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Show HN: Automatic weekly meal planner, also plans your leftovers (eatthismuch.com)
747 points by papa_bear on May 1, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 288 comments



I am surprised and delighted by this site!

I cannot stress enough how well this nailed the contingencies that may come up when I was just using this. My first thought, I actually don't know how many calories I should eat--BAM there is a button that helps me generate it. What if I want to lose weight? BAM! Button for that option.

Then I see the meals generated and I think, well, I'm a vegetarian so this chicken won't work, but then BAM I see the vegetarian button.

You've got a real knack for thinking like your users.


Haha awesome, thanks! I spent a lot of time trying to pander to different eating styles, and some definitely work better with my algorithm than others. Low carb is especially rocky since I have relatively few foods/recipes with absolutely no carbs.


Low carb doesn't mean no carb. If you limit meals to 5-10 grams of carbs or less, most low carbers would be happy. [1]

One of the more extreme low carb diets, the Atkins Induction Phase, allowed up to 20 grams per day. Other diets such as keto or The Zone allow 50-100 grams.

[1] http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nutrition/how-many-carbohyd...


True, but it still limits the food variety a lot. Since my recipe database isn't huge to begin with, the meals start looking stale much sooner. I'm working on expanding the recipe database a lot, so hopefully it won't be a big problem for too much longer.


Actually, its well known that low-carb diets have limited food choices. For instance, in Tim Ferriss' Four-Hour Body book, he goes so far as to suggest you eat the same 3 meals every day. It actually makes it easier if you just repeat the same meals over and over and over.

But of course, "the same meal over and over" is counter to the purpose of your web site, which is to suggest new meals. Great job, and I wish you success!


I can't speak for others, but try to keep my net carbs around 100g/day ... Would maybe want an option to set your daily limits (probably 100/day as a default)


That already seems to be there. I see a "target micronutrients" setting, which lets me set the min / max of carbs / fats / proteins for each day.


Perhaps you can rely on some crowdsourcing for that?


That's a bit of a misnomer: diets like Keto don't "allow" set amounts of carbs, they require you to find your own carb limit to stay in ketosis.

If you constantly blow out of ketosis, you'll literally accomplish nothing with the diet.

Hence why keto-stix and other indicators are important- no one value works for everyone.

I had to eat less than 25g/day to maintain the keto diet.


> If you constantly blow out of ketosis, you'll literally accomplish nothing with the diet.

Unless you also achieve a caloric deficit.

edit: opposite words day


I think we're in agreement. Every person is slightly different in how they react to carbs, including how bad your insulin resistance has gotten and quickly your insulin reacts to blood sugar. We all know its about stopping insulin from being released ultimately.


+1 on Low carb isn't no carb. I had fantastic results on low carbs. I tried no carb once and it really will fk with your brain. Don't try no carbs!!!


> I tried no carb once and it really will fk with your brain.

Interesting. For how long?

I have seen people fast (i.e. no calories, but water and minerals etc) for two weeks, without too much messed up brains.


Aye

From what I've heard reported[1] about periods of extreme caloric restriction is that it takes the body around 4 days or so to start dealing with the lack of carbohydrates. Until that point the person feels tired, grumpy, headachy, out of sorts, hungry.

[1]act 2: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/259/t...


I've done extremely low carb diets a couple of times, and yes there is a 3-4 day period while your brain adjusts to running on ketones instead of glucose. Foggy brain for sure.


How long has the service been around for, and how did you get traction? You have quite a lot of Twitter and Facebook followers/fans.


It started out as Swole.me (http://www.swole.me) a little over two years ago, and then I rebranded it once the algorithm was good enough to suggest things a normal, well adjusted person might eat (as opposed to a meal of 2 tbsp peanut butter + 1 chicken breast). My guess is that the idea and execution was novel enough to get it a decent amount of attention.


I had checked out Swole.me a couple months ago when I was looking to start lifting again and was looking for a way to get eating suggestions/tracking.

I found your site and it was really really awesome back then, I was impressed! I'm glad to see you're still working on it. I think you're hitting on something really valuable here.

Thank you for your work and good luck with it moving forward.


Nice pivot. I had the same idea myself about two years ago, and saw swole.me but thought it looked way to focussed on weight training users for a general audience. This looks much more widely useful.


Wow, I was just thinking about swole.me the other day while I was mirin my gainz at the gym. Cool to see it become something more!


Going to the gym and running into buff dudes who were talking about swole.me was one of my proudest moments.


I had sort of the opposite experience: my preferences aren't possible to indicate in the interface at all. I don't have "formal" preferences: I don't really care whether something is lamb or beef or chicken or pork or whatever. And I'm not interested in fad diets like Keto or Scientology or Paleo.

Instead, I want my food to taste good while fitting into nutritional/budget constraints. What "tastes good" means varies, but in my case, I like generally strong-flavored foods, like spicy foods or garlicky foods.

There are a whole pile of ways to satisfy that. I like Greek food, I like Mexican food, I like Arab food, I like Indian food, and several other styles besides. But I don't like bland food. Most of what this tool generates is weird bland stuff, and I can't find any way to tell it to stop doing that.


Adding spices shouldn't change the nutritions too much. But I see what you mean---and I hope the author will take your comment to heart.


I've got a beta of a recipe search engine I've been working on that does exactly that. I can link you if you're interested.


Yeah, this is absolutely amazing.

papa_bear: if you integrated this with a service like Instacart, I can only imagine how much money you could make.


I think it depends.. instacart is SF based, and there are a lot more people in the world.


I had the exact same experience. Everything that was even remotely confusing had an explanatory link. How active am I? Link. What is 14% body fat? Link (to pictures!). That's great UX.


Was just about to write the same comment, but don't feel an upvote is enough. Great work on the ux, and the help texts answered my questions spot on.

Great job :)

Edit: And it remembered my entered values when i accidentally left the page!

Edit again: To add some constructive: I'm not to good at ounces, oz and cups, would it be possible to add an option for using the metric system?


At the top of the options page there's a checkbox for metric units. The next time you regenerate the meal plan, most things should be in metric units.


In the not sure button, after selecting "metric" It still talks about calories after clicking "calculate".


Can your please add "oz" and "cup" to your translate todo list? :-)


I agree! I had all those same reactions when I wanted different things. This site is actually super useful and friendly. Nice work :)

I also agree with other people's want for a like/don't like suggester. I know that takes a ton of work, but I would pay for a service that offers up recipes and mealplans for me based on my feedback.


How much body fat do I have? BAM an array of pictures to compare to. Simply fucking brilliant UX.

I'm going to send everyone I know to this site.


I registered especially to express that. Best Ux I'v ever had.


Oh wow. Simply wow. I've wanted this without knowing I've wanted it.

This probably sounds sad but the effort and potential anxiety required in trying to pick the right foods and what I might want to eat often means I just get lazy and eat out instead. A case where having an astounding number of options often leaves one wanting to pick none of the above.

This is a great idea.

Edit: Mobile website please!


I actually have wanted this for a long time, and seriously considered making it myself. I'm much happier that someone else did this.

You have one user already.

I love that you have presets for Atkins/Keto, and that you allow me to remove certain types of items like beef and pork. That has been sorely missing from others I've seen like this.

If you integrate this with Instacart, I would love you forever.


