Episode 55: Riley Whitson on Plan to Eat (or the Solution to All Your Dinner Woes)

home Feb 22, 2022
Riley Whitson Knows Plan to Eat (or the solution to all your dinner woes)

Riley Whitson knows all about meal planning with Plan to Eat.  Meal planning is one of the 3 key systems that will let you put your energy into more important things, and Plan to Eat is exactly what you need.

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This is a transcript of the This Mom Knows Podcast - Episode - 55

Jennifer Uren
Riley Whitson is Director of Marketing Communications for my favorite tool Plan to Eat. She has worked for Plan to Eat for the last seven years and in that time has held many different roles and holds a certification in meal planning. She's a mom of a feisty two year old little girl. And over the last two years, she has discovered just exactly how important meal planning is to the life of a family. So welcome, Riley.

Riley Whitson
Hi. Happy to be here. Thanks for having me.

Jennifer Uren
Oh, I'm so glad that you could do this with us today. So that told us a little bit about you. But why don't you fill in some blanks, maybe tell us where you're from, and how you even ended up at Plan to Eat.

Riley Whitson
Awesome. So I'm actually from Alabama originally. And then after college, I moved to Colorado. And that's where I live now. That's where Plan to Eat is based. We all have my coworkers, we, we all work remotely. But are we all in the same general area So...

Jennifer Uren
Okay.

Riley Whitson
Yeah, I, um,I met the founder of plants eat Clint at a coffee shop, I worked at a coffee shop and met him there. It's a pretty long story. But the brief version is just that we connected because I was actually a personal chef for someone else. We met over that through that. And then he asked me to start working for him and doing support, because of my experience with cooking and food and that kind of thing. Because Plan to Eat is all about meal planning and cooking. And then from there, I I worked part time, and then I went full time. And then over time, it's just evolved. And so I did support for a really long time. And then I moved into a marketing role, which is what I do now. And I love it.

Jennifer Uren
That's fabulous. So how old is Plan to Eat? How long has the company been around?

Riley Whitson
Let's see, I was founded in 2009.

Jennifer Uren
Okay.

Riley Whitson
I started working to plan to eat in 2014.

Jennifer Uren
Okay, so a little older than I actually realized. So that's great. Yeah. So this is a bit different than some of the interviews that I've done in the past, because we're actually going to talk about a specific tool. And it's one that honestly I think every mompreneur should be using. So maybe, let's start by talking about why meal planning. You know, you kind of alluded to it in your bio as being important to family life, but maybe tell me why meal planning is so important.

Riley Whitson
Yeah, it's a really big question, I think,

Jennifer Uren
It's only four, four words. I mean, what do you mean?

Riley Whitson
So meal planning is, there's so many benefits well, like, which I'll go into a little bit more in a minute. But I think that one of the biggest, particularly for moms mompreneurs - I love that word. When you know what's for dinner, it removes a task from your to do list. And I don't know about all of your listeners, but I have to get things out of my brain to feel like I can accomplish anything. And so just getting something done and accomplished, like I know what's for dinner, so that when five o'clock or 530 rolls around, I'm not having to stress out about that to see if my day was stressful, or if kids were stressful or work, whatever the stresses are. That doesn't have to be a stressor, which for me is really a big deal.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yeah. And if we're honest, what's for dinner is more than a task, ora que- it's a loaded heavy, there's just a lot of weight behind that question. And that decision.

Riley Whitson
it is and depending on your situation, it can be more stressful or less stressful. If your child has a food allergy, you have to be thinking about what that looks like. If your husband starts a new diet, you know, we have all these different things that play into it. And then just thinking through the nutritional aspects of food and not just throwing something on the table that you didn't think about. All those things play into what's for dinner. And so it's really helpful to know the answer to that question.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yes. Well, that's great. Well, why don't we, why don't you give us a brief overview of exactly what Plan to Eat is, and we'll go into it in a little more detail. So just give us kind of the high level overview of what is this tool.

Riley Whitson
Perfect. So Plan To Eat is a digital meal planner. And you can access it through your browser, on your computer, through your tablets, your iPads, or through your phone, we have an app also. And then you start with a recipe book, and that recipe book is actually blank. So you get to add all the recipes if it your needs, your family's needs and your preferences. We don't tell you what to eat, because we don't know what's right for you. And so this allows you to build a recipe book that is perfect for your family and your preferences. We have tools to make that easier like a Recipe Clipper that allows you to go around the web and just click one button and recipes are automatically imported into your account. From there, you can add those recipes to a planner. We literally have a planner in your account, you can drag and drop recipes onto it and build out a meal plan that fits your schedule. My favorite part is the shopping list. And it is calculated automatically. So all the ingredients in your recipes that are on your planner are populated into a shopping list. So you take that list to the store and you get everything you need. Everything that was in your recipes is on the list.

Jennifer Uren
That's beautiful. And so you got into this because you loved to cook. I got into this because I hate to cook. And I enjoy meal planning even less than the actual cooking. So my poor husband when we were first married, he'd be like, "what's for dinner", I'm like "chicken". And we'd sit down and there'd be a piece of chicken. And he's like, "anything else?" I'm like, "Nope, chicken - that's what you get". So, you know, he has suffered with me for or stayed with me patiently waited through a lot of this stuff. But it really became a point of contention with us because he wanted more in a meal. And it was just so much work. And I was looking for the easiest way possible. So when I discovered Plan to Eat almost exactly six years ago, it really changed everything for me. So let's go through all those pieces one at a time that we were just talking about. But let's start with that recipe book. And let's, let's talk about what really makes it unique and, and usable.

Riley Whitson
The recipe book is really customizable. I think that's one of the biggest things about Plan to Eat is that whether you want really simple tools or whether you want really advanced tools, we offer everything. So the recipe book allows you, like I said, allows you to customize a recipe book, add recipes that fits your needs, you can add them manually, you can add them with our Recipe Clipper. If you've been using another program in the past to hold your recipes, if they offer an export, you can even import a group of recipes from another program. So the recipe book can be built out pretty fast. I know that it's a pretty overwhelming thing to hear that there's no recipes. But I think that the tools that we have in there to add recipes really make it so simple to do it. So we recommend that people just start adding one or two family favorites a day. And that could take a minute, literally a minute out of your day to add two recipes. Or if you're starting for the very first time, maybe add four, so you've got four meals that week. And it just happens really fast to build out a recipe book. You can create courses so you can have dinner, or appetizers, or baking, or desserts, or whatever your favorite categories of meals are. All of them are customized so that you can have groups of them in your recipe book. So when you're searching for recipes, you don't have to search so, so hard, it's not so difficult to find them, you're not wading through 1000s just by scrolling. We also have some filtering options. So if you happen to have some chicken at home, and you want to cook something with that chicken, you can search chicken in your recipe book. And then all the recipes with chicken come up. So it makes it really easy to find recipes. And one thing about that filtering option that I love is just that it helps keep things more exciting because I can get into meal planning ruts where I cook the same things all the time. So searching by a different ingredient really helps me mix it up a little bit.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yeah. And you you mentioned this in the overview The Recipe Clipper And personally, I am not a Pinterest person. What for whatever reason, every time I click on a link on Pinterest, it's a dead link. So I quit using Pinterest. But this recipe clicker clipper takes that idea of pinning a recipe but you're pulling it right into your recipe book so you can find it easily. So that that was amazing to me how simple it was to save a recipe and find it again later.

Riley Whitson
Now one thing that we really love about that is that, you know I have Pinterest boards have endless recipes. And I never use them because they're just holding in Pinterest. And so the Recipe Clipper really allows you to add those recipes into a tool like Plan to Eat so that you can actually utilize them and plan them and cook them and eat them which I know all those recipe authors, that's their hope, right? It's, they don't they're not just saved as a bookmark or saved as a pin on Pinterest they really want people to cook and eat them. And so I think plenty does a really helpful tool in that way because it helps get them into a usable format. You got all the ingredients you got the directions you even have notes on those recipes and you can plan them and actually eat them and enjoy different kinds of meals all the time.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, and we love that you can rate the recipes and you know like my family can say "ooh this was a good one do it again." So five stars that one or whatever I forget how many there are there but we will rate them so that when I go through like oh yeah, they liked this one or they didn't care for this one but it's good for them. And yes, there's a lot in that recipe piece that is really useful.

Riley Whitson
We could talk about the recipe book, The planner and the shopping list for three hours each

Jennifer Uren
right

Riley Whitson
because there are so many features I love the rating option you can search by rating to to find the ones that are your favorites. I tend to delete the ones that aren't favorites so that I don't even have to worry about them. But I also have a course called recipes we love. And that's where it doesn't matter if it's breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, appetizers, they all go into this one category that I've named recipes we love so that I just can go there, especially when I'm in a place of needing to just find something that I knows a winner. I'll just go to that little section. Oh, we love that. Let me make that.

Jennifer Uren
So yeah, that's great

Riley Whitson
So that's a really good option too.

Jennifer Uren
Well, the recipe section is awesome. And honestly, when we started, we started to change how we ate, and I didn't know how to start. So a friend of mine was like, well sign up for Plan to Eat and share my recipes. And that to me, was gold, being able to friend other people and see their recipes as well. And so that's what really sold it to me. But then I saw how easy it was to actually plan my dinners. I mostly do dinners, but you could do all the meals. So tell us a little bit more about the planning.

Riley Whitson
Yeah. I just want to make a quick note about the friends section. If you can find a friend to plan to be your like meal planning buddy. I highly recommend it. It's so helpful to be able to share recipes, like you just said get connected and share recipes. You can even share menus. If you've made menus, and we're friends on Plan to Eat, I can access them and add them to my planner. But being able to text somebody and just say I don't know what to have for dinner, what should I make? And they say, "Oh, well, on my plan I've got Tuscan chicken." Oh, that sounds great. So when I you know just helps you alleviate some of the burden around planning. I think sharing it with a with a friend.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yes it and just to get like you can get in a rut with plan you can get in a rut with what you look for, too. And so sometimes when you see what other people are clipping, you're like, Oh, yes, that's brilliant.

Riley Whitson
Yeah, absolutely. Yep. So the planner, like I said, it's a it's a calendar. So it's dated, you can look at it as a week, or you can look at it as a whole month, I tend to look at it as a whole month even though I usually plan week by week. And then you can view your recipes on the left hand side. And there's a little handle icon, you can drag them over that's on the desktop site. On the app, you can just tap on a date and then add a recipe really easy. It's just a couple of clicks to add a recipe that way on the app. And you can build out a meal plan. Like You I tend to plan dinners mostly, my husband is a firefighter. So he works a shift schedule. So I typically only cook three nights a week. But I will duplicate I'll double the serving sizes, which is another amazing feature of Plan to Eat. When you're on the planner, you can view the serving sizes and if something is set for for all my I might change it to eight because I know I want to eat that again this week or whether that's for lunch or for dinner. We eat a lot of leftovers over here because it's helpful for me to have some nights where I'm not cooking.

Jennifer Uren
Yes.

Riley Whitson
And just have something that I can have really fast, particularly for a busy family like we are so yeah,

Jennifer Uren
Yeah. And I like to in the meal planner, you can add notes, or you can add standalone ingredients. So if you're like, you know, I've got this recipe but I also want, you know, a salad to go with it, you can just you can add that in, which really gives a lot of that even more flexibility. So you're not just tied to a recipe, you you can really build out a meal and a menu for something a lot more simply.

