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When my family and I decided to become debt-free, one of the most challenging parts of this journey was food. We were used to eating out more than we should, and after working long days at work and trying to spend time with my babies in the evenings, I just wasn’t up for cooking a lot of the time. I learned about 5 Dinners 1 Hour about a year ago, and I wish I had known about this years earlier. It would have changed my life when I was working full-time! This review will help you decide if this meal-planning service is right for your family.
What Is 5 Dinners 1 Hour?
5 Dinners 1 Hour is a subscription-based meal planning service with the busy family in mind. This service is focused on meal prep, not just meal planning.
If you’re like me and have the best intentions to eat healthy, home-cooked meals every evening, but are too exhausted to cook after a long day at work, this is one of the best subscriptions you could ever purchase for your family. You choose meals to prep for the week all at once! It takes about one hour to prep approximately 5 meals. You do all your chopping and other ingredient combining at one time, store in freezer bags or food storage containers, and refrigerate or freeze until you need them.
It has two different meal plans you can choose from: classic and clean eating. You can also choose a combo plan that includes both for a slightly higher cost.
How Do the Meal Plans Work?
There is a selection of meals in each plan you can browse through and select. Once you choose all of your meals (they suggest picking 5 at a time–one for each weeknight–however, you can select as many as you want) and add them to your custom menu, you can then get a complete shopping list for every ingredient you need to purchase. They also categorize some ingredients into a “staples” category, assuming you have them on hand already, but you can browse the staples list to make sure you have all of that, too.
Then after you do your shopping, each recipe has directions for the prep. You follow the prep instructions and get each meal assembled at the same time. On average, 5 meals take one hour, however, I have gotten mine done as quickly as 45 minutes before, and I have had some take longer (maybe 90 minutes?) It depends a lot on the recipe selection. Then you refrigerate or freeze your meals depending on when you are planning on cooking them.
Each day, you pull out one of your meals and follow the second set of instructions for cooking. There are crockpot meals, oven meals, and grilling, and they even have Instant Pot recipes in special bundles. All meals require very little effort on cooking day, but some might have you make up some rice or boil some pasta–things like that.
Who Is 5 Dinners 1 Hour For?
This meal-planning service is for busy families that struggle to find the time & energy to get dinner on the table every night, but still want to eat healthy and save money by not going out to eat.
When I was working full-time, this would have been an absolute lifesaver! It definitely has been a Godsend for the busy seasons of my life.
5 Dinners 1 Hour is also for people who don’t enjoy cooking meals that involve a lot of prep. If you want to get a healthy meal on the table as fast as possible, this is the perfect meal-planning service for you.
This service is also great for people who want to create a lot of freezer meals for whatever reason–maybe you’re due with a new baby soon, prepping for an upcoming surgery, starting a new job, or just entering a new phase of life. 5 Dinners 1 Hour has a filter you can select to show you only the recipes that freeze well. Then you get all of the other perks this service offers (shopping list and easy-to-follow directions) to help you get these freezer meals together.
What Sets It Apart From Other Meal Planning Websites?
The meal prep aspect of 5 Dinners 1 Hour sets it apart from other meal planning apps, such as eMeals or Mealime. I have not used any other meal-planning service that makes the cooking aspect this easy!
There is a Facebook group for its members where you can get tips, suggestions, advice, and other support. They post videos of meal preps that many people find helpful. They also have an Amazon shop with their favorite kitchen gadgets for making meal prep easier.
Despite all the awesome things I described above, there are a few things I don’t like about this subscription:
- Some meal-planning services have many styles of eating to choose from. 5 Dinners 1 Hour only has two: Classic and Clean Eating. There are lots of recipes to choose from in each plan, so you should be able to find recipes that suit your family’s needs and preferences, but you might have to do more sorting.
- Everything is an upcharge. Many other services I’ve used have allowed me to have access to all eating plans under one price. Unfortunately, 5 Dinners 1 Hour is not that way. I bought the clean eating subscription, but if I wanted classic meals as well, I’d have to pay more. They also come out with special edition recipe bundles that are not free to their members and cost an additional charge.
- I have had some failed recipes. When I used some other meal-planning apps, I loved almost every recipe we tried. With 5 Dinners 1 Hour, we have had about a 75% success rate, meaning a quarter of the time we just didn’t really like that meal.
- This is the most expensive meal-planning service I have used.
- The recipes are SUPER easy…which is great, but sometimes I can’t believe how much I’m paying to have someone tell me to dump a bottle of buffalo sauce on some chicken breast and call it done.
Cost for Service
Update 2023: 5 Dinners 1 Hour costs (at the time of this review) $36/quarterly (breakdown of $12/month) for a single meal plan. You no longer can get any other subscription pricing other than the quarterly. However, currently (September 2023) they do have a coupon code for $10 off your first quarterly charge using code 10off.
Is it Worth It?
5 Dinners 1 Hour is definitely worth it for its target audience. If you are a busy family that needs simplification and easy organization, this is the perfect service for you. It is also worth the cost if you are going to use this program exclusively. But if you want it just to use here and there, you might not find it worth the price.
If you are a “foodie” who loves cooking and was just looking at a service to get new recipe ideas, I would not recommend 5 Dinners 1 Hour. You are likely to find it boring and there are better meal-planning services for your goals, including a bunch of wonderful recipes here at The Sweet, Simple Things! (Check out my Dinner section).
As for me, I love having it as an option, but I don’t use it exclusively. However, it was my go-to meal-planning tool for busy times in my life over the years! I know from experience that I have a really hard time not grabbing frequent takeout when working full-time. I applaud those of you who can resist this temptation!
Thankfully, 5 Dinners 1 Hour gives me no excuse to waste money on unhealthy restaurant food. With all the food chopped and ready to be popped in the oven, it’s never been easier to make dinner. I can spend more time with my kids when we get home. It is a blessing in that regard. I can easily make up the subscription cost just by giving up a take-out meal. It pays for itself in that regard.
You have little to lose by giving 5 Dinners 1 Hour a try! See for yourself if your family would benefit from this subscription! Have you used this service before? What do you think? Let me know in the comments!