I asked them about some kind of integration when I first launched, but because I had a pretty small userbase they dropped the conversation after a couple emails. Now that it's grown, maybe I'll prod them again.


They get pinged to integrate pretty often, and they're really busy guys. Don't feel bad, and don't give up!


Perhaps consider Postmates (http://postmates.com/). They deliver a broad range of goods in SF and Seattle.

Disclaimer - my friend works there.

First pass impression: Good balance between meal-generation and customization. For me, I would lock in breakfast and one lunch, likely varying a late lunch and/or dinner. Your comment below about locking in a couple beers (say every Thurs or Fri happy hour) is a great example of how to utilize this in a modern lifestyle.

Keep up the good work.


/Disclaimer/Disclosure/ - HN needs an app for that!


I actually started building something like this several years ago, also looking to get into pricing info and historical data, but killed it when trying to figure out how to source the data.

Edit: Also awesome job :) I will be checking this out!


For the nutrition component at least, the USDA has a very messy, difficult to navigate, but still quite useful database of nutritional information for almost every possible ingredient. And there are several sources of structured recipe data available online. The tricky part is mapping recipe line items and preparation instructions onto the USDA data set, but once you figure that out you can get a pretty decent approximation of the caloric breakdown and nutrient contents of any given recipe.


At least the USDA provides database dumps (http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/12354500/Data/SR2...). Unfortunately, it comes with a 128 page guide on how to actually parse it into something useful.


That's been my experiance with pretty much every govt DB that I have used. Especially the Education Stats. Fuck that.


1) It's so much better than not providing it at all.

2) People have been working to improve that stuff since forever, and are continuing to work on improving it. Especially now that Big Data is The Thing and a lot of groups are looking into making government data accessible.


I'm the same way with the food picking anxiety, except I'm also really stingy at the same time so I'll often be too lazy to eat anything at all. That was the main inspiration for starting on a diet generator - to make it easier for me to gain weight.

Definitely going to work on a mobile version of the site soon!


The site doesn't seem to include drinks. Do you plan on adding them?


I had it suggesting whole milk for a while, but a lot of people complained that it was giving them too much whole milk so I just removed it entirely. My algorithm doesn't give any special treatment to drinks, but maybe it should to output something more realistic looking.

I use the site myself, and the way I handle drinks is with the "locking" feature (via the lock icon next to a food or meal). If I know I'm going to be drinking a lot one night, I'll lock in a few beers from the "Add a dish" menu and regenerate the plan - the algorithm will fill in the rest of the plan to match the nutrition constraints, making it kindof like an autocomplete for your diet.


Ohh, thanks for the tip, I hadn’t noticed the ‘Add dish’ button. From there, you can search for milk in the ‘Basic foods’ section. Makes sense that I should manually add it, instead of having my drinks planned out.

But what happens if I end up drinking or eating more than was planned? Can I go back and edit the menu the day after? Also, does the site track calorie intake and progress over time?

I’ve used Livestrong’s MyPlate calorie tracker for quite some time, in which I would record my caloric intake every day. Of course, that’s after the fact, so it’s a different approach to minding calories than what your site does.


Great service! Easily worth my $9/mo. "I use the site myself" - Eating your own dog food? (Pun, Pun, Pun)


Ohh, I am going to have to take advantage of that. I go through tons of energy drinks in a day. I guess I could classify them as "snack".


The name of the site is Eat this much ;)

But indeed, for the site to plan a person’s total caloric intake, it really should include popular liquids (it does plan shakes and smoothies).

Coffee and tea contain very little calories, but once you add milk and sugar (including syrups), it really adds up fast. Sodas and energy drinks are packed with calories.

If you like to drink, alcoholic beverages really should be accounted for. One gram of pure alcohol contains 7 kcalories. A 12 oz beer contains about 150 kcalories.[1]

[1] http://getdrunknotfat.com/


"A 12 oz beer contains about 300 kcalories."

That's an exaggeration. Here are a few mainstream beers I looked up on that site-

Sam Adams Boston Lager: 175, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale: 175, PBR: 144, Guinness Draught: 128


You’re right, thanks. Fixed.

It does mean that if you drink 5 pints during a night on the town, you ingest 1100 kcalories. For me, that would mean half of my recommended daily caloric intake.


There's a saying in German that five beers (pints) are a meal. But you have to have a sixth beer, because you can't have a meal without a beer.


I lived with a German guy while he was working on his PhD - this statement brought back many wonderful memories!! Thanks for that - I'm going to have to call him and see if he wants to go out for dinner!!! :)


If you're a regular craft beer drinker, the rule of thumb I use for a 12oz is 30 calories per % abv (or 40 calories for a pint).


Actually it recommended a smoothie for me. That counts as a drink I guess :)


> [...] to make it easier for me to gain weight.

Always have a jar of peanut butter handy, and boiled eggs on hand, too. This way, you'll never have an excuse not to eat.


keeping around food i dont want to eat isnt going to help


Adapt according to preferences.


Wow -- you've described my situation to a T. Except that you decided to do something about it.

I'm looking forward to trying this site and seeing if it works for me. Thanks!


This is great, and I love it for the same reasons you built it for, thank you!


I've been using this service since it was called swole.me -- incredible menu options and intuitive design. I'm able to track my macronutrients down to the gram and have plans based on workout or rest days. Anyone adhering to keto/paleo/leangains should check this out.


Me too! And I love how well done the site is, both usability wise and conceptually.

Next step: not sure how the health metrics would change, but you can have "order from <restaurant>" or "buy from <grocery store>" button, so lazy people like me know where to get the food from.

Next next step: directions for recipe? Most of the dishes looks awesome, but (maybe because I was not raised in US) I don't know how to prepare/cook them.


The servers are getting hammered right now! If you sign up, the automatic weekly planner starts running right away to make a week of meal plans for you, but it's running very slowly at the moment - sorry about that, and if you give it a couple minutes, it should send you an email when it's done. You can use the in-browser planner to make plans more quickly, but they won't have the leftovers planned out from day to day.


Don't be embarrassed; HN has taken down far simpler, yet more famous sites than yours. I am very impressed it is still standing at all.


Yeah. I just bookmarked it for later, because this has me really excited! Good luck!


simple and effective! good luck.


The idea didn't really seem that exciting to me, but the execution of this is very impressive indeed. I'm going to be using this to demonstrate what I mean by an effective user interface.

The abstraction of complexity until the very moment its needed is masterful here. Its simple right up until you need it to be complicated. Hat is off.


Hah, thanks! I'm flattered. You're right that the idea isn't for everyone - it takes a special level of laziness to want to be told what to make for every meal.


replying here since I can't figure out how to PM.. On the food scale under How-To Guide you spelled 'suspicion' incorrectly. BTW, love the idea! Plan on digging into it when I get home this evening! Just wanted to give you a heads up on that spelling :)


This is pretty marvelous. I have always wanted to create something like this, but the details have always seemed daunting to me. I couldn't think of a way of merging recipes I liked with nutritional facts and then assembling building blocks for meal plans automatically without a ton of manual labor in data entry. Are these recipes crowdsourced? Have you just been taking copious nutritional notes for a while? If you figured out a way to integrate something like Epicurious or AllRecipes complete with pictures and reviews, it would make using this site so much more fun. Right now it feels mechanical which is great for people who see food as just fuel intake. But for me food is more than just fuel, its an experience meant to be enjoyed and savored.


