How to Meal Plan Better and Eat Healthier With the SideChef App
Meal planning has so many positive benefits that it has grown into a way of life for many people. Besides the simplicity of having your meals mapped out for the week, meal planning can help save time and money, reduce food waste, and lead to healthier, more deliberate eating.
Meal planning can be a lot of work, but there’s an easy solution to overcome your meal planning struggles: the SideChef mobile app! Below is everything you need to know about SideChef, as well as whether the upgrade is worth it.
What Is SideChef?
SideChef is a comprehensive, multi-platform, meal-planning app with a combination of tools that help you with cooking, weekly meal planning, grocery shopping, and food education. One favorable aspect of the SideChef app is that you can download it for free on your mobile device or access the website in a browser. This makes it super simple to use, whether you’re sitting at your desk or out and about.
Aside from being on hand at all times, SideChef is the ultimate meal planning app to help beginners improve their cooking skills. To stop failing at meal planning, all you have to do is create a SideChef account and start exploring the app’s key features.
Download: SideChef for iOS | Android (Free, subscription available)
Quite possibly the best feature of the SideChef app is the free meal-planning tool. The number of meal-planning options available can leave you in a pickle. As a convenience, SideChef asks about your dietary restrictions, cooking goals, ingredients to avoid, and ideal serving size when you use it for the first time.
While many cooking apps allow you to add recipes for each day of the week, SideChef offers something different. Depending on your food preferences, the app provides you with recipes that you might like and generates a personalized meal plan for you. Don’t worry, you can always edit your food preferences at any time.
As an example, if you are trying to limit carbs or listening to podcasts for keto diet tips and still want to cook budget-friendly meals, the app can easily adjust your meal plan. Furthermore, the meal-planning tool gives you the option to add, swap, or remove any recipes. So if you’re not in the mood for chicken wings on Monday, just remove the recipe and add something else that suits your appetite.
To manually add a recipe to your meal plan, tap Add to Plan and then choose what day to add the recipe. Overall, SideChef’s meal-planning tool is deliciously simple to use and transforms meal planning from a slog into an exciting success.
Once you’re done deciding on your meals for the week, tap Add All to Cart and SideChef adds all the ingredients to your grocery cart. From there you can add additional ingredients to your list, tap on items you’ve already got in your pantry, and even order your groceries online. Ordering your groceries is a unique and handy feature, as well; you can quickly order from Walmart or switch to a simpler in-store shopping list that you can manually check off as you shop.
The Grocery List ensures that each of the ingredients is conveniently categorized. Meat, vegetables, spices, and seasonings, are all in different sections, which helps make it painless to find a specific ingredient when you’re at the store. Additionally, to avoid duplicate ingredients on the list, the app adds them in combined quantities instead of individually.
It’s clear that SideChef provides an amazing meal-planning tool and a practical grocery list, but what about the recipes? SideChef has a massive collection of more than 18,000 easy-to-follow recipes, making it pretty much impossible to run out of things to cook.
The Home tab on the app presents you with a selection of recipes based on your personal food preferences. The categories range from Trending, New, and Originals to Easy, Editor’s Choice, and Recently Viewed. For a more in-depth recipe search, tap on Search. Here, you can explore recipes according to ingredients, culinary partners, dietary preferences, calories per serving, and budget.
To define your search even more, you can add filters like occasions, regions, tools, and dish types. On top of that, you can save recipes into your unlimited, personalized cookbooks, which is also a feature of the Kitchen Stories app.
Cooking with SideChef is actually like having a chef by your side helping you along the way. Each recipe features gorgeous images and ratings from other users. In addition, some have instructional cooking videos that you can watch on YouTube. SideChef allows you to change a recipe’s serving size, choose between US or metric measurements, and learn more about certain ingredients by tapping on them.
Above all, the step-by-step cooking mode is one of the top features of SideChef, particularly for beginners. Instead of scrolling up and down in the recipe, each step shows what ingredients you need in specific measurements, an image or video, and voice instructions. If you would like, you can even select which voice narrator you prefer.
Is SideChef Everything You Need in a Meal-Planning App?
If you want to kickstart your meal-planning journey, SideChef is the ideal mobile app to do so. It takes the dread out of meal planning and adapts it to make it a really fun task. Not only is the meal-planning tool effortless to use, but the fact that it adjusts the meal plan to suit your tastes and preferences is fantastic.
Furthermore, you can visit the SideChef website, which is a bit more comprehensive than the mobile app. What differs on the website is that it displays the estimated cost of your weekly groceries as well as the average cost per serving. The ability to link your smart cooking appliances and remotely send instructions to them when you’re not home is another exclusive feature that SideChef offers.
Do You Need to Upgrade to SideChef Premium?
The meal-planning and grocery list tools on SideChef are both completely free. Plus, many recipes are available without upgrading to premium. That being said, there are some benefits to upgrading.
First, upgrading to SideChef Premium gives you access to over 800 cooking classes. The cooking classes are a wonderful way to learn new skills and get better as a cook. This is certainly beneficial for beginners in the kitchen. Last but not least, certain recipes are locked unless you pay for a subscription. However, SideChef offers so many free recipes that upgrading probably won’t be necessary unless you fall in love with the app and want even more out of it.