Best Apps For Meal Prepping
Whether you want to save recipes, build grocery lists, or need help budgeting, there is an app that can help you meal prep like a pro.
Meal prepping, or planning ahead for several days or even a weeks worth of meals, has plenty of benefits. But if youre new to it, it can feel overwhelming at first. Luckily, help is as close as your smartphone. Downloadable apps can take the guesswork and hassle out of grocery shopping, recipe hunting, accommodating special dietary needs, and more.
Apps can be helpful because of the features they provide that help streamline and simplify the meal prepping process, says Mia Syn, RD, owner of Nutrition by Mia in Charleston, South Carolina. For example, many apps allow users to choose specific recipes, create shopping lists, and track nutritional information. She adds that some even help save money and offer educational components, like cooking tips.
Although research on the impacts of meal prep apps is limited, a study published in December 2018 in JMIR Mhealth Uhealth found that they can be used to aid healthy food making decisions not just for individuals, but for entire families. And that alone is enough reason to try one .
Best For Easy Recipes: Mealpreppro
Why We Chose It: With a mission to make healthy eating easy, recipes designed to be made in 15 minutes or less, and an emphasis on preparing meals ahead of time, MealPrepPro sets users up for success, and takes the frustration of last-minute meal planning out of the equation.
ProsBuilt-in water tracker for monitoring hydrationEmphasis on prep ahead mealsCons
Best For Weight Loss: Platejoy
- Cost: $69 for 6 months and $99 for 12 months, but some health insurance providers will pay
- Creates Grocery Lists: Yes
More expensive than competitors
PlateJoys highly personalized meal plans are a boon to those with specific dietary restrictions. Users take a lifestyle survey, which includes things like food preferences, fitness and calorie goals, allergies, and schedules, and the app uses 50 data points to create a unique meal plan just for you. It even accommodates those who are diabetic or on a low FODMAP plan.
The meal plans are designed by nutritionists, who are available by phone or chat too, and recipes include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. The meal plans will automatically generate a shopping list, which can be integrated with Instacart or other grocery delivery services. You can also add your own recipes manually.
Users can sync the app to their FitBit, so itll automatically add their meals nutrition info to their calorie tracker. Even better, if your health insurance provider has joined the companys PlateJoy Health division, you can get a free subscription, free Fitbit, and free scale.
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How We Chose The Best Meal Planning Apps
- Customizability. Apps are chosen based on their ability to be customized.
- User-friendliness. Many meal planning apps have similar functionality but very different user experiences. User-friendliness is taken into account when choosing a meal planning app.
- Preset recipes and menus. Some meal planning apps have preset recipes and menus whereas others rely on the user to build their own menus. Weve noted where preset recipes and menus are available and where they arent.
- Nutritional data. The meal planning apps listed here all have the option to display nutritional data. However, some have a more comprehensive nutrient database than others. If nutrition information is important to you, take note of which apps have the most complete database.
Free Healthy Cooking Apps For Beginners
This year, learn how to cook healthier meals and get the good nutrition you need to succeed with these apps for beginners in the kitchen.
Cooking is easy when you know what you’re doing. However, for those who aren’t exactly domestic gods and goddesses already, getting into the kitchen may require a leap of faith.
What are the best apps to learn cooking? Better yet: where can you learn how to cook healthy food that tastes like it came from a restaurant?
These apps make the best smartphone kitchen tools for beginners who want to cook healthier meals.
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Best For Meal Preppers: Mealpreppro
Complying with suggested plan takes time
MealPrepPro is designed for people who want to cook large batches of healthy food so they just have to heat and eat later in the week. The recipes are quick to make and designed for you to make a big batch one day, and then youll eat it for several days after. Sure its repetitive, but if youre watching what you eat and dont have a lot of time, youll always have a healthy meal waiting for you. If youd rather cook fresh every day, or cook an even bigger batch to freeze, you can set the app to do that too.
Set up your preferences according to your diet and either let the app determine your macro goals based on your health stats or you can set them manually. The app will create a weekly plan of lunch and dinner from its collection of recipes. While the app focuses on lunch and dinner, you can easily add breakfast and snacks.
You can customize the plan if you want. Itll even offer suggestions if you want to swap out a dish with something else. The recipes are easy to follow with step-by-step videos, but theyre made for one or two people, so if youre feeding a family youll have to increase the serving size to scale up. You can also add your own recipes. The plan generates an organized shopping list, and you can cross things off as you pick them up.
The app syncs with Apple Health and the Apple Watch, so you can keep track of your calories/macros, water consumption and follow the shopping list from your wrist.
