Best Apps For Recipes And Meal Planning

As a food blogger, I love to cook but I hate grocery shopping. So when I need recipes and meal planning inspiration, I turn to my phone. Here are my go-to apps for recipes and meal planning.#1. [name of app]

This app has a TON of recipes and is easy to use—I don’t have time to be messing around with complicated things! It’s great for when I just want simple instructions on how to make something delicious. The only downside is that it’s not very pretty (just sayin’), but the content makes up for it.#2. [name of app]

I used to think this was silly, but now that I’m a mom, it’s actually really fun! It helps me plan out dinners and grocery list items, so I know what’s going on in my fridge and we’re more likely to eat well as a family.#3. [name of app]

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If you’re trying to lose weight or live healthier, you can’t beat this one! You can type in your info, like the number of pounds you want to lose each week, what kind of exercise you’ve done, etc., and it calculates your calories for the day based on that information. That way you don’t get

15 Best Meal Planning Apps For Android & iOS In 2021

Best Apps For Recipes And Meal Planning

Meal planning is one of the best ways to kickstart and stay on top of your weight loss goals.

In a world focused on to-do lists and productivity, finding the time and energy to plan healthy meals tailored to your tastes and nutritional needs can be a daunting task.

Fortunately, a multitude of apps can make meal planning — and maybe weight loss — a lot more attainable. Gone are the days of fishing for recipes from a cookbook while you scribble a grocery list on a post-it note!

Here are 11 of the best meal planning apps available today.

Mealime offers user-friendly, customizable meal plans that you can tailor to your diet while excluding specific foods you don’t like.

It’s available on both iOS and Android platforms and the basic version is free.

After you’ve entered your preferences, you’re presented with a variety of recipe choices, complete with full-color photos, simple instructions and an organized grocery list. An additional bonus is that the recipes all take under 45 minutes to prepare.

However, one of the major drawbacks is that you’re limited to the recipes available on the app as there is no way to import your own.

What’s more, you cannot save previously used meal plans, customize calorie preferences or view nutrition information unless you upgrade to the pro version, which will set you back $5.99/month or $49.99/year.

Download for iPhone | Download for Android

Paprika is marketed primarily as a recipe manager, but it also includes menu planning features. It’s available on both Android and iOS platforms for a one-time fee of $5.99.

With Paprika, you’re in charge of saving and entering recipes to build meal plans. It does not have its own preset recipes and menus. Therefore, it’s probably best for people who can structure a meal plan with minimal support.

This app provides customized grocery lists and allows you to save recipes directly from the web. Additionally, Paprika detects when more than one recipe needs the same ingredient and consolidates the relevant grocery lists for you.

The app will keep your screen turned on while you’re working from a recipe. It can also detect timer directions within a recipe so that you can set cooking timers directly from the app.

One drawback to this app is that it won’t detect if you’ve entered a recipe from the same URL more than once. If you accidentally enter the same recipe, you’ll end up with duplicates.

Additionally, Paprika doesn’t always include nutrition information. It will only draw nutrition data from the original recipe webpage or information you enter manually.

If you know what types of food meet your calorie goals, this deficiency may not be problematic. However, if you need the extra support, a different app may be more appropriate.

Download for iPhone | Download for Android

PlateJoy creates customized meal plans for you and your household according to your dietary preferences and weight loss goals. It’s available on both Android and iOS platforms.

PlateJoy is a user-friendly app with beautiful, full-color photos and a high level of customization. Full nutrition information is available for each recipe, and you can sync it with your Fitbit or Jawbone to better track your health goals.

It creates customized grocery lists and helps prevent food waste by allowing you to log the food already in your fridge or pantry. That way, you don’t repurchase items you already have.

Another feature lets you send your grocery list to Instacart for grocery delivery depending on where you live.

The biggest drawbacks to Platejoy are that you cannot enter your own recipes and that it’s somewhat costly compared to other meal planning apps. It’ll set you back $69 for six months or $99 for a 12-month subscription.