You're right that there's a lot of work before having even something basically functional - the first version of the site only had about 50 foods to pick from that I entered by hand, all very basic (e.g. ground beef, avocado), and it would throw them at you in a random combination. Then I found the USDA food database, but their formatting is a mess and I spent a couple weeks cleaning it up by hand. The recipes are almost all crowdsourced, and it's probably one of the site's weakest points right now since there aren't a ton of them.

I'd definitely like to integrate with a larger recipe site, but the biggest issue is matching their ingredients to the USDA foods to accurately guess the nutrition - tying it to individual foods rather than just importing the recipe's nutrition makes it easy for users to modify the recipes if they want. I'm working on some stuff to make it happen though, so hopefully soon!


As a fitness nut and a bit of a foodie, I love this site, but I'm glad you recognize that the recipe database leaves much to be desired.

With almost every nutrition app or website I've seen, there's such a ridiculous emphasis on prepackaged foods or sources like restaurants. I'd be super pleased if you could pull of nutrition calculations based off of individual foods within a recipe.

All in all, though, this is fantastic. I'm going to definitely give a try.


I haven't dug too much into it, but I met the guys from [Nutribu](http://nutribu.com/) about a month ago. They are doing some cool stuff with collecting nutritional information and supplying an API. It might be worth it to check it out and see if it's something that could be useful to you or not.


Could you use wolfram alpha to calculate nutritional info? I'm not sure about their usage policies though...


I wouldn't say the site isn't basically functional. It seems like it's improved a lot since I first tried it out (it recommended I eat olive oil, and just olive oil, for lunch). Now it comes up with some interesting meal ideas I wouldn't have thought of myself.


I've tried to make a meal planner that used linear programming to ensure that I got all of the needed nutrients and minimized calories, but it didn't work out. It really liked to suggest moose meat and some insanely healthful fruit from Argentina. It also suggested I drink 642 cups of coffee a day, I guess because coffee has some trace amount of whatever nutrient everything else lacked.

It was also difficult to figure out exactly how much of each nutrient I needed. There is no one list that has all of the nutrients, and different lists that cover different nutrients suggest different amounts of the nutrients that intersect the lists.


Soylent Orange. :) Although I haven't min maxed the ratios yet. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjA38cUd4BZBdGZ...


How did you solve your LP? I think the issue might be due to an extreme point solution from simplex-type methods. Interior point methods might give you something different. Have you tried that?


To be honest, I don't remember... I think I was using a Linux command-line LP solver.


I'm pretty sure that meal planning is a packing problem, so it can't really be "solved".

In fact it's worse than that; it's a multi-objective optimisation problem if you care about macro ratios and micronutrients.


In LP, you can tell it that your variables must be greater than or less than certain values, so my intention was to keep each nutrient between the recommended minimums and maximums.


One thing that would be really useful would be a "family mode". My wife and I are currently working out together. I want to gain weight, she wants to lose or maintain weight while losing fat and gaining muscle. We always eat together and it's unrealistic for us to cook two different meals every time. Ideally it could propose a meal for two at least for the main 3 meals and tell us the proportion of the meal that she should be eating (since the composition will probably be similar, just the quantity will differ).


I added the family meal planning feature a few days ago, but it's more simple than what you're asking - it basically just scales up that meal X times in your grocery list, so the rest of your family is forced to eat whatever random meals my site spits out :-)

Something like an account link would be awesome, but would some serious complexity to my algorithm. Definitely something to shoot for though.


That 'family mode' is a good start, but to be really useful it would be awesome to be able to specify different constraints/preferences/etc per family member, and yet have the resulting recipes work (or be modifiable) for the entire family. For example, the recipe book The Adaptable Feast is great for families that have a mix of vegetarians/vegans/omnivores. It would be great if your site could handle this type of situation too. Overall, awesome job! :)


You can increase the number of people in the meal settings: http://i.imgur.com/9JOlhCV.png


Really cool! Needs a Rob Rhinehart mode though...

Breakfast: Soylent, 20 oz.

Lunch: Soylent, 20 oz.

Dinner: Soylent, 20 oz.


you totally stole my joke :)


I eat low carb, so I tried customizing for such a diet. Here are my thoughts:

First, huge kudos for allowing me to customize macronutrients that way.

Second, it would be nice to have a "How do you eat?" as the first step. You could have options like "Low calorie", "Low carb", "Paleo", etc. That could pre-set macro-nutrients and food-type checkboxes. The next step could be customization of important features (calories for low-cal, carbs for low-carb, ?? for paleo).

Finally, for my low carb diet, I unchecked the expected: grains, beans, some fruit, some dairy. Then hit generate. I kept getting bacon and pecans. A lot.

Anyway, this is awesome, and I look forward to seeing what it evolves into.


Uh, it has that already. Go back in and fill out the nutrition profile thing, and it'll let you pick 'Paleo' or 'Low Carb/Keto', etc.


It does, but he's right about the abundance of pecans and bacon. Adding more low carb options is one of my top priorities.


The problem with headers that never leave is that you can't easily tell when you wind up scrolled 20% down a page. If you click on "Customize", you are scrolled below. If you click on "Meal Options" (or notice you are scrolled) you get to see it.

My point remains, putting that up front would be more useful. I came really close to ignoring it when I saw calories was the only thing that showed up front and center. I decided to dig deeper since it was a "Show HN".


There's probably a culture clash here but... is this considered a balanced nutritious meal in the US?

http://i.imgur.com/cVpnXJB.png

I'm French, a country that has a certain reputation for eating healthy, and where a meal is typically:

- an "appetizer" (small salad or crudités)

- a main course (typically meat/fish + vegetable/starch)

- cheese & bread

- dessert (often fruit, or rarely something sweet like a slice of cake)

(breakfast is typically cereal with coffee/tea, maybe some fruit)

I'm not a nutritionist, but the recommended meals strike me as very unbalanced.


Yes, it looks like it's picking 3 random "parts of meal" but not necessarily in 3 different categories...

But maybe it's also linked to the fact that you're asking for 3400 calories? 2500 seems more reasonable for an adult male.


I don't know how much calories I need, I gave it my stats (23 yo male, moderately active, 85 kg, 1m 86) and it auto-populated the field for me.


‘Moderately active’ may not mean what you think it does. Farmers and professional athletes are ’moderately active’. People who work at home all day using a computer are ‘sedentary’.

(Given your gender, age, height and weight:) Unless you work out for >4 hours every day, 3500 kcalories is way more than your body uses, so you’re sure to gain weight if you were to ingest that many calories every day. If you have a desk job or if you’re a student, choose ‘sedentary’ in the app. The result will be 2300 kcalories, which is most likely enough for you. On days in which you workout a lot, you can ingest a few hundred kcalories more.


To add to what Samuel_Michon wrote, I'm 38, 103kg at the moment (I'm substantially above averagely muscular, but also somewhat overweight now), 1m 85, and I exercise hard 5 days a week - 1 hour of heavy weights 3-4 times/week, and cardio the rest. I work in an office, so my work day is fairly sedentary. I also have a young son which keeps me more active than I've ever been before during the evenings.

