By: Karen Yontz Center Staff
How many of you out there do meal planning—or at least want to? How many of you really hate the amount of time it takes to do meal planning—and I mean all of it, from picking out the menu to making the grocery list to doing the shopping? If you’re like this writer, you wish there was a streamlined way to make this process less tedious. Enter the Pepperplate app. I was hoping it would change my life. Unfortunately, not so much.
Pepperplate is a free app that is designed to help make healthy meal-planning and shopping quick and easy. You can import recipes from various websites as well as manually put in your own recipes. From there, you can create weekly meal plans with just a few clicks. Pepperplate also will create your grocery list based on your meal plan. The Pepperplate website gives you the ability to do a few more things, including arranging your grocery list in the order the aisles appear in your favorite grocery store. You can also create your own categories for grocery shopping. In theory, this app should be making your meal planning life much simpler.
The reality of the app is that sadly, it’s underwhelming. First of all, if you want to upload a recipe, you cannot do it on the app itself. You have to go to the website to do it. That is enough of a problem, but it got worse. The Pepperplate website lists 34 “supported sites”. These are the only sites where you can copy and paste the URL and have the recipe imported. Unfortunately, I tried this several times and was met with an error message every time. I ended up having to type recipes in myself. A lot of my “go-to” recipes are from various blogs and because the site doesn’t support them, I can type them in myself, but that defeats the idea of the app making life easier. If you want to import recipes directly through the app, the only way to do it is by typing each recipe in manually. Not really the best option for time-crunched folks.
Another issue I had with this app was that it needs to be synced manually. This means that any time you import a bunch of information (recipes, meal pans, etc.) on the website and want it available on the app, you need to hook your phone or tablet to your computer. Fortunately, once everything is synced, it is easy to use the app to create meal plans and grocery lists. However, in order for things to get to this point of ease, you will likely need to spend a good amount of time on your laptop getting all of the information loaded into the website first. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that kind of time.
In short, I was really hoping this app would simplify my life since I do the meal-planning and grocery list-making each week. Unfortunately, the user needs to do quite a lot of work in order to get the app up and running. But once all of your tried-and-true recipes are entered, the app is a piece of cake to use, even if it’s not very pretty. Overall, I think this app is a “skip it”. There are easier apps that do the same thing with less work on the part of the user.