4 Meal Planning Apps That Can Simplify Every Dinner

Use these smart meal planning apps to turn every meal into something you'll truly enjoy eating.

Would you like to put an end to slapdash, last-minute meals? Downloading a few meal planning apps may give you more time outside the kitchen, and everyone will be able to sit down to a meal that's healthy and filling.

Many meal prep apps focus on calorie-counting and weight loss—which are admirable efforts, when appropriate—but sometimes meal planning comes down to simply getting a delicious, satisfying meal on the table. Finding an app that will do that (and not send ill-timed reminders about exactly how many calories are in that pizza) is key.

Fortunately, plenty of apps out there focus on the organizational aspect of meal planning. The best ones store recipes, offer suggestions, and maintain grocery store lists—all while making sure you always have an answer to, "What's for dinner tonight?"

Certain apps even go above and beyond dinner, with suggestions for breakfast and lunch (including packing lunches to go to school or the office). A good meal planning app can limit the shopping and planning options and make it all feel manageable.

Take a look at these top meal planning apps and decide which might work for you. Features vary—and online reviews can be helpful—so do your research before committing. These apps are all free (though some offer in-app purchases), so you can test them to make sure your new cooking assistant is the right fit.

01 of 04

Mealime Meal Plans & Recipes

Meal planning apps - Mealime Meal Plans & Recipes

This free meal planning app (with no in-app purchases) offers healthy recipes, grocery lists, and more. It allows you to filter by eating restrictions—think low-carb, vegetarian, gluten-free, and more—and prioritizes meals that cook in 30 minutes or so. The grocery lists are even optimized to reduce the amount of time you spend at the supermarket, so the whole process, from planning to shopping to cooking, takes up less of your time.

To buy: Free; mealime.com. For iOS and Android devices.

02 of 04


Meal planning app - Cozi

This easy-to-use app features a streamlined Recipe Box, which allows you to transfer recipe ingredients to your in-app grocery list. The list is accessible to every member of the family, meaning anyone can swing by the store to shop. Once you start dinner prep, turn on Cozi's Cooking Mode, which keeps your screen lit so you don't have to touch it with dirty fingers. Genius!

To buy: Free; cozi.com. Available for iOS and Android devices.

03 of 04

LaLa Lunchbox

Meal planning app - LaLa Lunchbox

This adorable app takes the stress out of packing lunches by getting kids involved in choosing their meals. (The app makes planning into a fun feed-the-monster game.) New dietary-specific bundles ensure that every kid, no matter their allergies or dietary restrictions, can use LaLa Lunchbox.

To buy: Free; lalalunchbox.com. Available on iOS devices.

04 of 04

BigOven Recipes & Meal Planner

Meal planning app - BigOven Recipes & Meal Planner

With a database of more than 350,000 recipes, there's no shortage of inspiration in this app. Seasonal collections featured on the home screen ensure you're using the freshest in-season ingredients. Our favorite feature of BigOven? The Use Up Leftovers tool, which suggests a recipe you can make with the three ingredients you enter.

To buy: Free; bigoven.com. Available on iOS and Android devices.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles