This was my typical work day a year ago:
- Grab a bowl of cereal or whatever there is in the fridge for breakfast.
- Run to the subway and grab a coffee on my way to work.
- A bagel with cream cheese, a shawarma, a muffin or whatever I could find at lunch. This would coincide with my third cup of coffee of the day. Other times, I went to a restaurant for a business meeting and this would be my main meal of the day.
- Go to a networking evening event and eat whatever they have. Pretzels, beers, coffee, chips, you name it. If there is no event, I would otherwise pick up a hefty meal from a neighboring restaurant on my way home.
Repeat this five days a week and you have a recipe for disaster. It is a diet composed of processed foods, refined carbs and inflammatory foods that lead to obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, or worse.
The sad state of affairs prompted me to get Mealime, a free app available on Android and iPhone. It is also available on the web, but this 9 months review only covers the mobile app.
I find Mealime is an excellent meal and nutrition planner. Akin to having a training plan, meal planning allows you to have consistent nutrition that you can easily track, and improve later on. This is good for those with serious athletic goals, who want to have good health or those who have chronic diseases.
Without meal planning, you are more likely to improvise, eat out, and deviate from health goals. It also makes food tracking difficult. Who would wish to list all ingredients in their food if every meal was different? No one.
How it works
Mealime asks for your food preferences on setup. Classics is for most people. Low Carb means limited glucides and instead more healthy fats. Vegetarian is zero meat. There is also Paleo, Pesceterian and Flexitarian, options I didn’t know about.
My goal was to control blood sugar and insulin levels so I chose low carb.
After choosing a menu type, it then asks you how many meals you wish to prepare.
The app then shows a summary of ingredients. I find this very practical when doing groceries.
Hey, we are cooking!
Prior to Mealime, my cooking skills were limited to basic omelettes or making batches of kitchen breasts. Naturally, I was apprehensive. Disaster, anyone?
I was positively surprised to find that Mealime dishes are not difficult to make. They take on average 40 minutes to make and never require any special talent or instruments. It takes a good knife, a pan and an oven. And a smile
Easy Meal Planning for the week
I do groceries on weekends, then cook a Mealime dish in the evening. I have a delicious dinner and put the rest in containers. They usually last 3 days, and usually I cook again mid-week.
If we take the baseline of 40 minutes for meal preparation, that means every dish takes me 40 / 7 ~ 6 minutes to make. Surely beats going to a take-out restaurant!
If you favorite a dish, it is always available through a shortcut. For instance, I often make wild atlantic salmon with zucchini and carrots. You can then add the recipe in MyFitnessPal, which means food tracking takes only a few seconds. It’s a nice streamlined process to take control of your nutrition intake.
By following the low carb option, and commuting by bike, I lost a lot of weight in a few months (~7kgs). The loss was dramatic and many friends and acquittances could not believe it.
The biggest benefit I find however is great overall energy, eating more vegetables, and learning to appreciate good food cooked at home. This is a life skill I underestimated previously and I am glad Mealime helped.
It also makes my life easy, and lets me invest my time elsewhere.
A Perfect App?
I have not used other food apps so I can’t say on how it compares to other competitors. I can say however Mealime is great for those with limited time and want to cook healthy meals. It provides nutritious fuel for my running and daily work and can wholly recommend it. Download it and give it a go !