Real Plans Meal Planner Reviews

Real Plans Meal Planner
( 19 reviews )

Real Plans is the creation of popular natural health blogger (the Holistic Squid blog) Emily and her husband.  Through her blog Emily has helped thousands of people reach their health goals with whole food recipes, nutrition advice, and a wealth of information on fertility and pregnancy.

Through years working on her blog she developed a series of weekly meal plans that her readers found to be very helpful.  Now through Real Plans they have turned that practice into a fully functioning monthly meal planning service.

How Does Real Plans Work?

The idea behind this service is simple: they will help you plan home cooked meals more efficiently and relieve you of the burden to constantly come up with new and enjoyable recipes.

Through the Holistic Squid Blog they were able to generate lots of feedback from meal plan subscribers that they’ve used to make their paid version inline with what people requested.

Real Plans customers are able to customize menus, easily adjust for portion sizes, modify recipes, create iPhone shopping lists - with notes and pictures, and plan for customized time frames.  You can also scale up your recipes whether you’re cooking for 2 or hosting a dinner party.

The recipes are user friendly and designed to save you time while feeding your family wholesome and nutritious foods.  When you subscribe you have the choice of meal plans based on your dietary preferences and restrictions.

You can dial your plan in based on the following: meat eater, vegetarian, gluten free, paleo, AIP, whole 30, or Dairy + Gluten free.

Cost and Price Plans

They offer several pricing options allowing you to pay $14 per month on a monthly billing cycle, $11 per month quarterly, or $6 per month annually.

Customer Service

The company offers a 1 time 10 day money back guarantee on subscriptions purchased through their website.  However there are no refunds offered on renewal fees, so if you started with your trial period you need to cancel before your billing cycle begins.

Real Plans recommends canceling your subscription at least 2 days before it is due to give them enough time to process your request.

If you have any questions you can reach support at [email protected]

Online Customer Reviews/Complaints

Overall reviews for Real Plans are mixed across a broad range of issues that the service provides.  There are many detailed online reviews posted from food bloggers.  They go through the whole process of using the app and show you how to set it up for optimal results.

Some of the pros that they point out include:

  • Limiting food waste because the meal plans factor in what to do with leftovers
  • The shopping list is convenient and more efficient for shopping
  • Overall savings since your shopping is based on exactly what you need and not impulse buys at the store

That being said, it’s important to note that a lot of these bloggers get paid if you use their links to sign up for Real Plans. This doesn’t discredit their reviews but can be one reason why their reviews skew more positive.

On the complaints side of things, the majority of issues seem to be with the way the company handles its billing and auto renewal.  Some people found it difficult to cancel in time since Real Plans doesn’t offer phone support for customers.  Others were equally upset because the company did not send them a reminder that their subscription was set to renew.

As for the recipes themselves, they are more subject to personal tastes with some people enjoying them and others not rating them as highly.

At the time of this review Real Plans has a 4.2/5 rating on google play.

Competitors and Alternatives

There are many food bloggers that offer meal plans so it’s simply a matter of choosing someone whose food tastes are similar to yours.  You can also piece together your own meal plans from a variety of sources but that is more time consuming than subscribing to one centralized resource.
Some other popular meal plan providers include: PlateJoy, Paprika, and emeals.

Where to Buy?

You can sign up directly from their website at or download from your Itunes or Android app stores.

Is Real Plans Worth It?

You can try out the service through their 10 day trial period and see if it’s for you.  Just pay attention to your start date, and if you know you want to cancel your subscription make sure to contact them ahead of time.
If you have any experience with the Real Plans Meal Planner, please leave your reviews below.

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Real Plans Meal Planner Customer Reviews

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Buyer Beware
February 2, 2022

After purchase I quickly realized this app wasn’t what I was looking for. It does not allow you to track total calories and charges extra for a macro-tracker add-on. I reached out to cancel because of their advertised 10-day money back guarantee and was denied a refund because I purchased through the Apple App Store.

Luckily I only purchased monthly access. If I had purchased a yearly access I’d be out much more money.

