Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on April 19, 2021

9 Meal Planning Apps That Will Help You Eat Healthier

9 Meal Planning Apps That Will Help You Eat Healthier

Planning your meals is one of the best ways to save money and eat healthy at the same time. When you make a meal plan before you shop, you are not only making for a less stressful week, but you are giving yourself a chance to eat a healthier diet. Planned meals allow you to avoid mindless snacking and stay in control of your caloric intake. Meal planning apps utilize technology to help you lay out your meals for the week and put you in control of your food.

Let’s take a look at 9 meal planning apps that will place you on the road to healthier eating.

1. Pepperplate

     

    Pepperplate hopes to make meal planning easier in various ways. Firstly, attacking the indecision that comes with coming up with meal choices, Pepperplate allows individuals to organize the recipes they find on the application, as well as those they add themselves to their personal Pepperplate account.

    It works as a grocery list companion as well. From there, Pepperplate walks you through recipe instructions to prepare meals in a snap. By planning meals ahead of time, days, or even weeks in advance, you can ensure that your favorite recipes are there for you when you need them.

    Price: Free

    Get the app here:Android

    2. Paprika

    Paprika Recipe Manager 3 App – Mobile and Tablet Apps Online Directory – AppsDiary

       

      Paprika works by making its way into every part of your digital life. On your computer as both an application and website, Paprika also finds itself on multiple mobile platforms, as well, making it one of the most accessible meal planning apps. This allows you to grab recipes you find just about anywhere and have them added to your list.

      This is, of course, with all of the features that we come to expect from meal prep applications, including advanced grocery lists, the ability to plan meals well in advance, and adjusted recipes.

      Advertising

      Price: $4.99

      Get the app here: iOSAndroid

      3. Ziplist

      ZipList's Grocery List & Recipe Search App Gets Overhauled | TechCrunch

         

        Along with weekly meal plans, with Ziplist individuals are able to also get coupons to ensure that they are continuously saving money while also saving the stress of coming up with creative meals. From food sites, you constantly have a curation of unique and tasty meals to choose from.

        The web recipe clipper that can be found on the ZipList allows you to constantly add new recipes to the app. Furthermore, ZipList allows individuals to share recipes. This is a great way to get input on the dinner selection for the night.

        Price: Free

        Get the app here: iOS, Android

        4. AllRecipes Dinner Spinner

        Allrecipes Dinner Spinner App Review - Appedus App Review

          Using various categories, including cuisine, dietary restrictions, and even cooking time, you are able to make a weekly meal plan that will always keep things interesting with this meal planning app. As a great way to remember your meal plans, the web component of Allrecipes’s meal planning tool allows you to also print the plan for the week. This is great to put on your refrigerator to let the family know what to expect for dinner each night.

          Furthermore, videos are available to ensure that you don’t get lost in the recipe instructions.

          Price: Free

          Advertising

          Get the app here: iOS, Android

          5. MealBoard

          The Best Meal-Planning Apps for 2021 | Digital Trends

             

            After we go to the grocery store, we don’t use our whole supply of purchases on one meal. We usually have some left over that can be used to create new meals. MealBoard makes use of these leftover ingredients in the recommendation of new meals from the application.

            By looking at the old meals you have included in your meal plans, you are able to use the leftover coriander or cauliflower from older recipes you had that week. Along with this, you have the other obvious features, like shopping lists and sharing. You can also make constant adjustments to your meal plans when cravings change.

            Price: $2.99

            Get the app hereiOS

            6. Love Food Hate Waste

            Best eco-friendly apps to go green in 2018

               

              Similar to how the previous application allows you to make use of leftover ingredients for meal planning, Love Food Hate Waste makes use of leftover meals to give you new suggestions. Along with being cost conscious and health conscious, this application is also environmentally conscious in reducing the amount of waste that comes with planning and cooking a new meal every single night, making it one of the best meal planning apps for those who want to give Mother Nature a helping hand.

              All meals come with step-by-step instructions, and portion control is a focus of this application as well to ensure you’re staying healthy.

              Price: Free

              Advertising

              Get the app here: iOS, Android

              7. Menu Planner

                 

                 

                Menu Planner is another application with many of the features we come to expect, but it’s only available for iOS. There’s also the feature of ingredient shopping based on cost and the store in your town.

                The UI is very navigable and allows you to split your meals based on breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack. You can create meals based on ingredients already in your pantry or make use of the convenient shopping list to go to the store to prepare new meals.