Download for iPhone | Download for Android

Plan to Eat
Plan to Eat lets you organize all of your favorite recipes and create meal plans in one easy-to-use app. It’s available on both iOS and Android platforms.

You can enter recipes manually or input a URL from any recipe online. Full nutrition information is provided for each recipe, and you can edit or add notes as you please.

Adding recipes to the weekly calendar-style planner will automatically create an organized grocery list.

A unique feature of this app is that you can share your recipes or meal plans with friends and family, making it easier to stay on top of your health goals as a team.

Because it doesn’t come with a preset recipe database, this app is definitely a better choice for those who have a good recipe collection already or who enjoy searching the web for new recipes.

Though Plan to Eat requires a $4.95/month or $39/year fee, you can try it out for free for 30 days.

Download for iPhone | Download for Android

Yummly is both an app and a website, in which you can browse and save recipes tailored to your personal tastes from all over the web.

It’s available on both iOS and Android platforms and free of charge.

Yummly can filter recipes based on dietary preferences, allergies and skill level. You can even filter for recipes that have videos, which is handy for those looking to develop their cooking skills or learn new techniques.

Full nutrition information is available for each recipe.

When you save recipes, you can organize them into separate meal categories, such as breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. You can also enter and save your own recipes manually.

One of the major drawbacks of Yummly is its overall usability. While it’s visually appealing, it’s complicated and more difficult to use compared to similar apps. If you’re not technologically savvy, it may not be the best choice.

Additionally, Yummly doesn’t have a calendar-style meal plan, which may or may not be an issue depending on the features you desire in a meal planning app.

Download for iPhone | Download for Android

Make My Plate
Make My Plate offers both free and paid customizable meal plans. It’s available on iOS and Android.

The free version offers 1,200-, 1,500- or 1,800-calorie meal plans and comes with templates for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. You can also filter based on allergies and food preferences.

After you select your meals for the week, an organized grocery list is automatically created.

One of the most unique features of this app is that each meal is represented in photographic form on a virtual plate. This plate is particularly useful if you’re working on portion control or learning what portions of certain foods look like.

The major drawbacks to this app are the food selections and recipes, which are extremely basic and don’t supply as many choices as competitor apps.

If you’re new to cooking and meal planning, Make My Plate’s simplicity may actually help you get started. But if you easily tire of eating similar entrees week after week, this app may not work for you.

Pepperplate organizes recipes you know and love while simultaneously adding new recipes you want to try.

It’s available on both Android and iOS platforms and free of charge.

You start by importing recipes manually or copying recipe URLs from supported websites. You are then able to organize your recipes into customizable categories.

After you’ve added your recipes, you can incorporate personalized menus and meal plans into a calendar-style planner complete with grocery lists.
Pepperplate is ideal for the experienced cook who has a solid recipe collection and knows their nutritional needs — especially if that person is trying to lose weight.

Keep in mind that this app doesn’t have a calorie tracking component and doesn’t draw from its own database of foods. Another drawback is that you have to enter recipes and menus via the web, not directly through the app.

Download for iPhone | Download for Android

Prepear offers the convenience of a pre-set recipe database alongside manual or online input options.

It’s free of charge for the basic version, but you can upgrade to the pro version to unlock additional features for $9.99/month. It’s available on both iOS and Android platforms.

This app is user-friendly and allows you to filter recipes based on taste preferences, allergies and global cuisine options. Each recipe has a full nutrition breakdown. Customizable shopping lists are available upon completion of your meal plan.

The social media component of this app allows you to post photos of your culinary successes (and failures) to friends and family.

Many of the available recipes in the app’s database are kid-friendly, which is ideal if you’re planning meals for your family.

The main drawback of Prepear is the monotony of meal choices within its recipe database — if you add more than one or two filters, you end up with very few menu options. However, this downside is offset if you add your own recipes.

Download for iPhone | Download for Android

Eat This Much
Eat This Much is the perfect marriage between a calorie counter and a meal planner.

