I decided to try Mealime, an app designed to take the stress out of meal planning. Created by three friends whose poor eating habits began to weigh (literally) on them in their mid-20s, Mealime promises to guide users to healthy meals without requiring “superhuman willpower or effort,” according to the site.
To start, users can customize their eating preferences. Allergic to shellfish? You can mark that, so the app won’t recommend meals you can’t eat. Hate mushrooms and olives? You can mark them as well.
Mealime prompts users to select a meal plan of two to six meals for the week. The app then presents a couple of choices for each meal; users can swipe to see more options. Once a user selects meals for the week, the app creates a grocery list with all the required ingredients. Users can adjust ingredient amounts for two or four servings.
The app also includes a list of kitchen items needed to prepare each meal and step-by-step instructions. If users wind up especially liking a meal, they can mark it as a favorite.
For $5.99 a month, Mealime Pro allows users to view previous meal plans, nutritional details and more.
I started with a two-meal plan. For my first meal, I made Roasted Garlic Rosemary Chicken & Pears with Butternut Squash Mash. With list in hand I went to the grocery store, bought all the ingredients and made the dish one night after work. The instructions were simple, though I found myself wanting to add to the light seasonings. All in all, I was happy with the dish.
I bought all the ingredients for Meal No. 2 — Fettuccine Alfredo With Asparagus — but let a few of them go to waste; making time to cook was more of a challenge than I expected. The upside is that, given the small list of ingredients, I didn’t spend that much money and was able to use the remaining ingredients in other ways.
If you find yourself short on ideas, Mealime is a good resource for light, nutritious meals that are easy to prepare. Just remember: It can’t cook them for you.
COST: Free on iPhone, Android and Web; $5.99 Mealime Pro upgrade
OPERATING SYSTEMS: iOS, Android
CREATOR: Mealime Meal Plans
USER RATINGS: iTunes, (436 ratings); Google Play, (147 ratings)
REVIEW’S BOTTOM LINE: Setting a weekly meal plan for one just got easier.