Real Plans April 26, 2022

Hi TJ - Sorry to hear that trying to get a refund has been frustrating. We do try to make this as clear as possible, but due to Apple’s Terms and Conditions, we are not able to directly offer refunds for app purchases made through Apple App Store. (Apple doesn’t provide us with your credit card info, so all refunds are made through Apple.)

You can see how to request a refund from Apple here: While it won’t likely help you at this point, Apple has recently allowed developers to add a Refund Button within the app, which we implemented immediately.

We hope this will mitigate this issue for others going forward.-The Real Plans Team

Don't do it
January 18, 2020

I tried for a while and the recipes were too much work or strange.

I tried to cancel but the cancellation did not work. There is no phone number to call and they have your credit card info which you can not delete. I noticed my credit card was charged again but I had not logged on for months. I went on the app this time and canceled. The only way to contact them is through IM.

I don't know about you but I am busy. If I canceled online it should be good right. NO they will keep charging you and when you ask for you money back they wont give you any money back. Don't do business with this company they have horrible customer service and will overcharge you and don't care!

SCAM!!! Stay away!!!
October 30, 2019

When I found out that I was wrongly subscribed to this, I contacted the customer service who replied with such an attitude that they couldn't refund me even thought I hadn't subscribed!!!

Stay away from this!!!!

They do not honor their 30 day moneyback guarantee
July 26, 2019

They do not honor their 30 day moneyback guarantee! I canceled the plan three days into my 14 day free trial. They took out the money from my bank account anyway and tell me they have no record of my cancellation. I know I canceled it on day number three, why they don’t have record of it I don’t know.

I asked for a refund and they flat out told me no, it has not even been 30 days, I called them the same day they took it out of my account, and they refused to refund. They may have a good plan and a good concept, but because they will not honor their guarantee and because they say they have no record of my cancellation, I’m only giving them one star review. This is the only company I have ever dealt with that refuses to give you the refund. Trust me This company is not worth it!

Glitchy program, bad service, and not worth the money
December 19, 2017

Real Plans was the first meal planning service I ever used. Unaware that there were other other services, I stayed with them for just over one year. During that time, I had issues with recipes not being saved correctly, ingredients on my shopping list not being included, and the mobile app crashing and not working correctly while I’m in the store and stuck without the ability to continue shopping.

Furthermore, you’re paying $70/year for access to recipes that are subpar at best. I was excited to have lots of new recipes, but every one we tried, just didn't impress. Many of the ingredients they require may be widely available in southern California, but not anywhere else. But I was okay with that, as I could add my own recipes. However, the process to add recipes is made extremely tedious by Real Plans’ requirement that you add superfluous information regarding each recipe before the recipe can be saved (i.e. country of origin, best season to eat it in, etc). Their search function is buggy and I had to contact them multiple times in order to access recipes that I’d entered.

Finally, if you cancel, DO NOT EXPECT A REFUND. I was three months into a 12 month contract and they refused to issue a refund for the remaining 9 months. They take your money, they take your recipes, and they take your time. Go with someone else

delicious recipes with varying difficulty, caters to special diets
October 28, 2015
I fell in love with real plans when I was pregnant this past summer. I didn't have the energy to plan out meals and real plans made it mindless. Well, as luck would have it, my little one has a milk protein allergy so I'm now using their dairy free meal plan. I am so much more impressed! This week was tomato bacon soup, and dairy free vanilla ice cream to name a couple. I can set Wednesdays to be leftovers and 30 minute meals during the week which is nice. So many settings to make it work for me! Love the grocery list feature too. Huge fan!

Has made my life sooo much easier
October 27, 2015

I've been using Real Plans since before it became an app. I originally loved it for the great flavors in the recipes, the included grocery lists, and the timeline that showed me what to prep ahead of time. At first I felt like I was spending more time and money on groceries and prep; however, after about a month of following the plan and stocking up on staples, I found I saved both time and money while getting truly delicious, nutritious meals on the table.