Riley Whitson
Absolutely. I love notes in the ingredient notes. Also, I use them all the time. I use them for meals that we don't need recipes for maybe I picked up a rotisserie chicken, we're going to have some green beans and rolls or something that doesn't need a recipe I can just type it in as an ingredient though those ingredients populate on my shopping list. So I can remove them if I've already bought them if it's something that I had on hand, or I just they're there as a reminder that I need to purchase those things. And then I also love the notes for building out my schedule. So if I know one night we're going to, you know, I think that it's okay to give yourself permission to like plan to have takeout

Jennifer Uren
Oh absolutely!

Riley Whitson
Yeah, one of the benefits of planning is that it helps you save money, because you are sticking to a shopping list. That's exactly what you need. You're not eating out all the time, because you didn't know what was for dinner.

Jennifer Uren
Right

Riley Whitson
But giving myself permission to know like this night of the week, we're going to get takeout. Or this night, we're meeting friends for dinner, any of those kinds of things, or we're having dinner at a friend's house or whatever the whatever it is, I can add that as a note onto my planner. So I'm prepared I know it's coming. And then I don't have to have planned a meal, buy the ingredients for it, and then they go to waste because we didn't actually eat at home that night.

Jennifer Uren
Right

Riley Whitson
You can freeze them there are things you can do to not waste it. But I just like to know and I like to see it all in one place.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, yeah. I call that "pizza on purpose". So you know.

Riley Whitson
I love that. That's great.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah. Um, so yeah, so I think I think that the meal planning piece is really, really useful and and it does help, it helps you match up your calendar to your, because you might be home that night, but you're not home all day. So now you know I had a plan something that's going to be on time delay in the Instant Pot or slow cook all day, or we're going to plan our pizza for that night because we're not, we're not going to be home to prep anything. So it really does help. And while that is great, and that was a really good feature as far as I was concerned, the shopping list is what sealed the deal for me. Because my husband will not take a piece of paper into the grocery store. If I give him a list, he won't take it in and he'll try to remember it. And if I text him something, he will forget something on it. But because a) it's cloud based, so it catches up in real time, and b) he had it on an app on his phone, he was much more likely to tap as he purchased things. So tell us a little bit more about how those recipes and the meal planning all pulling together into that shopping list.

Riley Whitson
Yep, so the shopping list, like I said, in the beginning is one of my favorite features too. I if I write it on a piece of paper, because occasionally I'll still do that, because it's just like two things, you know, I'll leave it at home every single time. And I every time I do that I learned my lesson, I think I've learned it. I'm like, Why did I not put it in Plan to Eat because it was two things. But I could only remember one or whatever it is. Yep, so the shopping list, it's connected to your planner. So you can set the date inside the shopping list to match your meal plan dates. So whether you plan from this Tuesday to two Tuesdays from now or this Tuesday to Friday, whatever it is, you can just choose that date range. And then the shopping list pulls in all of those ingredients that are listed in your recipes, any ingredient notes that you may have added. It's all there. And this is also organized by category. So it's listed by, you know, dairy or produce or meat or freezer section, all those different sections of your grocery store. And it pulls the correct ingredients into those sections, and then even merges items that match. So maybe you have two different chopped onion and an onion. Well, you can merge those if they both say onion, they'll merge into little sections or merge totals. So all your totals are listed. I hope this is making sense. I feel like I'm kind of a little bit backwards. But all the totals and the ingredients come into the shopping list. So let's think if you have two cups of flour, and one recipe and one cup of flour, and another and a half a cup and another, all of those totals will will merge and calculate. So that you know you need I'm not sure how many I said but let's say three,

Jennifer Uren
so four and a half. Yeah.

Riley Whitson
Yeah. I should have been doing the math better would write.

Jennifer Uren
It does it for you. So why would you have needed to?