I burn ~2800 kcal/day when I exercise.

This is an estimate based on tracking every meal, and tracking my weight every morning, rather than what I "should" be burning.

Unless you have a very active job, or exercise hard (think stumbling out of the gym) for substantially more than an hour a day, or spend every moment of your spare time being highly active, you're likely not burning 3400 calories.

But really, write down what you eat for a couple of weeks, count the calories, track your weight, then adjust the number of calories to target up/down depending on whether you want to increase/decrease your weight, as there are so many factors that can change what how much you need.


Also, contrary to what you might think, even spending an hour per day in the gym weight lifting is not burning a lot of calories. It won't take you from 2300 calories expended per day to 3400, for instance.

One hour of weight training for a 200 lb man is only 450 calories burned, or a Medium Fries at McDonalds. You have to really be running or other high cardio sports to burn even 1000 calories per hour.

Working out has also been shown to cause people to eat more subconsciously, so those 450 calories burned end up being only 100-200 net calories burned once you've had the protein shake after the hard workout.


Those meals are unreasonable, but it's because you're asking for an unreasonable amount of calories, apparently. The tool can help you calculate your calories (very intelligently, I might add).


The algorithm primarily targets the nutrition constraints that you ask for, with only a few other rules about how meals should be structured. It makes more realistic looking plans (I feel) at lower calorie values, but you're right that the meal plan you posted doesn't look great. It would probably suggest more fruits and vegetables if I required all of the necessary vitamins and minerals to be constraints, but in the interest of algorithm speed, I mostly suggest adding a multivitamin to your diet :-) Definitely not ideal, but adding a few vegetables on your own shouldn't change the nutrition too much if you're watching your calories.

I actually built the first version of the site to make it easier for me to gain weight, and my strategy now is to lock a few cups of whole milk into each meal and then tell it to generate around it, giving me much less to cook.


Cool, thanks for the reply.

As far as what I asked for, as I replied to another commenter[1], I let the website decide what my caloric intake should be, and I selected "stay at my current weight".

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5640663


No, it's a commonly unbalanced US meal. (and is ~1.5 people's worth of calories.) But it doesn' seem do different from your example: meat, vegetable, dairy, starch, sweet.

And the Nutrition guide's recommended protein level is insanely high.


Well in my example, you get 2 servings of vegetable and 2 servings of fruit a day (with potentially 1 or 2 more for breakfast + snack)– here we barely have 2 portions of fruit/vegetable.


Then just add some extra vegetables and fruit, if that's what you want...


I think you're misinterpreting my comment.

My culture and upbringing have given me broad indications on what consists "eating healthily"; here I am seeing a tool made by a citizen of another culture, that claims it will produce healthy meal recommendations.

But the recommendations it gives me are wildly different from my cultural expectations.

All I'm trying to do is understand why there is this discrepancy.


This is a pretty interesting question IMO. I spent 8 years living in Spain where people are convinced that their diet is the healthiest in the world, but by any "modern" standard is a nutritionist's nightmare: often no breakfast and fatty/sugary if you do eat it, tons of coffee, generally extremely high levels of fat including saturated animal fats, very high in salt and alcohol. Nearly all carbs are white and processed, very few vegetables. Breakfast, if eaten, is normally 10am, lunch at 2pm-4pm, and dinner at 9pm-10pm. No-one sleeps 8 hours.

That said, it does have some remediating factors - generally lots of fish and olive oil and (much) smaller portion sizes than the US. Also my cardiologist here in New Zealand said that they have a much lower incidence of heart disease than you would expect given the above, and no-one knows why. Maybe it's genetic, maybe olive oil is better for us than we currently understand.

Interesting stuff.


It's also likely that different environments (sun exposure; humidity; food availability; water availability) have contributed to cultural traditions. That may or may not factor into genetic traits.

Because you didn't have enough confounding variables already. :P


The default (33%/33%/33%) carb/protein/fat split is similar to that proposed by the Zone diet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_diet


I'm guessing most people in Europe would eat (a lot) less fat than 33%.


33% of calories from fat means less than 33% by weight, since it's more calorie dense, and I actually don't doubt that they eat that much. If you've never cooked much French cuisine, there are a lot of cream based sauces...


The site had a nice breakfast suggestion for me: ‘Tofu Scramble’, containing: tofu (14g fat), vegetable oil (14g fat), dijon mustard and low-fat milk. The dish contains 400 kcalories, 260 of those are from fats (that’s 65 percent!).

http://www.eatthismuch.com/recipe/view/tofu-scramble,1565/


I don't want to speak for the site creator, but that seems fine for me as long as other parts of the diet balance it out. Contrary to common American nutritional wisdom, fats are not the root of all evil.


I agree wholeheartedly. My point was that 33% of fats in your diet isn’t hard to accomplish. Also, as far as ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ fats go, aforementioned recipe did quite alright. It’s transfat and saturated fats you have to watch — fat in and of itself is needed for our bodies to function.

However, I wouldn't just eat Tofu Scramble for breakfast. I need complex carbs not to feel hungry soon after. I can do without carbs for dinner, but not for breakfast or lunch. A typical breakfast for me consists of 0% fat Greek yogurt, mixed with oats, linseed, nuts and fresh fruit. That still has plenty of fats, but also carbs.


Ah yeah, interesting feedback, maybe there's some tweaking to be done to take satiety into account.


It’s not so much about feeling satiated, I can be satisfied with just a simple green salad. I choose oats and flax for breakfast because they have a low glycemic index (GI), which means they’re turned into energy over a longer period of time, keeping me from feeling hungry longer.

But yeah, it would be good if the site would take the GI index of ingredients into account.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycemic_index


You’d be surprised how easily you can get 33% of your daily caloric intake from fat.

1 gram of fat equals 9 kcalories, while 1 gram of protein or carbs equals 4 kcalories.

That means if your total caloric intake is 2000, you only need 74 grams of fat to reach 33%.


How can we know if your typical French meal is balanced or not, since you didn't indicate the portion size of any of those foods?


Idk, portion size seems fairly explicit in my post. This picture sums up nicely what a french meal would look like:

http://i.imgur.com/5XRulJK.png

With the appetizer plate topmost, dessert in the middle, main course at the bottom of the picture.

It's also common for hungry/active people to have a second serving of the main course; a third helping would be rare.


How is that a "French" meal? You can eat those types of foods anywhere... I have had many meals that look exactly like that here in the U.S., both cooked at home and out at restaurants.

Don't believe what you read on Reddit, HN, and other websites that hate Americans. Not all Americans eat McDonald's burgers and fries and other crappy processed food for every meal. We are just like anyone else. Some of us (not all) are healthy and eat very balanced and healthy meals, and some of us are in very good shape physically. On the other hand.... some other Americans (not all) are obese, unhealthy, eat bad food. It's a mixture. Not every American is the same. And there is not one "typical American meal" in my opinion.


"Not all Americans eat McDonald's burgers and fries and other crappy processed food for every meal. We are just like anyone else. "

I'm sorry, but the food here in the US is ABSURD. Aside from burgers and fries, there are few places that one can get an _affordable_ healthy meal. Two things jump out at me here: the portions and sodium.

