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Apps That Help You Get Dinner on the Table

Posted by Joan Salge Blake  November 5, 2013 04:46 PM

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Bryan, an accountant, husband, and father of two young boys, is also the top chef in the family as he arrives home on most weekdays before his accountant wife.  While healthy, family meals are important to him, the nutrition quality often gets put on the back burner as time is king.  The meal needs to be fast and easy to make so his limited repertoire of dinner options consists of pasta, hot dogs, veggie burgers, and hamburgers.   Bryan reached out to me asking, “I need some help with fast and healthy recipes, but I don’t have the time at night or on the weekend to find dinner ideas. Do you have any suggestions?”   

Understanding his dilemma, I knew there had to be an app for this so I scoured the Internet.  Surprisingly, there are numerous available and affordable apps designed with busy families in mind. 

Here is what I uncovered:

Eating Well’s Healthy In A Hurry app offers 200 free recipes that you can sort by categories. Since they know that time constraints are the biggest factor when it comes to getting a healthy meal quickly on the table, a  key feature of this app is that you can search by preparation time—15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or 1 hour.  Each recipe has a beautiful and delicious image and includes a detailed nutrition analysis, which is vetted by their team of registered dietitians.  The app is easy to use, which makes selecting a fast and healthy dinner simple.  It is designed for iPhone, iPad and Android users.

The Cooking Light Quick and Healthy Menu Maker app provides more than 300 recipes and lets users design delicious, quick menus in an interactive way.  You can swipe through the thousands of gorgeous photos of chicken, beef, pork, fish and vegetarian entrées and then add two sides plus one dessert to make healthy and complete dinners.  If your selections exceed Cooking Light’s nutrition recommendations, the app alerts you with green and red indicators.  It is available for $3.99 and designed for iPad and iPhone.

SparkRecipes offers a free app that is linked to the “world’s largest healthy recipes website” serving up over 450,000 recipes. The app allows you to search by not only preparation time but also ethnic cuisine and course.  Uniquely, all of the recipes have been tried and tested by novice cooks just like you, so success is guaranteed.   It can be downloaded to your iPhone and will automatically resize each recipe so that it is easy to view while preparing in your kitchen.

Meal Makeovers app was developed by two registered dietitians with a passion for feeding families with a super healthy diet. Meal Makeovers features healthier versions of classic recipes families love, such as  kid-friendly Spinach Mac and Cheese, Have-It-Your Way Tacos,  and Turkey Meatballs  (new recipes are  added  weekly).  The app also provides a customized shopping list, nutritional analysis, podcasts, and cooking and mealtime tips videos.  It is available for $1.99 for both the iPhone and iPad.

Do you have a nutrition topic that you would like me to address?  Please email me at:

Follow Joan on Twitter at:  joansalgeblake

Originally published on the blog Nutrition and You!.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University in the Nutrition Program. Joan is the author of Nutrition &You, 2nd Edition, More »

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