Riley Whitson
Exactly, it does the work for me so I don't have to think about it eliminates that brain fatigue. And it's totaled and I know that I can buy exactly what I need. This is another element that helps you save money. If your grocery store has you know a section where you can buy things in bulk, you could even do like say you needed five cups of oatmeal and you don't eat oatmeal otherwise, well then you can just buy the five cups of oats that you need and you're not spending extra to buy extra product. It also helps if you're having friends over or something like that, and you've duplicated a recipe. So your ingredient totals are double. You know you're you know, you're buying enough to feed those people. So you need 17 chicken breasts to feed the whole family or whatever it is, you're buying enough. And you're not buying too much, which helps cut down on waste.

Jennifer Uren
Yes. So the the fact that you can do it by date span that was huge for us too, because I could plan for two weeks or a month at a time and not waste something because we inadvertently bought it now when I didn't need it for a week and a half and it was going to spoil. But the other thing is that is now our core shopping list and we've added all the stores and so you know even if it's not food related, you know we've got a you know, Home Depot on there. And we put things there that we need when we're at Home Depot. So it's become the shopping list.

Riley Whitson
Yeah, that is such a good thing to bring up because you can add your stores. So if you shop at Walmart and Costco and Aldi or whatever your stores are you can customize them. And then make sure your all the ingredients that you buy at those different stores are listed in the correct place. It's really helpful to have a pre done you know, yeah, you all my things that I buy at Costco go into the Costco store. So then when I'm at the Kroger, whatever it is, I'm not having to wade through Oh, do I buy that here? Do I buy it somewhere else? Because I know previously seen where it was cheaper or whatnot. It's super helpful to that.

Jennifer Uren
Yes. And occasionally I'll put, I'll put it in both places. And I'll say we're going to Aldifirst and eggs are on sale for 97 cents at this other store. So if the price is the same or better buy him here. Otherwise, you know, save it. So, so sometimes we'll do that. But the other thing I did one time, and it worked really, really well until the store remodeled. But I took note of the order, it was an Aldi and so I took note of the order, everything was and so I actually created Aisle 1 - Bakery, Aisle 1 - canned, all these things in order, so that my shopping list showed up in the order that I walked through the store, and I wasn't going back and forth. But then they remodeled and I never fixed it. But if you have a store you go to all the time, that's that's just another thing you can customize to save even more time as you're shopping there. So I talk a lot about systems here systems that work for you. But I also talk about the fact that sometimes as moms, we are the bottleneck to something happening, and we want to make sure that we're not. And so when it came to that grocery list, that shopping list, I was definitely the bottleneck to that. And because of Plan to Eat now, when anybody in our family says, we're out of such and such, my answer is add it to plan to eat. And if they don't do it, we don't buy it. And so it's not on me anymore. So, so how can how does a family who has you know, teenagers and you know, multiple adults or whatever? How can you use Plan to Eat as a family and access it and share it?

Riley Whitson
That's a great question. We don't require, like, you don't have to have buy multiple logins to Plan to Eat, your account is your account across the board. And we don't have a limit on the number of people who can download it to their device. So if your kids have devices that your husband has a device, which in 2022, we all do, right?

Jennifer Uren
Everyone does, right, three, we all three or four,

Riley Whitson
exactly, you can download that to your device. And then your kids can add stuff to the list. Sometimes if my husband adds it, he'll add a note next to his name. Because on the shopping list, you can add tons of ingredients like you just mentioned, you can add tons of extras. And in the notes section, he'll say his name. And so it helps me know that he added it. And it's something that if you know if he has a particular brand he likes or if I'm buying him shampoo or soap or something I know to buy him the one he likes. So that's another really helpful thing. I know people who will have their kids cook for them. And so having the app, all they have to do is go to the planner, and mom says well, it's Tuesday, what's on Tuesday, that Tuscan chicken, okay, you open it up, and then they can cook because the recipe is all there, the steps are all listed. And there's it's just really helpful that they can do that. If I know people who will even say, go into the recipe book and tell me what looks good. And then the you can plan those meals that they think look great. And it does help if you can spread out the workload of cooking. If you have a bunch of kids, or if your kids are older, you know, sharing that burden across the family is really helpful.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yes, that's true. And the one thing neither of us have mentioned so far is that you can now take that shopping list and you can export it to to another through a interface so that you can you can schedule it for grocery pickup or delivery. And so you, this is really - like I remember going "if it shopped for me, it would be perfect." And then I was like "it shops for me now!"

