This great article was written by my friend Mary…
Let’s face it; meal time can sometimes be a hectic time. With school starting back and everyone getting into the full swing of sports, scouts, dance and other extra curricular activities, it helps to have a plan when it comes to meals.
I have some favorite apps that I use to help keep me organized with my meals and I want to share those apps with you!
My favorite meal planning app is called Meal Plan. This app is available in the app store and costs $2.99. In my opinion, it is totally worth the price.
What can you do on Meal Plan? First, you can set up what meals you serve everyday. I have it setup for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, but you can add up to 5 meals a day. That means you can add snacks in if you would like to plan them out.
Once you have your meals set up, you can start inputting what you will serve for each meal. You simply click on the meal that you would like to type in and a box pops up. Type in your meal and hit enter and it is automatically entered for that meal. As you add meals, they are saved, so every time you click on a day, previous meal ideas pop up and you can just click and drag them, if you are using it again.
In the top, right hand corner, there are 3 buttons that I LOVE!! The first one is a grocery list where you can keep track of everything that you need to purchase for the week and it has the option of emailing it to yourself or printing it out to take to the store!
The second button is my favorite. It is a magic wand. Clicking the magic wand will amaze you. With one click, the wand fills in all empty meals for you. It takes ideas from previous meals and puts them in the empty places for you. This magic wand works best when you’ve already made 2-3 weeks worth of plans for it to choose from. Just make sure you check behind it because sometimes it gets crazy and puts 2 of the same meals back to back.
The third button is the email button and it is so you can email your meal plan to yourself or share it with friends! Wouldn’t it be great if 5 of your friends were sharing their meal plans with you?
The app keeps track of your days for you and grays out each day as it ends. That way, you know that the first highlighted day is the day you’re on. SO EASY!!
For me, this app has saved so much time. I take 1 hour every Friday and make out my menu. Grocery shopping is a breeze and I don’t end up running back to the store numerous times a week. And, when meal time comes around, I am prepared and don’t end up wondering what’s for dinner. The downside to this app is that you can only see 1 week at a time.
If monthly meal planning is more your style, you should check out the Menu Planner app. This app cost $2.99 in the app store and gives you so much for your money! Before I even tell you about the app, I want you to know about the customer service! It is amazing. The man that created this app is very open to comments and emails. I have been in touch several times and he has been wonderful! He is constantly updating the information on this app and making sure that it is completely user friendly. That is so important to me.
Now, about this app. What do you get? You get the ability to plan monthly meals, a grocery list, a place to keep recipes, a feature that allows you to import recipes from the internet, a shopping list, the ability to add unlimited meals for each day, access to a user community and syncing capabilities that keeps everything online for you for FREE!
I use this app for the recipe keeper and ability to import recipes from the internet. I can organize my recipes alphabetically or by meal type. It makes it easy when I’m deciding what I want for breakfast. I just click breakfast and it lists all my breakfast recipes!
The best part of this app is that once you choose which recipe you want and you add it to the planner, it automatically adds all the ingredients to your shopping list. Once you have your meals planned, just go back and check off things you have in your pantry or freezer now and you are left with a ready to go shopping list! And you have the option to email to yourself or print it off!
This app truly is the keep all for someone trying to get on a plan when it comes to meal times. The downside of this app is that it offers so many features that it can be a little overwhelming at first. If you decide this app is for you, give yourself a month of using it to really start to understand it.
If meal planning isn’t in the cards for you, and you are just looking for an app to keep your grocery list handy, here’s a few that I have found useful:
Grocery IQ– This is a FREE app! It is available for iPad and iPhone. It offers the ability to manually put in items to your grocery list and it also makes suggestions based on what you are typing. My favorite features? You have the ability to scan barcodes and add items to your list that way or you can speak your list and it adds your items for you! This is an AMAZING app and I love it! You can also set up unlimited stores and make lists for each store that you will be shopping at! Great for keeping all your drugstore deals and grocery store deals separate!
Shop Shop- One of my other favorite FREE apps! This app offers you the ability to make separate lists, but not as neat and clean as the Grocery IQ. The best thing about this app is that it stores all of your previous entries and can recall them as you type. If you are looking for a simple app to make lists on, this is a great one. It has no bells and whistles, just simple list. While it can be used for grocery lists, I also use it for my to do lists!
And to help you find those hot deals that Kristin is always posting about, here’s my favorite FREE app.
Weekly Ads and Sales– This app uses your current location and finds every store located near you. It lists grocery stores, drugstores, dollar stores, pet stores, auto stores, electronic stores, office supply stores and many more!
This app is great because the sale papers are added the day they are released. It’s also a very green app, because you aren’t wasting the paper of all the sales flyers! Check it out! It’s FREE after all!
There is a Pro version of this app that costs $1.99, but only adds the ability to create a shopping list from sale papers