Meal planning is one of those things that once you start, you say, “How did I ever live without it?”
There is literally no downside to meal planning. It eliminates decision fatigue each day because you already know what’s on the menu, plus it saves time, headache, hassle, and ultimately, money. No more last-minute sprints to the local, more expensive supermarket because you’ve forgotten an ingredient. No more ordering takeout because you don’t know what to make or have a bare pantry. No more awkward silences when your kids ask incessantly, “What’s for dinner?”
Meal planning is literally one of the easiest ways to make your life, well, easier. And fortunately, there are plenty of apps to help you do meal planning exactly the way you want to do it. We’ve rounded up the top 10 meal planning apps on the market, so whether you want an app that will create meal plans for you, store your recipes, order ingredients online, or help you stay healthy, you’re sure to find one that’s right for you.
Mealime is a great meal planning app for anyone who wants to maintain a healthy way of eating. All you need to do is create a profile, add your food preferences, and the app will then curate a list of meal choices, including keto, paleo, and vegan. You then choose your weekly meals and the ingredients can be automatically added to Amazon Fresh or Instacart.
Mealime is a free app but can be upgraded to Pro for $5.99/month or $49.99/year.
Paprika is a recipe manager and meal planner in one. You can build your recipe collection by inputting your favorites manually or saving them to the app directly from the web. One nice feature is that recipes can be automatically scaled up or down to suit the number of servings you need. Other extras include keeping your screen lit when you’re working from a recipe and built-in cooking timers. One of the best features is that Paprika creates a customized grocery list based on your meal plan, consolidating ingredients when necessary so you don’t overbuy.
The main drawback of Paprika is that it’s not free. The cost ranges from $5.99 to $29.99, depending on the device you use. And your membership can’t be synced across devices. If you purchase for Windows, you’ll need to purchase a separate app for your iOS or Android device.
PlateJoy is the most accommodating app for people who want to eat healthy, don’t have hours to spend in the kitchen, and have specific dietary restrictions. When you register, you take a lifestyle survey, which includes questions about your food preferences, allergies, calorie goals, fitness routine, and general schedule. The app then creates a unique meal plan for you, complete with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Plans are created by nutritionists who are available to consult via phone or chat.
And what meal planning app would be complete if it didn’t offer an automatically generated shopping list based on your meal plan? The shopping list can be directly integrated with Instacart and other grocery delivery services so you kill 2 birds with 1 stone.
PlateJoy offers a 10-day free trial, but after that, this health-conscious service will cost you. Users can choose between a 6-month subscription for $69 and a 12-month subscription for $99. However, if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, some insurance policies will cover the cost of PlateJoy’s Diabetes Prevention Program.
Launched 10 years ago, Plan to Eat is an easy-to-use recipe organizer and meal planner that’s all about staying organized, eating healthy, and saving time and money. It’s marketed as an app for DIYers, meaning, there is no database of recipes, but rather, you choose what you eat and how you plan your week. You can upload your own recipes or import from the web. As you create your weekly menu, ingredients get added to your shopping list, which you can arrange according to the layout of your supermarket. You can also create a Staples List, where you can add common staples so you never have to worry about forgetting them or enterin