Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Diamond (eHealthInformer.com). Learn more about apps that can simplify planning healthy meals at home.
The path to wellness starts by controlling what’s in your diet. But eating healthy and cooking great meals can be seriously challenging. Besides the actual food preparation, there’s a lot that goes into finding the right ingredients and making sure you’ve got the right proportions.
Luckily, technology is making the whole process easier. Besides there being so many different websites out there with recipes available, there are a number of apps to expedite your search.
Our focus will be on the best apps for planning healthy meals, but you might also do well to supplement what’s below with security apps such as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and anti-malware apps. My experience has been that many grocery stores have poor reception, and you may need to utilize their WiFi; using a VPN minimizes the associated risks and keeps your activities private.
That said, bring your appetite!
Allrecipes Dinner Spinner
If you’ve ever been to the Allrecipes website, you already know just how many great recipes it has. That alone is pretty great, but they’ve also created an app that will help create a menu for you on the fly.
As you enter a store, you can use the app to generate a list of ingredients for a recipe and even figure out what sales are available based on your location. It’s a great way to save money and helps answer the question, “What do I get?”
You may need to skip over certain suggestions though. Allrecipes has millions of members, so not everything they recommend is always healthy!
One of my personal favorite apps to use for figuring out where the best, most local foods are found is Farmstand. The app works together with farmers and markets to provide you with information about upcoming events and what kinds of items will be for sale. It connects you directly with food providers.
Not only are fresh foods healthier and less prone to spoilage, but they tend to come with a lower price tag since you’re cutting out the middle man. Meeting farmers will also key you in on what’s currently in season. Many of these growers cook on a regular basis and will serve as good resources to figure out what to make.
Healthy Recipes by SparkRecipes
Although their app is a mouthful, the only mouthful you’ll have with SparkRecipe’s app is one filled with delicious meals. SparkRecipes runs a dedicated app for healthy meals, featuring several hundred thousand combinations for you to look at anywhere you’ve got an internet connection.
Though considerably less diverse than Allrecipes, the main benefit here is the focus on foods that are genuinely good for you. The app gives you the opportunity to find what you need to make something chock-full of vitamins, antioxidants and essential fats.
It’s available for multiple platforms, but the Android version has a slightly different name, called Healthy Recipes and Calculator.
Those with truly busy schedules might want to consider using the paid service app Cook Smarts. Although it does come with some free features, the premium version is what really makes it shine. Unlike the other recipe apps that function almost exclusively under a passive model, Cook Smarts takes you through a step-by-step process to prepare each meal from ingredients to plate.
While it only costs a few dollars a month, the less initiated cook (or just generally busy person) will quickly come to appreciate the reduced amount of effort required to put together excellent meals.
If you’re someone who prefers to learn things on your own, this probably isn’t the best app for you. But for anyone looking to just get the healthiest, tastiest food on the table as fast as possible with the least amount of mental investment, this one’s a definite keeper.
iOS users have something to rejoice about here. MealBoard makes it easier to locate the foods you need and reminds you to get them. Using its calendar, you can plan your meals in advance and have the app figure out where the best prices are for said items.
It’s also compatible with recipe blogs, so if you have favorite cooking blogs you follow, you can sync them up with the app to get the recipes to try out on your own. A favorite feature is the ability to preview the actual cost of your meals so you know if what you’re getting is a little more than you wanted to spend or if it’s just right.
All the Right Stuff
Cooking your own healthy meals might seem like a chore at first, but it quickly becomes a truly enjoyable activity. Using a few apps only makes the process easier and more convenient, especially for new at-home cooks.
Just remember that planning is half the battle. Once you’ve got the recipes, ingredients and cooking tools put together, you’re well on your way to full tummies.
About the Author: Diamond loves preparing her own meals, especially when she can get her hands on fresh, seasonal ingredients. She’s also a health and technology blogger, writing on a variety of topics from online security to advances in health care.