Is there a better way to meal plan?
April 8, 2018 6:41 PM   Subscribe

We currently use a Google calendar to meal plan. It works but is clunky and we wonder if there is a better way. Does anyone know an app or website that meets a couple specific requirements? It needs to have a monthly view, not just weekly. It needs to have an easy way to move things around and accommodate changes if we postpone one day's meal or something like that. It needs to let us save a given month's plan and repeat it later if desired.

Honestly that last one is where Google falls a bit flat because other than making every meal repeat at intervals there's no easy way to save a month as a unit and repeat it. Most meal planner apps seem to focus on one week at a time, which isn't ideal for us. The common feature of auto-generating a shopping list would be nice but isn't a big deal to us. Suggesting new meals would also be neat, but is non-essential.
Not looking for suggestions for services like Blue Apron. Assume we have already thought of including buffer days to allow for going out/ordering/whatever (our plans sometimes change mid-week even with that).
posted by Wretch729 to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Have you looked at Real Plans? I personally hated it (and am back to Google Calendar) but it is pretty flexible.
posted by Brittanie at 7:30 PM on April 8, 2018

It’s a bit expensive, but I think Paprika satisfies all of your requirements, including the ability to save a monthly (or whatever number of days you want) plan and use it again. It’s also easy to move things around. You can enter or input recipes and it will generate grocery lists. The main problem I have with it is that you need to buy it separately for computer vs. phone etc.
posted by Missense Mutation at 7:53 PM on April 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

I like Plan to Eat. I mostly use it to save recipes, rather than do meal planning, but it can save a month's recipes for later reuse (see Using menus with the meal planner).

It's a monthly/yearly subscription, and it's web-based, so you don't need to install any apps. They give you a free month to check it out.
posted by loop at 9:40 PM on April 8, 2018 [4 favorites]

Seconding loop's suggestion - you ABSOLUTELY are looking for Plan to Eat! They check all your boxes: There's a monthly view, it's as easy as dragging and dropping to rearrange meals on your calendar, you can save a plan and repeat it later, and you can auto-generate a shopping list.

Additional perks: The auto-generate shopping list feature works AMAZINGLY well. I have been very surprised at how good it as at actually understanding what goes on the shopping list and what doesn't. And when you are at the store shopping, the mobile version of your shopping list works perfectly. You can even organize the categories of your shopping list in the order of the aisles of your grocery store! Regarding meal suggestions, there is a great feature where you can search their database and the web for recipes. Also, they supply you with a button that you can add to your internet browser window, and anytime you see a recipe online that you like, you can click the button and it will import it into the program (surprisingly accurately.)

I may be waxing a tad bit poetic here, but honestly I freaking love this program and there are way too many cool features to list them all here.
posted by quiet_musings at 9:04 PM on April 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Another vote for Plan to Eat. I've been using it since (apparently) 2010! Lots of little things that bug me, but it does the job.
posted by libraryhead at 7:16 AM on April 10, 2018

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