PlateJoy Review: Is This Meal Planning Service Right For You?

PlateJoy offers a customizable meal planning service based on customer dietary preferences. In this review, we will help you decide whether it’s right for you. 

 

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What is PlateJoy | Services | Getting Started | FAQs | Pros and Cons | Customer Reviews

Meal planning is one of our least favorite tasks.

The busyness of life commands our attention, whether it’s work demands, rushing to and from various afterschool activities, writing product reviews… the list goes on and on.

But food has to work itself into the equation. Even when our life is moving at breakneck speed, we still have to eat. However, many times our meals are unplanned or spur of the moment. Drive-thru dinners are common (we’re not proud of it).

The real issue’s being unprepared. Sure, we may have the best of intentions to make it to the grocery store, but without a grocery list, it can quickly become a stressful free-for-all, grabbing whatever looks appealing at the time.

Meal planning can certainly reduce the headache and stress, but it requires time and preparation, and time isn’t something we always have.

PlateJoy is a company that seeks to lift the burden from your shoulders when it comes to meal planning. They offer custom meal plans, grocery lists, and personalized recipes to help people save time — all while eating healthier.

It certainly sounds nice. But is this meal planning service right for you?

Stick around for an honest review as we uncover what this company is all about.

What is PlateJoy

PlateJoy is a subscription-based meal planning service that operates strictly online. So, don’t expect any meal planners to come knocking at your front door to inspect your pantry.

PlateJoy helps create personalized weekly meal plans, menus, and shopping lists for busy people like us. But, they’re actually way more than that.

Achieving optimal health’s another thing they care deeply about.

Meal Planning and Health

This company goal’s simple: Help people (like us!) achieve optimal health and wellbeing through personalized nutrition.

Their service not only helps alleviate the stress of meal planning, but they also seek to design unique plans to help us meet our dietary and lifestyle goals. We were able to choose weight goals, as well as our dietary preferences and restrictions. PlateJoy goes beyond a simple shopping list. 

According to consumer behavior data, most U.S. consumers only plan meals for the coming days (42%) — 29% only plan for one day or don’t plan at all.

Although the health research associated with meal planning is scarce, some research found that meal planning’s associated with a healthier diet and less obesity.

What Services Does PlateJoy Offer?

As stated above, PlateJoy offers more than just simple meal planning. After we subscribed, we got customized meal plans, complete with schedules, dietary preferences, and more.

These tailored menus offered flexibility for our whole family. Meals included clean eating options, from diabetic plans, calorie-balanced nutrition, and kid-friendly recipes.

  • Custom Meal Plans: PlateJoy uses over 50 data points, taken from their initial preference quiz, to create a personalized algorithm that helped us plan a weekly menu to fit our unique dietary preferences.
  • Smart Grocery Lists: PlateJoy’s digital pantry used the information we provided about our kitchen to help us save money on food purchases while also helping to reduce food waste.
  • Optional Grocery Delivery: They also offered us an optional service where we could simply order with one click through Instacart and Amazon Fresh, which made sticking to their meal plan super simple for us. If you’d rather shop on your own, their mobile shopping lists are made to help you spend less time in the grocery store.

Subscription and Pricing

PlateJoy is a subscription-based service. However, they’re currently offering a 10-day free trial for their services. This let us get a sense of what they offer before committing to a subscription. 

We had two options for subscription plans:

  • 6-month plan for $69 USD
  • 12-month plan for $99 USD

These plans average out to around $8 to $12 a month, which was billed in one installment (after the free trial expired). It should go without saying, but these plans didn’t include food. We could cancel or pause our subscription at any time from our Account page.

Also, PlateJoy let us save $10 every time we referred a friend to their services with their “Refer a Friend” link — our friend got $10 off, too.

If you’re at risk for Type 2 diabetes, you may qualify to get PlateJoy’s Diabetes Prevention Plan 100% covered through your insurance company.

Getting Started with PlateJoy

PlateJoy’s services are built on a personalized algorithm. Our journey started with a simple online quiz to determine our dietary preferences, health goals, and menu options. Based on our preferences, PlateJoy created a full menu with various recipes to fit our needs, health goals included.

What’s nice is the fact that they also calculated all the nutrition information for us. We seamlessly transferred that info into our fitness trackers, like Fitbit or MyFitnessPal.

Let’s take a look at some of the questions we saw in their 20-question preference quiz.

Tell us about yourself...

Here, we were asked to give our activity level — low, moderate, or high. Also, we were asked if we were “trying to lose weight.” This data’s important when it comes to weight loss goals and caloric intake amounts. Portions were then tailored to our weight loss goals.

Are you limiting carbohydrates?

There’s certain diets that limit the intake of carbohydrates, such as ketogenic and paleo diets. Carbohydrate restrictions will have an impact on the meals that are designed. We’re not keto or paleo ourselves, but it’s nice to know we had options.

Are there ingredients you prefer to avoid?

PlateJoy offered us a whole host of options, even letting us add our own. Some options included added sugars, peanuts, and soy. Most clean diets and weight-loss plans usually avoid things like added sugars, so it was nice to let PlateJoy know that added sugars were a no-no for us.

The questionnaire also asked about which meal courses we’d be interested in — breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. We were also able to select the exact number of meals from each course from week to week. Questions about timing were asked as well (AKA how much time we have to cook, which isn’t much).

Once we completed the quiz, we were shown sample meals — complete with nutrition information and cook time — for breakfast, lunch, and dinner based on our answers. We were then routed to the checkout page to choose our subscription plan.

