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This Meal Planning App Low-Key Changed My Life

Perfect for people trying to eat healthy, picky eaters, people with food restrictions or allergies, and pretty much anyone who wants to make their life easier.

As a recovering Seamless addict, I'm always looking for ways to make cooking for myself easier. Like, a lot easier.

Maritsa Patrinos / BuzzFeed

If I'm being completely honest, the fact that I have to feed myself every day for the rest of my life is a constant source of grief. I hate deciding what to make. I hate recipe blogs where I have to scroll past 100,000 words about how the person learned the recipe from her mother's sister's dog's cousin's dead son before I can actually learn how to make the meal. I hate grocery shopping. I hate lugging groceries home. I hate coming home from work after a long day and having to cook for myself. I hate having to do dishes afterwards. I hate discovering gross old produce in my fridge that I didn't get to in time. I kind of like meal prepping, but then I hate when I have to do something else on a Sunday instead and suddenly am like, "Well, guess I'm not cooking this week!"

Just, I hate it all.

I don't tell you this to shine a light on what a negative person I am (I swear I'm really pleasant, just not about this), but so you understand what a big deal it is when I say:

I have found an app that has made me not detest cooking for myself!!!

In short, Mealime is a free app that claims to make "meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking as simple as getting takeout." And folks, nothing is as simple as getting takeout, but this is as close as it's going to get.

I want to put it out there that they're not paying me to say this — I just really love this app. But anyway, basically, you create a profile, input your food restrictions and preferences, choose a week of meals from a curated list of recipes, and get a grocery list for the week. And if you really, truly hate grocery shopping, you can import that grocery list straight into your Amazon Fresh or Instacart and have it all delivered to your door.

It takes, like, five minutes total. And then yes, you still have to cook the food, but still.

(If you're already sold, you can get it for free for iOs and Android.)

But let's back up so I can show you how it works in practice, since it's so satisfying. First, you input your menu preference (including things like Keto and Paleo) and allergies and restrictions.

You also choose your meal size. The options are two servings (good for dinner and the next day's lunch for one or dinner for two) or four servings (good for dinner and next day's lunch for two or dinner for three to four).

And for all you picky eaters out there, you can make a list of stuff you straight up don't like and don't want to eat.

Mealime / Anna Borges

Once all that's done, you get a big ol' list of recipe options to choose from.

Mealime / Anna Borges

You're not locked into a set number of meals — you can choose as many or as few as you want.

And then, voilà! You have your meal plan and grocery list.

Call me lazy, but not having to do math to combine ingredients used in multiple recipes is a revelation. Sometimes I opt to import the list into my Amazon Fresh cart and have it delivered, but it's not always the cheapest option, so to the store I go. But on weeks when I'm too busy and otherwise wouldn't cook because I didn't have time to go to the grocery store, it's a lifesaver.

You're probably wondering if the recipes are good, and my experience has been yes. The best part is that there is a range of difficulty — there are a lot of really simple options, which is a must for me. What's the point in streamlining this whole process if you're then going to spend an hour making some super gourmet meal?

Some favorites that I've tried: Ground Beef, Kale & Carrot Stir Fry with Cauliflower Rice, Mexican Stuffed Peppers with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Potato & Red Pepper Hash with Fried Eggs & Parmesan, Stovetop Macaroni & Cheese with Spinach & Mushrooms, and Sheet Pan Salmon with Honey-Dijon Roasted Kale & Potatoes. To name a few.

This, btw, is all with a free basic account. With a paid pro account ($5.99/month or $49.99/year), you have access to more recipes and features, but they're not must-haves for me.

The biggest thing that a pro account has that the basic doesn't is detailed nutrition information. But as someone who just wants to focus on eating less processed food and not counting exact calories/fat/carbs/etc., that's not a deal-breaker for me. In fact, it's actually really helpful — especially for anyone with a history of disordered eating or eating disorders.

Also cool: You can view the recipes on a computer or tablet, too, so you don't have to squint at your phone while you're actually cooking.


And that's pretty much it! Tbh, I couldn't live with myself if I didn't spread the word, so please, go cook yourself something delicious and enjoy.

Beyonce VEVO / Via

Get Mealime for free for iOs and Android.

As we head into the new year, we're talking about all the ways to make your life and the world around you a little bit better. Read more Do Better 2019 content here.