Meal planning can be tough but it can be an important part of your routine. You want to save money, eat healthier and cut way back on the amount of stress that meal prep causes you. Why not get some help? You can use a meal-planner app or a journal or even a sheet of paper taped to the fridge.
Below are meal planning apps that can do so many things, like creating a grocery list, keeping inventory of what you have in your home, some even include instructional videos. Most of the services are things you can do yourself, but these apps can do so much, it’s a shame not to use them.
TOP BEST MEAL-PLANNER APP 2018
Mealime imports recipes, does the grocery list, and adds your meals to your calendar. It keeps track of where you are as you go from device to device. There are built-in timers and notifications to move on to the next step.
Search for recipes that are already in the app. It automatically puts the ingredients from the meals you have planned onto the shopping list. The shopping list system is great because it adds up the items you will need from recipe and puts the total on the list. If you need three apples from one recipe and two from another, the grocery list will automatically say 5 apples.
The recipes in this app are built around a 30 minute cooking time and lists step-by-step instructions. It allows for substitutions of ingredients you don’t want. There are meal plans that account for eating habits like paleo, vegetarian, low carb, allergies and others.
The whole system saves money because you are not buying anything extra at the grocery store so nothing goes to waste. Another great feature is that the grocery list is built to follow the layout of the typical grocery store.
There is Meal Planner Pro offered and you pay a monthly or yearly subscription.
Food Planner is available for free from iTunes, the main concept is the same as Mealime. Search the web for recipes you like and download them to the app. It creates your shopping lists for you and helps keep track of the ingredients you already have. Food Planner is connected with the most popular blogs and food related websites from which you can import recipes. You can even make recipes from scratch.
Your meal plan, recipes and shopping lists can sync to the cloud. Now you can share the chores because you can have all the information on several different devices.
Like most meal planning apps, Food Planner creates your grocery list for you. It is especially helpful with custom lists, such aisles of the grocery store, categories and prices. It can also be helpful for weight loss because it provides you with your meals’ nutritional data.
Cook Smarts does the same meal planning as the previous two apps but adds a lot more. You plan out your weekly meals and Cook Smarts aims to help you learn how to cook. The app encourages users to find new recipes and feel comfortable making their own healthy food. The price is not outrageous. It’s $6 a month if you sign up for a year and $8 a month if you are paying monthly. According to customer reviews, the money is worth it.
This app offers services similar to Mealime and Food Planner where you can make selections based on food preferences such as vegetarian or Paleo. However, Cook Smarts goes above and beyond by offering instructional videos, reviews, an online community and fresh recipes every week.
For Weight Watchers members there is a section that shows you how many Smart Points are in each meal, that convenience alone would make the fee worthwhile. Each recipe also has a very detailed nutritional label. There is an entire area focused around cooking on a budget including detailed articles on meal planning for savings, how to shop on a budget and how to cut down food waste, all of which are what meal planning is about.
Cook Smarts is the way to go if you’re looking for one place that will optimize the time you spend in your kitchen, whether you want to linger and enjoy it or just get it over with as quickly as possible.
Download and Print-off Meal Planner
Not everyone is interested in apps. Meal planners in paper form are just as popular. Take a look at one of the following websites for a free downloadable meal planner that you can tape to the fridge.
Also, look on Pinterest for a wide selection of meal plans.
Using a food journal is the same as the paper calendar but there is room for more information and maybe even a little self-reflection. Fitness enthusiasts swear by using a journal to plan their meals but they often take it a little further. You have extra room in a journal so people often record when they are planning to eat and then record what they ended up eating and the number of calories they consumed. You can use the journal to record exercise, weight, and thoughts and feelings. It can be a full-body meal plan so to speak. Journaling is just plain good for the soul.
Whether you want to use an app, a journal or a paper calendar meal planner, it is a great idea to plan your meals for so many reasons. There are a lot of factors that go into each meal, such as who you are cooking for, the time of day, sometimes even the weather! When you factor in food costs and reducing waste, it is best to sit down and come up with a plan. Otherwise how is a person supposed to keep track of it all?
Use an app, paper calendar or journal and sit down to plan ahead for a week. Find the recipes, do the shopping and cook the food. Keep track of how it is going. Try it for at least one week to start and you might find that your meals are better and your time in the kitchen is more effective.