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8 Meal Planning Apps That Can Simplify Every Dinner

Would you like to put an end to haphazardly thrown together meals? Fortunately, there are many apps that focus on the organizational aspect of meal planning. The best ones store recipes, offer suggestions, and maintain grocery store lists—all while making sure you always have an answer to, “What’s for dinner tonight?”

Certain apps even go above and beyond dinner, with suggestions for breakfast and lunch (including packing lunches to go to school or the office). A good meal planning app can limit the shopping and planning options and make it all feel manageable. Take a look at these top meal planning apps and decide which might work for you. These apps are all free (though some offer in-app purchases), so you can test them to make sure your new cooking assistant is the right fit.

Mealime Meal Plans & Recipes

itunes.com

This free meal planning app (with no in-app purchases) offers healthy recipes, grocery lists, and more. It allows you to filter by eating restrictions—think low-carb, vegetarian, gluten-free, and more—and prioritizes meals that cook in 30 minutes or so. The grocery lists are even optimized to reduce the amount of time you spend at the supermarket, so the whole process, from planning to shopping to cooking, takes up less of your time.

To buy: Free; mealime.com. For iOS and Android devices.

Cozi

itunes.com

This easy-to-use app features a streamlined Recipe Box, which allows you to transfer recipe ingredients to your in-app grocery list. The list is accessible to every family member, meaning anyone can swing by the store to shop. Once you start dinner prep, turn on Cozi’s Cooking Mode, which keeps your screen lit so you don’t have to touch it with dirty fingers. Genius!

To buy: Free; cozi.com. Available for iOS and Android devices.

LaLa Lunchbox

itunes.com

This adorable app takes the stress out of packing lunches by getting kids involved in choosing their meals. (The app makes planning into a fun feed-the-monster game.) New dietary-specific bundles ensure that every kid, no matter their allergies or dietary restrictions, can use LaLa Lunchbox.

To buy: Free; lalalunchbox.com. Available on iOS devices.

BigOven Recipes & Meal Planner

itunes.com

With a database of more than one million recipes, there’s no shortage of inspiration in this app. Seasonal collections featured on the home screen ensure you’re using the freshest in-season ingredients. Our favorite feature of BigOven? The Use Up Leftovers tool, which suggests a recipe you can make with the three ingredients you enter.

To buy: Free; bigoven.com. Available on iOS and Android devices.

Paprika

Google Play


If you’re in search of an app to streamline meal planning, look no further than Paprika. Whether you’re planning lunches for the week or feeling ambitious with a month-long meal prep, Paprika has you covered. You can save your favorite recipes and personalize them with additional text or photos, which will then seamlessly import into your grocery list. And, of course, there’s even a timer feature to assist you when it’s time to start cooking.

To buy: Free; paprikaapp.com, Available for iOS and Android devices.

Eat This Much

Google Play


Eat This Much is a great app for those trying to practice mindful eating. Taking into consideration your daily caloric intake, dietary preferences, budget, and schedule, the app generates a personalized meal plan so you can achieve your fitness goals. What’s more convenient is that you can view the nutrition information of your meals.

To buy: Free; eatthismuch.com, Available for iOS and Android devices.

PlateJoy

Google Play


Another great tool for those seeking healthier eating habits, PlateJoy offers meal plans created by nutritionists, so you’re sure to follow a balanced diet that doesn’t compromise taste. In addition to its recipe database and grocery list generator, the app also caters to a variety of dietary preferences, including those who are diabetic or need to follow a low FODMAP plan.

To buy: Free with some insurance; platejoy.com, Available for iOS and Android devices.

Prepear

Google Play


If you’re a social media enthusiast, Prepear may be the app for you. Its “discover” feature, similar to Pinterest, allows you to explore and save recipes directly into your personalized in-app cookbook. The app also partners with food bloggers to create new recipes, so you’re sure to be eating something tasty at all times.

To buy: Free with some insurance; prepear.com, Available for iOS and Android devices.