iPhone Friday: Menu Planning on MealBoard

If you’re like me, you try to stick closely to a grocery budget every month.  Unless you like to approach each meal like it’s an episode of “Chopped”, having a clearly defined plan and a well thought-out grocery list is ESSENTIAL to keeping your food bills on track.  Two weeks ago, I purchased MealBoard, an iPhone app that’s going to keep all that together for me.

I’ve been desperate for an easier way to plan my meals and make my grocery list each week.  At $1.99, I thought MealBoard was definitely worth trying.  It does requires a lot of setup, (Trying to remember every dish I’ve ever made to input into the system is an ongoing project), but the longer I use it, the more I customize it, the bigger a timesaver it becomes!

The idea is pretty basic.  You just input your recipes into the app, schedule your menus on a weekly, bi-weekly, tri-weekly, or even monthly basis, And it uses the information to generate a detailed grocery list for you, right on your phone.

As you input recipes, you can specify the specific sections of the grocery store where items are found. Do you shop in a weird grocery store like Aldi?  No problem, your grocery store information is COMPLETELY customizable… Actually, EVERYTHING about this app is crazy customizable, right down to the color of the interface.  (I chose green!)  You might also notice from my list, that you can even enter a dollar value for each grocery item.  Maybe someday, I’ll get around to inputing that information, so I won’t have any surprises at the checkout.  There are settings for coupons, too, but I haven’t played with that feature, yet.

Before I chose to risk those precious two dollars on this gamble, I was concerned about the amount of time it would take to input recipes on my phone using a tiny touch screen.  This is not a problem with MealBoard, as their website offers you a custom log-in for recipe input.  Now, you enter grandma’s secret chutney recipe on your old fashioned laptop keyboard, lickety split!

In this case, I wanted to add a neat cottage cheese bread recipe I’d come across on a blog.  It was a simple matter of copy and paste!

Now, I can view or print my recipe from their website interface…

But, of course, it’s handier to do a simple “Cloud Sync” within the app, so all the information appears on my phone, and is ready to use in my weekly meal plans and be imported into my grocery list.

Within the app, you can even set up reminders to go off before the time the meal has been scheduled for, which is handy, if you’re like me and always forget to thaw your meats!

If inputing all your recipes still feels a little intimidating, you’ll be thrilled to know that Meal Board has a list of SEVERAL major recipe websites, (such as AllRecipes and The Food Network) that it works with directly to make that data entry a breeze!  For example, I was watching Giada mixing up a mad batch of quinoa the other day.  A quick search on The Food Network’s website brought up the recipe from that episode.  I just copied the page’s URL and pasted it into the MealBoard website.  BOOM!  The recipe is all right there!  No typing necessary!

If you’ve got two bucks burning a hole in your pocket, look up MealBoard, buy it, and thank me later.  I give it five stars!

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