Love it or hate it, technology makes life easier – from calendars and calculators to email and Google. When it comes to getting healthy home-cooked food on the table, the best meal planning apps, rather than pen and paper, can radically transform how you spend your time.
But there’s more. With the right piece of tech, you can also meet your muscle-building goals, meal plan your way through Whole30, navigate food allergies, and have groceries delivered to your door within hours.
What is meal planning software?
Meal planning software is a mobile, desktop, or online app that helps you plan your meals.
The best meal planning apps are intuitive. It has a clean user-friendly design, allowing you to easily adjust for family size, allergies, ingredients you like and dislike, favorite recipes, and more.
When using a meal planning app, make sure it includes nutritional data like how many calories and macronutrients are in each serving of a meal. If you follow a diet – like keto or low carb – this information can help you reach your daily goals.
All meal planning apps should also keep your personal data secure and offer customer support so that you can adapt the software to fit your unique needs.
7 reasons you need a meal planning app
1. Become a more efficient person
Using a good meal planning app is one of the secrets that organized, efficient people count on.
To start with, the best meal planning apps keep all of your favorite recipes organized in one place and ready to get on your meal plan.
Your app should include a smart integrated shopping list that automatically updates as you adjust your recipes, allows you to add other ingredients (like dish soap), and make notes on ingredients like reminding your partner what brand to buy and even schedule it to appear weekly, monthly, etc, on your list.
Real Plans is also fully integrated with Instacart and Amazon so that with the click of a button you can order your groceries and have them delivered within hours.
Want to delegate some of the work?
It’s easier to share kitchen chores (and simplify your own time) with a meal planning app, especially when it’s on your mobile phone. For example, you can send your partner to the store with the app so they return home with the right ingredients. And if you are unable to get home in time to make a meal, all the other members of your family have the plan and the ingredients to make it happen.
2. Stop wasting time shopping and planning
Becoming more efficient is the best path to saving time and money, and having a meal plan to follow means you’ll save hours each week with fewer trips to the grocery store (or none at all when you order with Instacart or Amazon).
With a concise list, you also won’t need to be wandering through the store browsing for things you don’t need. In and out with efficiency.
Because Real Plans can be used on your desktop or phone, you can also fit in meal planning while you’re waiting in carpool, at the dentist, or in line at the bank.
3. Save money – guaranteed!
If you’re trying to stick to a budget or would just like to spend less money on groceries, meal planning is essential, and you’re guaranteed to save money. When you know what’s for dinner, you’re less likely to make impulse buys and/or shop when you’re hungry.
You can check what is on sale in your favorite store and build your menu based on those items. You also won’t be as tempted by food on sale that’s not in your meal plan. Raise your hand if you’ve ever bought a whole lot of something because it was a great deal – and then didn’t use it, so you actually spent money on nothing.
If you don’t use meal planning, dinner often ends up being last-minute quicky recipes, take out, or restaurants – which can still be healthy but are almost always going to cost you more money.
4. Minimize food waste
The best meal planning apps makes sure your shopping list will only have the ingredients that you are actually going to eat and in the correct quantities, reducing the likelihood of a crisper draw full of once-beautiful vegetables that you were inspired to buy and the farmer’s market that are now sad and wilted.
Real Plans also helps you plan for leftovers so that you can have the right number of portions for your family dinner plus a realistic amount to either eat later in the week or freeze for another time.
5. Reduce decision fatigue
We make so many decisions each week that we don’t even notice, like what clothes to wear and what to eat for breakfast. Studies have shown, however, that all these decisions actually cause stress, using up valuable energy and willpower.
Meal planning reduces stress by reducing those decisions, from what to cook to what to buy in the store, helping you enjoy the rest of your life. And by saving willpower you don’t succumb to eating that extra piece of leftover cake you don’t really want just because your brain is too tired to resist.
6. Get inspired to cook and eat healthy
Even for people who love cooking, the day in/day out routine can get old. You can get stuck in a rut, just cooking the same dishes over and over. A meal planning app can bring some creativity and, dare we say, excitement back into the kitchen by providing new combinations of foods you might not have otherwise thought of.
If they are like most kids, they love any excuse to use a smartphone and will be happy to get involved in the process of planning meals and checking ingredients off of the shopping list. They’ll be more likely to help in the kitchen when they feel like an important part of the process
7. Achieve your health goals
Let’s face it, health goals – whether you want to build muscle, lose weight, or manage your kid’s food allergies – can feel intimidating, and when it comes to managing your food, meal planning makes success so much easier.
When dealing with food allergies and other food restrictions, you can’t just grab a package of pre-made food, because most likely it contains something you or your family can’t eat. One of Real Plans’ most loved features is the ability to add any ingredient to the “avoid” list, and voila, your meal plan will only have recipes that you can all eat.
One of the best ways to keep up with food rules and dietary restrictions is to BE READY. Have those special sauces ready to go for your next Whole30. Keep yourself keto by tracking macros and filling your fridge with keto-friendly eats. Know ahead of time which dishes you need to modify so that your gluten-free family member can eat with everyone else.
Real Plans is the only meal planning app on the planet that specializes in paleo, autoimmune paleo, Whole30, AIP, low carb, GAPS, dairy-free, and gluten-free meal plans.
The Real Plans app also gives you nutritional data like how many calories and macronutrients are in each serving of a meal. If you need us to, we’ll even track these macronutrients for you.
There are so many reasons to use meal planning app to make your life easier and more enjoyable, and Real Plans can check all of those boxes. Why does meal planning work for you?
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