It’s free to download and easy to begin using, but many of the features are locked until you upgrade to a paid version, which costs $5/month with an annual subscription. The app is available on iOS and Android.

After you sign up, you enter personal data including your height, weight and health goals. The app then calculates a macronutrient range that you are free to adjust as you desire.

It includes a database of recipes, basic foods and popular restaurant menu items, complete with full nutrition information. You have the added option of entering your own recipes and foods manually if you can’t find them in the preset index.

What’s more, you can create a full meal plan yourself or let the app generate one for you based on your previously entered meal preferences.

A unique feature of this app is its barcode scanner, which scans food items directly into your account.

The main drawbacks are related to the limitations of the free version. Unless you upgrade to the premium version, you can only create a meal plan one day at a time and can’t access automatic grocery lists.

Download for iPhone | Download for Android

Lose It! App
Lose It! is really more of a calorie and macronutrient tracker than a meal planner, though the premium version includes meal planning features.

It’s available for both iOS and Android devices and free to start using. For maximum features, the premium version will set you back $3.33/month. Compared to the cost of similar apps, this is a reasonable price.

You begin by entering your personal anthropometric data and activity level to calculate a target calorie range, after which the app estimates the time it’ll take to reach your weight goal based on the calorie level you choose.

This feature may be helpful for those who are motivated by timelines.

The free version allows you to input your own recipes to create meal plans. You can also scan barcodes of foods to have them added to the database. However, if you want automatic meal planning, you have to upgrade to premium.

While this app excels at monitoring your eating behaviors and weight loss, its main focus is on tracking. One of its major downsides is the lack of automatic, customizable grocery lists to pair with your meal plan.

Download for iPhone | Download for Android

DietWiz is a meal-planning tool combined with a calorie tracker. It’s available on iOS and Android and free of charge if you want to use the calorie tracker alone. However, the meal planning features require a $79.99 annual fee.

The app claims to work like a personal dietitian by creating meal plans with simple recipes while also tracking calories and macronutrients to help you lose weight. In addition, it has an automatic grocery list feature to couple with your weekly meal plan.

After entering your height, weight and activity level, you’re able to personalize your meal plan according to food preferences, allergies and specific dietary patterns. You can also upload your own recipes if you don’t want to use the ones provided.

One thing to note is that this app addresses scale-based weight loss in particular, and doesn’t seem to be tailored to those who have other health goals such as weight gain or a change in body composition.

One of its major drawbacks is that it gives calorie recommendations according to your ideal weight and doesn’t allow much room for adjusting that goal. Ideal body weight may not always be the most appropriate goal for every individual.

Download for iPhone | Download for Android

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The Bottom Line
Sticking to your diet and achieving your weight loss goal is a difficult task, but it can be made much easier with a little technological help.

There are numerous options for meal planning apps to support you in your weight loss journey — all of which have different features and options.

Choosing the one that best fits your personality and specific health goals is your best bet for success.

When all is said and done, the best meal planning app — or weight loss strategy in general — is the one you can actually stick to.

meal planning app with grocery list

Getting three square meals on the table is no small feat, and the time required to shop, plan, and peruse recipes for inspiration feels increasingly in short supply. Fortunately, there’s an app for that.

Actually, there are many. In addition to helping users save time and money, you’ll find a wide array of meal planning apps, each designed to meet your specific needs—from learning new recipes and reducing food waste to promoting healthier eating habits designed to help you lose weight. Here are the best meal planning apps available today.

Best Meal Planning Apps of 2022
Best Overall: Paprika
Best for Vegetarians: Forks Over Knives
Best Free Option: Yummly
Best for Families: Cozi
Best for Fitness Goals: PlateJoy
Best for Shopping Lists: Mealime
Best for Easy Recipes: MealPrepPro
Best Overall: Paprika
Why We Chose It: Paprika doesn’t require a subscription, and its highly customizable user interface makes downloading and organizing recipes from other websites a cinch.

