No matter how many health bloggers try to proclaim otherwise, we all know that eating healthy can be a lot harder than, say, grabbing a takeout salad on your way home from a long day at work. Eating a clean diet requires regular grocery shopping, meal planning and prepping, and lots of cooking. It’s not always the most accessible thing in the world, especially when you’re just starting out.
That’s exactly why the diet industry is full of products and plans that promise to make weight loss as simple as can be. This would be great, except they often don’t live up to their word. Every once in awhile, though, they end up surprising us. Platejoy, a new service that helps you customize meal plans, is one example of that, and acts as a great first step towards a healthier lifestyle.
What I really love about Platejoy is that it isn’t a diet based on complicated calculations or specific dietary restrictions. It’s more like a tool to help you eat better by keeping you organized and ensuring the planning process is smoother. As someone who has tried many different diets, I can tell you that one of the hardest things about them is figuring out exactly what you should be eating to be successful. I often gravitate towards diets that come with meal plans or suggestions to choose from because I want to be told exactly what to eat. I don’t want to spend hours of my time searching for healthy recipes, then having to make sure they fit my calorie or macro count – it might sound lazy, but I don’t have time for that, and I knowI’m not alone.
So when I heard about Platejoy, which makes fast, customized meal plans, I was immediately on board. The process is simple: You start by taking a quiz on the details of what you’re looking for, which allows for some important personalizations, like how many people you’re going to be cooking for, your weight goal, dietary restrictions, how much time you have to cook each meal, and what foods you want to avoid completely.
The app then presents you with a list of meal options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks and dessert. Each meal is automatically in your queue, but you can go through and remove whatever looks unappetizing to you. When that’s finished, you’ll choose how many meals you want to cook that week, and how often you’d want to eat leftovers. I love this part of the plan because it acknowledges and allows for the fact that some days you won’t be able to cook, a reality that many diet plans ignore.
When you’re done customizing, you’re given a meal plan for the week that checks off everything you’re looking for. If, for some reason, you decide you don’t want one of the recipes you had approved, you can swap it out for something else. You can also add other meals if you end up having more time to cook than you thought you would. In other words, it’s completely personalized based on your goals and expectations – it’s kind of like going to a nutritionist, except it’s a lot cheaper.
Oh, and there’s also a shopping list feature that acts as a really cool add-on. You can “stock your pantry” on Platejoy, checking off all of the items you already have in your kitchen. When you’re done customizing your meals, the app will put together a grocery list for you based on what you need and already own.
Here’s what I really love about Platejoy: it gives you all of these great recipes that are totally personalized to you. I’m a picky eater, and usually when I get a meal plan with a diet, I find them to be very limiting, and end up only wanting to eat a few of the recipes. This app gives me new, fresh ideas so that I don’t have to search through broken Pinterest links and overwhelming health blogs for a recipe I like. It also keeps my dietary restrictions in my mind, which is beyond helpful, because, unfortunately, I have a lot of them.
More importantly, every recipe I’ve tried from the service has been delicious. They’re easy to follow, they don’t use ingredients you can only find at Whole Foods, and they don’t take up too much time. There’s also a lot of variety. I was worried that in my second week, I would be choosing between the same meals as the first week, but I found lots of new recipe options to go through, which is ideal for anyone who wants to keep their food interesting.
Of course, you could create your own personalized meal plans and shopping list for free, but it would absolutely take a lot longer. Platejoy is ideal for anyone who doesn’t have the time to put together meal options for the week, and it’s an inexpensive way to make healthy eating a little more exciting. Personally, I’m all in.
Scouted is internet shopping with a pulse. Follow us on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter for even more recommendations and exclusive content. Please note that if you buy something featured in one of our posts, The Daily Beast may collect a share of sales.
Read more at The Daily Beast.