Spinning Meals

Smart meal planning made simple

FAQ

Posted 5 years ago by Ryan

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Spinning Meals work?

Spinning Meals is the only iPhone app which automatically creates a meal plan and shopping list, based on your own recipes and preferences. For the best overall explanation of how it does this, please see our tutorial / trailer video at http://trailer.spinningmeals.com

Is an iPad version available?

The app currently runs on iPad (“iPad compatible”) but it is not yet optimized for iPad. Look for an iPad version coming soon which will take full advantage of the larger screen, and be a pleasure to cook from in your kitchen.

Is an Android version available?

We are also working on an Android version. In the meantime, you can help us by spreading the word about the iPhone version, as its success will determine how quickly we can enable it for Android.

What if I have multiple phones or devices?

We are developing the capability to synchronize your recipes, meals, shopping lists, and meal plans, across multiple supported devices. This service will be provided free, so we encourage you to “take the plunge” and begin setting up your recipes in the app, knowing that device synchronization (and backup) is coming.

I don’t like cooking from my small iPhone screen, is there a better way?

Spinning Meals can send recipes to your AirPrint-compatible printer. AirPrint uses WiFi to print without wires or a computer. If your printer is not AirPrint-compatible, here are two ideas:

1. Consider that many inexpensive printers today provide AirPrint yet cost little more than the face value of the included ink cartridges (this is because manufacturers want to convert you to their ink brand), so upgrading to a wireless printer may cost you very little.

2. While not officially supported by Apple, we understand there is a way to set up your wireless Mac or PC to allow your iPhone to print through it. You can read about it for Mac or PC.

I prefer metric measurements. Can I switch to metric?

The app can handle recipes of both imperial and metric measurements. However, there is no “switch” which can be flipped to convert recipes from one format to another. We plan to look into it, to see how difficult it would be to make this conversion automatic.

The best way to capture recipes in metric right now, is to use Add from URL (from the Recipes tab, after tapping +), then type in Food.com in the address bar, then navigate to a recipe you like, at which point you can select Metric near the top. Now tap the Capture button, and it will be saved to the app in metric units.

Finally, if you have some favorite metric recipe websites, please send them our way. We have been looking for some metric recipe sites, to try to enable the “Add from Web” recipe capture. It would still depend on whether we can get the technical pieces to work properly with the site(s), as all websites are formatted a little differently, but I would love to try to make some of your favorite sites work if you can suggest some to us.

I added recipes and they’re not appearing in my meal plans, what’s wrong?

Recipes need to be grouped into Meals, and associated to one or more Seasons, to appear in a meal plan. Go to the Meals tab, tap +, then choose one or more Recipes which you will eat together as a Meal. You should also check to make sure your Meals have one or more Seasons assigned, and that their frequency is not set to Never.

I like the concept but why aren’t there more recipes included?

Included recipes are intended to get you started immediately, but we recognize that each family’s needs are different. So rather than try to provide recipes that will work for everyone (impossible) we’ve built the app to allow you to capture the right mix of recipes for you. What do you consider healthy, tasty, affordable, easy? Use Internet recipe capture and Meal groupings to build your perfect rotation.

Internet recipe capture is not capturing all of the information correctly, is something wrong?

With the original implementation of the internet recipe capture, we have found some inconsistencies in the recipe formatting “tags” we use to place recipe components into the right fields in Spinning Meals.

Update: Version 1.3 introduced a new approach to internet recipe capture, designed to overcome these challenges, while also providing a much easier user experience. Please advise us of any issues you continue to see. We are also considering bringing back the original search function as an alternative for those who still want it.

How are the Seasons defined?

  • Spring Meals appear on your Meal Plan in March, April, and May.
  • Summer Meals appear on your Meal Plan in June, July, and August.
  • Fall Meals appear on your Meal Plan in September, October, and November.
  • Winter Meals appear on your Meal Plan in December, January, and February.

NOTE: If you are in the Southern Hemisphere, we realize that this is backwards for you, and are developing a new setting to enable reverse seasonality. At that point the months listed above will be offset by six months. Since this feature is coming soon (target release date is January 26, Australia Day), we recommend designating your Fall recipes (March-May) as Fall, even though they won’t plan properly until this feature is available.

Would it be possible to group repeating ingredients together?

Yes, we agree that lines like “2 tablespoons olive oil” and “1 tablespoon olive oil” should be grouped together as simply “Olive Oil.” This is a bit challenging to do properly but we are working on it and will provide this in a future release.

What if my question isn’t answered here?

Please send us an email at wecare@spinningmeals.com. We will respond promptly, and will expand this list to reflect new common questions and application updates.

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Comments

  1. Anna Olhans says:

    Hi!
    I ‘ve just started using spinning meals and I really like the idea because it helps with the stressfull job of deciding what to eat. However i find myself wishing for more options. For instance some meals i would like to set as often in the summer but sometimes in the winter. It would also be nice to view meals by name, just like you can with recipies. Another thing Id really like to be able to do is to tell the program which meal i actually did cook so that it gets sent to the end of the spinning list, instead of the suggested meal. This would leave more room for improvisation. These were just a few thoughts i had, perhaps they could be useful in future app development. Thankyou for providing a nice app!

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Anna, thanks for getting in touch. I have good news on your first request, it is currently possible to set up one meal as Often-Summer, and a second meal as Sometimes-Winter. That’s a great idea! Both meals would point to the same recipes, so you only need to enter the recipes once, just create two Meals for the two different meal planning behaviors. You’re right about viewing meals by name, that would be good and we’ll see about enhancing it in that way. On your last point, I’d love to understand this better. I’ve been thinking about ways to do a “week in review” so people can adjust what they liked (higher frequency) and disliked…and I’d also like to enhance the logic so that recently-cooked meals are less likely to come up in a new spin. Is there more to what you’re saying than that? I’m so glad to hear from you, and glad you like the app. Happy Spinning!