Riley Whitson
I did intend to mention that it is probably one of my favorite features. Yeah, it's so helpful to be able to do that. One thing that I will say about the shopping list is that we recommend that people shop at home before they shop in the store. And if you add that to your workflow, then you've planned the meals. And then you go to your house and you "Okay, do I have the taco seasoning that this recipe calls for? Do I, do I need to buy flour? Do I have enough? Do I have enough eggs for this week? Or do I need to buy more? Did we run out of something else that we love that we need that's not on our meal plan." If it's a kid snack or something like that, and then really get that list narrowed down to exactly what it is that you need to buy, then you can use the grocery delivery feature to send it to your store for pickup or delivery. If you're lucky enough to have it delivered to your house that just cuts it cuts it down even more. I'm not we live quite aways from a grocery store. So I do the pickup option but it saves me so much time and it actually saves me a lot of money because I'm not perusing the store and seeing something that looks good. That's not on the meal plan. So it just tells me exactly what I need. They put it in my car and I drive home it's perfect.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, and we we joke that sometimes I get delivery even though I order pickup because I'll be like "Hey honey, you're gonna be over there all schedule the pickup and you pick it up and bring it to me" so it can help with you know, when you've got other drivers in the family that can help out too. It can, it can make it a lot easier to grocery shop without taking that time out of your day or week. So you said in your bio that becoming a mom really opened your eyes to the importance of meal planning, so maybe tell me a little bit more about that. What did you see differently after becoming a mom then you saw before when you enjoyed cooking, and we're acting as a personal chef?

Riley Whitson
Yeah. You know, I, I think that life change is a big reason why people start to meal plan. Now, I started working for plants eat before I was married. And it became a tool that I really loved and used in my meal planning or in my, in my personal chef business, to help me know what to buy for the meals that I was making for other people. And it was really helpful. And then I got married. And then it was even more helpful to like, know what was for dinner, we live a little bit further from town now that we're married. And so I think the thing about having a kid is that there were nights when I would still tell my husband, let's just wing it, you know, let's, you know, we are going to eat the you know, there's three different kinds of leftovers, just pick whatever you want, eat that or, or fend for yourself if I wasn't home. And so there's still an element of like, while I was planning, I was still a little bit lax in it sometimes. And we were willing to you know, winging it a little bit more, and then having a child now who is two so she's eating what we eat. She can't wing it quite as well as we can. And she, you know, she eats, it's really important for me that she eats what we eat, I'm not cooking more than one meal every night. But as she's grown up in her ability to eat different things, you know, no teeth to teeth, that kind of thing. Yeah, it's, it's customized what I cook for us, you know how to spicy for her is it not - all of those kinds of things. And then also, it's important to have dinner on a schedule, she's a really scheduled little girl. And it's really helpful for us that she's like that she likes to eat at a certain time, and she goes to bed at a certain time. And so having a meal plan and knowing what I'm having for dinner, it allows me to just cook it and then keep us on schedule helps, that helps me a whole lot. I think that also planning helps me being really intentional about the foods that we eat. And so having a nutritious meal for her is really important to me. It's not that it wasn't important for me before. It's just changed a little bit, knowing, having all the things the colors on her plate, or the different types of foods to introduce her to things all the time. Having a meal plan helps me do that a little bit easier.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah.

