Recipe Management/Meal Plan Generator/Shopping/Sharing
I think CronoMeter is great at tracking and the user interface is pretty intuitive and efficient to use.
But what I really want is 1 application that is CronOmeter with the recipe management of Paprika, a good meal plan generator, and a shopping list tool like Listonic or GroceryIQ.
I have looked at many programs. They all lack something. I would say CarbManger is pretty close to the right features, but the user interface is clunky and inefficient, the shopping list is unusable, the recipe import makes a mess and you can't generate a meal plan from only custom recipes.
Here is my wish list for CronOmeter:
The list of Custom Recipes is now long and difficult to find what I am looking for.
I would like better tools for organizing recipes. I would like for the existing Custom Recipes list to have grouping and filtering tools added to it.
1. A simple but helpful tool would be to set multiple filters on customizable key words, categories and even ingredients. For example show me all recipes with category="Breakfast"; show me all recipes with key word = "Keto"; show me all recipes with the ingredient "Eggs".
2. If it would group by category with a drop down to expand/contract that would be nice. For example I could see Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack, Side Dish all being categories that a user defines and assigns in each recipe and then the Custom Recipes list groups the recipes by category and the list has drop down buttons for each to expand or contract the list.
3. Importing - I agree this would be nice, but to do this well is complex. The challenge is correctly matching ingredients. I have never seen this done well. In my opinion when a recipe is imported it should present the user with the recipe items on the left and a proposed list of ingredients and quantities on the right, and then let the user review and change the ingredients before the final import. A smarter version would be first to allow users to mark ingredients as "preferred" (probably done as they build their own recipes) and then the import program could make better recommendations by choosing a "preferred" ingredient over other ingredients that would also match. For example I might mark a specific brand of Oat Milk as preferred over the many Oat Milk options and so the import program would know which Oat Milk to use in the imported recipe. I would rather have the Meal Planner and Shopping List tools before the recipe import tool.
1. Shared Recipes: My wife and I are both Gold. I would like there to be an option to 'synch' recipes between both so that both of us can edit. Instead we have to do all the editing in one of our accounts. Her recipes don't show up on my Custom Recipe list and vice versa. We can only see each other's recipes when we go to add to our diary.
2. Copy Diary to/from Friend - My wife and I eat many meals together. It would be great if one person can post a Diary entry to a friend's diary or copy from a friends diary. Maybe there should be an additional level of sharing - Family Share.
3. Maybe there is a Family plan for a discount, and linking these features and so payment is once for everyone.
Meal Plan Generator:
I have not yet found a meal planner that is great, easy to use. (Well, actually there is a Polish company https://www.bebio.pl does has an amazing app. and service - it even plans portion sizes of each recipe for couples that have different caloric needs). CarbManager is decent.
My top two features would be that:
1. the meal planner have the option to plan meals only from my Custom Recipes. Eventually Cronometer could optionally offer to plan using their own recipes (but that is a much bigger project). This ensures recipes are recipes I like, and use the specific ingredient I buy, which will tremendously assist making a useful Shopping List. A problem with using other people's recipes is there can be a huge variation in nutritional value between different choices of essentially the same ingredient. Another problem is the shopping list that is generated from random other people's recipes will have multiple versions for the same thing "eggs", "eggs raw", "eggs whole" ...etc. make a Shopping List a mess.
2. I am going to presume most people use cronometer because they are concerned about complying with certain nutritional targets. So the meal planner should attempt to plan meals that comply with those targets. The user might specify which target values to comply with. For example, maybe all I care about is total Calories. Or maybe all I care about is Net Carbs. Or maybe I am concerned about multiple targets, in which case the user might need to specify a value range for each target. (CarbManager does that part well).
As I mentioned I think Grocery Store IQ is pretty good, but it has features not needed for this sitution. Listonic is super simple. The most important features are:
1. the shopping list can be generated on the computer (user enters a date range of meals to generate a shopping list for)
2. the shopping list tools should ask if the meals should be multiplied (I.e. double everything because we are actually shopping for 2 people). Another option would be to makes one shopping list from each Meal Plan for the members of Family Share.
3. the user can add / delete / modify the list
4. the user can delete the list and re-run the grocery list generator (I.e. the user changed a meal or changed the date range ...something changed and it needs to be regenerated).
5. the list sync'd to your phone
6. like Listonic, while in the store the user taps each item and it gets a check mark and falls to the bottom of the list, so that only items you still need to get are at the top.
7. when the user is done shopping the user can delete the remaining items or delete the list
8. there needs to be some kind of "Pantry" where a user can specify stuff they normally have (like spices, water) otherwise too many things get added to the list that have to be deleted.
The hardest part about a shopping list generated from a meal planner is not getting many versions of the same thing, and properly combining quantities across multiple recipes. I my opinion, the best way to handle this is as follows: Don't try to add up quantities. Instead, list the basic item, and if the shopper wants to know "how many" or "what the heck recipe was that for" then the user can tap on the item and it shows a list of the recipe names and quantities. For example Strawberries is listed. Most likely I'm going to buy a basket or two and that's going to cover it. I probably don't need to know the quantity. But if I did, I tap the item on the list and it lists everything it is for and the quantity needed.