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If there’s one tool that will make your plant-based journey so much easier, I wholeheartedly believe that tool is meal planning. Having a road map to refer to through the week makes such a huge difference and really increases your chances of success. Especially in the beginning, when many people feel lost about what to include in their meals. That’s why I am excited to announce that I have partnered with The Scientific Meal Planner.
This tool is a game-changer for plant-based eaters. It generates meal plans that promote optimal health through incorporating the daily dozen. (If you don’t know about the daily dozen, don’t worry, we’ll get to that.) All the benefits of a whole food plant-based meal plan, without doing any of the actual planning. I’m excited to share this meal planning app with you, so let’s get into it.
What Is the Scientific Meal Planner?
The Scientific Meal Planner is a meal planning app that generates meal plans based on evidence-based nutrition. No more wondering or worrying about fad diets. Get the straight goods backed by scientific evidence that was reviewed and used to design Dr. Michael Greger’s Daily Dozen. Essentially, it makes eating a plant-based diet really easy. All of the planning is done for you. All you have to do is shop for your ingredients, cook the food and enjoy.
What Is the Daily Dozen?
You may be wondering what this Daily Dozen business is all about. Basically, it’s a set of nutrition guidelines designed to help you include the most health-promoting foods in your daily diet. Not based on someone’s opinion, but on what the scientific evidence shows.
Dr. Michael Greger is the amazing human behind nutritionfacts.org. If you’re not familiar with this resource, Dr. Greger and his team pour over every nutrition study published each year and present the results in short videos that you don’t need a science degree to understand. Links are then provided to all cited studies for a level of transparency that is rarely seen in the health and wellness space. (I seriously geek out hard over this)
In pouring over all of this data, he developed the Daily Dozen as a checklist of all the beneficial foods we should include daily for optimal health. Find more information on the Daily Dozen here.
Why a Plant-Based Meal Plan?
These meal plans are 100% plant-based. Why? There’s a vast and growing body of scientific evidence that suggests this is the ideal diet for human health. I talk a lot about the benefits of plants, so I hope this isn’t a surprise to you. Simply put, the more we move toward whole food plant-based eating, the better our bodies fare in this crazy world. People often report a big increase in energy, as well other major improvements to their health and well being after switching to a plant-based diet. It’s common to see cholesterol numbers come down, improved blood sugar control, lower blood pressure in those with hypertension and so much more. If you want to see the studies behind this, check out nutritionfacts.org.
Scientific Meal Planner Features
Now that you know about the scientific basis behind this meal planning app, let’s go over the features offered. There’s a free version that gives you basic access to log in and create meal plans. This is a public service offered by the creator, Dan Burnette. Because, like me, he believes the message (and benefits) of plant-based nutrition are too important to hide behind a lock and key.
There’s also a premium version that offers a lot more features to make your meal planning experience easy and convenient. Check out all of the features offered in each plan below.
Recipe swaps – Did a recipe come up in your meal plan that doesn’t sound like your jam? No problem, swap it out for another that sounds more enticing to you.
Calorie controls – This feature allows you to set a calorie range that you would like your daily meals to fall into. Set this range to reflect your personal health and wellness goals.
Nutrient breakdowns – Beyond calories, you can check out the nutrient breakdown of individual recipes as well as what your daily meal plan provides.
Shopping list – Don’t feel like going through each recipe to make your shopping list? No problem, it’s done for you and ready to go.
Optional text reminders – The best meal planning app is the one you’re going to actually use. You can set up a day and time for the planner to text you a reminder message of your choosing. You can do future you a solid and set this up.
Time limit controls – Feeling pressed for time? There’s a control for that. Set a limit for how long the recipes should take to prepare.
Ingredient controls – This is a great tool if you have any food allergies or certain ingredients you don’t want to include. You can now build a list of foods that you want to be excluded from the meal plans you generate.
What Makes This Meal Planning App Different?
Now that you’re familiar with some of the features, you’re probably wondering how this meal planning app is different than others you may have seen. Let’s go over that now.
The base plan is FREE – Yes, I said FREE! Most meal planning apps do not offer a free version at all. Maybe a trial week of recipes, but that’s it. The Scientific Meal Planner will allow you to sign up for free and start generating your own meal plans right away (limited to 3 at a time). This is done as a public service, to help people quickly and easily adopt healthy eating.
Based on evidence-based nutrition – Just say “NO” to damaging fad diets. The meal plans you generate are based on sound nutritional science rather than marketing gimmicks. Learn more about the scientific evidence behind the meal planner here.
Recipes from more than one creator – No need to worry whether the recipes will cater to your tastes. The Scientific Meal Planner includes recipes from many different plant-based recipe developers (myself included) and that list continues to grow.
Choose how you cook – Maybe you like to cook daily, favouring variety. Or perhaps you prefer to meal prep in advance, and don’t mind eating leftovers. You can choose the meal plan type that works best for you. Don’t worry if you change your mind, you’ll be able to make this selection with each and every meal plan you generate.
Favourite Meals – Do you like to keep track of the meals you and your family really enjoyed? This feature will allow you to mark your favourites to refer back to any time you like.
How Does It Work?
The planner is easy to use, even if you’re a tad tech-phobic. When you sign in and start to create a meal plan, you’ll be given some options to choose from. Then the meal planner will do the rest.
1. The first option is to choose between the minimalist meal plan, or the daily cook meal plan.
The minimalist meal plan consists of 3 recipes (breakfast, lunch and dinner) that you can prep for the week. You would then have one serving of each meal every day.
The daily cook meal plan will provide breakfast and a new dinner recipe for each day. Eat the leftovers from dinner for your lunch the following day.
2. You’ll also get to choose how many people to cook for. This helps because the meal plan will tell you how to adjust each recipe to hit your required servings.
3. Then, choose how many days you want the plan to cover. Whether you want to follow the meal plan for a full 7 days or would prefer to keep your weekends flexible, it’s completely up to you.
4. Next, choose whether you want the same breakfast or would prefer a new breakfast recipe each day. (Note, same breakfast each day is the default option for minimalist meal plans)
5. You can even choose whether you would like your plan to include suggested snacks.
6. Lastly, for premium users, you can select the calorie range you would like your daily meals to fall between.
Once you make your selections, your meal plan is merely a click away.
What the Meal Plan Includes
Once your meal plan is generated, you’ll get all the info you need to put your plan into action.
These are listed first with links to the full recipe with cooking instructions. You can favourite meals you love here by clicking the star icon.
Premium users can use the edit button to swap out any meals that don’t sound appealing. As well, there will be a button to look at the nutrient info for each recipe.
Here you’ll find the option to print your meal plan. Premium users will also see a button here for their shopping list.
You’ll then see the meal plan laid out for each day you specified. Your plan for each day is displayed in order, with instructions to either prep the meal or eat from leftovers. If you’re preparing the meal, it will show you the serving breakdowns so you’ll know how much to make based on the number of people you specified.
The plan also shows you the daily essentials to add for the daily dozen, as well as how many of the daily dozen servings the plan satisfies (you can add ingredients as needed). This percentage will improve as more recipes are added to the planner.
Don’t forget to name and save your plan so you can refer back to it or repeat the plan another time.
The Bottom Line
Meal planning is such a beneficial practice, but it can take time and creativity that you don’t always have. The Scientific Meal Planner is designed to do the heavy lifting for you. This meal planning app is designed to make healthy eating easy and accessible. With a free base plan and convenient features for premium users, I hope you’ll try it out. If you love it, consider upgrading to premium to help you really bring those health goals to fruition.