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Comprehensive Review of Best Meal Planning Apps in 2024

What can be more frustrating than deciding what to cook for dinner? There’s only so much creativity you can show when prepping meals every day! This is where meal planning apps come to save the day! No more scratching your head while looking at the pantry. These apps simplify meal planning for you by providing recipe suggestions, generating grocery lists, and meeting customised diets and preferences. Read on for a comprehensive comparison of the best meal planning apps based on specific features, user interfaces, and the degree of personalisation they offer.

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Top Meal Planning Apps in 2024 For A Healthy Lifestyle

  • PlateJoy – Best for Personalized, Nutritionist-Approved Meal Plans
  • Eat This Much – Best for Nutrition-Focused, Macro-Calculated Meal Plans
  • Prepear – Best for AI-Optimized, Personalized Meal Prep
  • Paprika Recipe Manager – Best All-in-One Recipe Manager
  • Plan to Eat – Best for Flexible Meal Planning with Any Recipes
  • Pepperplate – Best for Organizing and Sharing Recipes
  • BigOven – Best for Discovering New Recipes from a Massive Database
  • Cozi Recipe Box & Dinner Planner – Best for Family Meal Coordination
  • Mealime – Best for Simple, Affordable Meal Planning
  • Allrecipes Dinner Spinner – Best for Random Meal Inspiration

PlateJoy is one of the best meal planning apps. Especially when it comes to personalized meal plans. It takes your food preferences, allergies, and health goals seriously. Based on these crucial details, it provides customized recipes and quick grocery lists. The app uses AI to cater plans to your taste and nutrition targets. You also get options for different diet types like keto, paleo, etc.

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Cons

Eat This Much focuses on tracking nutrition and planning meals to achieve fitness goals. You can input your calories, macros, and diet types to generate optimized meal plans. All plans come with grocery lists organized by food category, streamlining the entire process for you. You can even adjust meal plans to meet changing nutrition targets. Compared to other best meal planning apps, Eat This Much does not put as much emphasis on recipe collection/importing, which can be limiting for certain users.

Pros
Cons

Prepear boasts itself as an intelligent meal prep app using artificial intelligence. It allows you to create a custom meal plan by mixing and matching from thousands of recipes. These recipes are automatically adjusted based on your dietary goals/preferences. Users can generate grocery lists organized by grocery aisle, streamlining the process for you. Prepear also lets you order groceries for delivery through integrated services. With the premium subscription, you can unlock additional AI optimisation features, which gives it an edge over other best meal planning apps.

Pros
Cons

Paprika is an all-in-one recipe manager, meal planner, and grocery list app. You can store all your recipes in the app’s cloud sync across devices. It lets you plan meals, generate grocery lists, and even scale ingredients for different serving sizes. The platform is more interactive than Mealime, especially when it comes to recipes. You can cross off ingredients once you are done with them. Another intuitive feature allows you to tap to highlight the next step in the recipe.

Pros
Cons

The Plan to Eat app lets you import recipes from websites. It offers an intuitive interface where you can build meal plans and grocery lists seamlessly. It’s one of the best meal planning apps that automatically adjust serving sizes and can factor in pantry inventory. What sets it apart is its laser focus on meal planning flexibility and minimising food waste. The 14-day free trial lets you explore the app without any payment information.

Pros
Cons

Pepperplate is designed as a comprehensive recipe manager and meal planner. It stores unlimited recipes that sync across all your devices. You can create meal plans by dragging and dropping recipes. This smart meal planning app automatically scales ingredient lists based on servings needed. It also allows you to share recipes and meal plans with others. Import recipes from websites by adding the URL.

Pros
Cons

BigOven has a huge database of over 1 million recipes to browse and save for later use. You can use the calendar to plan meals for the week/month from your saved recipes. Also, generate organized grocery lists for your planned meals. With nutrition data available for all recipes, pick the ones that suit your specific diet preferences. The app integrates with certain grocery delivery services to drop everything you need right at your doorsteps.

Pros
Cons

The Cozi Recipe Box and Dinner Planner is part of the Cozi family organiser app. It’s one of the best meal planning apps for coordinating calendars, lists, etc. It allows you to save and organise recipes and create weekly meal plans that integrate with the Cozi calendar. Seamlessly generate grocery lists based on your planned meals. You can even import popular recipes from your favourite websites.

