As you get started with your meal planning, you are likely to have questions about how certain things work or how to set things up to best work for you. You can always reach us for support, but for quick reference, here are the top 10 most common questions we receive in chat and where to find the answers to them.
1. Why does my meal plan start today? I don’t want to start until next week. Doesn't that mean I'll lose a week of my meal plans?
Your Real Plans subscription begins the day that you sign up to give you immediate access to your Meal Planner, Recipe Box, Shopping List, and all Real Plans has to offer! Your meal plan will be generated for the current week beginning on the day of the week you chose as your weekly start day, so if you signed up on Monday, Dec. 18, with a weekly start day of Sunday, your Meal Planner will begin the week of Sunday, Dec. 17. This will allow you time to fully customize your Meal Planner and familiarize yourself with how it works before diving in, if desired. As an active Real Plans subscriber, you will always have access to the current week and three future weeks. When one week ends, a new one is generated, so you are not losing any weeks of your Meal Planner. Click here for a detailed explanation: https://support.realplans.com/hc/en-us/articles/115005734483-How-to-Use-Your-Scrolling-Weekly-Meal-Planning-Calendar.
Similarly, we often get this question from Whole30 subscribers:
I set up my plan to start my Whole30 next week, but the plan that it gave me starts today. I don't want to lose any of my Whole30 meal plans.
Your subscription begins on the day that you sign up to give you time to familiarize yourself with how the Meal Planner works and to complete your Whole30 shopping. It is ideal to set your Whole30 Start Date for one week after your subscription begins. You can change your Whole30 start date by going to Settings->Whole30 and using the calendar to select a new day, if desired. Be sure to click "Save My Whole30" when you are finished. You will see the Whole30 logo and daily countdown beginning on your Whole30 Start Date. Rest assured that you will not lose any weeks of your Whole30 meal plans by starting your Whole30 a week after your subscription begins. Please see this support article for more details: https://support.realplans.com/hc/en-us/articles/115005734483-How-to-Use-Your-Scrolling-Weekly-Meal-Planning-Calendar.
2. I hadn't logged in for a few weeks and noticed that I have blank weeks when I scroll back through my calendar. Why don’t I have meal plans for those weeks?
The Meal Planner is designed to create meal plans when you access the system, so it is important to log in regularly and take a look at the meal plans that are generated for you. This will help you make sure that the meal plans meet your needs and will also allow you to make any changes to your meal plans to make them best work for you. If you prefer not to log in every week to review your plan, you can log in every two to three weeks to quickly view all of your upcoming plans by using the scrolling calendar at the top of your Meal Planner. Simply click on the right arrow to move to the next week. Click here to learn more about the scrolling weekly meal-planning calendar: https://support.realplans.com/hc/en-us/articles/115005734483-How-to-Use-Your-Scrolling-Weekly-Meal-Planning-Calendar. You can also use our mobile app to quickly open your Meal Planner without having to log in to the web site. The article linked above will also explain how to access your weekly meal-planning calendar from our app.
3. Why are foods I excluded showing up in my meal plans?
This is usually a result of not applying or confirming your changes when making your food exclusions. Please refer to this support article to be sure your exclusions are being applied: https://support.realplans.com/hc/en-us/articles/115002477786-How-To-Customize-Your-Meal-Plan-My-Diet. If you are a Whole30 subscriber, be sure to click "Save My Whole30" after choosing your food exclusions to be sure they are applied. This support article will guide you through your Whole30 food exclusions: https://support.realplans.com/hc/en-us/articles/115004481803-Setting-Up-Your-Whole30-Reset. If your exclusions have been properly applied but you are still seeing those foods in your Meal Planner, please visit us in chat so we can investigate.
It is important to make sure ingredients are recorded in the correct category when importing recipes to keep this from happening, as well. When searching the Recipe Box, checking "My Diet" will show you only the recipes that meet your dietary preferences. You will have access to all of our recipes, including those that do not meet your dietary restrictions, when the "My Diet" box is not checked. Only recipes that meet your exclusions will populate your Meal Planner, however, unless you manually schedule them.
4. I saw a recipe in my meal plan for this week, but now it's gone and I can't find it in the Recipe Box. What happened to it?
If you recently changed your food exclusions, it is likely that the recipe you cannot locate contained an ingredient that you recently excluded. Unchecking "My Diet" and clearing all filters in the Recipe Box will allow you to search all of our recipes, so you should be able to find it there. Click here to learn more about searching for recipes in your Recipe Box: https://support.realplans.com/hc/en-us/articles/115003992643-Searching-for-Recipes-in-Your-Recipe-Box.
If you still can't find the recipe you are looking for, you may have turned variants off in Settings. If this is the case, turning variants back on will likely do the trick. Variants are different versions of the same recipe for the various diet types. To learn more about this setting and how to turn your variants on or off, please click here: https://support.realplans.com/hc/en-us/articles/115003165423-Advanced-Settings-Fine-tuning-your-Meal-Planner-and-Recipe-Box. You can always visit us in chat to help you find a recipe, as well.