The new online Real Plans is even better and so flexible. We received a lot of salmon fillets from my dad in Alaska, so I've been switching out a recipe each week with a salmon recipe - including importing recipes from other sites. It's become even better with the addition of breakfast and lunch planning. We truly love it.

Absolutely love it!
October 27, 2015
This meal planning system has everything I wanted plus more. It lets me choose my diet plan, which helps when you are transitioning from a traditional diet to a Paleo one. It has a lot of amazing recipes and you can also upload your very own so if what shows up in your menu is not your cup of tea, you can just go and change them up with your own or with any of the ones they have available . It's gives you detailed shopping lists that you can customize as well. The list of great features goes on and on. But most importantly it allows me to feed my family, great tasting and healthy meals, while still keeping my sanity.

Really pleased so far
October 27, 2015

I have been using this service for about a month. It's been great. Lots of flexibility, good food options. ( paid extra for access to Nom Nom Paleo recipes).

I can see the effort and care behind this service. They care and want to deliver a great service. That's really hard, especially with technology. So if I encounter the rare odd technical glitch, I take it as just that. Most importantly this service is helping me take better care of myself. At the end of the day, that's what matters.

I've already converted my quarterly membership to an annual plan.

So necessary for those who cook real food
October 27, 2015

This app is a life saver! I can choose the way (traditional, vegetarian, paleo, etc.) I want my family to eat, modify the meal plan if I need to, have a grocery list all ready to go and add my own recipes. This inexpensive tool saves me hours of time! I won't do with out it!

Also- shot out to the owners for being so available and easy to connect with for any problems or questions! I would give this an A++!

Life Saver!
October 27, 2015
I work. Full time plus. I have a two year old and a picky husband. This meal plan is the best. I shop once. I have a plan for what to cook, what prep is needed and how long it will take. It has taken me out of my comfort zone and got me to try new foods and we've found new favorites. My kiddo likes almost everything and my husband does too. This made meal time easy and way less stressful. Plus, I like how simple it is to use, I have uploaded my favorite recipes from other sites and they make their way into the weekly plans. I am quite pleased with Real Plans. I highly recommend it. I used to dread coming home and having to decide what we would make for supper. Now, I already know!

Life (and wallet and waistline) saver!
October 27, 2015

I heard about Real Plans through Nom Nom Paleo, a Paleo blog I follow on FB. I absolutely HATE planning meals and if I could afford it, I'd hire a personal chef to do it for me. I paid for the Nom Nom Paleo extension because a) I was referred to Real Plans through her FB site and b) I've probably saved a dozen of her recipes but never made them.

I love the recipes it's given me and I love the customization. If I see a recipe I know I won't be able to find ingredients for (duck is not exactly readily available all the time), or I'm just too lazy to make, I can substitute it with another recipe from the site or pull one from my own arsenal.

The site and app is constantly undergoing improvements, and the developers are always more than happy to hear suggestions.

A few days after I signed up, I received a voicemail from one of their people checking in to see how I was liking it so far and if I had any questions to feel free to call.

Using Real Plans also helps us stay out of the restaurants which helps us save money AND keeps us healthy!

I love this site!

Give it a chance, you need time to work with it.
October 27, 2015

I signed up for Real Plans and then cancelled using the 30 day money back guarantee as I didn't think it would work for me. They fully refunded me, absolutely no questions asked, except for one: Could they contact me and give me a free tutorial by phone and internet and another month free? Because I felt that this was the best online meal plan I have seen to date, I agreed.

They showed me the most efficient way to use the system. (I wasn't using it correctly, and to their credit and lack of mine, I didn't watch any of the videos.)

Their support staff are great. They really want to make this the best meal planning system available online. They appreciate and consider every suggestion offered.

My action plan is to go through the entire list of recipes and 3 star the ones I think my family would enjoy. Then when I return to the list, the starred ones will appear first and I can select which recipes I want instead of relying on the automatic ones that appear. (I'll remove the suggested recipes and start with a clean slate.) Once we try them, I can bump up the star rating to 4 or 5, or remove the star and carry on. I also only plan to use only a couple recipes per week for the first while until I get more comfortable with the system.