Pros
Cons

The Mealime app lets you create personalised meal planning and grocery lists based on your dietary choices and household size. All you need to do is establish a profile and enter your diet choices. Based on your input, it will provide meal plans tailored to your individual requirements. Mealime features a big recipe database, allowing you to mix and match meals throughout the week. Recipes call for simple, inexpensive ingredients.

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Cons

The Allrecipes Dinner Spinner is an excellent app offered by Allrecipes. You can follow famous cooks and access 50k+ recipes on this social app. This unique meal planning app helps you filter recipes by dietary preference, items to include/exclude, prep time, etc. You can store your favourite recipes and create a grocery list or get pantry-based cooking suggestions. Allrecipes offers a simple interface to provide easy meal inspiration and planning.

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How we review the best meal planning apps

To evaluate and compare the best meal planning apps, we look at a few key criteria:

1. User Experience – We assess the overall user interface and experience, looking for intuitive navigation, visual appeal, and ease of use across desktop and mobile platforms.

2. Core Functionality – The primary meal planning features like recipe management, meal calendar scheduling, grocery list generation, and nutritional data/filtering are carefully examined.

3. Personalization – We review each app’s ability to cater to personal dietary needs, nutritional goals, taste preferences, and household sizes through settings and AI customisation.

4. Recipe Sources – Apps are compared based on their recipe databases and options for importing, scaling, and organising personal recipe collections.

5. Smart Features – We look for helpful AI and automation aspects that streamline meal prep, from personalised recommendations to integrated grocery delivery.

6. Extras – Additional features relevant to meal planning, like pantry inventory tracking, cross-device syncing, family sharing, and third-party integrations, are also considered.

Ultimately, we aimed to identify the best meal planning apps that excel in their respective areas, whether that’s nutritional customisation, recipe discovery, simple inspiration, or comprehensively streamlining the entire process.

How to Pick the Best Meal Planning Apps for Your Family

With tons of best meal planning apps available, it can be tricky to find the perfect fit for your household’s needs. Here are some tips on choosing the right app:

Define Your Priorities 

Start by pinpointing what’s most important – is it meal inspiration, nutrition tracking, simple meal prep, or an all-encompassing solution? This will help narrow your choices.

Consider Dietary Needs

If your family has specific dietary restrictions or preferences like food allergies, vegan, keto, etc., look for the best meal planning apps with robust customisation and filtering for those requirements.

Assess Cooking Skills/Style

Some apps offer simple recipes for beginners, while others are designed for expert home chefs. Evaluate your culinary skills and tastes to make a decision.

Check Recipe Sources 

If you want an extensive cookbook’s worth of recipes or the flexibility to import your own, look for apps with large databases and easy importing tools.

Factor in Household Size

The best meal planning apps can scale recipes and meal plans based on household headcounts to prevent excessive food waste or labour.

Look for Time-Savers

AI recommendation engines, one-tap grocery delivery integration, and pantry inventory management can streamline meal prep.

Don’t Underestimate Ease of Use

An intuitive user experience and interfaces your family will actually enjoy using day-to-day should be prioritised.

Conclusion

These were the best meal planning apps in 2024. No more running around to whip up something last minute. With meal planning apps like these, you can create plans for weeks and months in advance. They not only help you make healthy food choices but also streamline the entire process for you. The best meal planning apps are the perfect helper for feeding your family reliably and conveniently. Don’t wait around; get the help you need and aim for a healthy lifestyle.

FAQs

The best meal planner app will depend on your specific needs. PlateJoy and Eat This Much rank highly for nutritional meal planning. Paprika and Plan to Eat are great all-in-one or flexible options. Prepear offers unique AI personalisation features.

The best meal planning apps can save time, reduce food waste, help you stick to a grocery budget, and improve your health. Many homes value computerized meal plans and grocery lists for their convenience. 

Many meal or menu planning apps have free versions or trials but with limited features. Mealime, Cozi Dinner Planner, and Allrecipes Dinner Spinner have decent free offerings. However, the more robust personalisation and organisation features usually require a paid subscription or upgrade.