My Meal Plan Experience with Plan:Eat
No, I’m not on a diet. I did not try a meal plan delivery service to lose weight. I literally just needed something to eat. I don’t cook, and since my mom’s favorite meals lately have been adobo, giniling, Chow King, and rotisserie chicken – all things I’ve come to HATE – I needed to try something else. The internet has no shortage of these meal plan deliveries so I did my research. My primary reason for choosing Plan:Eat was the budget. Of all the plans I looked at, theirs is by far the cheapest. Their 1500-calorie per day/one week plan, with three meals and two snacks a day, costs only P1600. I know of others that cost double, so this was a plus. They’re also reasonably prompt in replying to messages, and they answered my questions clearly and in a friendly way. Most meal plan providers I saw online are based in Quezon City or somewhere exotic for someone from Parañaque, and they rarely deliver to our neck of the woods. Plan:Eat not only delivers in Parañaque, they’re based here as well. Their delivery schedule is also perfect for me, because they deliver the food in the afternoon, which means there’s always going to be someone available at home. If their schedule had been in the early morning, it would have been a problem. To cap it all off, their upcoming menu was Spanish, which is probably my favorite food in the world. Everything was coming together so I booked my spot and waited excitedly for my first delivery.
Day 0: Right on schedule, my meals for the next day were delivered. I expected to have to freeze everything to keep them fresh, but their only instruction was to keep everything in the fridge and we’d be good to go.
Day 1: Arroz con Leche, Apple, Albondigas in Red Wine Sauce with Veggies and Red Rice, Chili Chocolate Brownie, Chorizo Pimento Pasta
I don’t do very well with food and photos because I mostly end up eating something before remembering to take a photo. Which is what happened on the first day. I was too excited about my first package delivery that I have only one photo for Day 1. And portion control is not something I pay attention to, so I fully expected to be shocked with a regimented plan. I moved the meals around according to my own preference so it would be a gradual change for me. I saved the rice meal for dinner, had the pasta for lunch, and since I usually crave something sweet and cold for dessert, I planned to have the Arroz con Leche last. The Chorizo Pimento Pasta was a bit of a letdown, but I think that’s partly my fault. I don’t think I mixed the sauce properly before heating it, so that must have contributed to it. It was more a taste issue I think – I was not expecting it to taste as sweet as it did. But it was still a good meal and left me satisfied. The Chili Chocolate Brownie was a pleasant surprise. I’d never had any chili chocolate flavored anything before, and I expected the chili part to be a subtle accent. But it was full on chili flakes, and being a fan of spicy food, I loved it! I usually only have a cup of coffee between lunch and dinner, which leads to me bingeing at dinner because by then I’m famished. But the brownie helped calm my midday hunger pangs, so the Albondigas at dinner was the perfect amount. It was cooked perfectly and the red wine sauce was GOOD. And here’s a bonus: there’s an instant coffee sachet with each package too!
But the highlight of Day 1 came from somewhere unexpected: the Arroz con Leche! I had low expectations for a mushy rice porridge, but I was so wrong. It was a creamy custard rice mixture (Google told me I could have it hot or cold, and when given a choice I always choose cold) with a hint of cinnamon. The Great Natilla Disaster of 2012, in which my sister Tammy misread the recipe and put in four tablespoons of cinnamon instead of four teaspoons, traumatized me cinnamon-wise, so I was apprehensive when I saw the telltale brown dusting on the Arroz con Leche. Thank God Plan:Eat‘s chef read their recipe right, because it was perfect! It was incidentally the only meal I remembered to photograph, and though it’s not very photogenic, trust me when I say it made me very happy. Day 1 was done, and it went well.
Day 2: Tortilla Española with Gazpacho and Wheat Bread, Banana, Estofado de Pollo with Veggies and Red Rice, Crema Catalana, Gambas con Fabas Pasta Salad
Day 2 was perfect. The Tortilla had the perfect consistency – not too dense – and the Gazpacho was tasty! It was my first time to try Gazpacho so I was feeling special about this meal. The Estofado was not extraordinary, but I loved the combination with the red rice, so it was also a satisfying meal. The Gambas con Fabas Pasta was also good, except there were giant raisins (which I loathe), but fortunately they were easily discarded. The creamy dessert/snack was a hit again! Crema Catalana is apparently the Spanish version of the Creme Brulee. Though it wasn’t fancy, it was a cool, tasty way to end the day.
Day 3: Tres Leches Bread Pudding with Pistachio, Apple, Callos Madrileños with Veggies and Rice Pilaf, Ham Croquetas with Tomato Basil Sauce, Beef Caldereta Pasta
As usual, I moved the pasta meal for lunch, with the Croquetas as afternoon snack, Callos for dinner, and the bread pudding for dessert. I would say the Beef Caldereta Pasta was not perfect, but again it may be an issue with preference. The sauce was a bit too heavy for me. But the Ham Croquetas were excellent. They were fluffy and light, and the tomato basil sauce was on point. The Callos Madrileños and rice pilaf combination was also a winner. The Tres Leches Bread Pudding was so good, and it was so heavy and dense (in a good way) that I did not finish it and had to leave half for the next day. The pistachios were such a nice treat too!
Day 4: Pisto con Sardinas with Black Olives Foccacia, Banana, Paella Valencia, Chicken Empanada, Almejas Pasta
This was my last meal set for the week (Monday was a holiday so it was a four-day week for deliveries). And it ended everything on a high note! The foccacia wasn’t dry even when reheated. To be honest, I never figured out what Pisto con Sardinas means, but I’ll assume it’s just a kind of sardine sauce? Anyway, it was good and just the right amount of spicy and went well with the bread. The Paella Valencia tasted good, and the rice had the perfect consistency – not too sticky. There was enough chorizo in it to make it an adequate meal. My favorite for the day had to be the Almejas (Clam) Pasta. After two average pasta dishes, I was not expecting to love it as much as I did. But it was creamy with just the right amount of garlic to even things out. I left the empanada for my dessert, and in truth I dreaded it because empanada is another one of those things I have strong feelings about (I don’t like it). But it was the last food for the day and damn it if I wasn’t going to milk my one week plan. And you know what? I was pleasantly surprised! There were raisins again (Lord help us, but as I said, I understand it’s a question of personal preference), and I freely admit (after taking them out) that they contributed to the flavor, giving the empanada a subtly sweet taste.
The verdict? I LOVED my one week meal plan. The novelty of it all made it enjoyable. I love receiving packages of anything, so if you put together a random collection of stuff in a box and give it to me I’ll be very happy. It’s such a small thing, but getting my meals all planned out for the day in a cute paper bag makes me excited for the next day. Small treats like a delicious dessert or even a piece of fruit make me feel like the person preparing my food, even if they’re a complete stranger, is looking out for me. I tried to have realistic expectations about the servings, but I did not feel deprived at all. The servings were generous, and the food was consistently good. And now that my mom and I don’t agonize over what to eat at every meal, I noticed that my mood has improved too.
Will I order again? Well duh, I already booked my place after Day 2! Although I am bit apprehensive because next week’s menu is Chinese, which, umm, is not on the top of my list. But when I looked at the full menu they had me at mango sago. I hope Plan:Eat doesn’t use MSG. *crossing fingers*
You can check out Plan:Eat on Facebook.