      • Kimberley says:

        I had this same suggestion. I’d love to be able to check off a meal once we had it. We have 5 children, it’s not always possible to have the meals on those set days (“mummy, I don’t want soup (imagine the whining voice), can we have pizza” etc. So it’d be nice to see which ones we had already eaten that week 🙂

        • Ryan says:

          Thanks Kimberley – you’re right. It’s good to have a plan, but plans change, don’t they? I’ve run a little testing just now to look into this. What we do provide is the ability to swap meals around by tapping “Edit” at the top of the Plan screen, and dragging meals to different days. We also let you look back on past days by pulling down on the Plan list. However, when you tap Edit after pulling down to past days, the app loses those past days and looks at today forward. I’ll see if we can change that, so that past days can be reordered as well – would that help?

  2. Scott Beaver says:

    My wife and I recently started using Spinning Meals and we really enjoy it. We always used to argue about who had to decide what’s for dinner, but no more! I definitely look forward to the ability to sync with each other, and hopefully send the shopping list with the items we already have checked off. Another feature I think would be nice is a reminder a day or otherwise adequate time ahead for meats that need to be defrosted. Still a great app though. I had been looking for some time for exactly this and if I knew how would’ve created it myself. Well done!

    • Ryan says:

      Thanks Scott! Love hearing this and am very glad it has made a difference for you. We are working on the synchronzation, and also have plans for notification features, including do-ahead steps such as defrosting. Happy Spinning!

  3. Lamon says:

    Excellent Idea! I love this app. Looking forward to the upcoming features listed.

    • Ryan says:

      Thanks Lamon! Stay tuned, we are constantly improving it, but we are a small team so it won’t happen overnight. Happy Spinning!

      Ryan

  4. Christy says:

    LOVE the idea! I need it desperately, but with the recipe capturing only working some of the time, or only capturing part of the recipe, it’s taking way too much time for me to input all the recipes and I’m afraid I’m growing a bit weary. The whole reason I bought the ap was to help me SAVE time, not so I could spend hour after hour putting in recipes.

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Christy, thanks so much for getting in touch, and I’m very sorry for your frustration with the internet recipe capture feature. This feature can indeed be tricky, as websites are unfortunately very inconsistent in the way they do their formatting. For that reason we are looking into ways to redo this feature for more consistent results; this redesigned capability will soon begin beta testing before being released as an app update to all users.

      In the meantime, here are a couple suggestions for streamlining the process:
      1) Find one or two large sites which work consistently for you and focus on finding recipes there. Epicurious.com has been very consistent for me, as well as foodnetwork.com, but you should search for recipes directly on these sites rather than going through your recipe box, as the recipe boxes are formatted differently then when directly accessing recipes. 🙁

      2) Use google recipe search (where the app starts you out), but try to be as specific as possible in your search criteria, such as entering a prep time limit. This will point you toward sites which are following the official google recipe tagging format (which we use for capture) in a more correct/complete way. Once you find a few good results this way, I hope you will find another reliable site to which you can return for many more recipes of the type you’re seeking.

      3) One last thought for you is this. If you already have recipes in mind, and have them memorized or else in cookbooks or printouts, consider entering them into the app in “shorthand.” What I mean by that is, enter just a recipe name and a couple of key ingredients, only the items which you actually need to see on your grocery list at the store. With this approach I’ve found that I can enter recipes fairly rapidly, even on a small screen.

      I sincerely apologize, and hope that these suggestions help. Stay tuned for more improvements, and don’t hesitate to send us more comments or questions!

      Ryan

  5. Lia says:

    Hi, I have two comments that I think would make this app way more practical. One: it would be nice to have some healthier options even as the basic recipes, as adding recipes is a pain. Two: it would be useful to be able to adjust serving numbers, as shopping lists and recipes are currently scaled to families, but one of the hardest things is to shop for just the right amount. I also found that I couldn’t ‘capture’ recipes from allrecipes.com, which is a big shame

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Lia, thanks for your insightful comments. We are definitely working on making it easier to add new recipes, including an approach to capturing online recipes which we hope will be much more reliable, along with some other big ideas. Stay tuned! The recipe scaling feature is also in our plans, I definitely understand how important that is. Thanks for the feedback, I think you will be pleased with the enhancements coming down the line. Thanks for your patience, and Happy Spinning!

      Ryan

  6. Rachel says:

    Is there a way to take a picture of a recipe, like an old one I have written out, and enter it that way?

    • Ryan says:

      Each recipe allows you to enter a photograph, and I often capture recipes that way, photographing the page while holding my hand as still as possible in good light. You still need to enter a little text by hand, like the name and ingredients. Personally I prefer to save time by entering just a few key ingredients, like the essential items I will need to shop for, such as chicken breasts and fresh mushrooms, skipping pantry items like flour and salt.

      By entering a title, those key ingredients, and the prep times, the meal planning engine has enough information to place that recipe on an appropriate day, and list the key ingredients in your shopping list. There is no need to type in the instructions under the Instructions text heading, since that is just for your reference and you can tap the photo to view the instructions from there, or else bring out the cookbook if that is easier.

  7. Tammi says:

    I liked your previous search feature, I realize you may have had formatting issues but I got a much wider range of recipes. Is it possible to incorporate both ways of searching?

    • Ryan says:

      Thanks for your request, Tammi. Yes in fact, we are looking to bring the old search feature back as an alternative to the new search, so that both are available. I would very much like to talk to you about this actually, to understand more about how you use the old search and make sure we can make this work well for your needs. I’ve sent an email response and am hoping we can discuss further to make sure we hit the mark.

      • Ryan says:

        Tammi as we discussed, we will be bringing back the old recipe capture feature as an alternative, but in the meantime we have found a workaround which allows you to still browse recipes and copy-paste from other websites.

        Workaround:
        1. Go to any existing “Add from Web” captured recipe, and tap Revisit Site.
        2. This opens up a browser to that recipe
        3. Type in a new URL at the top, and navigate to google or another site
        4. Search or browse to a new recipe, and copy its text
        5. Tap Cancel to leave the browser, and create a new recipe from scratch, paste the contents in as usual.

  8. Megan says:

    How do I add recipes from allrecipes.com?

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Megan,

      Unfortunately AllRecipes.com has changed their website formatting, and capturing their recipes is no longer possible. We are updating all of our app descriptions to make sure we remove any references to this, but there may be a couple still out there which are out of date. However, our new internet recipe capture works with a number of great sites, and provides filtering capabilities based on star ratings which should ensure you can select great recipes to collect in the app. Hope that helps!

  9. Megan says:

    Thank you very much for your help. I love your app.

  10. Martha says:

    Hi, I’m a new user and beginning to enter recipes. The options for recipe ‘categories’ seems to be fairly narrow. For instance, I would like to categorize some recipes under fish/shellfish, quick breads, yeast breads, and desserts. I do not see these categories. Is there a way I can edit or add categories for my recipes? Thanks.

    I’m looking forward to making better use of the app as I add my recipes and familiarize myself with its features.

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Martha, thanks for your question. You may be looking at the categories of the recipes which came with the app, and that is a fairly short list covering just a handful of the available categories. When you add a recipe yourself, using the + button on the Recipes tab, you’ll see a much longer list including Desserts, Fish, Shellfish, and Grains/Rice. We haven’t split out breads or quickbreads separately, but we are working on some enhancements in this area which will give you more control.

  11. Erin says:

    Hi, I’m new to your app. I can’t yet find a way to set preferences, we are gluten-free, so that recipes are selected with dietary needs in mind.
    Thanks, Erin

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Erin! I’m so very sorry for the delay in response. We have had issues with the website sometimes not sending notifications of new comments, so we don’t know they have come in. To answer your question, there is not a built-in feature to address this, but the intent is for you to “make it your own” through adding the recipes that work for your own diet. We’re working on some other possible approaches but that’s where it stands for now. If any of the built-in recipes don’t work for you, they can be taken off by tapping Delete at the top.

  12. Holly says:

    Hi, I’m enjoying this so far. It would be really cool if I could sync my meal plan with my google or outlook calendar. Also, I would love to spread a meal with four servings across 2 days if I only plan on eating 2 servings for dinner and will have 2 servings leftover for lunch. Thanks!

    • Ryan says:

      Thanks Holly! Glad you’re enjoying the app. Regarding the calendar synch, would it be sufficient if the app would synchronize with other installations of Spinning Meals on other devices? Or are there reasons why you would really like it to push your meal plan to your actual calendar? Would love to hear from you, or anyone else for that matter, on that point. I like the leftovers approach too, I’ll see what we can do.

      Ryan

  13. Sherry says:

    Thank you for producing this app! I am so glad that I finally have an app that I can actually plan using the meals I love to cook, using my recipes I find on Epicurious and Foodnetwork.com etc. and don’t have to settle on something someone else produced.
    I know there will be some homework involved getting this set up and tailored to meet my meal planning objectives but once I get about 30 days of meal plans loaded the hardest part will be over. One time through this is so much better than having to do this once every week. Thank you and I look forward to seeing all the upgrades. This will be such a time-saver! Your newest fan!

    • Ryan says:

      Thank you Sherry, you just made my day! I had a strong feeling from the start that this could make a real difference for people, and I’m very grateful to see that has come true. Please stay in touch, especially if you think of other ideas which could make the app better.

  14. Susan says:

    This app seems to be something I have been looking for a long time. Thanks! I have started going through my favorite cookbooks and entering my most-loved recipes so they are all in one place. Once I have our “usual” meals entered, I’m going to start entering the recipes I have found but never tried because they aren’t where I can find them! I would like to see to customizations: 1) Add a category for “Potatoes.” Putting these recipes under Vegetables might let them be overlooked; putting them under Grains & Rice just doesn’t feel right. 2) I like to cook ahead over the weekend so it is easier to get weeknight meals together. It would nice to have a Meal designator such as “Meal Preparation” so I have all my make ahead recipes in one place and can add them to Sunday without affecting Sunday’s meals.

    • Ryan says:

      Thanks Susan! I’m so glad you like the app. These are great suggestions, and align very nicely with the enhancements we are working on as we continue to add more features and flexibility. We will definitely take these requests into consideration, and may contact you for further detail and validation as we build the new capabilities. Thanks so much for getting in touch!

      Ryan

  15. Emily says:

    I love your app!!! I’ve added some of our family’s favorite recipes. It’s easy now to create the shopping lists that make great meals for my family!

    I wish the meals did not disappear. I know you can get back the last three, it’s just I don’t always cook them in order. Right now I have to look back on my printed recipe list. I really don’t need the dates only numbered days.

    Thank you for the app! Fabulous!!!

    • Ryan says:

      Thank you so much Emily. So glad you are happy with the app. I know what you mean about cooking things in a slightly different order, we do that too. I’ll see if we can make it possible to reorder past days. Happy Spinning!

