Over the past few months, the Meal Garden team has been doing a bit of research on the obstacles busy people and families face with meal planning and preparing healthy meals at home.
We came in with the assumption that getting groceries and the actual cooking process itself were the biggest challenges. Little did we know that even answering the very first question, "What should I cook?" involves a whole lot of sifting through endless Pinterest bookmarks and trying to remember what items in the pantry/fridge can be turned into a meal.
However we recognized that deciding what to cook could be simplified given the right tools. For the busy and the health conscious who strive to prepare wholesome home-cooked meals, working with traditional cookbooks is like carrying a jukebox around rather than a slick iPod. Traditional cookbooks just don't make sense anymore and here's why:
1) The scroll and sort convenience is like no other
When making decisions, visual aids are the best! Being able to scroll through your recipes as you decide what to make for dinner is a sure way to ease the process.
Forget flipping through endless pages with no filter options. With all your favourite recipes at your finger tips, sort through recipes found on the web, store your favourite ones, rank them based on specific preferences and adjust portion sizes at the touch of a button (you may as well toss out that pocket calculator while you're at it).
2) Access from anywhere at anytime
Your cellphone or tablet goes where you go. Once you have all your recipes at on your mobile device, scroll through them at your workplace, on the train, at the grocery store or wherever you may be! With all your recipes in hand and grocery list ready to go, it's that much easier to plan for healthy home-cooked meals and ramen noodles for the third time this week (we've all been there at least once).
3) Save your recipe inspiration from anywhere
If your version of a cookbook is some combination of magazine clippings, Pinterest bookmarks, and scraps of paper with indecipherable instructions, figuring out what to cook tonight (and the days to come) becomes a brain-strain.
Storing recipes from the web or anywhere else is seamless with a recipe app. Build your cookbook every time you come across a recipe you’re dying to try out.
Tip: Paprika has an awesome mobile app feature for searching and storing online recipes. They do however charge for this app (going for $4.99 on mobile).
4) This one is for those who don't like to follow recipes instructions
If you're the freestyling type of chef that can whip up a delicious meal without instructions, this one is for you. Snap a picture of your masterpiece along with a few notes and save it for future reference so you don't forget which tips and tricks turned your meh-meal into a gourmet sensation.
Tip: Spoonacular is a free app with a great feature for adding your own recipes complete with the option to add photos, ingredients and instructions.
Different apps focus on different features of recipe management so pick the one that suits your needs best. Lifehacker's list of Best Apps to Manage Your Recipe Collection is a great place to start. Check it out here.
If you’re already using a recipe app, shoot us a line and tell us all about it!