If you feel like you’re throwing cash into a bottomless pit just to keep your household fed, then today’s post might help. The big secret? Cooking at home.
Now, this clearly isn’t rocket science. Cooking at home is a tried and true method for cutting corners—but toss in a dash of technology, and you’ll ramp up those savings like never before. I’m talking about recipe managers and meal-planning apps!
These apps help you plan ahead to maximize the value you get from your grocery haul. They help you to:
- Make fewer trips to the store (and spend less money on gas) because you’ll have a list of everything that you need for all of your meals.
- Confidently buy in bulk—knowing that you will actually use all of that chicken.
- Stop throwing out spoiled food—realizing in advance that you cannot, in fact, use all of that celery.
- Focus only on what you need while you’re at the store—not some slick marketing that might otherwise lure you away from your mission … especially when you’re hungry.)
Now, of course, you could do your meal-planning the old-fashioned way: with a pen and paper. But if you’re busy and less inclined to plan out your eats, a recipe manager and meal-planning app might be just what you need to actually do it. So, let’s take a look at a few options.
So, what’s Cook’n? With so many features, it’s entirely up to you! One of the cool things about this app is the flexiblity for importing your recipes—you can:
- Scan printed recipes directly into your recipe manager
- Import recipes from Pinterest, blog posts and Word documents
- Search for new recipes within Cook’n’s live feed
Once you’ve imported your recipes, organize them into cookbooks, share them to social media or order an actual, bound cookbook-version of your files. Then, plan out your week in the meal planner to generate a shopping list that will keep you on track at the store.
And if you have special dietary needs, for example diabetes, Cook’n’s paid membership option comes with an entire cookbook full of recipes that can help you meet your nutritional requirements.
Eat This Much
Eat This Much could be just the app if you’re looking to closely manage your nutrition on a budget (sounds good, right?). With this meal planner, you can enter your food preferences, budget, and nutritional goals. Then Eat This Much calculates the ideal weekly meal plan and grocery list to help you maintain or reach your goal.
If you’re into bodybuilding or macro-cycling, you’ll love the ability to schedule different macro and calorie targets for each day. Upload your favorite recipes, or see what Eat This Much pulls out of its own recipe box.
And when you’ve settled on your plan, Eat This Much also offers integration with a grocery delivery service. (Keep an eye on those bells and whistles, though—we’re after savings, here, right?)
Paprika is another option that lets you sync your recipes, grocery list and meal plan between your computer and your tablet or phone. Use the built-in browser to search online for recipes and save them to Paprika with the tap of a button.
You can create reusable menus from your favorite meals, planning out a week or even an entire month. While you’re at the store, use the app to check your list. A cool feature that Paprika offers is combining similar ingredients. (If one meal requires one egg and a second meal requires two eggs, Paprika shows three eggs on your shopping list.) You can also organize your list by the layout of the grocery store.
Recipe for Success
Choosing the right app will depend on your lifestyle, preferences and (like with anything) your priorities. If you don’t already have your grocery budget dialed-in, maybe one of these apps can help!