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These Meal Planning Apps Could Solve Your Weeknight Cooking Woes

Whip up breakfast, lunch, and dinner with ease.

Cooking is stressful on weeknights. There, I said it. (Because I think we all feel it.) At some point between searching for new recipes, shopping for ingredients, and actually making the meal, you may just decide that pizza delivery is the way to go. But while cooking will always take longer than dialing up Domino’s, it doesn’t have to be as hard as all that. The trick is in the meal planning — specifically, planning ahead and writing a weekly grocery list that gets everything purchased and in the pantry in one fell swoop. This alone takes half the fuss out of cooking.

The rest is keeping it all organized in your brain: Which meal was for which night? Which night is the “quick meal” night (because you’ve got plans and only have 20 minutes for dinner)? Keeping it sorted is the real battle. That’s where a weekly meal planning app comes in. Frankly, it’s been a lifesaver for me, and I recommend it to all my friends, whether novice or seasoned home cooks.

Staying organized is key for meal planning.

Most of us want simplicity in the kitchen: In a recent Taste of Home questionnaire, 60 percent of the 4,000 participants surveyed said they cook at home at least five times per week, and 53 percent of those polled said they’d like to make meal prep easier. Brainstorming meal ideas ahead of time removes a lot of the stress, prevents you from making food choices on an empty stomach (Hello, pie for dinner!), and keeps you on task at the grocery store (instead of grabbing things that aren’t on your shopping list and spending way too much money). Rather than writing your grocery list on paper — and either forgetting or misplacing it — download a weekly meal planning app to your phone… because you always have that with you.

Using an app makes cooking at home easy.

You’re probably already using your phone to jot down notes and reminders. Using it to create grocery lists, bookmark recipes, and find meal inspiration is nearly the same thing. Apps like Bring! Grocery Shopping List and KetoDiet store your grocery list and help you stick to healthy eating habits. The McCormick Flavor Maker App (available to download on iOS and Android) lets you curate breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas based on your favorite seasonings to cook with or dietary restrictions (like gluten-free options). It’s sort of like a Pinterest board for meal planning – but all in a single, organized click.

“Our team is made up of culinary professionals with diverse backgrounds; ranging from professional restaurant kitchens, research and development, nutrition, and consumer test kitchen recipe development,” Kevan Vetter, Executive Chef for McCormick, tells First for Women. “They have all honed their skills to be able to develop recipes that keep the consumer’s needs in mind no matter where they are in their cooking journey.” Watch the video below to see how the McCormick Flavor Maker App works.

It’s time to start cooking.

Think of your weekly meal planning app like a virtual chef who gives you recipes and cooking hacks that make mealtime easier. It will come in handy when you’re short on time. To streamline your life even more, check out our story on stress-free cooking hacks.

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