In order to remain somewhat healthy, you have to cook or actively go out of your way and purchase food that turns out to cost more. "It's a mixture." does not accurately describe the US - I do believe it's off-balance here; more folks do consume such food.

I'm originally from Hong Kong, which gives me a slightly different perpective than most, but everything that I eat out in the east: tastes amazing, can be extremely affordable, doesn't make me feel bloated or 'full' when I'm done and is absolutely incredible.


You asked for portion size, I've sent you a picture of what typical portions look like in France.

As far as judging American nutrition, I've lived here for almost 4 years now, so I'm not basing my remarks solely off HN/Reddit/etc. :)


Your responses have been remarkably calm and balanced. Thanks for keeping things civil with multiple people poking and prodding you.


My point is that there is no such thing as "American nutrition". What does that term even mean?


A total lack of portion control.


I have to say I think this is true.

Of course not every single American eats the same. But, probably the best reflection of the "average" American diet is via "mainstream" restaurants (i.e. chains, but not fast food).

Look at places like Chili's, Friday's, Ruby Tuesday, and (gasp) Cheesecake Factory. Their portions are out of control and they are laden with fat and sodium. It is not unusual for a single meal at those places to nearly meet or exceed one's allowance of, calories, etc., for an entire day. And some meals (ex. Just about every entree at Cheesecake) are cartoonishly huge.

It's ridiculous. But, I think that defines the "average" American diet in the sense that these guys are all targeting the mass market. So, what they serve is the product of much research into what people want, and then is constantly being tweaked based on observation.


Let me get this straight: you are looking for healthy, sensible meals at a place called THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY. Are you serious? Read that again and think about it: the name of the place is The Cheesecake Factory. You're trying to say that this restaurant is representative of a person's overall diet in the U.S.? Completely ignoring any other options that offer healthy food? Completely ignoring cooking at home? Completely ignoring the plethora of farmer's markets, grocery stores with amazing fresh produce and lean meats, the growing popularity of the Whole Foods and similar stores throughout the country?

Oh, I see, you don't like to think about these things, because it goes against the "AMERICA IS HORRIBLE" narrative that is so popular on the internet.


So you eat all that twice a day, plus breakfast, plus sometimes seconds of the main? As a Canadian that looks like WAY too much food. Here it would be more common to eat one serving of what you call the main course (where veggies may be replaced by the salad), plus maybe an appetizer/fruit/bread. Desserts usually only special occasions or when you go out to a restaurant.

I wouldn't say that France has a reputation for eating healthy (and no wonder, sheesh), more a reputation for "gourmet" food. Personally I found that the site gave a fairly sane meal plan for a sane calorie range. Whether the site generated it for you or not, surely you realized 3500 kcal is not a sustainable amount for a sedentary person to eat?


This site could make a whole bunch of money if it just put together a shopping cart on Amazon for me and took the referral money.


Good tip.

Australia: Woolworths.com.au Mainland Europe/Asia: Carrefour group. UK/Asia: Tesco group.

One potentially interesting Asian market to consider is Singapore (almost certain supermarket delivery services must exist there due to regionally high income levels and tiny geography, plus it's full of office-dwelling cosmetic-concern types).


I don't see woolworths.com.au having the wherewithall to embrace something like this. Might be worth chatting with someone more "hungry" (sorry, couldn't resist) - e.g. http://www.hellofresh.com.au/


If this hooked up to Woolworths I'd pay way more than $9/mo!


Agreed. Grocery Gateway here in Canada. Every week my food would appear at my door!


As a note to people, http://www.amazongrocer.com/ and http://fresh.amazon.com/ exist.


Amazon fresh seems to only be in Seattle at the moment. :(


NZ: countdown.co.nz


The transition from just entering info in to get a meal plan and an idea of how it works to a paid subscription was a little rough. It didn't carry over any info I already entered, and didn't make it clear I would have to enter a CC for the trial until after I had re-entered everything.

(Nothing wrong with making me enter a CC for the trial, but make it clearer upfront.)

Looks great, and seems to have improved a lot since the last time I saw it here. This has the potential to be a hugely helpful tool and is in a market that's really lacking.


I think the only suggestion I can think of is that the suggested meals should be as simple as possible. Part of the reason why I don't cook as often as I could is that I don't have the time (ok, I don't make it a high priority) to cook every meal. If I could simply slap together a sandwich in the morning for lunch and that would fill me up, then we'd be good, but a lot of these meals take more prep time than I'm willing to put forth.

Otherwise, it's pretty rad. I like it a lot!


If you go into the meal options, click Meal Options in the header, and click "Can't Cook" then it gives meals that are (IMO) really low on prep time.


Ah, cool! Didn't even see that.


A prep time estimate to go with the meals would be a nice feature


I want to pay you $10 a month to be able to use this. Please include a recipe/ingredients list for me to be able to go grocery shopping. Plus give me a weekly list of my meals so I dont have to think about what to cook or eat.


That's exactly what it does, except for $9/mo :-D


Increase the price.


$9 is perfect IMO. It completely removes the decision to buy or not – the psychological difference between $9 and $10 is greater than the numerical difference between 9 and 10.


increase the price

The creator is drastically underestimating how much removing this pain point is worth to people.


How much do you think he should charge? In a world of $8/mo Netflix, people make some pretty harsh value comparisons on services.


I already said 10 for the MVP. But I will pay more for a more robust product. I know a thousand people would. That's a hundred grand without any VC drama. Under the radar.


I know, I was asking the person I replied to, if he thinks ETM is dramatically undercharging. 9->10 is a pretty small difference with a potentially outsized effect on conversion.


Its not small. Say he gets 1000 customers in a month. That's a thousand dollar difference. Now, say he gets one thousand customers per month. It compounds pretty nicely. Just a dollar.


Always have a version that has what seems like just plain stupidly high pricing. Many people wind up getting the majority of their revenue from such an option.


Ah yeah, I remember that from Patio11's Business of Software talk. I was under the impression that that was mostly for B2B SAAS startups, though, largely due to corporate politics and things like SLA requirements, and just generally not caring a whole lot about money. B2C is a whole different ballgame. If I'm wrong, though, I'd really like to know.

There's also the potential to make this B2B with nutritionists/personal trainers/etc, so your point isn't lost in any case.


Never underestimate someone's behavior of wanting the "best".


Absolutely agreed. Having to manage the logistics of groceries while eating healthy can be quite a chore!


Now the next step is to offer prep & delivery for these meal plans in large busy worker markets, like SF, Chicago, Boston, Palo Alto, NYC, etc. Obvious way to monetize. I'd pay $800/month for this.


In Australia there's already a service doing premade meal plans with delivery to a common dropoff point: http://musclemealsdirect.com.au/


This is pretty neat and well executed.

But does the algorithm work on meal combinations that make sense? Two of my generated meals, one was chocolate mousse with a side of bacon & tomatoes, and the next meal was beef stew with a side of fruit salad. Those things may make sense to eat together by raw data, but in all practical sense they sound like pretty terrible meals...


I noticed that as well. You can refresh the meal until it makes some sense, though.


Phenomenal execution! At first, I was thinking "oh not another of these sites", but then I found the various options and features and was floored. I wasn't even in the market for a meal planner, but this may have convinced me otherwise.

