An empty table at dinner time? E-Mealz hopes to change that and bring the entire family together at dinner. (Photo by Michael Freeman).
BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA – Brown Langner knows what it’s like to struggle each day to find time for that very special hour: when the entire family sits down together for dinner.
“I’m one of those moms,” she said. “I work, my husband works, and my kids have activities all over the place. I know as a mom myself, from that 3-6 o’clock time frame in the afternoon, it’s insanity. The kids need help with homework and with their activities. It makes it really hard for the mom and dad to make dinner.”
One way to make it easier, she said, is to click on the site that she works for as the public relations director: E-Mealz. Their goal: to help take the stress out of grocery shopping, fixing dinner, and spending time together as a family.
“This takes the stress out of it,” she said. “You can say, ‘Oh okay, I don’t need to go grocery shopping, I know what I’m doing tonight.’ We make it work. We do all the planning, we figure out what you’re going to have. Every morning you just look on your email list, and say ‘That’s what I’m going to do.’ “
E-Mealz is a web site that provides menus to families, giving them a list of what to buy – at the most affordable, economical prices possible – so families don’t have to hectically worry about what to make. It’s been around for about six years, and as Langner noted, they have a lot of subscribers in Central Florida.
“We are kind of a unique company,” she told Freeline Media. “We are a web-based company. We have about 250,000 members. Basically, the company is run out of Birmingham, Alabama, and the owner, being a mom herself, wanted to find the best way to do dinner, groceries and stuff without breaking the budget.”
Now, through blogs written by people who offer practical, common-sense advice on meal planning, the site can guide any hectic, busy family into making this an entirely smooth and easy process.
“The fee for what we’re giving you is $1.25 per week. That’s all we charge,” she said. “You would go onto our menus and review our menus – we have samples of every menu you need, and you pick the one that best fits your family. We have menu writers all over the country that go into the stores and take notes and then write the menus, and we write new menus every single week. We have writers and editors and all kinds of people who work to put together these menus. These menu plans give you seven meals every week, and it’s based on all the sales in the grocery store, and it saves tons of money in your budget.”
If that sounds like a great idea in these tough economic times, Langner noted that the site wants to encourage families to rediscover dinner time together. That’s why on Monday, Setp. 26, E-Mealz is promoting family time for the entire week. Next Monday is Family Day, which encourages families across the country to gather around the dinner table for an enjoyable meal together.
“We’re just encouraging relational activity in the home – dinner at the table, a picnic on the floor, whatever,” Langner said. “The reason is because we are so busy, because we have two parents who both work and need to get through the day, we’re encouraging them to have bonding moments with the family.”
As the web site notes, “The meal isn’t the most important component … it’s you! A family together at the dinner table has been proven to empower kids to make better decisions. It really does make a difference in all families to invest in these monumental moments that are shared in kitchens all over the country.”
To help make those meals pleasant, enjoyable and cost effective, E-Mealz is promoting some of its menus as a way for the families to really appreciate those dinners.
“We pride ourselves on encouraging families all across the country to come together and strengthen bonds while enjoying the one thing we all have in common — which is food,” the site notes.
“We kind of built this entire community, and we do a lot of events online for our community,” Langner noted. “It’s just grown and grown and grown. It’s just a great product.”
The site became even better known when Dave Ramsay, the radio show host and motivational speaker and author, became a sponsor. That helped spread the word about E-Mealz and its creative budgeting and meal-making ideas.
“We have actual menu plan writers who go to the grocery store every week and walk up and down the aisle,” Langner said. “We guarantee a certain price for that particular plan, and we have everything from vegetarian to fruit and meats. You can keep up with weight management, and it doesn’t really matter whether you’re a single parent or a family of six. We’re going to go to the grocery stores and we’re going to get your next week’s sales for you. On an average week, most people will spent around $150 on groceries. We’ll break it down to $80. It’s a huge money saving product. We give all kinda of tips, not just from cooking.”
Family Day – which Langner said is the perfect opportunity to “come to dinner and eat dinner with your family, and reconnect with your family” – is just one of several special events the site sponsors throughout the year.
“This is one of our biggest events in the year,” she said. “We get a lot of participation in this, and we just have built it up since we started. We also do what’s called a Merry Christmas Happy Home Day, and give budgeting worksheets and Christmas dinner worksheets and different things to organize their holidays. It’s basically an organizational kit we give to them because they are a member.
“We also have a vacation meal plan to help them budget for food while they’re on vacation,” she added, “and we do back to school bashes. That’s a big thing for us, and we help mom and dad get organized with their kids before they go back to school. You know you’ve got a million things to do, and we give you the tools to do it.”
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