  16. Salma says:

    Hi. As a southern hemisphere dweller, I like that you have thought if us in regards to the seasons. However, most of the world has stopped using pounds and ounces as a system of measurement; would it be possible to allow for conversion to metric measurements please? Thanks for the app in general, I’ll be adding quite a few recipes in the near future!

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Salma, thanks so much for getting in touch. The app can handle recipes of both imperial and metric measurements. However, there is no “switch” which can be flipped to convert recipes from one format to another. We plan to look into it, to see how difficult it would be to make this conversion automatic.

      The best way I know of to capture recipes in metric right now, is to use Add from URL (from the Recipes tab, after tapping +), then type in Food.com in the address bar, then navigate to a recipe you like, at which point you can select Metric near the top. Now tap the Capture button, and it will be saved to the app in metric units.

      Finally, if you have some favorite metric recipe websites, please send them our way. We have been looking for some metric recipe sites, to try to
      enable the “Add from Web” recipe capture. It would still depend on whether we can get the technical pieces to work properly with the site(s), as all websites are formatted a little differently, but I would love to try to make some of your favorite sites work if you can suggest some to us.

      Thanks again for your note. I’m sorry the answer is not more automatic, but we will look into it.

  17. Kelly says:

    I just added your app to my phone. I think it’s great. I would love to see healthier choices. I would also love to see how many calories per meal. I live alone so as another comment mentioned, it would be nice to have the option for smaller portions.

    Great app!

    Thanks,
    Kelly

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Kelly, I’m so glad you like the app. Nutritional info is definitely on our radar, and please note that it is possible to limit your recipe search by calorie count using the “Add from Web” feature. Also, be aware that you can change the text of recipes to reduce the quantities of ingredients, including the recipes you capture from the web (just not the provided recipes). We will look into ways to improve upon this. Please don’t hesitate to send more suggestions our way!

  18. Vijay Verma says:

    Hi I like this app it’s very useful now it’s easy to way decide what to eat
    But I m a vegetarian can I get an option of vegetarian n nonvegitarian food

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Vijay, thanks for your question. The app is designed for each user to make it their own, by adding the recipes they love to cook and eat. Recipes are added either by typing them in (“from scratch” recipe entry can be very basic; for recipes you already know very well just type just the title and key ingredients not the whole recipe) or by capturing recipes from websites (“Add from Web”).

      The existing recipes which came with the app are provided as a starting point, but as you know, many of these are not vegetarian. You can get rid of any of these which you do not like, by tapping “Delete” at the top of the Recipe or Meal screen, and it will disappear from view.

      I hope that helps answer your question. I am sorry there is not a “switch” which automatically turns it to vegetarian. Enjoy the app!

  19. Amy says:

    Is there someway that you can make the meals vegetarian?

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Amy, thanks for your question. Please see my response to Vijay who had the same request. Enjoy the app!

  20. Jon says:

    Is there a way to filter for allergies?

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Jon, thanks for your question. There is no automatic way to specify and ingredient and automatically avoid that on your meal plan. However, I think the app will work very well for you as you build up recipes which meet your dietary needs. Please see my response to Vijay above, which has a detailed explanation addressing the question of a vegetarian diet; allergy avoidance would be handled in a similar way.

  21. Sash says:

    Hi Ryan, I am in love with this app, I am encouraging all of my friends to get it. It’s an absolute time saver. I was reading through your previous responses and I know that making improvements to an app as complex as this doesn’t happen over night, but would it be possible to have an estimate as to when we can expect to see the update regarding synchronizing with the IPad, as we’ll as the grouping if ingredients? Those would be the ones I feel are of more value, the rest I can work around it.
    Once again, you and the team did amazing work coming out with this app, and I won’t stop talking about it until everyone I know has it 🙂

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Sash, wow. This is the kind of message which makes all of our efforts completely worth it. Synchronization is our top priority, but it is also the most complex feature to add. iPad is also at the top of the list, and the ingredient consolidation will be straightforward once synchronization is complete. Stay tuned, and thank you so much for spreading the word!

  22. Shannon says:

    Hi I’ve made all my recipes and these ones and now my family is getting board with them if any of you have any recipes I would love to hear them.

    • Sash says:

      What I have been doing is simply surfing the web. Foodnetwork.com, food.com, allrecipes.com… There are tons if websites for recipes. And if the app doesn’t capture them, I simply copy paste it in. It’s pretty simple.

  23. Olesya says:

    I really love this app. If there was one thing I could change it would be to be able to add more criteria for meal parameters on certain days. Right now you can select which days to plan and how long weekday and weekend meals should take to make. I think it would be great if you could break down prep time on individual days as well. We all have that one night that dinner had to be on the table in 20 minutes flat so that everyone can rush out the door for lessons. Having to set all weekdays to that same short time limits the variety for nights when you have more time. Also it would be great to be able to set categories for certain nights like fish on Fridays or vegetarian on Wednesdays. Right now I just edit the plan on those days but it would be great if that could be automatic.
    Overall I’d like to say thanks for such a great app. My family was already planing meals weekly but this takes the “whatever you put on the list is fine” off my shoulders.
    Thank you!

    • Ryan says:

      Thank you Olesya! Great suggestion. We have wrestled with the balance between having a simplified user experience (less fields) vs more powerful and specific control over the planning behaviors. It is very helpful to know that you feel this way, and we will certainly take it into consideration as we plan future enhancements.

  24. Robin says:

    I love this app, thank you! I’d love to see a treats/desserts category since snacks is the only place to designate them yet not where they fit in many meal plans.

    • Ryan says:

      Great suggestion Robin – we will look into it, and hopefully it can be added without too much trouble. Your feedback and ideas here, and by email, has been invaluable.

    • Ryan says:

      Great news Robin – dessert is now served! The latest version, 1.6, now supports Dessert as a new Meal Type, which you can enable for meal planning under Spin Settings. Happy Spinning! -Ryan

  25. Sash says:

    Here’s a suggestion for a future update, it would be nice to have the possibility of deciding what meal category to have on a specific day i.e. Poultry on Mondays, beef on Wednesdays. I know right now you can set a specific recipe on a specific day, but it would be nice to still have the variety/randomness that this app offers however with a little more control.

    Keep up the great work!

  26. Z says:

    Love the app so far but would like to be able to spin for side dishes rather than me having to choose one for each meal. I realize that not all side dishes go with certain meals but at that point we could do a respin until we found one we liked. Thanks! 🙂

  27. Z says:

    It would also be nice for when you add a recipe that it automatically is included in spins without having to add it to a meal plan.

    • Ryan says:

      Great suggestions here. I’ve struggled with the notion of adding multiple ways that the spin feature works, as my concern is that it could be confusing if spinning handled complete meals in some cases, and just side dishes in other cases. But it’s not the first time I’ve heard this suggested, so I will put it through our design process to see if there is a way to add this feature while not compromising the easy-to-understand nature of the current functionality.

  28. Claire says:

    Argh. I upgraded my iPhone and when I chose “restore from back up” spinning meals appeared but with none of my recipes. I LOVE the app but am frustrated that I have lost a years worth of recipes. 🙁

    • Ryan says:

      Claire I am so terribly sorry. We had some issues with backup functionality some time ago, and fully tested coding changes to fix it, and we thought all was well. Recently we have learned that some changes on Apple’s end have broken backup again, so we are escalating a support ticket with our development tool provider. If you have your old device, please hold on to it, as the next upgrade of the app (coming within a week or two) should address this problem, and preserve your recipes. Please accept my most sincere apologies, and stay tuned for updates.

  29. Jessica says:

    Hi! I was very excited to try this app. I am embarking on a weight loss journey and I am looking to create a meal plan for myself each month. I love the fact that I can actually SEE a month’s worth of meals here. However, I am single and would love to see a place to input servings per recipe and nutrition info per serving. I would also really like to see the shopping list “add” ingredients together…so if I have a meal that calls for 2 cups of milk and then another meal that calls for 1/2 cup of milk, my shopping list will just have one entry for milk reflecting 2 1/2 cups. Currently I am not seeing this, and having to figure out the total amount for more than one weeks worth of meals is laborious. One last suggestion is that I’d love to see this app sync with fitbit.??

    • Ryan says:

      Got it – great suggestions, and thanks for sending the note here. We will see what we can do, but understand what you are asking for, and the importance. Ingredient consolidation, serving info, nutrition info, and app integration. All our best, for your weight loss journey!

  30. Katie says:

    Hi! I heard about this app from a friend of mine who was raving about it. It sounds awesome. I would LOVE to use it. However, I am an android user. I hope you develop an app for android sometime soon!

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Katie, thanks for your note! We want to go to android for sure, but it is expensive to move to a new platform so we are evaluating some different ways of getting there. Keep spreading the word and hopefully we will be able to make that jump sometime in the new year.

  31. Tasha says:

    Hi Ryan, fantastic app! I love it. It’s really keeping me on track with weightless actually. I don’t find myself reaching for rubbish to eat because it’s all planned out here. I started using the app on my iPhone which is great. Then when I got an iPad for Christmas I downloaded the app for the bigger screen. I can add recipes and meals so much faster now. Really looking forward to the iPad version.
    Can I please suggest the option to have more meals? I currently eat breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. Having the option to add more meals would be fantastic!
    Keep up the great work. I’m looking forward to the next update 🙂

    • Ryan says:

      Thanks Tasha! So glad to hear this. Eating many meals a day is a great approach, and we’ve considered that enhancement in the past. We will take a look at what that would require, and see if we can make it happen in the near future. Good luck on your weight loss journey!

    • Ryan says:

      Great news Tasha – as of yesterday we have released version 1.6 which can plan Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Early Snack, Snack, Late Snack, and Dessert! Customize the start times and spin settings of each meal however you like it. Enjoy! -Ryan

  32. Mary says:

    Is there a way to erase the “Purchased items” list under shopping list?? And is there a way to stop recipes from automatically putting things on the list?

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Mary, thanks for your questions. Shopping list items marked purchased, will automatically go away after a day, you do not need to do anything to make them disappear.

      Regarding ingredients which you don’t want to see in the shopping list, are you referring to pantry items like salt and olive oil? Or do you really want none of the recipe ingredients to appear in your shopping list at all? The pantry list, or “always-on-hand” ingredients, is something we have coming in an upcoming release, where you will be able to manage that list which the app will exclude from the shopping list. If you really wish for none of the ingredients to show in your list, I would suggest cutting that text out of “Ingredients” and pasting it at the beginning of the instructions.

  33. Heather McKenzie Green says:

    Loving the app so far! Will become one of my most-used apps once I have all my recipes entered. 2 problems I’m noting– It doesn’t seem to capture recipes from allrecipes very well. The field were left blank. This is where I get most of my recipes. Also, I downloaded the app onto my ipad so it’d be easier to type in recipes, but it didn’t transfer over anything from the version that’s on my phone. Now I’m not sure what to do!

    • Ryan says:

      Thank you Heather! We are working on both of the things you mention. We hope to address AllRecipes within a month (hopefully sooner). And synchronization across devices is our top priority enhancement, but also the most complex to do properly. Look for this capability in late summer or early fall. Appreciate the input!