My only criticisms are that the hover-overs (such as for the thumbs-up and the lock) take too long and aren't descriptive enough. I think the timer is set to 2s or so? I had already given up on them originally, and then went back to try it again and barely noticed as I moved off it that it had one. Also, there's nothing in the walkthrough that mentions the "like" button....is it supposed to show up on my FB? or it'll just be weighted heavier in the future?

A possible feature (I don't think it has this) would be able to export in calendar(s) format, i.e. I could generate a week's menu and then import it into a calendar app. Just an idea.

Again, well done on the site, and good luck!


Good call. Definitely a 'thing i need', and (having just shelled out my ccard) clearly something willing to pay for. Not sure where to put this feedback so I'll put it here.

Both very minor issues but for what its worth...

- When I switched to metric and put my height in meters/cm the calorie calc went nuts and estimated 7300 kcals. Very confusing to me. Ah I've figured out the cause. I had put 1 meter and 828 cm (shouldve been 82cm). Perhaps cap cm at 100 or put a boundary condition on overall height?

- In New Zealand the 'days' thing doesn't work right (ie its end of the day Thursday here, but its giving me meal plans as if Thursday were tomorrow). Some timezone adjustments/detection would make it all that much more easier to understand.


Well done. Maybe the first Show HN app I've ever sent to family and friends.


It would really help if anybody can link a good guide on basics of nutrition, calories, metabolism and their effects on body, weight. I never cared about these things and I never understood all the calorie calculations on the diet plans or why they should be the way they are. I searched on internet, but these topics are so full of litter. I would appreciate if anyone can link a to genuine nutrition basics.

Edit: It's better if the guide is more general, than american-centric.


Oh yes, this please. Something straightforward, simple and scientific. Possibly exhaustive. I would pay for a quality book like that.

There is so much noise on this topic. Oh and not too American biased would be great as well.


So I started developing something remarkably similar about 4 years ago (in Django, too!). Wrote up a business plan with monetization, p&l, etc. I brought the plan and prototype to a few seed folks for early funding before I admittedly lost interest and moved onto something else.

The hardest technical challenge I had was, knowing there would need to be a ton of recipes in the system to make it truly effective, I had to do an automated intake of recipes from many places. But ingredient normalization got in the way, even with really good regex/etl practices. For instance, a recipe says, "boneless skinless chicken breast".. another says, "skinless boneless chicken breast". Some list the # of breasts. Some list pounds. Some mean the breast is split, some don't. But in order for the nutrition info to be accurate, the normalization process had to be near perfect.

I ended up "buying" the source code to "recipefox" a recipe parsing plugin for firefox (for $100 or something like that) which helped tremendously, but still wasn't good enough for my tastes. I felt like to make it all work, i needed to essentially build a recipe ETL.

The monetization was kind of cool, I felt. Free for users. I felt that companies (food companies, supermarkets, etc) would put coupons for specific brands or specific stores on printed-out shopping lists based on the weekly recipes. i actually got alot of interest from that one from actual supermarkets. Thought that was cool.

Good luck with this. It was a tremendous idea 4 years ago and I always wondered when someone else was going to do it because it just seemed so damn obvious to me.

"I have a gluten free child and a wife on a diet. What should I buy at the grocery store this week and what the hell should I make?"


You're totally right about the pains with ingredients normalization - I've spent at least two months making scripts to scrape recipes, and it will only match the ingredients accurately about 80% of the time, leaving a lot of work in hand curating everything it scrapes. I ended up trying to promote users to enter recipes by offering a month free every time they entered 5 good recipes. I built up a decent recipe database this way, but it does need to be much larger to better target people's tastes.

And I'd love to do the grocery store monetization idea, but trying to form partnerships with the grocery chains always seemed like a daunting time commitment. Maybe I'll send out some feelers this week.


Have you considered using Open Recipes? https://github.com/fictivekin/openrecipes

I saw it on HN a couple weeks ago and it's basically one big project to scrape and index food blog recipes. It doesn't include preparation instructions but it uses schema.org's recipe format, which includes ingredients and other useful things: http://schema.org/Recipe


Yeah, my ratio was about 80% and given the volume of recipes I wanted, that wasn't good enough. So I started coding an normalization solution that would highlight questionable recipes and make it easy to reformat them with structured data, but even that was really hard. It was honestly around that time that I lost interest and ditched the project.


I think this is the best implementation of this kind of site I've used. I see you already include a paleo option and thats great, but as an ibs sufferer I also adhere to the fodmap diet's guidelines and have had a lot of success with it. This diet excludes foods such as garlic which you cannot currently exclude manually unless you block each individual recipe which I have done. It would be great if you gave a fodmap option or even just the ability to exclude these items. Here's further information on the subject:

http://blog.katescarlata.com/fodmaps-basics/

Another interesting take on the paleo side of things is the "perfect health diet" which the creators believe is optimised to help prevent disease, premature aging and the like, but is not strictly paleo. I've found the information covered in their book very interesting and I recommend their site for more information:

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/the-diet/

Again, great job, best of luck!


Is there a way to choose non-USA type of meals? I mean, in South America, Spain and other parts of the world breakfast means coffee and cereal, or toast with jam, cookies, fruits or croissants. And it's a light meal. Lunch is a strong one course meal, "tea" is a meal (usually with no tea involved), and dinner is the usual.


I really wouldn't bother starting down the road of trying to classify meal other than breakfast by name.


K this app is something i've been thinking about making because I really want it. So feel free to charge me money if it means you can spend more time adding cool features.

here's what i'd like:

* You generate about 90% stuff alright, but that extra 10% is hard, I found myself hitting refresh many times. Can you give me a netflix style like it or not which will try to make better guesses?

* Can you hook it in with fit bit? They've already automated a lot of the information you're asking for. It might be nice to receive an email "Hey you didn't meet your daily goal, maybe this would be a better dinner than the one you planned"

* I'm not sure if i saw this or not, can you plan a week ahead so I can shop on weekends.

* I'd like an API, so I can add my own cool things. For instance on days where I have a lot of meetings I'm usually too exhausted to cook. So i'd like to plan easier meals.


Thanks for the suggestions! There's a lot I want to do with more intelligent recipe suggestions based on food taste, and hopefully I'll get around to it within a few months. Same for the fit bit stuff - there's a lot I can work on to make the whole thing more reactive to your daily activity.

You can plan a week ahead as a subscriber - the site will automatically send you 7 meal plans and a grocery list the day before your grocery shopping day, whatever you set that to be. And I may work on an API if I have time, but you can enter your own custom foods and recipes if you sign up. I don't make if obvious, but if you sign up and bail out after the email/password step, you can still use a basic free account to enter recipes and foods and things.


Seconded. An API would really be appreciated. I have some really cool ideas for things I can probably do with this service as well.


For me the ability to shop on the weekends would make using this easier.


In the signup process, you can set any day of the week to be your grocery shopping day. It'll send you the email the day before in case you want to make any edits, and then the meal plans start the day after.


All this needs is a button on the generated grocery list to have them delivered to your door. Partner with TaskRabbit, InstaCart, Safeway (I believe they do free deliveries for anything over $40), etc.

This is absolutely amazing (like many others are saying, I've been wanting something like this for years), but if delivery were added, I'd never have to worry about the hassle that is shopping and meal planning again! First world problems I know, but this is actually a pain point for me because of work hours.

