Let’s be real, one of the hardest and most demanding roles as a parent is to be a constant provider of food. The simple challenge you face in this role is being able to provide delicious and nutritious meals without wasting a lot of time. Maybe you are home at 6:30 pm after a long commute, you open the fridge, see tons of ingredients, but have no idea what to make. Or maybe you are a work-at-home mom who has just been so busy all day, doing literally everything else, that dinner completely slipped your mind. Whatever type of mom you are, meal planning may be the key to helping you avoid buying dinner out every night this week. And what better way to get started with meal planning than with some of the best apps for meal planning found in an app store near you.
Meal planning may seem intimidating to some, but really it is just three steps:
- Choosing your meals
- Shopping for the ingredients needed
- Then preparing those ingredients to have food ready for the entire week
It doesn’t matter what type of mom you are; a stay at home mom, work from home mom, working full time mom, or simply…Mom. We all could use the help of one or two or three of the best apps for meal planning to help get you started.
Best Apps for Meal Planning for Moms Who Commute
Mealthy (Android / IOS)
This is the best of the best apps for meal planning for anyone who is on a serious time crunch. If you own a pressure cooker, slow cooker, or multi-use pot of any sort, this app has all the recipes you need. In 30 minutes or less, you can have a delicious home-cooked meal all from one kitchen appliance. Each of the recipes have ratings to see what everyone loves to make, plus a few with videos in case you are new to the one-pot or one-appliance cooking scene. Other recipe categories you will find on the app are “Quick + Easy”, “Ready in 30”, “5 Ingredients or Less” so this app is definitely geared to getting a meal in as quickly as possible.
Mealime (Android / IOS)
This is the best app for meal planning for anyone who really wants to find everything in one place. No need to find recipes, and no need to search by ingredients. When you first login, all you need to do is set your food preferences and dietary restrictions, and the app does the rest of the work for you. Once you have set yourself up, the app will curate all the recipes recommended for you based on your preferences. Each of the recipes has clear and bright photos so choosing is definitely done with what is appealing to the eye. Chose the recipes you plan to make for the week, and then your shopping list is automatically made for you as well. It then prompts you to set a day to meal plan so you cannot forget to do it. Just click, click, click, and you are done! All you need to do next is get cooking.
Best Meal Planning Apps for Moms Who Have Favorite Recipes
Plan to Eat (Android / IOS)
This is the best meal planning app for anyone who knows exactly what recipes they plan to use, but have no real place to save them. Instead of saving the recipes on your browser bookmarks or in a note on your phone, just plop your favorite recipes into this app. Have a recipe passed down from your grandma written on a recipe card? Not a problem. There is even an option to manually input recipes into a “Recipe Card”. Essentially it is like a virtual recipe book. Once you have added in all your favorite recipes, use the “Planner” feature to add a time and date for when you will enjoy each of the recipes you have added in.
There is a monthly ($4.95/month) or yearly ($39/year) subscription option to use the app, but the first 30-days are free if you just want to get a feel for it before committing.
Mealtastic Meal Planner (IOS)
This is one of the best apps for meal planning for moms who are obsessed with planners. Formatted just like a notebook planner, this app is meant for you to save all your favorite recipes in. Simply copy and paste the recipe into each date, tag which meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack) you will be eating it as, and then set a time for this meal. It is basically like inputting appointments into your phone’s built-in calendar. If your phone calendar is already your best friend, you can even sync this app to your built-in calendar when you upgrade to the app’s premium version ($9.99/year).
Best Apps for Moms who are Keeping Up with Healthy Eating
Eat This Much (Android / IOS)
This is the best meal planning app for moms who are focused on healthy eating but do not have time to find recipes. When you first signup for this app, you are prompted to create a profile. In this profile you add in your weight, height, age, and exercise activity, plus choose from one of three goals: maintain weight, gain muscle, or lose weight. Next just set any dietary restrictions, and the app does the rest of the work for you. Once you’re profile is made, you are automatically generated a day-to-day plan based on your goals and preferences. Each day, just go in the app, and a day’s plan will be created for you.