Quick and easy access to materials
Easy download and sync capabilities

Extensive user’s guide can seem overwhelming
No chance to try before you buy the app

Paprika feels like a digital version of an old-school family recipe box. Whether you want to build an entire database of carb-rich comfort foods or recipes that cater to a paleo diet, how you customize the app is entirely up to you. There aren’t any built-in recipes in the app, but the platform’s built-in browser allows you to easily link to numerous popular food and recipe sites, including Serious Eats, Cook’s Illustrated, Epicurious, and The New York Times. You can also add your own personal recipes.

The grocery list and pantry functions make it easy to organize your shopping list and keep track of ingredients you already have on hand. Since the data is stored locally, you don’t need Wi-Fi to access recipes. Paprika has more than 30,000 reviews in Apple’s App Store and sports a rating of 4.9/5 stars.

Unlike the other meal planning apps in this roundup, Paprika, which is created by Seattle-based Hindsight Labs, isn’t a subscription. Instead, you pay a one-time download fee, which varies by device ($4.99 iOS; $2.99 Android; $29.99 MacOS; $29.99 Windows). One downside to this setup is that if you want to have the app on more than one platform, you have to buy each separately. However, if you decide to get the app for multiple devices, Paprika’s cloud service allows you to seamlessly sync your data across your desktop and mobile platforms.

Best for Vegetarians: Forks Over Knives
Forks Over Knives
Why We Chose It: In addition to being a great resource for those who already embrace vegetarian and vegan diets, Forks Over Knives is an excellent gateway meal planner app for omnivores who are looking to add more plant-based meals.

Flexible enough for curious omnivores
“Weekend Prep” streamlines cooking and prep work

Only connects to one grocery shopping service

Tied to the 2011 documentary and a New York Times bestselling book “Forks Over Knives,” this meal planning app focuses on a whole-food, plant-based diet. Loading up on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, tubers, and other starchy vegetables is encouraged. Nuts, seeds, tofu, plant-based milk, tofu and tempeh, and whole-grain bread can be enjoyed in moderation. A plant-based diet is the goal, but the movement recommends minimizing rather than altogether forbidding meat, poultry, and seafood, along with eggs, dairy, oils, and other more processed foods like refined sweeteners, white rice, pasta, and bread.

The app features hundreds of plant-based recipes designed by professional chefs that are meant to be prepared in 35 minutes or less. Each week, the app sends you a customized meal plan and recipes; all you have to do is shop, prep, cook, and eat.

Grocery lists are automatically uploaded and can be sorted by recipe or by aisle. If you have an AmazonFresh account, you can buy groceries directly within the app. The app also has a “Weekend Prep” feature that helps you plot out and batch-cook in advance. If you don’t like a recipe from your weekly meal plan, you can easily swap it out with a click.

More than a recipe resource and meal planner, Forks Over Knives feels like a mission-driven food community. Subscriptions are on the pricey side, at $95.99 per year or $9.99 per month, so this app, which is available for iOS and Android, may not be for everyone. If you want to give it a spin before committing, there’s a free two-week trial offered.

Best Free Option: Yummly
Why We Chose It: With over 2 million recipes available on the free version of this app, the sky’s the limit when it comes to cooking inspiration. The step-by-step cooking videos featured in a number of recipes are also a nice touch.

Huge selection of recipes
Diverse chef voices
Step-by-step video instructions for some recipes

Occasionally clunky shopping interface

With Yummly, you can personalize your recipes based on cooking goals (learn new skills, try new cuisines, save time and money, or eat healthy), skill range (beginning, intermediate, and advanced), or dietary preferences (keto, vegetarian, low FODMAP, etc.). The step-by-step guided video instructions with some of the recipes are a nice touch. Yummly also enables you to schedule meals and sync directly onto your personal calendar rather than in the app. The shopping feature is set up so you can order ingredients instantly via a number of retailers and delivery services, including Instacart, Target, Walmart, Shipt, and AmazonFresh.