Also, I'm SO happy you decided to charge for this from day 1. I'm most definitely subscribing and I now won't worry this amazing service will go away!


Charge $10/mo for it and shoo the investors away as your money comes pouring in.


This is great, and really impressive. There's a couple minor things I'm looking for, in addition to all the things I looked for and found:

- A 'regenerate all meals' button. Having generated, but then tweaked the meal options for every day, it seems I have to load & regenerate each day in turn?

- Ability to customize frequency of automatic emails. I see that I can manually email a calendar range's plan, but I do most of my grocery shopping online, which incurs a delivery charge (and needs me to hang around for that delivery). I'd prefer to book up a couple weeks in advance, even if it means figuring out what I'll do about perishables.


In your account page there's a "Reset meal plans" button, but it's more like letting you run through the signup process again - it will nuke any edits you've made to your templates to match what you put in the signup form. And I didn't think anyone would want to plan more than a week in advance, but I'll definitely consider it.


Hey man, this is amazing! You just gained a subscriber! :)

It would be really good if you had a way to choose certain recipes to available only to certain meals of the day.

This way you could find recipes on the public repository or create one yourself and add to the "list of possible combinations".

I also think that the "like" on each Meal of the day should make the combination of recipes in that meal to be "bundled" and be selectable/randomizable from the ones you already liked , so you can basically open the website everyday and choose the meals you wanna have today.

A "Daily Shopping List" button, or a "Shop for the next X days" would not be bad at all either!


Thank you for charging for this service. I am tired of sites that turn the user into the product, and will gladly pay $9/month for this if it will make eating easier and simpler (and help me become healthier).


Could use a bit more separation of ingredients, cream and sour cream should not share the same selection. Creams would great in many sauces and have a completely different effect than sour creams.

Fish selections might want to expand the number of white fishes listed. Interestingly enough some recipes given have vegetables not listed as selectable, cucumbers and water melon are two I noticed; they were in same recipe! Perhaps an advanced list of ingredients could be offered that allows for more picky eaters.

Still amazing number of recipes.


there are some bugs that are annoying, if you let the system choose a customize diet based on your profile it ignores your exclusions. Example, I provided weight, age, height, sex, and desire to lose weight. Now recipes offered have items I have not checked.

Does this hold true if your registered? It becomes quite useless if one segment of the site overrides another.


This is fantastic. Thank you for explicitly listing keto, and for allowing to customize the exact amount of macronutrients.

That being said: The custom macronutrient range sliders are a bit unintuitive. I think both range sliders and percentages should be displayed at the same time, and both should be kept in sync.

How can I see exactly which ingredients will go into my meals? I've disabled all fruit, but I still got a meal with melons in it.

Also, I'd like to replace non-fat yoghurt with full-fat yoghurt in my meals. How can I do this?


Some of the recipes call for 0.13 cups or 0.06 cups, etc. I assume you can convert that to other units like tablespoons / teaspoons for the non-metric inclined?


You already received much praise on the service itself, however I wanted to congratulate you having such a clear and short TOS. TOS;DR would be proud of you.


When I set my meal options to only show vegan meals, my recommended protein intake went from at least 101 g to at least 61 g. If anything, being vegan requires me to eat slightly more protein (assuming plant proteins are harder to digest than animal proteins). While it's harder to get protein as a vegan, I don't think that means the protein goal should be lowered.

Also, I agree with others that you predict user behavior very well.


You're totally right - I do lower the protein target mostly to compensate for the fact that I don't have many high protein vegan recipes. Once the database is bigger I'll try to remember to change it back.


This is exactly one of the things where the cultural divide is just too far for me to understand. Do people really plan meals like this in america?


Interesting. I guess the only question that comes to mind is how accurate is the calorie data, which is really what seems to drive this. Accurate calorie data is really hard to come by, unless it's specifically assessed in a lab setting. Ideally you can run a test group that uses the service for a month and weighs in weekly. Would add serious validation.

Still, great idea and effort so far.


Really awesome tool.

Couple of suggestions:

Not sure if it is possible in the current form, but it would be nice if I could specify some ingredients to be used in a given plan. The scenario is that I have picked up some cheap carrots for example and I want to use them soon.

Also would be awesome if there was a seasonal preference setting so that it try to select ingredients that are currently in season such as winter veg etc.


Awesome! I am from India, so pretty much useless for me. Need food locale's. Like Yesterday!!! Be quick about it. And India first, please.


Great idea, fantastically executed. One suggestion or request: I would love to specify from what recipe group or combination of groups each meal should be made up of. For example: Breakfast : Pick something from the cereals group, and a smoothie if it fits Lunch : Sandwich group and salad group Dinner : Mostly meat group, salad group, desert group.


Impressed. As others have said, there is a option for everything that came to my mind (vegetarian here). Good work. Will use this.


Ive been using this app for almost a year now. I know nothing better for planning your diet, its a great tool for a bodybuilder.

Good Job Papa_bear


Awesome- I was considering doing something like this as well. After following the Soylent posts (http://robrhinehart.com/?p=424), I'm interested to know if I'm nutrient deficient.

Since EatThisMuch already shows the micronutrients per meal, is there a way you could show daily deficiencies as well?


I will give you all of my money if you include support for dietary restrictions. I have food allergies and can't consume milk.


You can uncheck milk from the Meal options menu - just click the "Meal options" button on the right side, and a bit down the page there's a big checklist of foods you can filter out of the meal plans.


Well I guess I owe you a lot of money.....


Have you considered parsing the Diabetes guidelines so that you could add an entry for people needing to follow that diet.


OK, I tried this a bit, and while it looks good, it actually sucks.

For example, a pasta dish is generally supposed to have around 500 kcal, while this site lists less than 200 for "canned" pasta with tomato sauce (protip: no one eats canned pasta, except perhaps in the U.S.), and in general the site has no real clue about pasta.

The first fatal problem is that dishes must be divided both by type of preparation/acquisition (fast food, restaurant meal, basic cooking, microwaved food, no preparation, etc.) and by culture, since there dramatic differences in both.

Then it needs to know about how breakfast works in several cultures (in some you only eat "sweet" food, in others you have stuff like sausage and bacon), the concept of appetizer+pasta+meat/fish with side dish+dessert, how the various broad type of dishes (e.g. pasta, pizzas, steak, cakes,, etc.) work and so on.

Finally, it needs focus more on fundamental recipes, since no one is going to prepare anything complicated at home, and restaurants may not offer them or prepare such foods unpredictably, making the nutrient planning ineffective.

As it is, it's unusable unless you want to completely change your eating habits and eat in a highly weird fashion, or perhaps manually enter reasonable food choices.


For the front page demo, I like the method for suggesting the calorie count to input, but I would put a few examples front and centre so it's even easier for people to check it out. e.g., "For Robert who is 205cm and 104kg and reasonably active, try 3,200 calories for a sample menu to see how the process works."


This is exactly what I've always wanted. I used to use nutrition data to count meals but that got tiring and wasn't that amazing. I love how you can calculate the daily cost, which is a huge thing for me.

The fact that I can calculate a vegan meal with 3500 calories, and enough protein for under $5 a day is just jaw dropping.


