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Menu Planner -- with nutritional info?

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  • Menu Planner -- with nutritional info?

    Hi all, this is my first post in the forums here at MDA and I'm really hoping one of you whip-smart people can help me with suggestions.

    I've spent several hours looking for a menu planner that includes nutritional data, with no luck so far. I found several menu planners but they either don't offer any nutritional info or they only count total calories. I did find one website that looked really promising so I signed up, only to find out that I have to build my menus using pre-designed recipes from their collection -- I couldn't add just an egg or a tablespoon of nuts, so forget it!

    I know there are several calorie-tracker websites (fatsecret, fitday) that allow me to enter what I've already eaten, which theoretically could be used to plan one day's menu at a time but there's two problems -- 1) I wouldn't be able to use my accounts for actually tracking what I ate or I'd have to create another account (and another email account, etc) to do this which is too complicated and 2) it's not an ideal setup for what I need in terms of planning a week's (or a month's) worth of meals. I would really like to find software or a website that's designed & organized for nutritional planning -- i.e. creating a week's worth of meals, info on the nutritional content of each food or meal, printer friendly options, easy to add and remove items so I can play around quickly to see how the totals change, etc.

    If anyone has any ideas I sure would appreciate it, thanks! Free would be great but I'm willing to pay for software if it's well designed. I just need something that's got a good user interface and has an extensive database of foods & nutrition facts but is easy to use!

  • #2
    Welcome Sohana

    I would love to help but I am way too lazy to plan.
    Ancestral Health Info

    I design websites and blogs for a living. If you would like a blog or website designed by someone who understands Primal, see my web page.

    Primal Blueprint Explorer My blog for people who are not into the Grok thing. Since starting the blog, I have moved close to being Archevore instead of Primal. But Mark's Daily Apple is still the best source of information about living an ancestral lifestyle.


    • #3
      Yeah welcome...

      Think you already nix'd my thought. Put it in a nutrition tracker website/app and overwrite plan with actual after eaten. Don't know of any software. Personally I'd probably just make a spreadsheet and use the nutrition tracking sites for the nutrient info if unavailable. + Google docs = FREE


      • #4
        Nutrition Data tracks and analyzes a ton of nutrients, but you cannot use it as a menu diary. Would be good for planning, though. Also you can create and analyze recipes. You must sign up, but it's free (at least, i don't remember paying anything).
        Started PB late 2008, lost 50 lbs by late 2009. Have been plateaued, but that thing may just be biting the dust: more on that later.


        • #5
          Personally unless you are a peak athlete I wouldn't worry about tracking and analyising the data - just stick to unprocessed meat, fish, eggs, berries and low starch veggies for a couple of weeks. Eat as much as you want then just tweak that depending on the results you've got. One of the key things of primal is to reduce the stress, relax and have fun and I personally can't see how worrying about every single calorie and fat gram can help with that.

          After saying that an easy way round the issue would be to work a week behind dates wise - that way you enter all the foods you intend to eat next Monday, this Monday etc and of course this Mondays food would actually be found under last Mondays dates. Fit Day is free and I'd have thought that would work.
          1st June 11 to 30st Aug 11 - 36lb removed in 13 weeks
          Messed about on and off for the rest of the year

          June 2012 - Had the practice - now time to do it for real


          • #6
            I use Fitday and although I don't do a month ahead, I do several days and then overwrite it with the actuals.


            • #7
              I'm too lazy to worry about menu planning. I've found with Primal that a fairly narrow range of foods and meals can be quite satisfying so I just tracked for a week to see where I was.

              I occasionally go back to Fitday just to make sure that I'm on the right track.
              Newcomers: If you haven't read the book, at least read this thread ... and all the links!

              Jan. 1, 2011: 186.6 lbs PBSW Mar. 1, 2011: 175.8 lbs
              CW: 146.8 lbs
              GW 140 lbs
              A proud member of PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals


              • #8
                I use, and the only complaint I have is that it's a pain in the butt to add your own foods. But they also have a pretty massive database. I haven't seen any sites that offer meal planning with anything more than calories, but I'm missing the Planning Gene, so I haven't really been looking.


                • #9
                  Thanks everyone, I appreciate all the suggestions! I realize that eating Primal can be a simple affair and I'm sure I won't need all the planning tools once it becomes habit to eat this way, but right now it's a steep learning curve, especially compared to how we've been approaching food. I really need some feedback to keep me on course and unlearn what I thought I knew. After tracking my food diary for a few days I'm pretty shocked about what I didn't know about my diet! I want to keep my carbs under 100g a day but had only a sketch of an idea about what that would involve. I came to the conclusion that I need to brush up on the nutrient content of foods in general and meal planning is helping me do that pretty quickly.

                  In case anyone else comes across this thread in the future looking for something similar, here's what I've learned: I finally found the programs I've been looking for with the search keywords "recipe planner". There are several free versions that offer nutritional analysis (yay!) but they aren't as intuitive as I hoped (have to manually link each ingredient to the USDA nutrient database). Looks like some of the pricier paid versions do this automatically but for now I've decided to use the free services of to plug in my recipes and print out a little fact sheet about each. It's not the perfect solution but close enough and the easiest/fastest way I've tried so far. In this way we're building a little family cookbook which includes the nutrient content (and I love the downloadable fact label the site offers). I also like the idea of using the food journals to plan ahead for a week and then overwriting it day by day with what I actually eat and may try that. Thanks again everyone!


                  • #10
                    I have a sparkpeople account, but I rarely use the tracker anymore because it is no longer helpful. But it was initially. When you set up the account, you can turn off the automatic menus (and please do, because they are horrid!) ***Warning!*** Sparkpeople "experts" are exceptionally hostile to Paleo/Primal and they have v*gan trolls who will report you at every step if you post on the main message boards or on certain teams. Many folks have switched over to Livestrong and avoid sparkpeople like the plague. So, use at your own risk, knowing that they may raise your cortisol levels.


                    • #11
             has a meal planner you might be interested in trying, though you have to subscribe to make use of that feature. There's a pretty wide database of foods and ingredients, and adding foods/recipes is easy if you don't see what you're looking for.