The weeknight-dinner struggle is real, which is why three moms started meal-planning services to help you meet the challenge. Will they work for your family? Our staffers took them for a test-drive.

child behind counter with grocery bags
Photography by Getty Images
| Credit: Photography by Getty Images

For the Farmers'-Market Aficionado

Weeknight Society 

"I was at my son's baseball game, listening to other moms discuss what they were going to do for dinner," says founder Ali Hedin. "In that moment, I realized I could help my friends!" Make that 5,000 friends and counting, who use her app for menus full of seasonal ingredients, step-by-step photos, and grocery lists that let you check off items as you shop.

Our thoughts: "As someone who looks at pictures of food all day long, the pretty photos got me excited to cook. The fish taco recipe I made needed seasoning, but I appreciated how clear the instructions were."—Phoebe Flynn Rich, design director and mom of two

For Very Busy Couponers

The Dinner Daily

$18 for three months, $30 for six months, and $48 for a year;

Laurin Mills, a former CPA and a mother of three, got sick of scanning supermarket circulars to save on groceries, so she built software to do it for her. Her wizardly system comes up with a week's worth of menus based on sales in your area and your family's preferences, then spits out a shopping list. She estimates you'll save up to $1,200 a year.

Our thoughts: "I have limited time to cook during the week. This service has turned around our dinner routine—in a good way! The recipes are easy to follow, and my grocery bill has dropped. It's a keeper." –Tara Holland, food editorial assistant and mom of two

For Waste-Haters

Ends + Stems

Founder Alison Mountford was stressed out by getting dinner ready fast and wasting food. "Because I'm a chef, people assumed dinner was easy at my house," she says. "Not the case! My daughter would have a meltdown if we didn't have food on the table by 6:15." To tackle both problems, Ends + Stems offers three main recipes and one "Waste Not" recipe using the bits left over at the end of the week, plus a grocery list organized by supermarket department.

Our thoughts: "My husband and I talk a lot about food waste (usually when we find a bag of desiccated carrots in the back of the crisper), so it's great to have a meal plan that focuses on using everything." —Nina Elder, executive food editor and mom of one