I love having my recipes integrated with my shopping list for food items! (I still use ShopShop for any non-food items that need buying and also for more exact descriptions of food items which hubby or daughter might need for buying less familiar items which I DON'T want on my recipe ingredient lists!)
I love how this app anticipates how much of a particular ingredient you might use based on past history and pre-loads it when adding a recipe by hand. It's great how it cuts down on typing when I add a new recipe that doesn't use the standard formats or comes from a book! When the pre-load amount's wrong, it's easy to replace by hitting the little x on the quantity line and putting in the right amount.
I'm new to planning meals in advance and LOVE how it has cut out being starved with no patience to cook anything from scratch! We buy a lot less prepared foods which gives us extra money for other things, plus we've found that we're more satisfied from our healthier, more nutritious food which has cut down considerably on snacking and junk food and it's costs! Meal planning is the way to go!
Suggestions for buyers:
Adding items to the pantry takes a while, so if you can't do it over a slow summer or school break, just add things as you need them. I noticed that if you put in quantities before you're done adding location and stores where bought, etc. the quantities get erased because of the shifting drop down screens. My work-around was just to fill in the info from the bottom up before saving but I'm sure people would love to see that changed.
Also, if a recipe calls for a single item which is listed in the pantry as a multiple, it doesn't recognize that you have it in stock.
Since recipes only show up if everything is in stock, my work-around was to list singles separately. For example, I have a full entry for Lemons which lists exactly what I have on hand, and a partial entry for Lemon which just says I have 100 in stock. I know to check the other to see if I have enough. Obviously I'd prefer if the app was smarter this way, but it works.
If there's an item I have a ton of I've just entered 1000 so I don't have to count.
If you list that you buy 1 jar (of pizza sauce for example) and then you open that jar for 1 cup in a recipe, it thinks you're out because 1-1=0. Obviously it would be great if MealBoard could work around the different measurement issues, but not if the app becomes clunky or cumbersome, so my work-around was to list the quantity according to how I use it. In that same pizza sauce example, I'd list the quantity I buy as 2 cups. For spices, they're listed as 16 tsp per jar, etc. I used the Nutrition label's "Serving size" and "Servings per" as great guides for whether to use tsp, Tbsp or Cup measurements. After entering in several pantry entries, I'm really good at knowing what a 3 cup jar or a 6 packet box looks like. I have the ounce measurements on ShopShop if we need them.
Suggestions for app improvements :
Under recipe descriptions, I often describe the dish and in a separate paragraph mention the nutritional value of a dish (which reminds me why it's good for us every time I call up the recipe), but the app just lumps all of it together, ignoring spacing and paragraph changes, etc. I'd like to be able to have separate paragraphs for better usage.
Once in a while I have a dinner with several courses. I'd love more options on the menu planning besides none, breakfast, lunch and dinner and snack. I'd like appetizer and dessert at least (and perhaps soup/salad).
The pantry list has Cognac but not Baking Soda or Cinnamon!!! It's a bit eccentric and could certainly be more populated for the average cook. Anyone buying a meal planning app is almost certainly planning to cook a lot and will already have all the basic ingredients used in cooking AND baking, or, at least, is planning on buying them. [We like Thai, Indian, Mexican, Creole, etc. and so we ended up with over 1000 food items in the kitchen. Who knew since I would have guessed about 300? But my point was that it took a while to enter everything in and it would have been nice if more of the basics were pre-populated and I'd only had to enter in the cardamom and black sesame seeds kinds of things as we used them!]
Add Bunches, Sprouts, Cubes (Meats, Tofu, Cheese), Bricks (Cream Cheese), Spears (Pickles, Asparagus), Links (Sausages), Singles ( Juice, Milks), Patties or Burgers ( Frozen Beef or Fish), Feet (Cooking Twine), Strips (Dried Meat, Fruit and Seaweed), Scoops (Powdered Mixes) to the units available.
I prefer the Directions List numbered, with blank lines between numbers so I can keep my place better. I've been putting in the numbers and lines myself when typing in any recipes but wouldn't it be great if it started with 1. automatically and added a space line and the next number whenever you hit return? Perhaps it could be linked to hitting the "add a recipe" button?
When adding ingredients, it would be nice to have a "save +" button next to the add button to save my addition and add another while bypassing the ingredients list screen until I've added them all and want to scan it for corrections or omissions.
I'd love a list of "Items Not In Stock". ( If I bought it and it's still on the list I'll want to get it again and want to easily see what I'm missing!)
That's what fits of what I've observed in the several weeks that I've been working with this app. We cook a lot more because of this app (as opposed to heating up!) and we like what we're eating better! I'm totally psyched to see how this will help during the school year! And I'll include the rest of my suggestions for app improvements on another review.