5. I used to get weekly emails with my meal plans, but those emails recently stopped. What happened?
Since the Meal Planner is designed to create meal plans when you access the system, it does require you to log in periodically to take a look at the meal plans that are generated for you in order to make sure that everything is to your liking. If you do not log in during a calendar week or use your scrolling weekly calendar to view upcoming weeks, a meal plan will not be generated, so you will not receive an email with that week's meal plan. If you prefer not to log in every week to review your plan, you can log in every two to three weeks to quickly view all of your upcoming plans by using the scrolling calendar on the top of the Meal Planner. Simply click on the right arrow to move to the next week. Click here to learn more about the scrolling weekly meal-planning calendar: https://support.realplans.com/hc/en-us/articles/115005734483-How-to-Use-Your-Scrolling-Weekly-Meal-Planning-Calendar. You can also use our mobile app to quickly open your Meal Planner and take a look at it without having to log in to the web site. The article linked above will also explain how to access your weekly meal-planning calendar from our app.
You can also check your Email Settings to be sure you are still set up to receive weekly emails by heading to Settings-> Options-> Email Settings.
6. When I answered the questions during set up, it asked about my cooking experience. How do I go back and change my answers?
The questions we ask when you sign up are designed to get you to think about your culinary skills and style of cooking. They are not used in the development of the meal plans and are no longer accessible once sign-up is complete.
7. I have a very restricted diet and am not getting very many recipes. What can I do?
There are lots of ways you can increase the number of recipes you get in your Meal Planner! We recommend not excluding foods for which you have a good substitution or foods that are on our Top 20 Ingredients List. You can also modify and import recipes for more variety. This support article will show you how to get the most out of your subscription while on a restricted diet: https://support.realplans.com/hc/en-us/articles/115003515786-How-to-Get-the-Most-Recipes-on-a-Restricted-Diet.
8. I have the Paleo plan, but some of my recipes say Whole30, some say DF, and others say AIP. What does this mean and how do I know my recipes are all compliant with my diet type?
The Meal Planner generates meal plans for you based on the settings you have selected. It uses a combination of your selected diet type plus all of the food exclusions you have set for your personalized meal plan. Many of the recipes have different versions to serve various diet types, so some may say Whole30, DF, or GF, but all the recipes that automatically populate your Meal Planner will meet the dietary preferences you have entered. Click here to see what all the abbreviations mean and to see all the diet types we offer to be sure you have selected the one that works best for you.
9. I want to batch cook and prep ahead on the weekends. Can I set up my planner for that?
There are a few different ways you can accomplish this. You can take a look at the meals on your Meal Planner and use our notes feature to make a note showing what prep you wish to do on the weekend days. Alternatively, some people like to move all the recipes to the day that they want to prepare them and then make a note on the day that they plan to eat each one. Click here to learn how to make a note on your Meal Planner: https://support.realplans.com/hc/en-us/articles/209824363-How-to-make-a-Note-on-your-Meal-Planner-One-Time-or-Recurring.
You can also use our Advanced Filters to schedule specific recipes, like Roast Chicken, on Sunday to have for meals throughout the week. Using tags like "Make-Ahead Breakfast" and "Freezable" will also help with this. Click here to learn how to use our Advanced Filters: https://support.realplans.com/hc/en-us/articles/217302866-Need-to-tailor-your-schedule-a-bit-more-Try-the-Advanced-Filters-. For Whole30-specific suggestions, click here: https://support.realplans.com/hc/en-us/articles/115004686726-Real-Plans-Whole30-Meal-Planning-Hacks. This blog post also has some great suggestions: https://realplans.com/blog/whole30-meal-plans-are-non-negotiable/.
10. I changed the serving sizes on a recipe from 4 servings to 2, but it didn’t change the ingredient measurements in the recipe. It still shows the same amounts for fewer servings. Why didn’t it change?
If you normally serve 4 but only need to serve 2 for a specific meal, simply open the recipe card from your Meal Planner and change the number of servings there. This support article will walk you through changing your serving sizes for a particular meal: https://support.realplans.com/hc/en-us/articles/208116686-Adjusting-Serving-Sizes-.
Changing the serving sizes from the recipe card in the Recipe Box by clicking on Actions->Modify ("Edit" from the app) will permanently change the number of servings that this recipe serves and will not change the measurements. This can be compared to opening a cookbook and crossing out "Serves 4" and writing in "Serves 2". The measurements are not changed. The main reason you might want to modify a recipe to change the number of servings permanently is if the recipe says it serves 4 but you found that it made 8 servings for your family.
We are always here to help you with your meal-planning needs and to support you in any way we can. Click here to see how to reach us and to learn the many ways we offer support to help you WIN at meal planning: https://support.realplans.com/hc/en-us/articles/115005475563-How-to-Reach-Real-Plans-Support.