                Price: $2.99

                Get the app here: iOS

                8. Cook Smarts

                Cook Smarts Makes Meal Planning Easy for Busy Families - helloyummy

                   

                   

                   

                  Advertising

                  Cook Smarts is the most advanced of all the meal planning apps that we mentioned today. Available as an online application, Cook Smarts is a regimen that not only offers general meal recommendations, but meal plan recommendations based on your preferences and dietary restrictions.

                  Cook Smarts presents videos and other resources to make healthy eating easier and more approachable, all while emphasizing the use of natural ingredients. It helps you learn how to prepare a dish while also offering lessons in the care of produce. Unlike the applications mentioned, Cook Smarts doesn’t just offer the meals to you or even just the step-by-step ingredients; the program gives you tools to carry these tips on for life.

                  Price: $21 / 3 months

                  Get the app here: Website

                  9. Evernote Food

                  Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 4.56.10 PM

                    Evernote, the largely popular note-taking application, would be a good application for those looking to plan meals. However, it’s easier to have an application geared toward such a feat, rather than working around one not specified for it. Because of this, Evernote created Evernote Food, which allows you to not only collect recipes, but also pictures of some of the food you encounter, to save and create those meals in your own home.

                    Unlike the other meal planning apps, Evernote Food understands that you won’t find yourself cooking 365 days a year, so the integration of restaurants is a great way of ensuring you can eat out with friends and family and still keep your healthy eating habits on track.

                    Price: Free

                    Get the app hereiOS, Android

                    Final Thoughts

                    If you’re trying to eat healthier and reduce the stress around your meals, meal planning apps are a great place to start. They can help you find interesting recipes, organize your grocery list, and use leftovers from the night before. Choose any of the above to start laying out healthy and delicious meals that will fill your week with tasty foods.

                    More on Meal Planning

                    Featured photo credit: Edgar Castrejon via unsplash.com

                    More by this author

                    9 Meal Planning Apps That Will Help You Eat Healthier The 50 Best Desktop Wallpapers for 2013 23 Awesome Travel Hacks That Add Fun To Your Trip How to Stay in Good Shape During Black Friday 9 Apps Unrelated to Black Friday That Are Helpful

                    Trending in Diet & Nutrition

                    1 Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss for Beginners (A How-to Guide) 2 Intermittent Fasting Diet for Beginners (The Complete Guide) 3 10 Quick and Healthy Lunch Ideas That Fit Your Busy Schedule 4 21 Healthy Dinner Recipes to Lose Weight and Gain Muscle Strength 5 9 Meal Planning Apps That Will Help You Eat Healthier

                    Read Next

                    Advertising
                    Advertising
                    Advertising

                    Last Updated on April 19, 2021

                    Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss for Beginners (A How-to Guide)

                    Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss for Beginners (A How-to Guide)

                    Intermittent fasting weight loss is a type of diet that’s rapidly growing in popularity and becoming the way to lose weight. Scientists and nutrition experts like it, too. New books and articles on the topic are being published daily. Intermittent fasting is also popular with followers of the Paleo diet since our ancestors appear to have eaten this way for thousands of years.

                    I’ve been following this type of diet myself for 2 years. Doing so helped me lose and keep off 70 pounds without ever having to count calories, limit carbohydrates, or eat 6 to 7 meals a day.

                    This article teaches you all about intermittent fasting weight loss and details why it is one of the best weight loss diet hacks around. Once you finish, you will be able to implement it into your diet and experience the benefits it offers almost immediately.

                    What Is Intermittent Fasting?

                    As you may have figured from its name, intermittent fasting weight loss is a diet plan where you set fasting periods during the day. This is usually between 16-20 consecutive hours, but it can be as little as 12 hours or as much as 24 hours (or even 36 hours).

                    While fasting you can eat and drink low calorie or calorie-free foods. Think coffee, tea, water, and vegetables.

                    The more time you spend fasting every day, the better your results. You can do these fasts as often as you like. Again, the more often you do so, the better[1].

                    Getting Started With Intermittent Fasting

                    Following this diet plan is super simple. All you have to do is choose a period of time during the day that you will fast. This should be between 16-20 hours.

                    The longer you fast each day, the better. Don’t worry about calorie restriction or measuring carbohydrates. Just focus on going about your day until it’s time to eat.

                    It’s best to choose a set period of time to conduct your fast. I like to fast from 8 PM to 4 PM the following afternoon. I’ll then have my first meal of the day and a snack or two a few hours later. Once 8 o’clock rolls around, it’s back to fasting.

                    My experience with intermittent fasting is that it’s best to start with a 16 hour fast (i.e. 8 PM one evening to 12 PM the next day) for the first 1-2 weeks. Once you are comfortable with this schedule, you can increase the amount of time you spend fasting. Do this by adding 30 minutes to each fast until you get to where you are fasting for 20 hours at a time.