Riley Whitson
And like I said in the beginning, it does alleviate that task from my plate. And he's not stressed out when dinner rolls around because I've got a grumpy kid or my day was busy. I just know. And so knowing really alleviates stress, and it helps me I did the work in advance. So that nutritious meal was planned. The ingredients were purchased in my grocery, my grocery order, and then we have it to make so there's no no question marks. It's there. And it's ready.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, that's great. And one of the habits I have implemented is, when I'm making dinner tonight, I'm looking ahead to tomorrow to see if I need to thaw anything so that I'm not caught off guard. Because because even though I know sometimes I've still been caught off guard because I didn't look ahead. And so yeah, it really has taken a lot of the surprises away. And even for my family, if they say what's for dinner, that's again, my answer what's in Plan to Eat? You look it up, you know, so that that's yeah, that's good. And it's true. If you want to be intentional with any of it the the fruits, the veggies, the finger foods, whatever it is, you you have to plan to eat it, you have to have it in the house to eat, you have to, which means you had to shop and so it all sort of you know, trickles down to when you know in advance and you know what, it can be intentional, then you can just pull it out and provide it. And it's a whole different level of stress. It impresses all the other moms when they're like, how did you do this so easily? Well, so yeah, so Plan to Eat is your secret weapon for impressing every other mom.

Riley Whitson
Yeah, I love what you just said about being able to look ahead at the week of the week and what's coming up and knowing you know, if you have a busy day, the next day and you're gone all day you throw it in the Instant Pot, threw it in the crock pot, and you know at dinner the night before, you're not freaking out at 710 because you need to leave at 715 and dinner wasn't in the crock pot. You remember the night before that you needed to do it and you built it into your plan. And if any alleviation of stress is helpful for me, so

Jennifer Uren
Yes, absolutely. Well, there's probably a mom listening who is saying something like well, I don't like to be pigeonholed by the rigidity of meal planning and I want to make what I feel like making when I feel like making it. So how would you tell her how meal planning and Plan to Eat could actually give her some more space for spontaneity?

Riley Whitson
This is a great question. I love it. So like I said, I only plan three nights a week roughly maybe four and I think unless you are doing the thawing out or unless you're doing a crock pot meal for a busy day. Plan to Eat does give you a lot of flexibility to move the meals around within the week. Just because you planned it on a Tuesday doesn't mean you have to have it on Tuesday. You know, you can look at your week and say, Okay, well, this doesn't sound good. But the meal I planned on Friday sounds a lot better. And because you already bought all the ingredients, you're not going back to the store you have it purchased, all you have to do is make the other meal and switch them, you can switch them on your planner, or mentally switch them, you don't even have to do anything. Just know you had the the burritos on Tuesday, because that sounded better and you moved the I don't know, veggie salad to Friday, or whatever your whatever your changes are. And hopefully that does help you feel like you have some wiggle room within your meal plan. You could plan for longer, you could plan for two weeks at a time. And then you have a lot more flexibility in moving different meals around. Another thing that I always like to do is I always have ingredients for an extra meal on hand, whether those ingredients are in the freezer, or whether they're canned goods, or something along those lines, I always have an extra meal on hand because things happen where I wasn't planning to be home tonight. Well, now we've got to eat something. And so having that agreed those ingredients on hand, allow me to spontaneity, you know, spontaneously put that meal on the planner and have that. So for that mom, who knows there's, there's something that they love, have those ingredients on hand, hopefully, most of them are freezable. Or they use ingredients that you continuously have around. And then that way you've got that, you know, that meal to pull into the planner, or just to make in that in that space of like, oh, well, we didn't know we're gonna have and this sounds good. And we have it because we love that.