  34. Heather McKenzie Green says:

    Thanks– kudos to you guys for creating a great app!! (And responding to comments.)

  35. Heidi says:

    This app is amazing! I already love it, and my family loves it too. The most frustrating thing in my daily life was, what’s for dinner? Problem solved. I used it to grocery shop this weekend. I did spend a lot of time inputting recipes, but it was worth it.

    I really wish you had allrecipes.com integration. Epicurious.com was not working for me at all either.

    A suggestion: A quick “difficulty” setting might be very helpful. For example, I have a few slow-cooker recipes that I’d really like to use on weekdays, but because their “time” is very long, it’s difficult to include them without also including very labor-intensive dishes as well.

    I also would like to see a reminder option for thawing of foods, but that’s less of an issue.

    I look forward to continued improvements and think some of the ideas you have for this app are fantastic.

    • Ryan says:

      Thank you Heidi! We will look at Epicurious, and have plans to include AllRecipes soon if possible.

      Regarding crock pot recipes and thawing, please experiment with the Do-Ahead Prep Time field. It’s intent is to (a) allow you to specify an early step which is “immune” to your set prep time restrictions, and (b) give you a do-ahead reminder far in advance so you can fill a crock pot or take something out of the freezer. So crock pot recipes will be considered valid for a weeknight as long as the cook time is within your Spin Settings limit, even if your Do-Ahead prep time is far higher. Make sense? Hope that helps.

  36. Heidi says:

    I would like to be able to spin in advance, without losing days I had already planned for. For example, I had previously spun for 5 days. I have done three days, but still have two left on my plan. When I went to spin, it replaced my remaining meals!! I just wanted to be able to shop tomorrow when I had time. Is there something I’m doing wrong, or do I always need to spin after then final day of my plan?

    • Ryan says:

      Interesting. We recently put in a feature to prompt you upon spinning, whether you wish to plan only the additional days, or clear and repopulate all days. If you remember exactly how and when this happened, or can watch out for it in the future, it is certainly very possible that we missed some navigation paths when enabling this. Would love more info to track it down!

  37. Naomi says:

    Help!

    I did not realize that the app does not sync between devices until today when I went to plan my menus. I have several recipes captured/entered on my phone and more on my iPad….is the sync feature cooing soon? I don’t want to spend the time to get them all in one place manually :S

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Naomi! Cross-device synchronization is coming in our very next release, towards the end of the summer. It is our top priority, but is also something we need to be careful to do properly so that you won’t lose any recipes or other data when this upgrade occurs. So we are building in time for proper testing. Stay tuned, it won’t be long!

  38. Monique says:

    Do you have any plans to allow recipes to be entered online instead of a handheld device? I LOVE your app, just get a little tired of typing on my small screen and want to use an actual keyboard. Thanks!

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Monique – sorry for the delay! Somehow your comment was lost among the many spam comments we receive, but I can certainly tell you are legitimate! We are working towards this, and honestly can’t say right now whether this will be possible, but we hope so. One workaround which you may enjoy using for other purposes as well, is to purchase a bluetooth keyboard. Besides that, I would just recommend that you don’t attempt to capture too much detail as you type recipes into the app. If you have a printed recipe, take a picture of that page and assign that as the app’s photograph, that way you won’t have to type the instructions of full ingredients list (key shopping list items only). I hope that helps, and stay tuned! -Ryan

  39. Melissa says:

    I love the concept and everything about this app so far except that I have to creat a meal before the spin. I’d love to have it select a meat, and. 2 sides/veggies at random as well. I don’t always want the same sides with a meal and I want to be able to edit the meal on the fly. If the meal had green beans but I had leftover corn to uses, I would prefere to use up corn instead of making the beans. I guess the concept is perfect, I just want more edit ability and option for more detail. Tganks though I am loving it so far

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Melissa, thanks so much for your comment. I’m glad that you are liking the app, and you bring up some important considerations.

      First, I want to affirm that you are thinking about the app the right way – it is designed to give a “mostly great” meal plan, which is easy for you to tweak so that it is perfect. So if you set up a main course with green beans as a side, you can tap on the meal, press Edit, and add or remove side dishes as you wish. You can also easily drag and drop meals from one day to another, or re-spin selected meals which you don’t love the look of…or else re-spin the whole thing.

      Regarding the randomizing of side dishes, there are a couple reasons we haven’t yet gone there, although I will certainly give it more consideration. The first reason is from a food perspective, that pairings are important and I don’t think people would be happy with Spanish rice being placed with country meatloaf, or chili being served with anything but cornbread (in our house). Many dishes are one-pot meals, and some side dishes go well together because they use the same cooking appliances (grill, or oven, etc.)

      The other reason I haven’t yet gone down this road is that from a usability perspective there is already a lot to learn about what the app can current do. Having multiple spin methods might be hard for people to get used to. But I will genuinely reconsider this and think through some more examples to see how this might be possible to implement in a simple and flavorful way!

      Please take a look at these meal plan “tuning” capabilities I’ve mentioned, and let me know how those are working for you, and what other improvements you’d like to see.

      Best,

      Ryan

  40. Juli says:

    While I suppose I understand not being able to delete provided recipes, I would like to be able to change the frequency settings for them.

    • Ryan says:

      Juli,

      Thanks so much for your note. Good news! Setting up a different frequency is possible, it just requires a bit of a workaround.

      Technically the master Meal records are indeed locked for provided recipes, and this is because if we allowed users to change their frequency, that could end up impacting other users. If you like a given meal, but want it more or less often, simply create a new Meal record, and select the same built-in recipes as before. Delete the “master’ Meal record, and adjust your new personal Meal record however you like it. Does that make sense?

