Our favourite meal planning apps to simplify your life
Make feeding the family as simple as falling off a log with these meal planning apps.
Plan. Prep. Eat. Repeat. (iStock)
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Let’s be honest being a mom means having very little time to plan meals. Deciding what to make and finding the right ingredients for three meals a day plus snacks, it's a hassle!

Our time is consumed by many never-ending things we need to get done, from laundry to making sure our little ones stay away from exposed plug points. 

One of my goals for this year was to stay organised and make good meal choices

But trying to find a balance with a new job and a baby is challenging. Sometimes things get so busy I even forget to eat lunch or breakfast. 

If you also struggle to manage and plan what to put on the table every night, here are five great meal planning apps I love that will make your life easier.


Also see: 7 tips to feed your kids healthily on a tight budget, with 4 yummy snack recipes

What does meal planning look like for you? Tell us your favourite ways you make cooking easier while still keeping it healthy and we could publish your email. 


Paprika

If you are into food blogs and cooking websites, then you will love this app.

It lets you download recipes from your favourite websites and add your own recipes. Making shopping easier, the app organises your ingredients into food groups and creates a shopping list sorted by aisle. 

Paprika recipes can be shared via email, and they're also printable. Preparation times are visible for every recipe and there are step-by-step guided cooking videos that you can stop and resume as you like.

No internet connection is required to view recipes on this app, so you even save data. 

The App is compatible with iOS, Windows and Android devices.

Lala Lunchbox

If you have older children and you are looking for lunchbox sanity, then this is the app for you.

Figuring what your kid will eat for lunch can be a monumental task especially when you have an opinionated little person.

The Lala Lunchbox app is a fun and educational way to help kids understand good types of food for lunch.

They can set up their own profile, choose a monster avatar and arrange their lunch into categories. 

When a child sees a portion of food that he wants, he drags and drops it into a hungry monster’s mouth. When he is finished selecting the foods for that day, he clicks "done" and moves on to the next day.

Kids can plan a day, a week, a month or longer at a time. A parent can override playing time, and have control of the ingredients the child adds.

The app is only compatible only for iOS devices.


Also see: How to get nutrients into your fussy eater... enter the mighty microgreen


Mealime 

Healthy eating starts here: begin by choosing your diet type, including vegetarian, gluten-free, banting and low carb.

Mealime allows you to choose as many recipes as you like, according to your taste, and add them to your shopping list. If you do not like an item on the menu you can delete it and look for another one.

The app is straightforward because it is built for busy people who want hassle-free healthy meals to enjoy.

After making your meal plan, a grocery list of all the ingredients you will need will be automatically generated.

Yummly

If you are a busy mom and need a quick meal suggestion then this is the app for you. 

Yummly provides video guides and food suggestions for your family mealtimes.

It also caters to special diets and allergies when generating meal plans.

Other people can share and rate the recipes they have tried so you will have a general idea of what to expect.


Also see: Actress, parent, farmer: Jennifer Garner shows off what home-cooked means

Plan to eat

Designed for the family who wants to eat good food, but has no meal ideas, Plan to eat allows you to generate recipes of your choice by dragging and dropping recipes into a calendar. 

After finishing your meal planning the app generates a shopping list of ingredients that you can use to check things off as you go round the grocery shop.

It's that simple: you see a recipe, save it, shop for it and then cook it.

The app does not need internet access to work.

Hopefully now you will no longer dread the daily question: "Mom, what's for dinner?"

Chat back:

How does meal planning for your family look like? Tell us your favourite ways you make cooking easier while still keeping it healthy and we could publish your letter.

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