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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

9 Meal Planning Apps That Will Help You Eat Healthier

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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.

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      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

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          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

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              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

                   

                   

                   

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                  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

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                    Published on August 24, 2021

                    What Is a Whole Food Diet And Does It Really Work?

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                    What Is a Whole Food Diet And Does It Really Work?

                    I’ve been a dietitian now for a long time (more years than I care to mention), and if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that fad diets are best avoided. This is why I’m so pleased that whole food diets are being talked about more and more.

                    Rather than a “diet,” I prefer to think of a whole food diet as a way of life. Eating this way is balanced, and it is a great way to support your all-around body health and longevity. Plus, it’s delicious and—in my opinion—not limiting either, which is a massive bonus.

                    A well-balanced diet follows some fairly basic principles and, in essence, consists of plenty of the following:

                    • Fruit
                    • Vegetables
                    • Whole grains
                    • Lean protein
                    • Nuts
                    • Water

                    This is essentially all a whole food diet is. Unfortunately, there isn’t an accepted definition of the whole food diet, which means that there are some highly restrictive versions around and some involve principles to frame your diet around rather than strict rules.

                    Read on to learn more about the whole food diet as a framework for eating rather than a strict rule book of dos and don’ts that restricts your lifestyle.

                    What Is a Whole Food Diet?

                    By definition, a whole food diet consists of eating foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. It’s easy to get lost in a quagmire of organic, local, or pesticide-free, but a whole food diet is basically food in its most natural form. Obviously, spices can be ground and grains can be hulled, but you get the idea. You eat the whole food rather than what’s left after being refined or processed.

                    In other words, it involves a lot of cooking because whole foods do not involve anything processed. That means no premade sauces, dips, or convenience foods like chocolate bars, sweets, or ready-meals. It also includes things like tinned vegetables and white bread.

                    Why? Processed and convenience foods are often high in salt, saturated fat, and additives in comparison to anything homemade. Because of this, their toll on your overall health is higher.

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                    Can Other Diets Also Be Whole Food Diets?

                    Here’s where it gets confusing—yes, other diets can also be whole food diets. Eating a whole food diet is a lifestyle choice, but many other diets can exist within a whole foods construct. So, diets like the MIND Diet and Mediterranean Diet are also whole food diets.

                    For example, here are the foods involved in the MIND Diet:[1]

                    • Green, leafy vegetables five times a week
                    • Five or more different colored fruits and vegetables every day.
                    • Berries five times a week
                    • Five or more servings of nuts a week
                    • Olive oil five times a week
                    • Whole grains five times a week
                    • Oily fish twice a week or take an algae-based omega-3 supplement
                    • Legumes and pulses five times a week
                    • White meat/mix of plant-based proteins twice a week
                    • Vitamin D supplement
                    • Minimally processed foods
                    • No more than one glass of wine a day
                    • One or two coffee or tea a day max
                    • Two liters of water a day

                    That’s pretty much a whole food diet, right? As long as any meat or plant-based proteins are as unprocessed as possible, then it can be a whole food diet.

                    Other diets, like a vegan diet, for instance, could be whole food diets or not. It really depends if processed foods are included. Some food substitutes are really heavily processed, so it’s important to read labels really carefully. But it’s only some, not all.

                    And here’s where it gets woolly. If you don’t need to eliminate certain food groups for whatever reason—ethical, health, religion—then a whole food diet can be great. But if you do exclude certain foods, then it could be beneficial to include certain “processed” foods. This is to make sure that you don’t miss out on vital nutrients to keep you healthy.

                    Processed Foods That Are Okay on a Whole Food Diet

                    Many brands of cereals are fortified with B vitamins, which can be hard to come by on a plant-based diet.

                    For example, vitamin B12 (needed for maintaining a healthy nervous system, energy, and mood-regulation), is largely found in animal sources. It is something that those on a plant-based diet need to keep an eye on, as studies show that around 20% of us are deficient. And we also know that 65% of vegans and vegetarians don’t take a B vitamin supplement.[2]

                    So in that case, choosing a cereal fortified with B vitamins would be a good option, if done wisely. By that I mean use your discretion and check the labels, as many brands of cereals are packed with sugar and additives. But you can strategically choose minimally processed foods using a whole foods mentality.

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                    As a rule of thumb, if there are any ingredients that you can’t pronounce, don’t understand, or sound artificial, they probably are best avoided.