Owned by kitchen appliance giant Whirlpool, Yummly also lets you link smart appliances, such as Yummly’s very own smart thermometer, to the app via the My Connected Kitchen function. The Virtual Pantry feature enables you to keep a digital running tab on all the ingredients you have on hand and search for recipes that use up those items. The feature will even remind you when an ingredient is running low or about to expire. One of the biggest standout features in the premium version is Yummly’s diverse collection of recipes and instructional videos from featured chefs, including Carla Hall, Tunde Wey, Wen-Jay Ying, the Potash Twins, Judy Joo, and others.

The basic version of the app, which boasts over 2 million recipes, is free. Yummly Pro, which includes even more bells and whistles, is $4.99 per month or $29.99 per year. If you want to test out the upgraded version before committing, Yummly offers a free 14-day trial. Yummly is available on iOS and Android.

Best for Families: Cozi
Why We Chose It: The app is good for more than recipes and groceries; it’s also a family organizational app that handles calendars, chore-tracking, and more.

Helpful family organizing features
The app’s “keep screen on” function

Limited number of recipes within the app
Clunky to transfer ingredients to grocery lists

Cozi, which was started by former employees of Microsoft and Amazon, has over 20 million users. Designed as a family organizing app, it also includes recipe planner and grocery list features. The basic version of the app, available on iOS, Android, Mac, and PC, is free. A premium version, Cozi Gold, is $29.99 per year and is ad-free, offers a calendar search and birthday tracker, and more.

The fact that the app helps you organize more than your cooking schedule makes it feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. Recipe-wise, the app is a bit bare-bones, but it’s easy enough to add recipes from websites and even upload your own to the recipe box. One especially nice feature is the “keep screen on” function, which ensures your device’s screen doesn’t go dark while you’re cooking.

Best for Fitness Goals: PlateJoy
Why We Chose It: Nutrition is front and center, from nutritionist-designed menus to the option to meet with dieticians and nutritionists.

Nutritionist-designed menus
User-friendly and intuitive
Instagram-worthy recipe photos

Calendar scheduling only available on desktop

Unlike some of the other diet-focused meal planning apps we looked at, this one doesn’t feel like you’re getting stuck with humdrum diet food. The recipes feel fresh and modern, and the photos of each dish are so attractive that it feels like you’re scrolling through Instagram. The app itself is user-friendly and intuitive. Available as a one-month ($12.99), six-month ($69), or annual subscription ($99), PlateJoy is one of the pricier meal planning apps which you can test out first with a 10-day free trial.

Meal plans are designed by nutritionists and customizable to suit your diet preferences and needs. There are options for clean eating, low-carb, Mediterranean, dairy-free, keto, gluten-free, plant-based, and even low FODMAP diets. Nutritional information is provided for each recipe. To help you even further along your healthy eating journey, the subscription even gives you access to coaches who are registered dieticians/nutritionists. Available on iOS and Android, you can also connect the PlateJoy app to your Fitbit or Apple Watch.

With optional grocery delivery, you can connect your shopping list directly to AmazonFresh or Instacart. PlateJoy also allows you to sync your meal plans with your own calendar or use the in-app one. (Calendar scheduling is only available on a desktop, though you can view your calendar on the mobile app.) Recipes are searchable by ingredient, cuisine, and appliance.

Best for Shopping Lists: Mealime
Why We Chose It: The app’s easy-to-use grocery lists and access to a wide variety of online retailers make shopping for ingredients a breeze.

Easy, straightforward shopping features
Food waste savings tracker

Breakfast recipes only available on paid version
Free version has limited features

The recipes featured on Mealime are created by chefs and registered dieticians, and you can choose the menu type you want to follow, from classic and flexitarian to keto, vegan, and paleo options. Overall, the recipes are approachable and healthy, albeit a bit basic. You can search recipes by diet, cuisine type, price per serving, and even calories (in the premium version), and build meal plans to reduce food waste, save money on groceries, and use up what’s in your pantry. One especially cool feature is the app’s food waste savings tracker, which keeps tabs on how much food waste you prevent by using Mealime’s recipes and meal planning.