Recipe Apps For Ios And Android Those Who Want To Eat Healthier Should Download
Exercise and workouts may be an important aspect of staying fit and healthy, but an equally important part of it is also what you eat. A lot of people these days are more mindful of what they eat and even monitor their food intake, which can be a lot easier said than done at times.
It may not surprise anyone that there are a lot of food apps available on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store that can make eating or looking for food more of a breeze.
If you are the type to prefer cooking over eating out, there are even recipe apps that offer both food and drink recipes so that you can prepare a complete meal at home.
However, not all of the recipe apps in the app stores are geared towards healthy eating. If those are the kind of apps you are looking for, here are some suggestions for recipe apps for healthy eating that you should try out:
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Awesome Apps For Healthy Foodies
This list doesnt need much introduction, though I should probably mention that my original plan was to put together a post with just ten apps for healthy foodies. It quickly became impossible to narrow it down that far, as there are just so many top-notch apps out there these days.
You may have heard of some of these, but I expect youll find at least a few new gems in this list. Of course, if I missed any essential apps, and Im sure I did, please let us know in the comments.
The 5 Best Healthy Recipe Apps
One of the hurdles many people face in eating healthy is knowing what to eat. Being prepared for this hurdle is the best way to never even encounter it. If you or your family members are the kinds of people who like a variety of meals and tastes, having a couple of go-to healthy recipe apps is a great way to always have healthy recipe options right at your fingertips, wherever you are!
*Some apps may be limited to certain devices and markets
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Diet Apps Vs Nutrition Apps
Diet apps and nutrition apps are similar in form and function. Where they may differ is in the meal plans, tracker, and tips they offer. For example, a diet app for carb counters might include recipes and meal plans exclusively designed for the low-carb lifestyle. The calorie and macro tracker will likely highlight carbs and protein, but still provide data on fat and calories. In contrast, a nutrition tracker is more universal. Theyre often designed to track all macronutrients and provide information about general health. Premium features of a nutrition app might include a variety of meal plans, weight loss tips, vegan lifestyle options, or family-centered recipes.
Recipe Apps For Healthy Eating: Carb Manager: Keto Diet App
The ketogenic diet, otherwise known as keto for short, is one of the many dietary plans anyone can try out should they wish. There are a number of ketogenic apps available for iOS and Android, and one of them is Carb Manager.
As its name suggests, Carb Manager primarily helps you manage your carbohydrate intake. It also features low-carb recipes that you can try making yourself.
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Fit And Healthy Recipes
This app has some hidden gems in it. The app is on the simple side compared to the others. It has a standard collection of healthy categories such as vegetarian, gluten-free, snacks, smoothies, salads, and meals. What sets this app apart, is its recipes that are delicious, yet less common such as sweet potato waffles, locust waffles, and cold soup of strawberries. Healthy recipes that are sure to satisfy even the sweetest tooth.
Having healthy recipe apps at your fingertips is a great way to keep on track and plan ahead healthy meals even when youre on the go.
Sharing is caring!
Fit Workouts & Meal Planner
As the name suggests, 8fit is a bodyweight workout app, but it’s also a great meal planner that can help you create personalized meal plans. Since diet and nutrition are essential aspects of fitness, having meal planning and exercise routines in the same app can be a major benefit.
8fits meal planner comes with over 800 recipes, a grocery list, meal logs, and dietary exclusions, among many other features. The app also hands out badges when you hit a new workout or diet milestone. Therefore, if youre a fitness enthusiast who does not have a lot of time to spend manually creating meal plans, 8fits premium meal planner is for you.
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Harvest Select The Best Produce
With a simple yet attractive interface, the Harvest Produce Guide shows you how to select and store your fruits and vegetables. It also indicates a typical pesicide load, so you can see at a glance which foods are most important to buy organic.
What I love most about this app is that it was created by one healthy foodie-slash-entrepreneur, Sean Murphy.
Best For Shopping Lists: Mealime
Why We Chose It: The apps easy-to-use grocery lists and access to a wide variety of online retailers make shopping for ingredients a breeze.
ProsBreakfast recipes only available on paid versionFree version has limited features
The recipes featured on Mealime are created by chefs and registered dieticians, and you can choose the menu type you want to follow, from classic and flexitarian to keto, vegan, and paleo options. Overall, the recipes are approachable and healthy, albeit a bit basic. You can search recipes by diet, cuisine type, price per serving, and even calories , and build meal plans to reduce food waste, save money on groceries, and use up whats in your pantry. One especially cool feature is the apps food waste savings tracker, which keeps tabs on how much food waste you prevent by using Mealimes recipes and meal planning.