                    You don’t have to fast every day in the beginning either. You may be more comfortable breaking in slowly with 2 or 3 days per week, or trying alternate day fasting. Add additional days of intermittent fasting as you become more comfortable with this style of eating.

                    Intermittent Fasting Schedules

                    There are several different fasting schedules you can choose from when you start an intermittent fasting diet. Here are some of the most popular.

                    Advertising

                    The 16/8 Method

                    This method of fasting involves fasting every day for 14-16 hours and eating during an 8-10 hour window. Many people who are getting started with intermittent fasting will find this the easiest schedule to keep. You can eat your last meal around 8 PM and not eat again until noon the next day, for example. This sounds simple, as you’re really only skipping breakfast, but you’re actually fasting for 16 hours in this case![2]

                    16/8 Method of Intermittent Fasting

                      The 5:2 Method

                      This fasting method involves eating normally five days each week and restricting calorie intake to 500-600 calories for two (non-consecutive) days. On fasting days, women should eat around 500 calories, and men should eat around 600 calories.

                      5:2 Diet for Intermittent Fasting

                        Alternate-Day Fasting

                        As its name suggests, this type of intermittent fasting involves fasting every other day. As with the 5:2 method, some people find it easier to eat 500-600 calories instead of going on a full fast each fasting day.

                        Alternate Day Fasting
                          The Warrior Diet

                          This type of fasting is considered by many to be the most difficult and follows a 20/4 eating schedule. For most of the day, you limit your food intake to small amounts of fruits and vegetables (low-calorie foods). For four hours each day, you eat large-portioned meals to get in your day’s calories.

                          Because of the intense nature of this method, it’s only recommended for those who have been on an intermittent fasting diet for a while and feel comfortable with it.

                          The Warrior Diet

                            Tips to Make Intermittent Fasting Easier

                            1. Drink Plenty of Water

                            Squeeze a little lemon or lime juice into your water to help get rid of any cravings you experience. You can also drink coffee, tea, or other calorie-free beverages. After a few weeks, you will find that intermittent fasting keeps you from craving sugar entirely.

                            2. Take in Caffeine in the Morning and Early Afternoon

                            The caffeine in coffee and tea may actually make intermittent fasting weight loss a little easier since it’s good for curbing your appetite. Be careful not to overindulge, as this may lead to you feeling a little too wired. I also recommend these natural energy boosting tips to keep you going during the day.

                            3. Avoid Artificially Flavored Drinks

                            One type of calorie-free drink that should be avoided are diet sodas and other beverages that use artificial sweeteners like Splenda and Sweet & Low. Studies show that the can actually stimulate your appetite[3] like a drink that contains sugar and causes you to overeat.

                            4. Don’t Gorge at Your First Meal

                            The first meal after your fast should be the amount of food you typically eat. Binging will only make you feel awful and diminish the benefits you get from the fast.

                            To avoid this, try creating meal plans, at least for the first few weeks. This will help you get into the rhythm of eating regularly portioned meals during your eating window.

                            Advertising

                            5. Minimize Processed Carbohydrates and Sugars

                            While intermittent fasting does make it possible to eat a little looser than normal, you should still eat as little bread, pasta, rice, etc. as possible.

                            Focus instead on eating protein from beef, fish, or pork, carbohydrates from vegetables, fruit, and sweet potatoes, and healthy fats from foods like almonds, avocados, fish, and olive oil.

                            You can find some carb sources that will aid your weight loss journey here.

                            How Intermittent Fasting Helps You Lose Weight

                            Eating this way has many benefits with regard to weight loss. The first is that when you’re fasting, your body will be forced to use its stored body fat for energy. After several hours of not eating, your body will use up its sugar stores, which will cause it to start burning fat for energy, a process known as metabolic switching. 

                            Mark Mattson, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins explains this effect in simple terms:

                            “Intermittent fasting contrasts with the normal eating pattern for most Americans, who eat throughout their waking hours…If someone is eating three meals a day, plus snacks, and they’re not exercising, then every time they eat, they’re running on those calories and not burning their fat stores.”[4]

                            Burning calories this way, instead of from the food you’re eating throughout the day, will help you experience significant weight loss, but specifically lose weight from any excess body fat you’re carrying.

                            This means that you won’t just be thinner, but you will also look better and be much healthier than if you lose weight the old-fashioned way[5].

                            Intermittent fasting can help optimize the release of the key fat-burning hormones in your body. This is especially true for the two most important hormones: human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin.

