Get yourself organized in the kitchen. Make the most out of easy dinner prep and save money while utilizing meal planning apps. Here is the best free menu planning apps & tools.
The Best Free Menu Planning Apps & Tools
OHHHH the dread question; “What’s for dinner?”
You don’t need to be a techie wiz to make menu planning a little bit easier. But did you know there are many tools available on the internet that will help you with your weekly menu plan?
Planning your meals is one of the best ways to save money and eat healthy at the same time. When you make a meal plan before you shop, you are not only making for a less stressful week, but you are giving yourself a chance to eat a healthier diet. This week we are viewing some of my favorite meal planning apps.
Free Menu Planning Apps & Tools List
For many people, it can be hard to get started with a meal plan. Instead of letting that hold you back, try one of the apps on this list to give you a shove in the right direction.
Meallime App provides a large inventory of various types of delicious recipes based on your preferences and choices, including Vegetarian, Paleo, Allergies-Free, Gluten-Free, etc. It is the meal planner of choice for those who have diet restrictions. Most recipes are focused on fast prep times in 30 minutes, so you may be able to save even more time in the kitchen.
You can also create profiles for couples or whole families to make planning a little easier. You can then look for recipes that match all those requirements.
When you pick a recipe, it shows up the grocery list with the necessary ingredients. It also offers substitutes for items that you may not have on hand, but will still work for that particular meal.
All Recipes has a fantastic search menu and a huge database for finding recipes. Browse through over 1,000 already created menus for occasions from every day to holiday. View automatically calculated nutritional information for your entire meal.
You can also economize by cooking what’s on sale near you, and the app can suggest recipes when you walk to certain stores. Tap to add full recipes or ingredients to your shopping list, which you can cook with the help of some 1,000 step-by-step cooking videos, complete with cooking instructions.
Plus, Allrecipes Menu Planner makes it so easy to plan and shop for your meal (or meals!) You can utilize the Free Version or pay a low monthly fee to go Pro!
Big Oven contains a database of more than 350,000 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,” which suggests a recipe you can make with the three ingredients you enter
Clip recipes from your favorite sites or upload recipes by snapping a photo, or mark existing recipes as a favorite to save for later. Organize and filter recipes by category to find any recipe with seasonal collections or suggested dishes, or tap to save and share meal ideas.
Pepperplate is a mobile app and meal planning tool that helps you to organize your recipe collection and plan your meals based on those recipes You can build shopping lists. It’s available for free on the web, on iOS, Android, Windows Phone/Windows RT, Nook, and Kindle devices.
Once you’re signed up, you can import recipes from the web by pasting in the URL for them, or you can enter them manually from your favorite cookbooks or that stash of index cards you have. Once you have a good collection of recipes, you can build menus for your regular meals, for special events, or any night of the week.
The Yummly app is a personal favorite of mine. It is very simple to use. The user interface and design are top-notch. Your profile includes likes/dislikes, allergies, diet, cuisines, and even your skill level. You can search for recipes based on course, prep time or what’s trending, or you can use the sliders to narrow down the results by calorie, carb, fat, or cholesterol levels. (see why I like it?)
While there’s no weekly or monthly calendar for meal planning, you can make collections of recipes. I tested it out, making a collection for one week, and saved all of my meals right there.
A new Pro version is now available for $5 per month that features hands-on cooking shows from famous chefs from around the world.
Meal Planning App That Cost A little Money – Recommended
Do you love to customize every little detail? I do have to make an honorable mention. With Mealboard you can to spend less money every month on your grocery bill. You can whip your diet and your finances into shape together. (And what’s better than a bit of multi-tasking?)
You can add recipes from your favorite blogs and sites (Inspiring Savings, anyone?) into the weekly calendar and then drag and drop specific recipes to the days that you’ll plan to make them.
The app will aggregate a grocery list that also shows you the price of ingredients if you shop at one of the stores utilized in the app. This app is free with ads (lots o ads) but costs a mear $4.
MealPlan presents you with meal tags that you can drag and drop into a weekly schedule to quickly plan your meals (and even email them to other people). The tags make it easy to search for specific meals, and can automatically generate grocery lists for you.
You can also tweak meals to add snacks, put in links to specific recipes, or remove certain meals entirely. You can search for new meals and generate a tag for them, too.
Do you have a FAVORITE Menu Planning app? We would love to hear all about it. Drop us a comment below.
To Read More About Menu Planning
- Meal Planning Saving You Time and Money
- Meal Planning 101- “Ready to Try Menu Planning” – Plus Free Menu Printables
- Frequently Asked Questions About Meal Planning
- Creative Uses for Leftovers – Don’t Throw Away
- Pantry Staples – Items You Should Have on Hand