What really sets this app apart for us is how easy and straightforward the grocery shopping features were. In the pro version, you can search recipes by calories. The apps Shop Online feature allows you to shop for ingredients from a wide variety of stores and delivery services, including Walmart, Instacart, Safeway, Albertsons, Kroger, Aldi, Publix, Amazon Fresh, and Sprouts.
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Is My Food Safe Answers All Your Food Safety Questions
Admit it: When it comes to food and relationships, your “common sense” is garbage and your roommate’s second opinion even worse. This app answers all your “I should probably know this by now” food questions regarding undercooked meat, leftovers, and oven safety. As for your commitment-phobic SO, you’re on your own.
Mealime Meal Plans & Recipes
Mealime app is a one-stop for meal planning. Mealime has a vast array of meals in its library- some are free, while others require a pro subscription. I stuck to the free options and was able to find a great selection of meals. Mealime is focused on keeping meals simple, healthy, and delicious. Which they seem to do well at!
A few standout features of this app are the images are very appetizing, the app is easy to manage and use, I appreciated that you are able to customize dietary type such as vegetarian, keto, paleo, low carb, etc. You are also able to add food dislikes, allergies, and serving size as well. Each recipe contains a list of cookware needed, ingredients and instructions.
As you browse through the library, your favorite meals as well as add them to your weekly meal plan. When you are finished selecting your meals for the week, whether its 1 or 21, the app will compile one shopping list for you that includes all the ingredients you will need for the week. Making a shopping list will be easier than ever before!
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Paprika Recipe Manager 3
Paprika Recipe Manager 3 is a lightweight meal and recipe planner. The free version of the app includes plenty of customization options available that other apps offer at a premium. This meal planner and recipe organizer has an integrated browser that lets you directly search for recipes online without leaving the app.
You can download recipes, add the ingredients to a shopping list, and then add recipes to a food calendar. Additionally, theres an option for creating menusa handy feature if you want to repeat a group of recipes.
However, you can only add a limited number of recipes in the free version. If you want to sync your meal plans and recipes across mobile and desktop and gain access to unlimited recipes, you’ll have to pay to unlock the premium version.
Use Meal Planners To Hit Your Health Goals
Meal planners are great for creating and maintaining a food calendar. Push notifications and weekly reports from meal planning apps can also help you stay on track. With features such as calorie tracking, specialized diet plans, and hundreds of recipes, these apps will help you start eating healthier in no time.
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How To Find The Right Meal Prep App For You
To identify the app that will serve you best, Syn says to start by outlining the goals it should help you meet. Do you want to focus on losing weight? Saving money or time? Learning new recipes and skills? Choose the app best suited for your priorities.
Some apps might offer all of the above, while others may be more focused on a select few functions. Ideally, an app should allow you to customize it to meet your dietary needs and restrictions, says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDCES, the New Jerseybased author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies.
Heres a comprehensive list of traits to consider while youre browsing:
- Personalization and customization
- Grocery list building
- Pantry and food waste tracking
- Nutrition tracking
Its not lost on Palinski-Wade that this selection process, initially, can feel just as daunting as the prep work itself. But the search will pay off in the long run and theres no harm in downloading a few to see what works best. Take it one step at a time, she says. Maybe at first you want to use the app to help you add variety to your meals. Then you can slowly work at saving time with meal prep and then focus on saving on grocery costs. Slowly over time, meal prep gets easier and using an app can streamline the process.
Best Free Option: Yummly
Why We Chose It: With over 2 million recipes available on the free version of this app, the sky’s the limit when it comes to cooking inspiration. The step-by-step cooking videos featured in a number of recipes are also a nice touch.
ProsStep-by-step video instructions for some recipesConsOccasionally clunky shopping interface
With Yummly, you can personalize your recipes based on cooking goals , skill range , or dietary preferences . The step-by-step guided video instructions with some of the recipes are a nice touch. Yummly also enables you to schedule meals and sync directly onto your personal calendar rather than in the app. The shopping feature is set up so you can order ingredients instantly via a number of retailers and delivery services, including Instacart, Target, Walmart, Shipt, and AmazonFresh.
Owned by kitchen appliance giant Whirlpool, Yummly also lets you link smart appliances, such as Yummlys very own smart thermometer, to the app via the My Connected Kitchen function. The Virtual Pantry feature enables you to keep a digital running tab on all the ingredients you have on hand and search for recipes that use up those items. The feature will even remind you when an ingredient is running low or about to expire. One of the biggest standout features in the premium version is Yummlys diverse collection of recipes and instructional videos from featured chefs, including Carla Hall, Tunde Wey, Wen-Jay Ying, the Potash Twins, Judy Joo, and others.
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