Fabulous meal planner apps is a paid collaborative post with collaboration with O2, but all thoughts and experiences are my own
One of our top priorities as a family is mealtimes, eating healthily and ensuring we have a balanced diet, but there are times when I find cooking and feeding my family really monotonous. Things took a turn last year when I developed an illness that meant I had to focus on my wellbeing and go on the FODMAP diet. I am not sure how I would have managed without my iPhone 12 and a number of Apps to help me with the menu planning and the grocery list.
As a family, we have always meal planned (read more about how to meal plan and stick to it) and normally I would do that on paper once a week with the family, however, the FODMAP diet is so restrictive and it really isn’t simple to understand (my basic understanding is a FODMAPs are types of carbohydrates that are rapidly fermented and cause issues in your tummy and bowel). For me, it was very complicated and took up brain space that I didn’t have plus it meant reading every label in the supermarket.
So based on the recommendation of a friend whose daughter had done the diet, I downloaded The Monash University FODMAP Diet (which isn’t a free app but is worth every single penny). Not only did it enable me to check out specific products ingredients before going to the supermarket, but it also has a number of recipes that are adapted for the diet suitable for all the family and a diary section so I could record what I ate and any reactions.
Once I had used my iPhone 12 and an app for menu planning I was hooked and I started looking into others and ones that also create shopping lists too. There really is an app for everyone out there, including vegan, paleo, keto, or low carb. I would have lost my mind with all the dietary restrictions I had which included gluten-free and lactose-free (but not dairy free). I like that you can often pop in any allergies in the preferences. If you have diabetes then all of these apps come with nutritional information and details of calories.
How my phone has helped our Wellbeing
Unfortunately, I haven’t found the perfect app that does it all for me, but what I do have now is some fantastic resources for healthy family meals and even better we can all share the apps and make a decision on what we will eat that week and that takes the pressure off me. I love that our phone which some people can feel negative about can have a massively positive effect on my family’s wellbeing and health.
By using these apps I have been able to reduce my symptoms and maybe even avoided an operation. I have been able to find a balance between my health and cooking meals the whole family will embrace. Meal planning apps have also really helped my eldest who is 17 and a keen footballer. Last year he fractured his knee and needed to rehab and change his diet to accommodate the fact that he was more sedentary. Now he is fully fit and playing again, so has been looking at recipes that are high in protein and has started with meal prep and batch cooking his lunches.
Fabulous Meal Planner Apps for Families
Best for Families with Babies and Toddlers
Things have come a long way since my boys were little, they are now strapping teenagers, but it is great to see Anabel Karmel has moved with the times and has an app featuring over 300 recipes and includes an allergy tracker. As is standard with a lot of meal planner apps you can send recipe ingredients to your shopping list.
Best for Families with Younger Children
I have always been a massive fan of My Fussy Eater. Ciara has an amazing blog and books but she also has an app with over 260 healthy family-friendly recipes.
What I love about her recipes and the app is they are so child friendly and simple to follow. Plus she shares on Instagram ways to serve them that will appeal more to fussy eaters making her meals perfect for ALL the family. There is even a calendar that you can use to schedule your weeks meals.
Best for Easy Healthy Meals
Easy Meals by the NHS is an app that focuses on better health and has a brilliant selection of meals, including mains, breakfast, lunch and snacks and also a meal of the day. It also has a meal mixer option which picks a balanced menu for the day. It comes with a shopping list feature that you can share too. What I like is that it comes with tips for better health and is a great way to help teens learn about a balanced diet.
Best for storing your own recipes
Think of these as a digital recipe box. Recipe Keeper or Yummly is good for this, although I personally prefer recipe keeper. You can import recipes from websites, scan recipes from a photo or even from a PDF if you don’t want to type it all in. The only downside is you have to upgrade your free subscription once you have hit a certain number of uploads.
Best App to get Teens Cooking
Now, this might sound weird but honestly, TikTok and #FoodTok have been revolutionary in getting my teens to cook. From the TikTok famous feta pasta to toaster waps and recently buffalo chicken and Green Salad. You will see a lot of the recipes replicated on Instagram and Facebook that originated on TikTok and not even realise that is where they are from.
Best Shopping List Function
For me, nothing beats the Notes app that comes with an iPhone 12. I have tried alternatives but I keep coming back to Notes. I like how I can upload to the cloud so it is always up to date on all my devices, plus I can share with all the family so they can add items and my list automatically updates. I like the tick function and I love that it is on my phone which I always have with me. It is simple, it works well and we love it.
I still add our weekly menu to our paper family calendar in the kitchen. We have tried an online family calendar, but for us, paper still works best. However, I know a lot of people swear by the Cozi family planner (including the Cozi recipe box).
Do you have any meal planning apps that you would recommend I download or any family favorite receipes?