I think this system will work well, as long as you are not expecting miracles on the first day. Just a little patience and time. :)

It works great for us - plus, I challenge you to find anything remotely this good
October 27, 2015

I'm a fairly new subscriber (several months) and we have eaten Paleo for many years but now have egg-allergy we need to watch for plus we choose to be cow-dairy free, so this highly customizable plan is very helpful to us. Plus, I have 2 little ones so I don't have time to scan Pinterest for compliant recipes, make a shopping list, then visit the grocery store a few times a week. This way, I plan our meals on Fri, shop on Sat and prep most of the meals on Sun and Wed. This works really well for us. I find some recipes use expensive/rare ingredients and don't always list an alternative, so I just use my best judgement and pick an alternative or ask the butcher or produce guy what they recommend swapping with. I also don't have a SousVide nor do I live by a coast-line with fresh seafood, so lots of those recipes I just skip... no big deal, I have plenty of recipe options even with our "restrictions". Also, living in AZ, I DO NOT use my oven to bake things a good half of the year, so I always have to figure an alternative to the oven use that is used very often in the recipes on RP.

A comment on the other reviews listed here:

The recent software for Real Plans pre-fills your weeks with meals according to the style you selected and the Qty of servings you selected- You can change all of this so I'm not sure why "nrh" couldn't just remove/add recipes in his budget or his geographical location. Also, if you & your family have never eaten paleo and all of a sudden make paleo recipes, of course they're not going to be used to it. Eating paleo, at least for me, was a transition, not something that changed from one day to the next.

As far as the software just up and deleting all your recipes, that hasn't happened to me, yet, but I'm sure I'd be equally pissed if it screwed that up for me. I guess all I can say is that the same can be said about *everything* technological.. like my Galaxy S5 did that the other day... and my Apple has done that to me... and my TV occasionally whacks out. It's software, shit happens sometimes.

Best, most customizable plan out there -- and has saved us money!
October 27, 2015

I love this meal plan and the recent updates. Here are my favorite features:

1. Best shopping list out there. You can add all meals and even snacks for the week, so your shopping list is COMPLETE. You can also assign each item to a particular store and access just that store's list for ease when you are out shopping. Also lets you add food and household needs manually, or have it automatically added on a scheduled basis. For example we make a trip to the big box store the first week of the month and we have scheduled items like coffee and laundry detergent that pop up on that week's shopping list. Since I can access it from any device I can pull out my phone and access it anytime for shopping or to add something I find I need. If my husband or teenagers make a stop they can access the list also and check off what they have purchased so there is no duplication, just that feature alone is worth the price!

2. You can customize to fit any allergy or taste. If you have certain foods you can't have or just don't like you can note them and they don't show up in recipes in your meal plans. You can also add your own recipes and the ingredients for those are automatically incorporated in the shopping list or alter what they have. My family doesn't like cilantro for example, but love Mexican food. So when it comes up I just change it up for parsley in those recipes and save it for when it comes up in future rotations on the menu.

3. Includes all meals, snacks and stock up items such as broths. I have never found such an inclusive plan! You can also tailor the prep time certain meals require and it selects appropriate recipes for that meal. On days I'll be home late I have crock pot meals selected for example, and it always puts crock pot recipes into that day's dinner. It has a range of options you can assign for each meal according to your schedule that include cook ahead meals, crockpot meals, quickie meals, big cook day meals, and more. When you add your own recipes you can tag them as one of those meals so they are included appropriately.

4. Easy to alter the weekly plans and starts on any day of the week you like. I like to preview the weekly plan over the weekend and switch out some recipes so that they are comprised of sale items for that week. You can also select recipes based on expense for when the budget is tight.

5. Includes a timeline for the week that lets you know what to defrost, marinade, etc for the day ahead. When you add your own recipes its is easy to make sure those relevant tasks are included in the timeline.