  41. Megan says:

    Ryan,
    This app is amazing!! I really loved your suggestions of how to “speed enter” recipes I know by heart and only need to plan and shop for. Now I just reference a recipe page number from my cookbook in the about section and only enter the title and key ingredients, it saves me tons of time entering recipes I already have printed. Love it!!
    I look forward to seeing future updates with some of the great suggestions others have made (especially the randomness guided by categories like Italian on Mondays or beef on Thursdays). I would also love to see Slow-Cooker as it’s own category. That would be helpful too. (I appreciated your comment about using the plan-ahead time. I’ll have to play with that.) I was also wondering if one day it could be possible to tie meals together so they always show up in the same week. Like when we make chili, we always have it on chips with cheese later that week. Or Pot Roast on Sunday becomes beef stew on Tuesday. It’s just building on the same concept of combining recipes to make meals, only combining meals to plan for leftovers.
    I know this is a bit more advanced, but if there’s ever a way to spin based on nutrition (like a week that doesn’t exceed blank number of calories or carbs or whatever people watch, or just tries to balance the meals. That might require a user entering separate nutrition info, but it would be worth the extra step.) Or even based on cost! So you don’t end up having your most expensive meals all in the same week. Again, a user entry field would be needed, but well worth contributing the details of a meal.
    I love love love this app! I tried eMeals for a year, but don’t like being limited to their meals. I want to use my own!!
    Thanks for such an awesome app! Definitely the only one of its kind.

  42. Allie says:

    I am soooo happy that I found this app! The most difficult thing for me for cooking meals is planning ahead! The idea of trying to decide what we eat ahead of time is so stressful to me! But most meal planning resources I found our Other People’s recepies and meal plans, and we don’t always like them!

    I love that this app plans my recepies and not someone else’s, and the internet capture too!

    I really look forward to Ipad version and syncing on multiple devices, I would also suggest adding a “slow-cooker” category and a “freezer prepped” category to the meal types, for easy organization. I also like other people’s suggestions concerning recording what meal was actually eaten, and rating meals after they were tried the first time to help with frequency.

    I’d also suggest having the ability to hit a button saying “bump meal” or something, if you go out to eat last minute but have all the ingredients ready to go already and don’t want it to go bad.

    Also, just me, but could the update have a different main color besides brown? Or choices for color? I don’t like brown, and would love blue, or green, purple, gray… Just, not brown or pink or burgandy…

    So, just a thought 🙂 keep up the good work developing this app! And thank you!

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Allie – great feedback! Glad you love being able to have a meal plan based on your own recipes – I feel the same way.

      We are certainly working away on the iPad version and synchronization across devices. Synchronization will come first. There are a ton of other good suggestions here, and we will certainly do our best. Please help spread the word about the app, as our ability to continually enhance it will be largely based upon how successful it is on the App Store. Like so many apps, we have a limited budget but hope to have a long upward-angled lifespan built on grass-roots enthusiasm and continual improvement!

      Regarding the “bump” button, I like the idea of a button but want to make sure you are aware of the capabilities currently in place. If you pull down on the list on the Plan tab, the last 3 days’ meals will appear, and this can be repeated to get 6, 9, or more days if needed. Now tap the Edit button at the top and you can pull meals up or down to the days you actually ate them, or plan to eat them if delayed. Also, immediately after spinning it should leave you in this edit mode so you can make tweaks to perfect the spin results.

      Thanks so much for your enthusiasm, support, and thoughtful feedback!

  43. Juli says:

    hello! I love your app, and understand that word of mouth is important, but I simply cant tell my friends they should use it until you have the synchronization implemented… I am currently having to use it on a phone with a broken/obscured screen because there is no way to transfer my data to a new phone. You can trust that this is an amazing app and I rely on it quite a bit when I tell you my screen has been broken for more than 6 months, and your promise of synchronization capabilities is the only reason I have not upgraded my 3 yr old phone with a broken screen yet.
    I have the beta version, but am honestly afraid to use it for fear of losing my information prior to its final release. The moment I can tell my friends their efforts and recipes will be safely stored even if their phone is lost I will be telling EVERYONE, they need to get this app.

    • Ryan says:

      Thank you for checking in on this and expressing your frustration. We TOTALLY understand, and are working diligently to pressure our third-party services provider to fix the defects which are preventing the launch of our new version. Your comments here help me give them more context as to how important it is that we get this fixed promptly, so I appreciate it very much and will do everything I can to influence and accelerate. And we’re flattered!…that the app and your recipes are so important to you that you’ve delayed an upgrade for this reason. Please stay tuned for more updates on the situation.

  44. Nicole says:

    love the app! It saves me so much time!
    Something came up and I didn’t cook tonight. I don’t remember what I was supposed to make but I know I already purchased all the ingredients. Is there a way to find out?

    • Ryan says:

      Great question – pull down on the meal plan list in the Plan tab, and it will show you the past 3 days. And by tapping the Edit button at the top you can drag-and-drop to rearrange your meals to the way you are actually consuming them. Hope that helps!

  45. Ann says:

    i would love to be able to type recipes and ingredients on an actual computer and import them en masse. Typing on my phone is really slow compared to the computer, but I entered all of my favorite recipes manually. Then my baby deleted the app and they are all gone. I will not repeat that process again unless there is an easy way to import recipes either via a website form or excel import.

    • Ryan says:

      Oh no! Ann I am so sorry to hear of your recipes being lost when the app was deleted! My best recommendation at this point is to look into a Bluetooth keyboard, which can be extremely affordable these days, and handy for many things beyond just entering recipes. However we completely understand the desire to work from a computer and website rather than a small device. Once we have released version 2.0 with a new server-based storage system, we will be in a position to evaluate website entry possibilities. I can’t promise but we will do our best!

