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.
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.
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!
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.
Unless you also achieve a caloric deficit.
edit: opposite words day
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.
From what I've heard reported 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.
act 2: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/259/t...
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.
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.
papa_bear: if you integrated this with a service like Instacart, I can only imagine how much money you could make.
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?
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.
I'm going to send everyone I know to this site.
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!
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.
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.
Edit: Also awesome job :) I will be checking this out!
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.
Definitely going to work on a mobile version of the site soon!
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.
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.
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.
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,
Guinness Draught: 128
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.
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.
I'm looking forward to trying this site and seeing if it works for me. Thanks!
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
In fact it's worse than that; it's a multi-objective optimisation problem if you care about macro ratios and micronutrients.
Something like an account link would be awesome, but would some serious complexity to my algorithm. Definitely something to shoot for though.
Breakfast: Soylent, 20 oz.
Lunch: Soylent, 20 oz.
Dinner: Soylent, 20 oz.
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.
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".
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.
But maybe it's also linked to the fact that you're asking for 3400 calories? 2500 seems more reasonable for an adult male.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
As far as what I asked for, as I replied to another commenter, I let the website decide what my caloric intake should be, and I selected "stay at my current weight".
And the Nutrition guide's recommended protein level is insanely high.
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.
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.
Because you didn't have enough confounding variables already. :P
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.
But yeah, it would be good if the site would take the GI index of ingredients into account.
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%.
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.
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.
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.
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. :)
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.
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.
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?
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).
(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.
Otherwise, it's pretty rad. I like it a lot!
The creator is drastically underestimating how much removing this pain point is worth to people.
There's also the potential to make this B2B with nutritionists/personal trainers/etc, so your point isn't lost in any case.
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...
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!
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.
Edit: It's better if the guide is more general, than american-centric.
There is so much noise on this topic. Oh and not too American biased would be great as well.
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?"
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.
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
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:
Again, great job, best of luck!
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.
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.
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!
- 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.
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!
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.
Does this hold true if your registered? It becomes quite useless if one segment of the site overrides another.
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?
Also, I agree with others that you predict user behavior very well.
Still, great idea and effort so far.
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.
Good Job Papa_bear
Since EatThisMuch already shows the micronutrients per meal, is there a way you could show daily deficiencies as well?
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.
The fact that I can calculate a vegan meal with 3500 calories, and enough protein for under $5 a day is just jaw dropping.
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?)
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)
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
(Even better would be if I could import Livestrong or MyFitnesspal historic data)
FWIW: Withings has an API.
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.
I freaking love this thing.
Not two things that usually go together!
I imagine if you got the right type of savory sausage, it'd be delicious.
You don’t even have to be a paying member; if you skip the payment step, you can still log in.
Not sure people are going to pay for this, it's possible though.
I'm a picky eater, and have been told dozens of times to make a grocery list. Thanks.
* I work in the hpcloud team. this post does not reflect HP's needs/opinions.