6. You can access the plan from any device. I have a husband and teens that help in the shopping, prep, and cooking and each of us having access to the shopping lists and timelines, and recipes is so wonderful. No more forgotten shopping lists and forgotten necessities! If I get held up I can call my husband and ask him to hit a certain store on the way home and he has instant access to that store's list. Or I can ask my daughter to look at the timeline to complete any prep tasks that need to be handled that morning and she can just look it up on her phone and do it without any long explanations on my part.

There are other great features that I love, but those are the ones I like most. I work, homeschool, and cook all meals from scratch to facilitate some dietary restrictions and I love having some help in the planning department. I have tried many many meal plans, this one by far exceeds any other I have used. After using it for a month I went ahead and subscribed for the following year to get the great price discount you get for that. We are eating much more healthier and I'm easily saving the money I paid for the plan with all the help using up ingredients promptly and no more take out meals because of forgotten ingredients or forgetting to defrost things, etc.

Life saver!
October 27, 2015

As a working mother of 3, this meal planner is a life saver. Before it all we ate was ground beef and vegetables practically every day.

Highly recommend it if you have no time, no ideas and want to make eating well a priority.

Best Meal Plan App Out There
October 27, 2015

Real Plans is by far the most customizable real food meal plan app on the market. And not only does it allow you to upload any type of recipes you want, it comes pre-loaded with hundreds of recipes already!

I can customize precisely which meals each week I want to make, how much time I want to put into making them, how many people I'm serving, excluding any types of ingredients I want to avoid, and it churns out an amazing shopping list checklist I can take with me to the store to buy the week's ingredients!

And if I already have honey, salt, and spices on my list, I can just mark them off the list and my shopping list is updated.

If you eat Paleo, gluten-free, or have unique dietary restrictions, Real Plans is worth trying. It's simplifying my life in ways I've been dreaming of for years.

Good and terrible at the same time
October 12, 2015
The concept, spot on! Great planning and shopping from automated meal plan and reviewer above apparently didn't realize you can customize ingrdients you do and don't want and a general cost of meals. So one could choose no seafood, no vegetarian meals, and a $$ or $ level of cost of ingrdients. The customization is where it went bad for me though.., once I got my customized plan for 3 weeks, moved around recipes I wanted, added some recipes of my own, made notes, and shopped my for my 3 customized weeks wednesday I could not access the recipe to make dinner then poof the next day it overwrote the whole thing with its own random stuff. Livid I was! Customer service basically said I changed settings that I didn't. It wasted my time and now I have to poke around and try and reconstruct what I purchased for. The recipe box search is lacking as well, couldnt find things by name! There is no backup of your customized plan!!! No way to save a plan if you really like say a 3-4 week rotation for a few months or if you want that week or month plan to repeat each season. No way to save the notes either, but you can alter the programmed recipes. Also, most importantly, There is zero warning if it's going to overwrite anything you customized, it will just happen! So user beware! Use it as an idea maybe but don't rely on it.. Oh and the Nom Nom Palio recipes are way better so buy that add on or just go get her cookbook!

ok, but not for us
October 25, 2014

I'm on my second month of Real Plans. I really was excited about the concept of having my meals laid out for me. They have a nice variety of foods and I really like how you can adjust the shopping list. I tried the paleo plan and I'm afraid some of the meals were not what my family would eat. That's just not what they are used to.

While we did try some of them anyway, I'm not sure I could talk them into it again. So there are a lot of recipes I can't even use. I guess once you have paid for a lot of months that wouldn't be as such a big deal since you can substitute a different one. But for the first month the pickings are slim since they only give you one month of recipes. I do understand why they do that. We live far from a big grocery store so I like to shop for several weeks; 2 weeks of meal plans of a lot of ingredients we don't normally use was too overwhelming for me.

There are several seafood and more expensive recipes in there that just don't fit in our budget. I don't think hummus is an entire meal, but that was one of the days, with veggies, of course. I thinks this is a great idea, it just didn't work for us.