What Dietary Preferences Do They Offer?

PlateJoy let us customize our plans based on dietary preferences. These plans can even be combined and could be tailored to fit individual weight loss and calories goals. Our preferences could be changed at any time through our PlateJoy account dashboard.

Here’s the dietary preference plans they offered:

  • Low Carb – Moderate carbohydrate options to help you limit your carb intake per meal (30g, 40g, or 50g).
  • Ketogenic – High fat, moderate protein, and low carb. We could choose our preferred carb level.
  • Paleo – Allowed us to exclude certain ingredients, such as grains, legumes, and more.
  • Mediterranean – This plan reduces saturated fats and puts the focus on healthy fats (olive oil, nuts, etc.)
  • Vegetarian / Vegan – Excludes meat and seafood or excludes all animal products.
  • Clean Eating – The focus is on whole, unprocessed ingredients. It excludes refined sugars and pre-prepared ingredients.
  • 30-Day Cleanse – This plan excludes gluten, dairy, soy, legumes, and added sugars for 30 days. 
  • Diabetic / Prediabetic – Moderate carb options, and it offered a choice to limit carbs per gram, per meal.
  • Flexitarian – Limits meat and seafood, mostly vegetarian.
  • Low FODMAP – Excludes all foods that trigger digestive disorders, like IBS. 
  • Low Sodium – Reduces meal plans to sodium intakes of less than 1,500 mg per day, following American Heart Association guidelines.

Other plans included: Dairy Free, Kosher, Gluten Free, Pescatarian, No Red Meat, and Pregnant/Nursing.

Some FAQs

What about kid-friendly options?

The best option for kid-friendly would be choosing the “No Restrictions” plan. This allows for more flexibility for kids and picky eaters.

Can I customize my macronutrient options (fats, proteins, carbs)?

The only macronutrient we could customize was carbohydrates, with the Ketogenic, Paleo, and Low Carb plans. We couldn’t create your own macro ratios.

Do I choose my own meals?

Yes, we created our menu based on the recipe recommendations from our plan. New meals were added every week.

Can I change my portions?

Yes, we were able to change our portions if they were too big or not enough. However, you have to adjust your weight loss goals in order to change portion sizes.

Can I edit my digital pantry?

Yes. We were able to add or edit our shopping list as well as add and edit our digital pantry ingredients if we realized we already had them on hand.

Customer Service

In terms of customer service, PlateJoy features a chatbot on their page, which let us send questions to their customer service team directly from their website.

The average reply time took up to a day — this was one of the biggest areas where we saw room for improvement. Also, there’s not much contact information given on their website.

However, their FAQs section did answer many of our important questions.

Benefits and Drawbacks

There’s many companies and apps that offer similar services. Plan to Eat is one service. They allow you to try it for 30 days and their plan only costs $39 for the year, which is a little friendlier to the budget. Eat This Much is a free service, which also integrates with Amazon Fresh.

PlateJoy Benefits

  • Offers 10-day trial before commiting to a subscription.
  • Take the burdens of meal planning and shopping lists off your shoulders.
  • Comprehensive meal plan options to cater to virtually every dietary need.
  • Dietary and meal preferences are flexible and customizable.
  • Integrates with Amazon Fresh and Instacart for further convenience.

PlateJoy Drawbacks

  • Ingredient delivery from Amazon Fresh isn't available everywhere, only in select metro areas. 
  • Subscription’s more expensive than many competitors that offer similar services. 
  • Customer service from their website’s lacking.

What Are Customers Saying About PlateJoy?

Overall, PlateJoy has a good customer review rating, boasting a 4.2 out of 5 on Trustpilot.

Here’s a couple of success stories from PlateJoy customers:

I haven't gotten a recipe I don't like yet, and I've been doing PlateJoy for several months now. I am losing weight and my lab tests say I'm getting healthier! I especially like the single serving recipes since I am only cooking for myself. I highly recommend PlateJoy!

—    Constance, 5/5 stars on Trustpilot

I have saved so much money and am not stressed going to the store anymore. I used to spend hours on pinterest trying to come up with meal plans that I later hated, took too long, or never got made. Now every week my groceries are under $30 (for 2 people), food isn't getting wasted and I find myself enjoying the meals.

— Makenna, 5/5 stars on Trustpilot

This customer seems pleased with PlateJoy’s app:

This app is awesome! Once you get your personal settings worked out, it works beautifully - it never takes me more than 30 minutes to get a healthy dinner on the table. Grocery shopping is also taking less time, because my list is made for me. I will be using this app for a long time!

—    Courtney, 5/5 stars on Trustpilot

Bottom Line

PlateJoy offers a subscription-based service that’s aimed at helping customers (like us!) relieve the burden of meal planning.

PlateJoy’s wide variety of plans are made to fit almost every dietary preference, from low carb to vegetarian, making it a great option for people on restrictive diets.

Their preference generated shopping lists made gathering weekly recipes easier, saving us both time and money at the grocery store.

It’s more expensive than some competitors, but for those when we find our time during the week running short, this service is a great option for taking away our meal planning worries.

Sources:

Custom Meal Plans & Meal Planning Recipes | Plate Joy

Meal planning: consumer attitudes United States 201| Statista

Meal planning is associated with food variety, diet quality and body weight status in a large sample of French adults | NCBI

Custom Meal Plans & Meal Planning Recipes | PlateJoy

How much sodium should I eat per day? | AHA

Best Meal Planner & Grocery List App | Plan to Eat

The Automatic Meal Planner | Eat This Much