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Meal planning apps can help people to better manage both their time and food choices. They may also have other features that aim to help individuals organize their day.

A quick look at the best meal planning apps of 2022

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that planning meals in advance helps people make better food choices.

This article looks at some of the best meal planning apps for 2022. We also further explore meal planning and answer some frequently asked questions.

A doctor may suggest a person keep a meal plan if they have or are at risk from certain illnesses, such as heart disease or diabetes. They may also recommend this to people wanting to manage their weight. Individuals can keep a handwritten meal plan, but they may find meal planning apps more convenient.

Meal planning apps can help a person better organize their time and to make healthier food choices. This, in turn, may reduce their risk of illness and help with weight management. A 2021 study looked at meal planning apps within a group of working parents and concluded that the apps may save time and promote healthy eating.

Health benefits associated with meal planning include overall better health, reduced risk of illness and disease, and being able to track progress.

Other benefits may also include increased food variety, better adherence to nutrition guidelines, and successful weight management.

Additionally, a person may also save money and reduce food waste.

A 2019 study found that meal planning was associated with higher fruit and vegetable intake and a lower body mass index (BMI) among first-year college students.

Meal planning apps are easy to download for Apple or Android devices from either the Apple Store or Google Play.

Each app works differently. However, a person can usually customize them by selecting:

  • food preferences
  • diet
  • weight
  • height
  • specific goals

Below, we look at some of the best meal planning apps for a person to consider.

Best for couples: MealPrepPro

MealPrepPro allows a person to input their goals and ideal calorie intake and offers recipes based on these preferences.

It has over 15 plans to choose between, and a person can add their partner to their account. Additionally, individuals can create grocery lists with the app.

There are some benefits and drawbacks to consider, such as:

Pros:

  • new recipes added weekly
  • the company states it works with dietitians
  • can filter out allergies and disliked foods
  • 1-week free trial

Cons:

  • limited customer reviews
  • currently not available on Android devices

Best interactive: Paprika

This app is highly interactive and allows a user to import recipes they find online, cross off ingredients as they add them to a recipe, add images, and highlight, bold, or italicize instructions.

The app also has a “tap to start” timer and is also able to automatically scale ingredients to the appropriate portion size.

Paprika features a smart grocery list function, allowing more than one list at a time that people can customize as they choose.

Some considerations include:

Pros:

  • the screen does not go into “sleep” mode while cooking, so a person does not need to keep unlocking their device
  • the app can convert measurements from metric to imperial

Cons:

  • the app has no Trustpilot page, meaning limited independent reviews
  • it does not offer a free trial
  • it does not have its own recipe database

Best plant-based: Forks Over Knives

This website features a database made up entirely of chef-designed plant-based recipes. It provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes. A person may also customize their plan and add their own recipes.

Forks Over Knives also features a smart grocery list.

While there is no specific app that a person can download, the company claims the site is mobile-friendly, and its design allows individuals to save it to a mobile device’s home screen.

A person may consider the following pros and cons:

Pros:

  • the company offers a 14-day free trial
  • people can access the site from any compatible device

Cons:

  • The app has no reviews on its Trustpilot page
  • it is more costly than some competitors

Best for weight management: DietWiz

This app helps individuals plan meals for weight management. It can cater to various dietary requirements, including vegetarian, gluten free, paleo, sugar free, nondairy, keto, and low cholesterol.

It also features a macro calculator, calorie and BMI counter, and a community forum to share recipes. The app has preloaded recipes and can generate grocery lists.

Below, we look at some advantages and disadvantages for a person to consider.

Pros:

  • The app tracks progress
  • individuals can add their own recipes

Cons:

  • There are no Trustpilot reviews
  • it may be more costly compared with competitors
  • it is unclear how regularly the company adds new recipes

Best for families: Cozi

Cozi is a family organization app that also features meal planning. It has a recipe database for a person to browse, or they can import their own as required. The app allows family members to add meals to the family calendar that everyone within the family’s profile can view.

The app also features a grocery list, and a person may save their favorite recipes.

Some considerations include:

Pros:

  • The app features a family calendar for everyone under that profile to access
  • a free version is available

Cons:

  • the app has no reviews on Trustpilot
  • individuals must pay to receive an ad-free experience

Best for all budgets: MealBoard

This app has a useful budgeting feature that displays the price of ingredients when a person adds them to their grocery list. It also allows users to add an inventory of ingredients in their cupboards to prevent unnecessary buying products.

A person can add recipes or import their online favorites, but the app does not provide its own recipes. It features a calendar view allowing people to add or switch meals to help with planning.

There are some benefits and drawbacks that a person may consider:

Pros:

  • the app helps prevent food waste
  • it helps a person to stick to their budget
  • it can sync to all devices

Cons:

  • the app does not have a recipe database
  • it is relatively basic compared with other apps
  • it is currently only available for iOS devices

Best for short preparation times: Mealime

Mealime states that a person can prepare and cook its recipes in 30 minutes or less. It has a large database of recipes and allows users to filter based on dietary needs.

A person may also generate shopping lists using the Mealime app.

Some considerations include:

Pros:

  • it is free to access the app’s basic features
  • it provides access to various online grocery stores

Cons:

  • individuals must pay an additional fee to access all features
  • it is not possible to add personal recipes

The below table compares the apps in this article.

All apps have a grocery list feature.

Below, we look at some common questions about meal prep apps.

What is a meal planning app?

Meal Planning apps allow a person to organize and plan their meals for the week or longer. Many apps include a recipe database and smart grocery list, helping people save time and money.

How much does a meal planning app cost?

The cost of meal planning apps varies. Some offer free versions with basic features. In this article, apps that require a one-time fee cost between $4–5, and those that have a subscription fee cost between $2–45 per month.

Can using a meal planning app help save costs?

Meal planning apps may help cost savings as they help a person only purchase the ingredients they need. This also helps limit food waste.

Additionally, a 2017 cross-sectional study notes that meal planning apps promote home cooking, which may mean that people consider eating out less.

Meal planning apps help a person save time and money while ensuring they follow a healthy diet. This can be particularly suitable for those with a busy schedule.

Many apps are available to help with meal planning. Some have free basic versions, whereas others require a subscription or one-time fee. A person should consider the additional features of the app as well as any dietary requirements.

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