UPDATE: After one year of blogging, I decided to revise my article on Food App. Technology changes fast and apps’ functionalities improve all the time.
While I still remain positive about Plancourses.com and Myfitnesspal.com, I am now using a different recipe database:
When food "goes" digital, here are my 3 favorite Apps, and they are free:
In these years of booming Digital Technology, many Applications have been developed to ease the Food Madness of meals preparation and planning, but navigating among them can actually add frustration.
So I explored some of them and tailored this Blog to facilitate the use of the ones I liked the most.
Recipe template: Key facts at your finger tips! Visual, Simple, Interactive and Mobile friendly
You can be inspired by a recipe while reading an interesting Post or Article, but when you are in the kitchen cooking, there is no time for reading or storytelling.
When in the middle of your meal preparation you are probably multitasking: juggling not only multiple recipes but often supervising children’s home-work and/or phone ringing and so on.
The recipes in this Blog are simple, and focused on the key information required for the actual preparation of the meal, and its nutritional information.
The recipe template consist on:
- Photo of the prepared dish
- Calories per portion, preparation Time required, level of Difficulty
- Ingredients and the required measurements (Metrics as we are in Europe)
- The ingredients can be automatically scaled based on the number of servings you require
- Bullet points of preparation steps kept to a minimum, supported by photos when needed
- Storage Recommendations
- Nutritional information
- Print and Save functions
I want to make sure you can quickly cast your eyes between the quantity of the ingredients, the procedures to follow, cooking time and oven temperature. It is the only way you can continue your multitasking without burning your dinner or forgetting to add salt.
That is why my recipes are short and to the point, but if you are not sure about something and need more information on a particular step, you can click on the word and follow the link where the subject is explained in more detail.
1. Print and Save functions for Apps yummly.com: Recipes Database
On my Blog I added some Buttons on the left-hand side of the screen to facilitate the sharing of any articles and recipes with some “selected” social media: Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Google+, Pinterest, email and Yummly.
At the beginning I recommended Bigoven as a recipe database, but after one year of blogging, I found Yummly more useful and with better functionalities.
- Larger selection: Yummly has a collection of recipes sourced worldwide, and I love been able to scroll into different regional cuisine locally sourced (not the adaptation from other countries). Yummly is very visual and you can quickly flip through the recipes.
- Easy to search: you can search recipes by keyword, ingredients but also by holiday, cuisine, taste, diet, nutrition, allergy, cook time, technique, and more. It also has a unique feature for searching by taste preference. You can save your dietary restrictions, allergy or simply ingredients you don’t like.
- Shopping list: You can download the Yummly app on your smartphone and use it to select recipes and create shopping list. Yummly is free on iOS and Android.
- Lots of information: for each recipe you will find cooking time, nutritional information and you can track your calories. Whatever measuring system you are suing you can switch the ingredients from US to metrics and track the amount based on number of servings you need to make.
- Add your own: you can add your own recipe or import a recipe from other sources and store them into collections for easy find.
- It is free: one of the reasons I switched to Yummly from Bigoven is cost, unfortunately Bigoven let you store only 50 recipes, thereafter it charges you. Frankly you cannot do much with only 50 recipes and with Yummly available, switching was an obvious choice.
So what can you do if you like a recipe on Your Guardian Chef and you want to save it?
On each recipe template you will find 2 main buttons and some rating stars:
- The “Print” button will open the recipe in a print friendly page;
- The “Yum” button will save it into your Yummly recipe box;
- And if you rate my recipes with 5 rating stars, thank you soooo much!
BigOven helps you create a shopping list for specific planned meals and recipes, which is handy when you have to buy food for a dinner party or a festivity. I would not use it for weekly meal planning as I prefer instead to plan my weekly meals based on what is fresh, in season and looks good on the Supermarket shelves.
PlanCourses is best for regular weekly shopping if you live in France; it helps you to quickly create a shopping list of all you need to buy, including cleaning detergents, toiletries, stationery, pharmacy and others. Your shopping list can be quickly set up just clicking on images. If a product you frequently buy is not included in the list, you can add it by scanning it with your mobile phone. I tried it, and it works!
You can add the list to the Supermarket icon on the app, and most probably you will receive promotions through it, although I have not seen that yet.
The App is also linked with a French Recipes site: "Marmiton" which has 64 000 recipes in case you need some inspiration during your shopping, or don’t remember the ingredients for a specific recipe.
For each product you have the option to insert the price manually. If you do, you will have an estimate on how much you will spend and you can compare prices if you go to a different supermarket, or check if a promotion is really worth.
I tried other Apps like "Out of Milk" but I found it too complicated. I tried to upload my list of products via .csv file and it did not work. That was it for me!
From this experience I would probably suggest to use the Shopping List App that is developed for the country you are in. You will probably find it easier to use, and will be linked to your favorite Shops. Here in France PlanCourse met my requirements.
3. Calorie counter App: Myfitnesspal.com
Among the different calorie counter applications I tried, this one stands out.
You can set your weight goal and myfitnesspal.com will calculate for you how many calories you can eat per day, and deducts the ones you burn through exercise.
Every day you add in the application the meals you eat, and keep under control your daily calorie intake. It has a large database of food you can choose from and I have already found several products I use here in France. It was one of the main reasons I choose it, lots of work already done by someone else.
If you cannot find a product you can add it yourself. You can also import your favorite recipes and add directly the calories to your meal by serving.
You can enter all the recipes from this site by copying the link of the recipe into the import bar of this page:
There are many more facilities that are not food related and which are very useful, including the exercise section. I haven’t started my diet yet, but getting all inputs ready for it!!