’ll be cooking for, you’ll need to enter in information related to each person in your household.
I didn’t choose the weight-loss option for my membership, but if you wish to, you’ll need to enter in your age, current weight and goal weight into this field. Plus, you can change this information easily in your profile if you decide to shed a few pounds.
Next, you’ll have to choose whether you follow a specific diet when it comes to carbohydrate consumption. Note that you can only choose one option and PlateJoy will show you recipes for that dietary preference.
In addition to these diets, you can specify whether you want to eat a meat-free diet.
There are further dietary preferences you can add as well, which is great if you’re looking to eat a low-sodium diet to help with conditions like high blood pressure. Or, if you follow a kosher diet or dairy-free diet.
For those dealing with food allergies or food intolerances, PlateJoy next asks you about what you want to avoid.
Don’t like an ingredient? You can enter it in here too. Plus, you can enter in as many additional items as you need.
PlateJoy will then ask you questions about whether want to use strictly seasonal produce and if saving money on groceries is more important than having lots of variety in your recipes.
You’ll be able to choose which meals you want recipes for. Your choices include breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts and snacks.
For those who love to cook in large batches at the beginning of the week, there’s an option for that in the PlateJoy signup. Batch Meals are also presented in a different category in the recipe section as they tend to take longer to make. And you can choose whether you want to try new flavors or stick to more family-friendly ones for those with young kids.
The appliances you have available in your home can affect the kinds of recipes you’ll be able to make and that’s why PlateJoy asks you which ones you have.
Choose the type(s) of milk you’d like PlateJoy to include in your recipes from an extensive list.
PlateJoy will then as you about using pre-chopped vegetables or proteins and how much time you’ll have to prepare breakfast.
You can also let PlateJoy know if you’d like to include smoothies in your breakfast rotation or not.
Got a lot of time for lunch? Or do you like something quick to make? PlateJoy will ask you about your preferences.
And then PlateJoy asks you about how much time you have available for dinner, which is great for those who are short on time (like me).
After letting PlateJoy know how much time you have to make snacks and desserts, you’ll be given a sample menu of recipes to peruse.
From here, you’ll need to enter in your credit card information to begin enjoying your subscription.
What Recipes Does PlateJoy Show You After Signup?
You have to sign up to PlateJoy to take full advantage of their recipe selection. But as a preview I have included a snapshot of each of their meal categories with their upcoming recipes.
Is PlateJoy Worth The Money?
PlateJoy is a great investment for those looking to eat healthier, save time meal planning, save money on groceries and those looking to lose weight.
It’s also a wonderful option for those who have food allergies or dietary restrictions because recipes are tailored to these preferences.
For those who want control over the ingredients that they put into their meals, PlateJoy works well because you can order ingredients online or in your own local grocery store. This way, you can choose organic options or money-saving sale options right in the store.
The subscription price for both the regular and weight-loss plans is pretty reasonable for the number of recipes that you get and the fact that you get an easy-to-download shopping list for you to use during trips to your local supermarket.
You also get access to the app, which you can use to view that shopping list while you’re out as well.
Plus, because you can keep track of ingredients you’ve already purchased in your online pantry, you won’t ever over-buy unnecessary ingredients, saving you money.
PlateJoy currently connects to Amazon Fresh and Instacart if you want to create an automatic grocery delivery.
While some companies include pre-boxed ingredients that come to your home at regular intervals, PlateJoy is a better option for those who want to choose the ingredients they purchase themselves and who may want to have a bit more versatility to their meal planning.
It’s also a helpful option for those looking to eat healthier in general.
Overall, as a meal planning service, PlateJoy offers many healthy options for users with specific dietary needs. Using the service is simple and is sure to make eating healthier a breeze.