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How to Make Meal Planning Not Suck with Paprika

How to make meal planing not suck with Paprika

Do you throw out manky produce on the weekly? Is your grocery shopping style spontaneous, making you a grab-now-plan-the-meal later kind of cook?

Do you feel like you have lost all power in the kitchen and are in a total funk?

Then you need Paprika.


Before getting this app + PC software combo, I was all the above. I felt like my fridge was just becoming the temple of doom, where veggies go to die.

Every day, I hated the stress of not knowing what to make for dinner, and general meal planning never worked for me. Writing it on the fridge wasn’t handy enough and I still had to go off and compile recipes from here there and everywhere, then pull all those ingredients together and place them into a shopping list.

I would sometimes just sit on the couch surrounded by recipe books, which sounds like heaven and is, but only when you’re roughly perusing them. As soon as you grab one with the intention of meal planning, it becomes stressful and is just plain work. Those stunning photos that usually provoke delight and drool, suddenly cause panic and dread.

All that DAMN WORK.


In the past, I used Notes on my iPhone for throwing down ingredients lists, but seriously it just became a total mess if doing a weeks worth of shopping.

Then trying to remember where I saw the original recipe when it came time actually to cook the meal? Hot damn, I give up. Let’s order fries.


Like many, I love and own a zillion cookbooks, but sometimes you just wish all those favourite recipes were in one spot. If there was something magical out there that could make all this easier and simpler, wouldn’t you want to know all about it?

Well, today’s your lucky day.

Say hello to my little friend, Paprika.

Paprika Recipe Manager is a pretty basic looking but ultra handy app that you can use to store all of your recipes in one place, to make meal plans from them, and not just that, but it will auto-create your shopping list for you.

That way you can be in and out of the shops in a flash – or at least it gives you a lot more browsing time to check out the latest artisan tomato sauce, or drool over all those fab new sorbets in the freezer section. Don’t get your tongue stuck to the glass now.


Not only is available on iPhone and Android but also Kindle Fire, Nook Colour, iPad, Windows, and Mac. I currently have the Paprika app on my iPhone 6S Plus ($4.99 USD/$7.99 AUS and also the software for Windows ($19.99 USD/$26.55 AUD) on my laptop. So for just a little under $35 smackeroos in total, I have for life, two little robot mates who make my world in the kitchen a lot more heavenly.

They also Cloud Sync together, so you can have your recipes/shopping list/meal plan ready and with you in the kitchen or on the go.


My general plan of attack every four days with Paprika is this:

• I use the built-in web browser within Paprika to scour my fave new food bloggers’ sites for new recipes and to prowl around adding some new recipes to my bank. I then simply click the Save Recipe button at the bottom of the app to pull the recipe from the site (it does all the hard work for me). It is then saved in my app along with any extra cooking notes, cool pictures, and even the nutritional info if that particular site has it! Bravo Paprika. But it doesn’t stop there;

• Next, I scroll through my recipes and browse by my self-created categories – the usual Breakfast, Lunches, Dinners, Snacks, Jules Food (toddler-friendly) and my special Vegan zone. From here, I tap the recipe I want, then press the Meal Planner icon within. It will then display the Meal Plan function in Weekly or Monthly view, and I can choose what day to plonk it on. Easy peasy.

• Once I have made a meal plan for about four days, I then select the Add To Shopping Cart option within the Meal Planning menu screen. It then pops up the entire shopping list required for those four days. I scroll through and untick each item I might already have (salt, olive oil, herbs usually) and then hit Ok.

• And off I trot to the shops with my list in hand, and I can easily mark off each item as I scroll around with my trolley. It even saves them into zones: Dairy, Produce, etc., so you aren’t zig-zagging back and forth across the supermarket.

• Then when it comes time to cook, it is as simple as going to Paprika again, sitting him on the kitchen bench and following the recipe. You can cross off each ingredient as you use them, highlight the step you are up to with a tap, and there are even TIMERS embedded IN the steps of the recipe. And if you want just a half serve or are catering for ten, you can SCALE the recipe to your desired serving size very easily, and the ingredients are auto decreased/increased for you!

When I first used Paprika, it was with the intentional to become a less wasteful person. I lost count of how many times I would buy an entire week or more of groceries based on some slap-dash meal plan I jotted down, only to have half the veggies mottled and rotting in the bottom of the fridge. All because we either didn’t follow the recipe or made a basic version of it instead.

We got so tired of this wastefulness, and then along came Paprika. Problem solved!



In the beginning, I followed a full week with Paprika, but we would change our mind later in the week and feel like something else to eat. Or the food would spoil, even in that short time.

A 4-day plan is way more efficient for us – everything is fresh, and we stick to the recipes 100%. It is also phenom for the budget – so long as my partner goes 80% of the time, and not me. I am an uber spontaneous style shopper and would end up buying new coffee mugs, some new knives, the latest potato chips and a new clotheshorse just cause it was a sick colour. I can’t be trusted, even in a damn supermarket.


Both versions on iPhone and PC have trials, so you can totally check them out for free first and see if it works well for you. My biggest tip for beginners: don’t be put off by the basic look. You will grow to love this simple little guy.

Go to town within the web browser first, saving a tonne of awesome recipes – they have Google Search built-in, and a lot of links to trendy food sites and superstar bloggers so you’ll be on the right track immediately without even having to think. Building that collection of yours is the key, the more you have, the easier it is to meal plan each time.


Truly, Paprika is a lifesaver.

Check it out on a trial and let me know how you go in the comments below! The only thing it won’t do is cook the meal – but I guarantee, you’ll have so much more time for cooler things.



1 Comment

  1. Auden
    July 30, 2018 / 9:11 am

    Thank you for writing about this!!! I bought Paprika a year ago and used it a lot for recipes, but I couldn’t figure out the menu/shopping list. I just came back to the app today and found your guide to Paprika on google. I finally understand how it works! Your explanation is so clear. I’m really looking forward to using the meal planning/shopping list now.

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