April 19, 2020

best meal planning apps

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Want to know what the best meal planning apps are? Here is a comprehensive guide of our top 11, we hope you can find one that works for you.

Meal planning is a great way not only to plan your shopping so you only buy what you need, but it also saves you money because you are less likely to waste food or indulge in a takeaway! It’s one of my tips to saving money when doing food shopping.

With today’s modern technology it doesn’t need to be complicated either there are lots of meal planning apps that you will automatically create a meal planner. I want to share with you some I’ve found useful.

Best Meal Planning Apps – are they free?

Whether you use a Apple device or Android there are apps that suit all. Here are some to try and have a play with, after all everyone’s different. What’s really great is a lot of the ones we have listed are free to use!


Straight out of the setup Mealime asks you what sort of diet you follow. It has 8 options to choose which are: classic, low carb, Keto, Flexitarian, Paleo, Vegetarian, Pescetarian and Vegan. You are then prompted to give any allergy information,food dislikes, how many portions per meal and then finally a time each week that the app will remind you to do your meal plan. It really is a clever little app that is aiming to give a unique user experience. Once signed in to the app you’re taken to a meal plan recipes page where you can pick from delicious recipes inspired by your choices this then creates your custom shopping list and plan for the week.

I found the meal plan interface to be nice and sleek and there were loads of nice recipe ideas however you are limited unless you pay for the pro version.

mealime meal planning apps

How much does the meal planning app cost?

There is a free option and a paid for option, you can do all meal planning with selected recipes on the free option. If you want the ability to add your own recipes, view nutritional information (important for those of specialist diets and access to all recipes then you are probably going to want the paid for option which will set you back £4.49 a month or £39.99 a year*

Who’s it great for?

  • Those wanting some meal inspiration, its one of the most comprehensive meal planning apps out there
  • Those who want a easy to use interface.
  • If you are on a specialist diet like Keto and want to plot your week
  • Those keen to reduce food waste as it has a feature to combine recipes so you only buy enough and reuse other ingredients in other recipes this should save money too!
  • Those who want a app that is free to use

Want to try out this app?


Aiming to give you healthy eating but simplified. This is a app tailored for those who want to loose weight. It’s available on both IOS and Android devices

How much does it cost?

There’s a free trial then the cost is £69 for 6 months or £99 for 12 months

What’s great?

  • Great recipe reviews by subscribers, as one of the most popular meal planning apps it has a large user base.
  • geared to help you reach your fitness goals
  • supports different lifestyle options such as Paleo, Low carb, Weight Loss.

What could be better?

  • ability to add your own recipes
  • navigation can be tricky (always starts from breakfast)
  • cost – quite expensive compared to other apps like mealime which have functionality in the free option

Want to try out this app?


Yummly gets a great rating in the app store with just under 5,000 reviews at time of writing it has a app store rating of 4.7 out of 5! Some users have described it being like Pinterest for food no wonder it has a review for one of the best meal planning apps.

Trying this app out is super easy too you dont have to give any of your personal details if you simply just want to give it a try. What is also very cool is the fact it has Youtube videos integrated into some of the recipes so if you preview to watch you can. It also has a ingredient recognition tool so you can scan and create inventory then Yummly will give you recipe recommendations based on this! I also loved the shopping list feature which allows you to share list and but all of your items into categories this will be a particularly good feature for saving money as you will shop the supermarket like a pro!

How Much does it cost?

Free to download and use majority of the features, if you want more features like cooking lessons, pro chef instructions and exclusive recipes then you need to subscribe for £4.99 a month.

What’s great?

  • Searching for new recipes is easy, you can also schedule them to make at a later date
  • lots of information and content
  • emails sent with recipe recommendations
  • batch cooking friendly you can select what to batch cook which is great for saving time and money on your shopping bill.

What could be better?

  • The ability to search for food groups you can’t eat, you can’t for instance just link coconut you have to link all the different types.
  • more filters – because of how much content the app contains it can actually make it very hard to search and find what you’re looking for.

Want to try out this app?

Smart Recipes

A completely free smart recipe app from change4life. Change4life is a public health programme which is ran by Public Health of England. Change4life Smart Recipe app focus on the whole family inspriring you with low cost meals that will feed a family.

How much does it cost?

As it’s a governement run initiative this app is completely free!

What’s great?

  • 160 recipe ideas
  • focus on low cost ingredients that aim to feed a family of 4 for £5
  • free tips and advice to make healthy family meal options.
  • meal mixer feature which allows you to have random selections for each meal, if you like to live on the wild side.
smart recipes meal planning app

What could be better?

  • although the app gets very good reviews overall (4.4 stars) some users complain the app can crash.
  • Limited menu options compared to other apps
  • Interface basic

Want to try this app?

  • Get Smart Recipes for iPhone
  • Get Smart Recipes for Andriod

Free notes application

Not really a dedicated meal planning app but if you are looking for something that is a replacement to pen and paper that you can share with people in your household then this is a good option. In our household we are in a set routine and like the old fashion way of reciepe books I discussed one of my favourite money saving cookbooks in an earlier post. We use IOS notes and simply share the note between us so we can plot what we would like to eat for the week. This method is a bit more time consuming but will work for those looking for a no thrills easy way to write things down.

notes as a meal planner

How much does it cost?

Completely free!

Whats good?

  • completely free to use
  • easy to share with family and other household members

Lifesum – Diet and food diary

This is marketed as a the all in one app for diet. It does meal planning, food and exercise tracking, calorie counting, and healthy recipes all in one application. If you’ve ever used My Fitness Pal you will know a key feature missing was being able plan meals ahead. If you’re looking to save money and loose some weight this could be the app for you. There is a free and premium version.

How much does it cost?

There is a free version available, which limits you to classic diet plan but you can still use it to track calories and carbs. You can also track your weight loss goals and link to health devices. If you want more functionality i.e. access to more diet plans, access to recipes and to make your own recipes then you will need to opt for the premium version of the app. This is charged either monthly at £7.99, 3 months at £16.49 or you can opt for the annual pass at £34.99. The annual pass is pretty reasonable if you have specific goals and want a app does does it all in one.

lifesum meal planner app

What’s good?

  • Voted as a great app by many over 17k reviews 4.6 stars at time of writing
  • all in one app and great if you are looking at meal planning from a health and fitness angle.
  • Helps you to develop more healthy habits as well as saving money by planning ahead. The app gives you feedback on what you’re eating and drinking and how it is impacting your health
  • links with fitness devices like Apple Watch.

What could be better?

  • You have to sign up to a account to have a browse, it doesn’t take long but it would be nice to have a nosey without giving up personal details.
  • No free trial on the premium option you have to go for it if you want the functionality

Want to get this app?

Vegan Recipes

If you are Vegan this is the perfect meal planning app for you! The app boasts recipes ideas all vegan that are low cost. So not only will you be saving money by planning ahead but you will also be getting inspired to cook cheap meals. You will also find this app useful if you are new to being a vegan as you have everything in one place.

How much does it cost?

After the free trial period you can pay £4.49 a month or go for the annual pass at £36.99.

Whats good?

  • All vegan recipes in one place
  • Easy to use interface
  • Good resource if you are new to being Vegan and need help planning your meals

What could be better?

  • Quite of lot of adverts
  • Requires subscription to use
  • Not yet available for android

Plan to eat

The highest rated so far it has less people reviewed but those using the application are very happy scoring the app on average 4.9 stars out of 5. This app is specifically designed for those who are looking to save costs by meal planning in advance. It has easy to share features that mean you can import your own recipes and share your list with other members of your household.

How much does it cost?

Right now you can try a no obligation 30 day trial which will not ask you for card details after that you will need to commit to monthly subscription of £4.95 or £39.99 a year.

What’s good?

  • Ability to import recipes from the web so if you do like a website like BBC good food you can import the information straight in.
  • Ability to create shopping lists for different stores. You might like me do some of your shopping in Aldi and some in another supermarket this app allows you to plan for that.
  • Sync with household, good for families where you share the cooking. It means each family member can log in and see what they need to cook.

What could be better?

  • No free option available
  • Expensive vs other options which have more functionality

Want this app?

Eat this much

Eat this much is a cross between a calorie counter and a meal planner. Again this application has lots of dietary options like paleo and keto. You have the ability to customise every day of the week, for instance if you have a workout day and have different needs you can tell the app you want, for example a workout shake.

How much does it cost?

Free and premium versions of the app with the free version you are limited to only planning one day. for full functionality of the app you will need to pay £42.99 a year or £6.99 a month so its one of the most expensive apps we have reviewed so far.

What’s good?

  • Option to scale up meals for more than one person making meal planning easy for larger households
  • Easy to use layout and design.
  • Geared at those than want to loose weight

What could be better?

  • The use of language for names of products and recipes are American focused not British, so can be confusing at times.
  • Need to upgrade to premium if you want to use a dedicated meal planning app.

Want this app?

Meal planner

Firstly, Meal planner is a no frills basically free app. If you dont want to spend on a subscription this could be the app for you. This app has the ability to track calories too but you can also opt not to if you just want to use for meal planning.

How much does it cost?

Free to download if you want to get rid of the adverts you can for a £1!

What’s good?

  • Free to download and use
  • Easy to navigate

What could be better?

  • Adverts pop up very often they want you to spend £1
  • Very basic interface which isn’t easy on the eyes.

Want this app?

Easy menu planner

Similar to Meal Planner, Easy menu planner is a very basic free to use app that is made for those who already no what they want to eat but just need some help organising and making it into a shopping list.

How much is it?

It’s completely free but if you want the no apps option you will need to pay £1.

easy menu planner meal planning app

What’s good?

  • Perfect if you are looking for no thrills free way to plan meals and recipes you already know
  • It’s free!

What could be better?

  • Ability to adjust quantities for shopping lists
  • User interface: compared to other meal planning apps this one is one of the least user friendly but thats why its free.

Want this app?


Sticking to a strict supermarket budget whilst having creative and interesting meals can be tough. However this list shows there are lots of technological tools that could help you and mostly for a very low cost if not free. Choosing one that fits your personality and lifestyle is the best bet for success. The best meal planning app is always going to be one you find useful and works for you!

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meal planning apps

About the author 

Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is a passionate advocate for financial freedom. She is the founder of MeMoreMoney, and a featured Personal Finance expert in GO Banking Rates and Yahoo! Finance. Mary loves to make money simple and understandable for everyone. Her goal is to help people make simple changes so that they have more money to live the way they want.

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