It would be nice if there were a few more things I could filter out. Like pork and bacon I feel like should be separate categories, I have no interest in using Whey protein powder, and I hate cilantro, but none of these are options to add or remove. Would it be possible to include these in the list?


Sorry I just found the whey powder option, but it just replaced it with a different protein powder. Can I remove protein powder all together?


Looks very comprehensive, with recipes, meal price, and food options. You even thought about vegans. Great job!


This is great! I've seen a couple similar sites but not anything nearly as well executed as this. Good job!


This is awesome! Two features I would love to see are:

1) A calendar, so you could plan out meals for more than one day 2) A way to enter your own meals, so that the generated meals could be planned around the ones you entered (ie. if I had X for breakfast and lunch, what should I make for dinner?)


I'd prefer to see some proven recipes even if they slightly differ in calories and fats from settings. Having salmon, melon and celery in one meal (it generated this recipe) doesn't work, even if it's exactly the requested amount of calories, fats, etc. Otherwise - excellent idea.


This is one of the greatest implementations of a good idea I've ever seen, like really, really good.

By the sounds of it you have plenty of traffic as is, but I'd think /r/loseit and likely several other subreddits would be all over this. (I see you've been mentioned in 2 comments on /r/loseit)


Seriously awesome. I have to say though, you're not charging enough! Find a reason to add another tier!


Impressive, however their recommendations based on age, weight, and such, when your trying to lose weight would do the opposite for me.

I would definitely pay for an mobile version, especially one that could keep recipes locally that I could pop up at a moments notice, as in while in the store.


I was just looking for this kind of information the other day. Is there a way to give it a budget?


At the very bottom of the meal options page you can set a daily price limit.


This is actually really, really useful. Even pulls in the recipes.. Excellent work. claps


I love the idea!

Most weeks I buy way too much food I can consume and just think that I bought too much vs ate too little.

If I was able to be confident that I need to eat ALL of it, I might not under-eat like I have been (trying to gain muscle).

I'll play with it more and let you know what I think as I use it.


I'm going to put a request in because this stuff does my head in slightly, can we have measurements in grams? Not sure how that would work for a 'cup of kale'. I can see myself buying a bunch of American measurements just to use this site. Very very cool.


Absolutely brilliant idea. Also want to praise you for adding in the tool for suggesting calorie consumption--like many others here, I had no idea what to put. Even if the calculated number isn't ideal, that's great user-friendly design.


I've been mulling over this idea for quite a while after moving into a place on my own and wanting to eat healthier. Really excited to start using it. Impressive execution. Best of luck with this! I'm definitely rooting for its success


Nice! I especially like your UI and nutrients display.

I have been working on something (cookingspace.com) that tries to solve a different problem: how to use the ingredients you already have in your kitchen.

My email is in my profile. I would enjoy talking with you.


As others have noted the UX is quite intuitive. You should definitely add more low carb options. Perhaps pairing this up with simple workouts (walk 3 miles), to allow more calorie intake but maintain the overall daily goals.


Strange feature request: I'd love to be able to specify dietary requirements on a per-meal basic. My partner is vegan, so I'll normally cook vegan dinners, but like to get meat into lunch/the occasional breakfast.


Why is it per x meals?

If I still have to think about how much meals I have to make every day, the "auto-pilot" isn't worth THAT much :\

First priority should be on calories a day. After that some fine tuning with the meal count would be nice.


Love the idea of having a personal "Chef" who cares about my health!

One feature idea : you could integrate with one these smart wifi scale and use my daily weight as input. This way you'll have a daily feedback loop.


Exactly. I use a Withings[1] WiFi scale, which integrates with the Weightbot[2] app. I'd love to see its data integrated with a calorie planner. Currently, I use MyFitnessPal for tracking, but I’d ditch it in a heartbeat if this site were to integrate Withings data.

(Even better would be if I could import Livestrong or MyFitnesspal historic data)

FWIW: Withings has an API[3].

[1] http://withings.com/en/scales

[2] http://tapbots.com/software/weightbot/

[3] http://www.withings.com/api


I saw this on reddit /r/fitness about a month ago.

Having tried more than a few of these I was prepared for disappointment.

I was delighted. Excellent tool! It really is that rare thing that you can't wait to tell people about.


Thanks a lot for including vegan meals! Btw, when I generated a vegan meal it included sausages in one of the recipes. Could be vegan sausages, but that should be more clear.


One other thought--you might also want to search a person's geographic area and see if you can find the best deals on the ingredients for recipes :-p But, generally--wow!!!


+1, I try to only eat locally grown produce, which of course means that the offerings are dependent on the seasons. I’d love for the app to take into account my country of residence, what season it is there right now, and then use that information to determine what’s being grown there now.


Please turn this into a company or start charging ASAP. Do not give this awesome tool away for free. Do not sell yourself short. You have created something truly excellent.


Thanks! You can make a single day's meal plan for free to get a taste of the generator, but I actually do charge if you want it to send you a plan every week automatically.


This is awesome. It needs a "vegetarian" or "broke" feature.


It does actually, click on the meal options and set your eating preferences to Vegetarian and then you can limit your daily meal budget to something like $5/day or $10/day.

I freaking love this thing.


+1 for adding custom filtering options (Vegan, Paleo, etc.)


This is awesome! You might also add an option to buy some of the ingredients online :-p (for example, services like Peapod if the person is in that region)


Very impressed. However, I had to laugh at this meal suggestion:

http://imgur.com/tVz5WCp

Not two things that usually go together!


Melon and sausage is something I've never heard of, but melon and prosciutto is actually a very common Italian dish (that's also quite tasty!) [1]

I imagine if you got the right type of savory sausage, it'd be delicious.

[1]:http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/melon-wrapped-...


This a total 1st world problem, but I stress over what to make for dinner way too much. This seems like it would help a lot. At least I cook.


Very, very cool. Amazingly polished, and takes a lot of different dietary needs into account. Thanks for making and sharing!


As a suggestion for a next step or advanced functionality, if there was a way to put in my own recipes or ingredients?


OP answered this elsewhere in the thread: if you sign up, you can add ingredients and recipes.

You don’t even have to be a paying member; if you skip the payment step, you can still log in.


Assuming it does work, this is really cool, but... $9 per month?

Not sure people are going to pay for this, it's possible though.


Connect it to Fresh Direct (and understand the quantities things are actually sold in?) and I'd be in love...


Way cool. Only time I've said that on HN.

I'm a picky eater, and have been told dozens of times to make a grocery list. Thanks.


if it's any help, would love to host the site on hpcloud.com (hp's public cloud). drop me a line if you're interested pratik.jhaveri(at)hp.com. Not saying this is an issue with your hosting provider - but perhaps it could help.

* I work in the hpcloud team. this post does not reflect HP's needs/opinions.


I think part of the problem is getting many times normal traffic and not being provisioned for that :-)


Well done, but my initial trials kept suggesting a diet that was too high in carbs and too low in protein.


this would be awesome if it had an integration with instacart, ie. you send me the groceries every week


Really impressive. Hope to get the Mobile app soon. Any plans for other recipe sites integration?


Hopefully soon! I've talked to a few recipe sites and none have been interested in collaborating directly. I might try to add an option to let users scrape a recipe directly via a url, but I'm not 100% sure about the legality of it.


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