                    Benefits of a Whole Food Diet

                    In a 2014 analysis by Yale University, they concluded that “a diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention.”[3]

                    A diet rich in fruit and vegetables or other high-fiber foods like whole grains and nuts is really important in maintaining good long-term health and preventing health problems like diabetes and cancers. These kinds of foods also help our bodies to cope and control the effects of inflammation.

                    In fact, one review from 2019 stated that “diets high in plant foods could potentially prevent several million premature deaths each year if adopted globally.”[4] This is a big endorsement for a whole food diet.

                    Whole Foods and the Gut

                    Whole foods are loaded with fibers that are sometimes lost during processing or refinement. Fiber is essential for a healthy gut because aside from its traditional “roughage” reputation, it also feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut, providing a whole host of other benefits.

                    They also provide a lot of variety, which the gut loves. The more variety, the better. So, even though you might fall in love with certain recipes, it’s important to mix up the kinds of whole foods you eat to maintain a healthy gut. Aim for 30 different whole foods each week. It’s easier than you think!

                    Whole Foods and the Brain

                    The brain is a really hungry organ, and it uses 25% of the total energy you consume from your food. Everything it needs to function at its best is—you guessed it—a whole, unprocessed food.

                    In fact, the best diet recommended for brain health is the MIND Diet. In one study, it was shown that people who follow the MIND diet closely had a 53% reduced rate of developing Alzheimer’s.[5]

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                    Some of the best whole foods for the brain are:[6]

                    • Oily fish
                    • Nuts
                    • Eggs
                    • Berries
                    • Broccoli
                    • Whole grains

                    Is It Easy to Follow a Whole Food Diet?

                    Once you’ve got your head around having “ingredients” rather than “ready-to-eat” things in your kitchen cupboards, it’s actually very easy. The only issue is the lifestyle and habit changes that come along with it.

                    It is very likely that for many people, following a totally, religiously whole food diet may be unattainable at least some of the time. For example, there are days where you don’t get time to make your lunch or if you want to enjoy social eating. Similarly, people who have young children or who are working more than one job are unlikely to be able to follow a whole food diet all of the time.

                    Sometimes, we put ourselves under pressure to be as perfect as we can with diets like this, which can lead to an eating disorder called Orthorexia, which is a preoccupation with healthy eating.

                    This means that following a whole food diet, in principle, can be healthy and accessible for some people but not for everyone. It also means that those with previous disordered eating, as always, need to avoid any form of dietary restriction or rules around their diet.

                    Is a Whole Food Diet Boring?

                    Absolutely not! The beauty of this way of eating is that there are barely any recipes that are off-limits. If you can make it yourself using natural ingredients, then it counts. So, dig out your recipe books and get familiar with your spice cupboard.

                    Here’s my advice if you’re just starting: stock up on coconut milk and canned tomatoes. You’ll use them all the time in sauces.

                    Best Hacks for Sticking With a Whole Food Diet

                    Here are some tips to help you stick with a whole food diet and develop this lifestyle.

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                    1. Practice Batch Cooking

                    Especially in the beginning, if you’ve been used to eating more convenience-based or packaged foods, you’re likely to feel like you spend the majority of your life in the kitchen. So, I’d suggest getting your cookbooks out and planning around five things to make per week. If you make double, or even triple portions depending on your household, you’ll have enough quantity to last several meals.

                    For example, his could be homemade granola. Make it once, and that’s breakfast sorted for a week. Whole food diet ingredients like oats, quinoa, buckwheat, nuts, and seeds are all delicious, and great nutritional resources to keep you feeling full until lunchtime.

                    I also love to make big stews, sauces, and curries that can happily be reheated and added throughout the course of a few days.

                    2. Make Your Own Convenience Foods

                    Sticking to a new way of eating can be really difficult, especially for your willpower. So, it’s very important to make it as easy as possible for yourself.

                    Pre-chop. Pre-chop. Pre-chop.

                    If you’ve got a container of carrot sticks on hand or can happily munch on a few pieces of melon from the fridge, use those—it’s almost easier than grabbing something from a package. This can extend to your other vegetables, too. If you get your veg delivered or buy it from a market, choose a few things to slice after you wash them. That way, if you need a speedy lunch or a lazy dinner, it’ll be ready in minutes.

                    Ready to Try a Whole Food Diet?

                    If you’re looking to maximize your overall health, well-being, and vitality, I’d absolutely suggest a whole food diet. But, as with everything, it’s important to do what works for you and your own lifestyle.

                    Featured photo credit: Louis Hansel – Restaurant Photographer via unsplash.com

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                    Reference

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