  46. Lara says:

    Any news on syncing or backing up recipes? I had to get a new phone and my phone backup was corrupted so I can’t load all the 50 meals I had manually input into my old phone. Pleeeease tell me it’s coming soon!

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Lara! We are still trying to overcome technical challenges, as it has proven much more involved and complicated than we had anticipated. So sorry for the delay! Will communicate out when we have the new functionality!

      Ryan

  47. Tonille says:

    I just got your app and am really liking it. However, I was wondering if there could be a category for slow cooker meals and then an option to plan only those recipes on certain days. I like having slow cooker meals on days that I don’t have a lot of time. I like how you have the option of “only plan 30 min meals for weekdays” but was hoping maybe slow cooker meals could also be an option?

    I also agree with other users that it might be nice to have an option to say whether or not you actually cooked the meal. If I happen to re-spin a recipe that was inputted as “try once” than it deletes it out of my meals even though I didn’t make it.

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Tonille, thanks for your thoughtful comments, and welcome! A slow-cooker category sounds like a great idea; I plan to add it but must wait for a future release as we don’t currently have the capability to update the category list on the fly. Regarding “spinning” slow cooker recipes onto your meal plan, I have good news! If you enter a long “Do-Ahead Step Time” value on the recipe, this long time will be ignored by the app when it works to meet your weekday constraints. This is specifically for slow cooker recipes as well as other early steps such as defrosting a large item in the fridge for 24 hours. So go ahead and set the Do-Ahead Step Time to 8 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours, or whatever makes sense for that recipe. Normally the app gives a notification to remind you to take this advance step. With a recent update of iOS our notifications stopped working, and we will fix this with our next release.

      You’ve also given great feedback on how to handle missing the planned timeframe of a meal. I totally get it! Plans definitely change. My best suggestion at this point is to pull down on the Plan menu, which will retrieve the past 3 days’ planned meals. Now go into Edit mode (Edit button at top) and you can drag to swap/rearrange your meals, including pulling that meal forward to a future day. We will think through how we might enhance the app to capture the actual cooking/eating of a meal, because you’re right, switching a “Try Once” to “Never” doesn’t make sense if you haven’t actually tried it. To clarify however, the meal won’t be deleted, it will simply be modified to a “Never” frequency, which you could switch back to any frequency you like down the road.

      I hope that helps! Your feedback has certainly helped us as we work to improve the Spinning Meals experience.

      Ryan

  48. Tonille says:

    I wish the plan showed all the days of the week even if you deleted a day cause you didn’t originally need a plan for that day. Then when you needed to drag a meal to a different day, you could drag to an unplanned day. My plans change a lot and I am finding it difficult to re-arrange the meals. I also plan for 2 weeks at a time so wish that the settings weren’t based strictly on a weekly basis (for instance don’t plan all Mondays). I might need that on the first Monday but not the second. I like the idea of this app and really want to make this work for me! Hopefully you can help me. Thanks

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Tonille,

      Thank you for your questions, they are insightful and I will do my best to address them both in terms of what can be done today and what we may be able to do in the future.

      You are right about the behavior of blank days, it is not easy to drag and drop meals to different days when certain days have no existing meal, so they cannot be included in the shuffle. We will look at this in the future, and will try to make it easy to drag meals to a blank day. For right now, I recommend you create a placeholder meal, called “Leftovers” or “no meal”. Then, under spin settings, choose “set meal” instead of “don’t plan,” and when prompted choose the placeholder meal from the list. This approach will result in every day showing up on your meal plan, and allow you to drag-and-drop to swap days regardless of whether or not there was an “actual” meal on the plan for that day. The “Leftovers” meal entry does not need to have recipes associated with it, and a singe placeholder meal like this can be used multiple times a week and for different meal types (Lunch, Dinner, etc). Please try that and let me know if that makes it easier! I think it should.

      I am less confident we will be able to do any enhancements about your second request, to allow different behavior settings from one week to the next. The weekly pattern repetition seems to work very well for the vast majority of people, although I understand where you’re coming from and it is certainly true that not every week is the same. However, after trying my first tip above I am hopeful that it will be much easier for you to customize one week from the next, when in Edit mode after Spinning.

      Please let me know how that goes, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with more questions and requests!

      Ryan

  49. Trisha says:

    Hi there! I’ve cruised the questions so forgive me if it has been asked & answered. I wanted to put a suggestion out there about certain meal categories on certain days. For example, our family does pizza night on Mondays, noodles on Tuesdays, soup & sandwiches on Wednesdays, etc. Could you add a feature that allows us to categorize meals as our own categories & then plan those categories for certain days of the week? Thank you for your time!
    -Trisha

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Trisha, great question, and a smart request. That is on our enhancement list, a feature we want to enable in the future but can’t currently do. I appreciate your asking, and every request serves to bump these features up higher in the priority list. In the meantime I’d recommend dragging meals up or down just after spinning, to match the days of the week as you wish. If you want a more elaborate workaround, you can use the different meal types to represent these categories, such as “Early Snack” representing your soup and sandwiches meals. Then set Wednesday to spin for the Early Snack meal type, at the same clock time as your normal dinner, setting Wednesday’s dinner to “don’t plan.” This will randomly select from all of your meals of this type and place it on Wednesday evening. Make sense?

  50. Amy says:

    Would be great if we could add our own categories. I frequently serve Breakfast For Dinner and would love it if there was a breakfast category to store all my various recipes in.

    • Ryan says:

      Thanks Amy! Duly noted. Our family loves breakfast for dinner too, and that makes total sense.

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