Meal planning service The Dinner Daily of Boston is rolling out for grocery stores across the country.
Founded in Massachusetts by working-mom-turned-entrepreneur Laurin Mills, The Dinner Daily helps families and couples make healthy dinners while saving time and money, with weekly dinner plans and shopping lists customized to the ingredients on sale at a preferred grocery store.
The Dinner Daily’s weekly meal plans now are available for dozens of major grocery chains, including Aldi, Kroger, Stop & Shop, Harris Teeter, Publix, Meijer, Safeway and Roche Bros. The service is available for more than 10,500 grocery stores in 48 states.
“I was a working mom with three kids and every weeknight I was stuck in a ‘dinner rut,’ stressed about what to make for dinner and spending too much money on groceries without any idea about what I would do with them,” said Mills. “On one cold snow day, I took my passion for healthy eating and cooking, combined it with my financial skills from my past life as a CPA, and created The Dinner Daily to make healthy family dinners easy and affordable.”
The Dinner Daily’s approach is based on an algorithm that chooses a customer’s menu based on the weekly sales circular from the grocery store, their family’s menu preferences and the size of the family, plus hundreds of other menu rules, such as ensuring no one ingredient repeats too often during the week, offering a variety of cooking techniques and flavor palettes throughout the week, and pairing main and side dishes that do not have oven temperature conflicts.
The Dinner Daily’s members receive in their email inbox a weekly menu of five dinners and a shopping list that incorporates many sale items from their grocery store circular.
According to Mills, at a cost of $1.50 a week or less, The Dinner Daily can save a family $1,000 per year or more on grocery bills. The service makes it possible to serve dinner at home to a family of 5 for $85 or less per week (or $3.40 per meal per person). The Dinner Daily also offers a two-week free trial to try out the service.
The simple-to-prepare recipes are created by mothers, reviewed by dietitians and tested by families. Nearly all of them have 10 ingredients or fewer and are made with fresh, healthy ingredients—including produce, lean meats and seafood—as well as select items from the grocery aisle, such as rice. The dinners are low in sodium, salt and fat, and range in calories between 350 and 600 per meal, per person.
“Before using The Dinner Daily, I found that just creating my menu for the week was daunting due to little free time,” said subscriber Barbara DelCogliano, who has a family of three in Colonie, New York. “The Dinner Daily gives me enough choices to let me customize for my family’s likes and dislikes, as well as how many meals I expect to cook in a particular week. The shopping list is the icing on the cake.”
Subscribers can choose from among six flexible menu options: Everything, No Seafood, No Red Meat/No Pork, Poultry & Vegetarian, Vegetarian with Seafood or Vegetarian. Shoppers can also edit menus to select gluten free or lower carb options or to exclude a certain recipe altogether.
Mills helps develop and test recipes herself. She and her team also frequently “test shop” at different grocery stores to validate the service’s effectiveness on a regular basis.