                            Human growth hormone plays a key role in turning on your body’s fat-burning furnace so that it gets the calories you need to work and play from stored body fat. Studies show that fasting can significantly increase the production of HGH[6].

                            The influence intermittent fasting has on insulin is just as impressive and possibly more important. Keeping your insulin levels low and steady is key to losing excess fat and keeping it off.

                            Diets that are rich in processed carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice) and simple sugars (candy, cookies, and soda) have the opposite effect. They cause your insulin levels to rapidly spike and then crash every time you eat one of these foods. The net result of this phenomenon is that your body will store more of what you eat as excess body fat instead of burning it off as energy.

                            Advertising

                            Chronically elevating your insulin levels like this can also lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other chronic health problems. Intermittent fasting easily solves this problem.

                            One study found that men who participated in intermittent fasting had “dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity”[7].

                            This happens because you’re not giving your body food, so it will not produce insulin, allowing insulin levels to balance out until you eat again. This helps your body stay in a calorie and fat-burning state. You’ll also find that it gives you more energy throughout the day.

                            Another great weight loss benefit of intermittent fasting is that hunger pangs and cravings that may normally plague you throughout the day will be reduced, if not altogether eliminated. This is probably due to its ability to balance your insulin and blood sugar levels and, in turn, help correct other hormonal imbalances.

                            Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss FAQs

                            Now that you know what intermittent fasting is and how to get started, it’s time to answer your other questions.

                            Below are answers to the questions frequently asked about intermittent fasting. These answers should help you and make getting started a lot easier.

                            How Much Weight Will I Lose?

                            The amount of weight you lose with fasting is determined by how often and long your fasts are, what you eat afterward, and other factors.

                            One study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that average weight loss on an intermittent fasting diet was around 9lbs after 12 months, and weight loss was most successful in those who strictly adhered to their chosen diet[8].

                            Can I Work out While Fasting?

                            Yes, you can. In fact, doing the right type of workout while fasting will help you lose weight faster and even build muscle.

                            If you are a hardcore athlete who often exercises for an hour or more each day, intermittent fasting may not be the best choice for you as this amount of exercise requires fuel to keep you moving and build muscle. However, light to moderate intensity workouts 2 to 4 times a week should work with intermittent fasting.

                            The best workouts to do while fasting for weight loss are strength training workouts. This means anything from standard strength training to kettlebell or body weight workouts. Combine these with lighter forms of exercise like walking, jogging, or yoga.

                            You could also try this 30-Day Resistance Band Workout Challenge alongside your intermittent fasting diet. It will help you get into an exercise routine while easing into your new eating routine.

                            Advertising

                            Focus on doing 3-4 total body exercises per workout with as little rest as possible between sets. Doing this will help you burn more calories during and after your workout. You’ll also build muscle, which will help you look and feel better as the weight comes off.

                            Remember, exercising can increase hunger, so try working out in the hour or two right before you are scheduled to break your fast[9]. Your body will be primed for a meal, and your hunger won’t get the best of you.

                            Won’t I Lose Muscle When I Fast?

                            First of all, you aren’t fasting long enough for your body to start breaking down muscle for energy. You have, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of calories from your stored body fat to use before that will begin to happen.

                            If you’re trying to build muscle while fasting, you’ll need to ensure you’re getting enough calories, especially through protein, at each meal between fasts.

                            Is Fasting Safe?

                            As long as you are healthy, not pregnant, and aren’t taking medications, fasting is safe. Like all diets, you should discuss it with your doctor before beginning an intermittent fasting diet.

                            I also feel that it may not be smart to follow this type of diet when you’re especially stressed. Since this diet can be a little stress-inducing at first, doing so when you aren’t able to be relatively stress-free and rested probably isn’t a good idea.

                            Are There Any Supplements I Can Take to Make Fasting Easier?

                            As with any other weight loss plan, it’s a good idea to take a few nutritional supplements to make sure your daily requirements are met. This includes a once or twice daily multi-vitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D.I’ve also found taking 10 grams of branched-chain amino acids before and after my workouts really helps, too. They’re great for giving you more energy during your workout and decreasing post-workout muscle soreness.

                            For supplements to specifically help with digestion, check out this article.

                            The Bottom Line

                            Now you know what intermittent fasting is and how it can help you lose weight quickly and safely. If you want to give it a try, find a fasting schedule that fits with your lifestyle, and give it a go.

                            More About Intermittent Fasting

                            Featured photo credit: Toa Heftiba via unsplash.com

                            Reference

                            Read Next