If you don’t have time to go in everyday, the best thing to do would be to upgrade to the premium version ($7.49/month) to have a weekly plan and grocery list automatically generated for you.
Lifesum (Android / IOS)
This is the best meal planning app for moms who already have a sense of what healthy recipes they are using, but might need a little more inspiration. Just like the previous app, you start by setting up your physical profile with your health goals. Once your account is set-up, you are given a daily calorie count to work with. If you are counting calories, this app even breaks down how many calories you should be eating each meal. As for the recipes themselves, you can either input your own recipes, or you can upgrade to premium (starting at $21.99/ 3 months) to get full access to their recipe library and curated meal plans. To name a few, you can choose from meal plans like “3-Week Weight Loss”, “Clean Eating”, and “Ketogenic Easy”.
Best Apps for Moms Who Are New to the Kitchen
This is one of the best apps for meal planning for moms who are not only new to cooking, but who also want to start cooking with healthy recipes. All the recipes found on this app are definitely on the healthier side. You won’t find a bacon and bleu cheeseburger in here. Instead you will find recipes for food like avocado chicken wrap or fluffy protein pancakes. To find recipes, you can search from their automated tags like “sugar-free” or “high-protein”, or you can simply type in an ingredient. And if you are not exactly sure how to do something, the app has a “How To” tab with short videos for different cooking techniques that might be harder for new cooks.
Read More: Know what else you should add to your cooking? Coconut oil and here are 4 reasons to start cooking with coconut oil.
This is actually the best meal planning app for both novice and experienced cooks. This app is great for those new to the kitchen because of the timer feature. If you have an ingredient and want a simple way to prepare it, simply choose your ingredient from the Timer tab of the app, and you will be given an easy to follow step-by-step process for preparation, plus a built-in-app timer. It is hard to forget to set a timer with this app. And if you leave the app, notifications pop-up on your phone to remind you that you are cooking something. Some of the recipes are more complex for those with more experience in the kitchen, and each recipe includes ratings and reviews.
Best Apps for Moms Who Are Experienced in the Kitchen
Yummly (Android / IOS)
This is the perfect meal planning app for moms who have all the ingredients, but do not know what to make. You can find recipes by simply searching with the ingredients you have on-hand as keywords, or you can scan and take a picture of the ingredients with your phone camera. Completely stumped on what to make? This meal planning app even pulls recipes by location so you can make what is popular in your area. Once you have chosen your recipes, save them to your account for easy access, then click on each individual ingredient you need to buy to save to your “shopping list”. To take it one step further, you can even schedule eating times so you know exactly when you are consuming each of these meals you are diligently preparing.
Read More: Can you afford organic food if you have a large family? Absolutely, here’s how.
AllRecipes Dinner Spinner (Android / IOS)
This is the perfect meal planning app for moms who want to cook with variety. When you first login to the app, you are asked “What are your tastes?” This allows you to choose what type of recipes you want popping up on the app’s home screen. When you see a recipe you like, simply save it as a favorite. If you are really stumped with what to make, use the app’s Dinner Spinner to solve that problem. Open up the Dinner Spinner on the app, and shake your phone to randomly select recipes to choose from based off of dish type, ingredients, and time of preparation. If you are open to eating anything, you might land on main dish, legumes, and 2 hours, and end up making quinoa black bean burgers for dinner.
Meal planning helps you save on not just time but money too. With meal planning there is no more asking “what is for dinner?” every single night or even hearing those words from your kids and partner as soon as you get home. In three simple steps you are all set for the week. To make things easier, you can simply start with one of these apps to get you going. Get to prepping and download one of these apps today, it’s almost time to eat! Now the only question is which of these best apps for meal planning will you start with before your next meal?
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Photo Credits: Eaters Collective | Iskeeze | Jan Vašek