The Best Apps for Meal Planning


When budgets are tight, not planning meals in advance makes it too easy to overspend on junk food. That means a less than nutritious meal for the family. Obesity is a major problem in children and adults, alike. By carefully planning out family meals, it not only cuts down on the costs, but allows for healthier choices for everyone. For those without a lot of time on their hands, meal planning apps can offer quick ways to plan healthy meals. Review information on some of the best apps for meal planning below.

Cook Smarts

One of the most popular meal planning apps available is called Cook Smarts. The app has numerous features that appeal to users. Meals can be planned by the week, inserting the desired recipes for each meal. The program will then generate a grocery list to make it easier to shop for ingredients. A nifty feature on the app is that it allows adjustments for individual preferences to be added on ingredients.

This is more than just a simple meal-planning app, though. It includes tips on cooking and helps users learn to cook better meals. The user tells the app what kind of diet he or she prefers, such as high-protein or vegetarian, and the program sends recipes to match the diet. The program does charge a fee for using its service, which can be paid monthly or annually. Despite having to pay for it, this program is appealing to users due to all the extra features.


Recipe manager, Paprika, is a mobile app that aids users in organizing their favorite recipes. It does not have a web interface, but recipes can still be imported from the internet by using the URLs. The primary purpose of this app is to manage recipes, but it does have a menu planner and a grocery list application. A bonus feature is that the program allows users to rate the recipes they have prepared. The program also provides assistance with preparing meals by giving each step of the recipe and built-in timers. The app is not free, but has an inexpensive fee for the service, along with a fee for each mobile app platform purchased.


The mobile app Pepperplate is a meal-planning tool for organizing recipes, building shopping lists and help with cooking the meals. The program is available for free just by signing up. Recipes can be imported from the internet or manually entered. Once there are enough recipes added, the meal planning can begin. Simply choose which recipes to make, and Pepperplate will generate the grocery list. The app even allows sharing recipes or meal plans with other users. When it comes time to prepare the meal, Pepperplate walks you through the meal preparation, step by step, even providing a timer. This app is easy to use and to share with others, and it works on multiple devices.


For anyone looking for simple meal ideas, the Yummly app offers a huge variety of recipes to choose from. It allows users to narrow down their searches by how much preparation time they want to spend, and the types of meals they want. Recipes may then be saved in virtual storage. The program can generate a grocery list, as well. The recipes and app are free to users.


This program began as a shopping list app, making quick work of organizing grocery shopping trips. Eventually, it added meal planning and recipe storage to make it more user-friendly. The program is free and works on several platforms. Meal planning can be done for the week, allowing the user to add the desired recipes to each weekday, and then the app generates the shopping list based on the meal plan. Users can modify the shopping list by crossing off items already in their pantries, plus it does not duplicate ingredients that are used in multiple recipes. The app does allow sharing between users. Another great feature of this app is that it looks at sales, discounts and coupons offered in the area, and lets the user know about them.

App Android iOS Kindle Nook OS X Web Windows Phone Windows RT
Cook Smarts   X
Paprika   X  X    X   X   X
Pepperplate   X  X    X   X   X          X          X
Yummly   X  X
Ziplist   X  X   X