Checklist for choosing a meal planning app
Imagine a meal planning app for your mobile phone that:
Gives you access to thousands of recipes and the ability to collect and categorize them.
Enables you to easily schedule a meal plan that meets your dietary restrictions and health goals.
Automatically creates a grocery list for you to take to the store on your phone and check items off as you get them.
Allows you to edit all of your recipes, recipe collections, schedules, meal plans, and grocery lists as you see fit.
Now imagine, as a nutrition professional, offering this flexibility to all of your clients.
Let’s face it - it’s one thing to access and manage software programs on your computer. It’s altogether different when you have the freedom to do it on your phone.
And it’s “next level” when your clients can take you with them everywhere they go.
These are the beauty of having a great meal planning app!
But, what features does the app need to enable all of these functions? Before you decide on the app that’s right for you, here’s a checklist to consider:
1 - Meal planning app basics
Is the app available in the format you need - Android or Apple?
Can you get help when you have a question, say with a button or link to helpful articles and/or video tutorials right in the app?
2 - Recipe Features
How many recipes are available in the app - Hundreds? Thousands?
Can you easily filter recipe searches so you only see ones that meet your requirements, i.e. high fiber, nut-free, # of calories, etc. (If you wanted to scroll through thousands of recipes you could go through your hard copy cookbook collection - which is super-fun and inspiring - but a whole different experience than when you’re on your phone.)
Once you have a filtered list of recipes, can you sort it by how simple they are to make, how much time they take to prepare, or how healthy they are?
When scrolling through your filtered and sorted recipe list can you see the name, image, time required to prepare, and health rating of each recipe so you can choose which ones to click on?
In Meal Garden’s case, the health rating is a leaf that’s green (healthy), yellow-green, orange, yellow, or red (not healthy).
When you open a recipe, can you see its nutrition information and add it to your cookbook with one click (i.e. by clicking a “heart”)?
3 - Meal planning features
Can you easily schedule a one-week ready-made meal planning template and customize it?
As you’re scrolling through recipes can you easily schedule them (and leftovers) into your week?
Can you take a scheduled recipe and move it to another meal or another day?
Once scheduled, can you open the recipe up to read it right in the app?
Can you see the nutrition information for the week (per person)?
Can you copy the weekly scheduled recipes into another week?
4 - Grocery list features
Does the app automatically create an accurate grocery list based on the number of servings you need, and whether you’re making enough for leftovers?
Is the grocery list sorted by store or aisle?
Can you customize your grocery list to remove foods you already have and/or add things that aren’t in your meal plan (e.g. personal care products, etc.)?
Can you remove recipes you don’t need to shop for (i.e. ones that you already have prepared and/or ones you will be eating out)?
Can you email your grocery list to someone?
As you’re shopping with your in-app grocery list, can you tick off each ingredient as you pick it up?
There are so many features you could wish for in a meal planning app. Which ones are the most important to you?
To download this app for free: