If you carry around a smartphone, you already know how technology makes life easier – from calendars and calculators to email and Google. And you might have a hunch that using a meal planning software, 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 meal plan your way through Whole30, meet your keto goals, or 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.
Good meal planning software is intuitive. It has a clean design and it’s user-friendly, allowing you to easily add recipes, move recipes, and adjust for family size.
When using meal planning software, 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 software should also keep your personal data secure and offer customer support so that you can adapt the software to fit your unique needs.
Top ten reasons to use meal planning software
1. It makes shopping easier
Meal planning software often includes an integrated shopping list that automatically updates with your recipes.
Real Plans takes this a step further: our app allows you to add other ingredients – like dish soap. For each ingredient on your shopping list, you can select from which store you buy it, make notes, and even schedule it to regularly show up on your shopping list.
We are also fully integrated with Instacart, meaning that with the click of a button you can order your groceries and have them delivered within hours.
2. It saves you time
Less trips to the grocery store – or none at all when you order with Instacart – and a clearly planned menu means you’ll save hours each week that you would have spent on driving and shopping random or last minute items.
With good meal planning software, you’ll interact with a user friendly interface that shows you when it’s time to defrost the meat or get the slow cooker going. If your meal planning software allows tags and arranges recipes by category, you can spend less time sifting through recipes and more time enjoying them with friends and family.
The Real Plans app does all of this and with our 24/7 customer service, we are happy to help you set it up to save you the most time.
3. It saves you money
When you know what’s for dinner, you’re less likely to make impulse buys. And you won’t have to shop when you’re hungry, because we all know what happens then.
You also won’t be tempted by all the sales of food because you’ll know it’s not in your plan. Raise your hand if you’ve ever bought a whole of lot of something because it was a great deal – and then didn’t use it, so you actually spent money on nothing.
Meal planning is essential to following a budget. Using dry beans and whole grains, for example, is easier on the wallet but requires planning ahead of time to soak beforehand. You can also check what is on sale in your favourite store and build a meal based on those items.
If you don’t use meal planning, meals often end up being last minute quicky recipes – which can still be healthy, but are often not the cheapest option. Never mind ordering out because you don’t have dinner ready.
4. It helps you avoid food waste
Less food is wasted with meal planning software because with a smart meal plan, you’ll know exactly when and how to use your leftovers.
With Real Plans, you can change the serving amounts for each recipe to be able to make just the amount you need. Why make eight servings if there are only five of you?
Another reason less food is wasted is because, as mentioned above, you’ll only be buying food that you are actually going to eat, not an impulse buy or a sale that goes uneaten.
5. It can reduce stress
We make so many decisions each 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 will power.
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 saving will power so you don’t succumb to eating that third candy bar.
6. It helps you avoid allergies
Meal planning is essential when dealing with food allergies and other food restrictions. You can’t just grab a package of pre-made food when you don’t know what to eat for lunch, 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.
7. It prevents cooking boredom
Even for people who love cooking, the day in/day out need for it can get old. You can get stuck in a rut, just cooking the same old dishes.
Meal planning software 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.
8. It gets the family involved
Kids love technology and will be happy to get involved in the process of planning meals, updating the online shopping cart, and more likely to help in the kitchen as they will feel like an important part of the process.
As well, it’s easier to share chores in the kitchen with meal planning software, especially a mobile app. For example, 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.
9. It organizes all your recipes
There are so many sources of great recipes that it can get a little – or a lot – scattered. Clippings from a magazine, your grandma’s handwritten recipe card, a favourite blogger or random Google search.
Meal planning software is a great place to keep all those recipes organized, and make sure those recipes will get rotated into the plan. Real Plans makes importing recipes super easy, making it that much more customizable.
10. It helps you meet your health goals
Let’s face it, health goals – whether you want to build muscle, get rid of nagging tummy troubles, or manage your kid’s food allergies – can feel intimidating.
But with a little bit of help, tackling your goals and hitting them can be enjoyable. Even fun.
Winning at life is a good feeling. And 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.
Not to toot our own horn (though we’re about to), Real Plans is the only meal planning software on the planet that specializes in paleo, autoimmune paleo, Whole30, keto, 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.