It all started about 6 years ago when Janice decided to take the leap of faith into a plant-based diet. She was inspired by friends who were vegetarian or pescatarian, and who were dishing her out some incredibly tasty meals.
Maybe this veggie-centric diet wasn't as hard as it seems, Janice thought - unfortunately, she was wrong...
"Eating a vegetarian diet can be tricky, and it's easy to fall off the wagon if you don't plan accordingly", Janice admits.
Luckily, she found Meal Garden about a year ago, after messing around with other meal planning tools that either didn't fit her dietary needs or were simply too finicky to deal with.
Easy, simple vegetarian meals.
Janice is a woman on the go, and she doesn't want to waste time in the kitchen, so she's thankful for Meal Garden: "It's made it so easy to stick to my vegetarian diet, there's lots of simplified recipes with minimal prep time, so I don't have to spend hours figuring out what I need to eat to stay healthy and make sure I get enough protein throughout the week".
Automatic grocery list generator.
Another time saver? The grocery list app - Janice's all-time favourite feature of the tool. She admits that she HATES shopping...for FOOD that is! Taking the time to wander around the grocery store, and to think about "meal planning" for the week ahead, is just a total hassle in her eyes, so the automatic list is a "life-saver".
Cost savings galore.
Best of all, it's not just time-savings that Janice has been enjoying. Since signing up for a Meal Garden account, she has managed to reduce her weekly grocery costs by 1/3rd! That's right people - this savvy planner has confidently shared with me her good news: for herself and her husband, instead of the usual $600/month on grocery costs, she's got it down to a mere $400/month - that's just $100 a week!
What's her secret to the impressive cost savings? Meal planning. Most specifically: NOT throwing out/wasting food. Instead of fresh produce turning to soup in their crisper drawer, Janice and her partner use up exactly what they purchase each and every week, and nothing goes to waste. It's a green approach for the environment...and her wallet ;)
The learning curve + changing habits.
Now this all sounds great, right? But is it really all that easy?
While Janice says that she felt like the tool was easy and intuitive to use right from the start, it took her a good 2-4 months to really start using the Meal Garden tool consistently.
That's something we here on the Meal Garden team notice time and time again: it takes people a few months to really "get into the groove" of meal planning, but once it "clicks" - they're a master for life.
Janice was kind enough to share her "secret" to staying on track: "The biggest thing is my text reminder - I'd be lost without it!" She's set up a weekly SMS notification that's sent straight to her cellphone, so she gets a little "ping" each and every Saturday morning, as she's sipping coffee on her porch, and is reminded: oh yeah, it's time to plan!
She quickly schedules a few of her favourite recipes (and likes to play around with some new ones too!) and BOOM - she's ready for her once-a-week Sunday shop. She likes to get all of the grocery shopping done and dusted on Sunday, so she doesn't have to worry about it throughout the week. Janice isn't afraid to admit that without these gentle reminders...she'd likely forget or simply not make it a priority!
Flexibility to eat intuitively.
Of course, we're all only human, so Janice does end up switching around meals throughout the week and makes changes to her plan as the days go by. That's actually what she loves about Meal Garden - how easy it is to swap things around!
"I often quickly poke around Meal Garden while I'm at work in the afternoon, around 1 or 2pm, and will decide if I really do want what I've scheduled for dinner that evening. If I'm not feeling it, it's as simply as swapping it around and planning another meal I've shopped for that week. I know I've got the ingredients for whatever's on my menu that week, so it's really not a bother or a problem - easy peasy!"
While Janice doesn't use the tool ALL of the time - she's thankful to have it as her go-to tool for when she does. It's there when she needs it, and that's all that matters.
Spreading the love.
We're excited for Janice to gift Meal Garden to her daughter this month, as she's eager to share the benefits of planning ahead and enjoying life (& easy, healthy meals!).