Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just eat without thinking about it? If you didn’t have to worry about how what and how much food you consumed affected your weight and your wallet? Unfortunately, it’s become all too apparent that that’s simply not the case — especially when you’re trying to lose weight or save money. Meal planning apps are a great way to keep you on your game when you’re feeling like food is ruling your life: your time, your health, your bank account.
The first thing you’re going to need to know is how meal planning apps even work.
While there are different apps for different needs, such as ones geared toward big families, busy people, weight loss goals, and more, the basis is pretty standard. You use a meal planning app to outline your meal strategy.
Knowing what and when your’e going to eat will streamline your grocery shopping to save you money, while also allowing you to make healthier choices for a healthier you.
To get started, decide what is most important for you. Is it giving your big family healthy and yummy, but affordable meals? Ensuring you eat wholesome, homemade meals despite having very little time? Making healthy meals a priority to help you maintain or lose weight? To widen your repertoire of recipes?
To start your meal planning adventure, use the following apps to make shopping and eating as painless as possible, and as yummy as ever.
This mobile app and meal planning tool is geared toward organizing your recipe collection. Pepperplate works to plan your meals based on those recipes, creating shopping lists for the meals you want to create. Available for free on the web, iOs, Android, Windows Phone/Windows RT, Nook, and Kindle devices, you can finally put all those bookmarked recipes to good use.
All you have to do is paste the URL into the app. You can also manually enter any recipes you have stored up on bits of paper around the house. Then, you can build menus for regular meals or special events.
Pepperplate then generates a shopping list based on your meal plan, so you don’t have to spend time writing your grocery list on paper. And, you won’t have to worry about losing it later.
Even cooler, once you’ve done your shopping, Pepperplate walks you through the recipes as you cook, even providing you timers for simmering and baking.
If you’re in dire need of budgeting, Mealboard is a great meal planning app. It can be easy to overspend on groceries. This is especially the case when you get excited about trying out new recipes, or going organic for the first time. Avoid that end of the month shock when you look at your credit card statement by trying Mealboard.
The app is geared toward showing you that it is, in fact, possible to eat clean on a tight budget. It works by adding recipes from your favorite sites into a weekly calendar. You then simply drag and drop specific recipes to the days you want to eat them.
The app then creates a grocery list that provides you with the price of the ingredients you need, so long as you shop at one of the stores mentioned in the app.
Mealboard is only available for iOS, and costs $4.
Available for iPhone, iPad, OS X, Android, Kindle, and Windows, Paprika is a recipe manager that allows you to import recipes from the web using the URL.
The app is primarily meant to manage recipes, but it also includes smart grocery lists and a menu planner for adding recipes to your plan. You even get to rate the recipes once you’ve made them, as well as create a grocery list for the week dependent on what you want to make.
Step-by-step assistance, cooking timers, and notifications are all perks of using the app while you cook.
It should be noted that the app, while highly rated, comes with a hefty price tag of $20 for the OS X app. And the mobile apps are $5, and must be purchased separately for each device.
If time isn’t on your side, try AnyList. The app allows multiple users to add items to one shopping list. Plus, if there are any changes made on the list, everyone’s devices stay up to date, so there won’t be any oopsies.
If you want a little extra pizazz, pay for the premium options. You can assign shopping list items to different stores, as well as create location-based reminders. This will stop you from forgetting to pick up an item only available at a certain store next time you’re nearby.
The app is available for iOS, and is free or $8 for premium.
If weight loss is of the utmost importance, try YAZIO. The app is a personal plan for losing weight or building muscle, and allows you to track the nutritional elements of your meal.
The benefits include providing you the option of creating meal plans, tracking your calories and daily steps taken. You can even sync your other fitness apps so you can really keep your health streamlined.
Available for free on iOS and Android, if you opt for the Pro upgrade, healthy recipes are offered to you, as well as body fat, blood pressure, and blood sugar tracking.
Meal planning apps are a great tool for making a healthy lifestyle more accessible. Who needs to be stressed about money, a grocery list, or eating right? You can use an app to make sure you follow through.
Give us your thoughts and meal planning tips in our comments section!