What really sets this app apart for us is how easy and straightforward the grocery shopping features were. In the pro version, you can search recipes by calories. The app’s “Shop Online” feature allows you to shop for ingredients from a wide variety of stores and delivery services, including Walmart, Instacart, Safeway, Albertsons, Kroger, Aldi, Publix, Amazon Fresh, and Sprouts.

Available on iOS and Android, the basic version of the app is free, but you can upgrade to a premium version for $2.99 per month. With the upgraded version you get exclusive recipes, the ability to import your own recipes, a nutrition tracker, and advanced recipe filters (by nutrients, grocery price, and cook time), among other extras.

Best for Easy Recipes: MealPrepPro
Why We Chose It: With a mission to make healthy eating easy, recipes designed to be made in 15 minutes or less, and an emphasis on preparing meals ahead of time, MealPrepPro sets users up for success, and takes the frustration of last-minute meal planning out of the equation.

Built-in water tracker for monitoring hydration
Emphasis on prep ahead meals

Recipes feel a bit tame
Adding your own recipes is slightly convoluted

MealPrepPro is a subscription-based meal planning app. Its health-focused recipes are straightforward and uncomplicated, hopping on trends like grain bowls, chia pudding, and sheet-pan meals. Choose the kind of plan you want to follow—from high protein, Mediterannean, low-carb, keto, vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian—and the app creates a weekly menu plan for you. There’s also a pantry staples-focused plan that helps you create budget-friendly meals and reduce the number of trips you make to the grocery store. If you don’t want to adhere to a specific diet, there’s a flexible plan that features recipes from all categories. Though it takes a few clicks to find, you can add your own recipes to the planner by tapping on the swap button for a particular recipe.

The prep ahead features of the app are especially handy. You can set the level of prep you’d like to do, from no prep to full prep. Recipes note nutrition info, prep time required, and if the dish is freezable. When you’re ready to grocery shop, you can either take your list to the store or use the app to link directly to Instacart. The water consumption tracker is another helpful feature.

The app is currently only available for iOS, but the website notes that an Android version is set to debut sometime this year. The app syncs to Apple Health and Apple Watch. It costs $6.99 per month or $47.99 per year, and a free seven-day trial is available.

Final Verdict
With dozens of meal planning apps on the market, it ultimately comes down to deciding what your personal needs are. For those looking to curate their own digital recipe archive and easily “clip” recipes from various online websites, Paprika is a great choice. And it comes with a one-time download fee for your device, so there are no monthly or annual payments required.

Frequently Asked Questions
How Do Meal Planning Apps Work?
From selecting recipes to generating shopping lists and creating menu calendars, meal planning apps help you streamline the process of getting meals on the table. Some apps focus on dietary needs and fitness goals, while others can help you track ingredients you have in your pantry and offer video tutorials to guide you through the cooking process. The options are almost endless.

Can Using a Meal Planning App Help Save Money?
Meal planning and meal planning apps can help you wean yourself off pricey food delivery services. MealPrepPro, Yummly, Mealime, and Paprika have features that encourage you to check what’s in your pantry before you shop, so you don’t end up buying an ingredient you already have. By determining the recipes you want to cook for the week and buying only those ingredients, you can minimize impulse purchases. Other savings from meal planning include more time in your schedule, less food waste, and less stress.

How Much Do Meal Planning Apps Cost?
Some meal planning apps have free options, with premium versions of the app available for a monthly or annual subscription fee; others require a one-time app purchase.

Can I Create a Personalized Meal Plan With a Meal Planning App?
Many of the apps we researched are highly customizable. With Paprika, you can build your recipe database and meal schedule from the ground up. Other services like Forks Over Knives send you a weekly menu, which you can customize by swapping out recipes.

To sift through the numerous meal planning apps on the market, we started by targeting those that had at least several hundred reviews and ranked 4.5 stars or higher in the app store. As much as possible, we tried to include apps that were available across multiple platforms (IOS, Android, and desktop applications). We also featured meal planning apps that might meet a variety of needs for different users, from vegetarian-friendly apps to those that provide guidance for health and fitness goals.


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