Jennifer Uren
Or people are here for this long playdate, let's just invite him to stay for dinner, you know. So yeah, you have a lot of flexibility. And I do love it for that. Because that's what I have felt I have felt I can come up with a plan. But I can flex and move it around. And sometimes I'll still make the dinner even though I know we might not eat it, and then I will freeze it. And then now it's in my arsenal for something later. If it's something perishable that that is going to go bad if I don't make it. So yeah, it is it is a great, great tool. And so I'm really thankful that you've taken the time to give us these overviews, you guys have a great series of videos too, that really go into how to use it and how to use it well. So I know you you support newbies, and those of us who have used it for a while we're always discovering that you're adding new features or honing things to make them a little more specific to needs that that your customers are saying, "Hey, can you do this?" So I think that's, that's great.

Riley Whitson
We're, we love our customers. And we're always trying to improve the program, whether that's providing live videos or live Q & A, or whether it's adding new features, we really we really love to love to do the things that are helpful. I think I said this in the beginning, but Plan to Eat is really a tool that can be used for the serious planner who loves to plan every detail of every week. And you know, to the other end of the spectrum, which is they plan three nights, or they plan one night and they're just getting started with meal planning. You can utilize it in so many different ways. It's a really robust program because there's so many features. But the basics of it is recipes, planner, shopping list. It's really that simple too.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, it's very elegant. It's simple. You know, it's a simple elegance with that, and my oldest, my youngest daughter in kindergarten. So I've got a lot of years of meal planning, but my oldest just graduated college and she's out on her own. And so this was one of my Christmas gifts to her. And she uses it regularly because she was used to using it at home and now she's got her own to use and now we're friends on Plan to Eat. So she's Mom, where's that recipe I liked? So it's fun to see her doing that.

Riley Whitson
She's your meal planning buddy.

Jennifer Uren
She is my meal planning buddy. I'm fortunate. I think I've got like 26 or 27 friends in there. So yeah, I've got quite a few and I'm always looking for more. Well, one thing that I ask every guest as we wrap up, it's a it's a fun question. I'm a gadget girl. So my question is, what is your favorite time saving gadget system or tool and you cannot say Plan to Eat.

Riley Whitson
Okay, so, you know, I was actually hesitant to talk about grocery delivery earlier because I knew you were gonna ask me this question. And that is my number one favorite time saving tool. It's the grocery pickup. So you send the groceries to the store and you pick them up. And that saves me the hour and a half of shopping and checking out and driving home. I can usually integrate it into a busy day I just pop in and it's a 15 minute thing I get pop in, I tell them I'm there, they bring the groceries out and I go. It is so helpful. I know, there are times when I really you know like want to be in the store and want to pick out my produce and all those kinds of things which I know can be a downfall for some people to the grocery pickup. But I think as a really busy mom who's juggling a lot of things that's something that I had to put to the side. Because I just know myself like, I just need to save the time and grocery delivery or pickup really helps me with that.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, but even within that I have learned, if I put notes in there and say like, I need yellow bananas and not green bananas, they'll take the time to look for what I'm looking for so, so I just lean on being overly instructive when it comes to produce.

Riley Whitson
That's super helpful.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, so well, how can people learn more about Plan to Eat?

Riley Whitson
Absolutely. So you actually have a special offer for all of your listeners, they can we offer a 30 day free trial to anyone who comes to Plan to Eat. But for your listeners, they can have a 45 day trial and get a little bit of extra time playing with the program. And to access that you go to PlanToEat.com/hi/ThisMomKnows. And we'll hopefully we can link that in the show. And I will put a link

Jennifer Uren
Yes, absolutely.

Unknown Speaker
Yeah. And we would love for people to try it out. We have a great support team. So if you're trying it out and you have questions, please contact us. We'll get back to you within about 12 hours and maybe less. We'll help you get up and running. So

Jennifer Uren
yes, and if any of you do sign up, let me know and we can be friends and share recipes.

Riley Whitson
That will be, that's awesome. Yeah. That little tribe within your your listenership?

Jennifer Uren
That's right. Ah, well, Riley, thank you so much for your time today and for sharing all this great information with us.

Riley Whitson
Thank you so much. It's great to be here.

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