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Building the App: The Future of Meal Prep

About the author

FitMenCook

My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is truly a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and enjoying adequate exercise. By experimenting in the kitchen and openly sharing my meals, I learned that healthy eating is hardly boring and that by making a few adjustments, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my personal fitness goals. Our bodies are built in the kitchen and sculpted in the gym.

Today is pretty exciting because months of hard work and intercontinental collaboration with my friend from across the pond, finally come to life.  Cheers to the future of meal prep –MealPrepPro.

I’m excited to offer an app solution that’ll provide you with a weekly meal plan suited to your calories and macros.

 BUILDING THE APP

Building MealPrepPro has been altogether exciting, with the usual moments of feeling frustrated and being humbled – all the things that make a successful project. It has pushed me and the Nibble Apps team to our limits, but seeing the end product now…it was worth every sleepless night.

I’m proud (and of course slightly anxious) to share this app with you.

Believe it or not, YOU played a pretty important part in the launch.

Behind the scenes of the MealPrepPro shoot. Credit: Jason Nelson

Even though we didn’t have the millions in funding that many Silicon Valley startups boast, it didn’t matter.  We had our ideas and passionate and enthusiastic community that historically has supported our ideas.

We decided a workout app would be the perfect compliment to the FitMenCook (FMC) App. FMC App for meals and the new app for workouts.  Perfect.

We even reached out to top personal trainers that work with blockbuster film actors and comedians. After many discussions, we drew up plans to move forward.

We immediately set things in motion and begin working on design and development while also setting filming dates to create the new content.

All this momentum yet something didn’t feel quite right…

That Gut Feeling

After a couple of months, we noticed that the project began to stall.  I had my reservations about the project but I never shared them with Andreas because it seemed like such a logical progression for the FMC App portfolio.

Then, it hit me (rather it hit both of us because I later discovered that Andreas was wrestling with the same reservations).

We realized we wanted to build a workout app, but what did the FitMenCook audience want?

All of these plans to make an incredible app for a community we never engaged; something we actually did do with the first successful FMC App.

 

The Age Old Debate – Eating Healthy vs Working Out

Behind the scenes of the MealPrepPro shoot. Credit: Jason Nelson

We drafted a survey and asked several questions regarding the type of workouts people were doing and finding challenging. Then, we asked this profound – yet pretty obvious in hindsight – question:

  • What do you find most challenging – eating healthy or working out?

 

We received nearly 5K responses from people pretty quickly and discovered…

74% of survey respondents said that eating healthy is a bigger challenge than working out.  Is that what you answered in your head?  No worries – you are definitely not alone.

The results were a real “wake up and smell the coffee” moment.

We’d spent the past two months building the “wrong” app that aspired to address the actual needs of the community.

One particular piece of feedback stood out to me:

“I just want an app that from the moment I wake up, to the moment I go to sleep, will tell me exactly what I need to do in order to reach my fitness goals”.

 

It was time for us to change course.

It was frustrating to seemingly start back at square one, once we got going, everything started falling into place much, much faster, a sign that we were back on track.  Here are 3 key learnings from the survey:

The Fit Couple

From the survey we also learned that many people want to cook as a couple. Previously we were only thinking about meal prep planning from an individual perspective.

 

Ease of Use

We also learned that people really want something that is incredibly easy to follow. Apps like MyFitnessPal are great for logging information, yet still create a lot of work for people when it comes to meal planning.

 

Fit & Busy

We heard from people that lead busy lives – picking up the kids, getting time in for the gym, commuting, socializing, etc. Any healthy eating app we would release would need to be sensitive to time spent in the kitchen – preparing nearly a week’s worth of healthy meals in under two hours was our goal.

 

These were great insights to have moving forward and each of them provided its own set of challenges.

For instance, what were we going to do with the current repository of recipes on my website and in the FMC App?

While I have a huge catalogue of FMC recipes, not all of them would fit the goals of the new app.  So, we’d need to create some new content for the app and tweak them to make them manageable to prep in bulk in much less time.  Quick recipes, few ingredients, shorter cooking periods.

We approached each challenge individually and made sure to “carve a path forward” to mitigate these challenges in future releases of the app.

 

App Design & Content

Credit: GoMan Productions.

We decided on a name –MealPrepPro – created a logo, wrote new recipes, hired a local film crew and collaborated with nutritionists on the meals.

We met in Dallas to film the new recipes over three intense days. This was when everything started to become and feel real.

First day of filming was pretty chaotic.  Since I was the only person there that does film photography and videography consistently, part of my task was directing set, managing ingredient lists, making last minute improvements to the recipes and directing overall flow.

But, by the second day we had caught our breath and things started really coming together.

On the third day of filming we focused making preview videos by using an early demo of the app, as well as filmed a video for users of the FitMenCook app to re-assure people that the new app doesn’t constitute a shift away from the original FMC App.  That we’ll keep working on improving both apps.

We shared an early edit with Apple and…they were impressed and wanted the app ready for a demo opportunity!   We were ecstatic to say the least.  Apple is particular and discerning when evaluating app and selecting any for promotion.

 

The Release Date

We originally set a release date for early July but when it came down to it, we knew it just wasn’t quite there yet.  While I do believe there are some instances in which it’s ok to launch a project when it’s not 100% where you’d like it to be, this wasn’t one of those times.

We doubled down and stayed patient to make sure we were happy with what we were putting out in to the FMC community and to the world.

 

DOWNLOAD NOW

The app is out now and now, more than ever, I welcome your feedback.

 

Search Apple AppStore for “MealPrepPro

Besides the functionality and easy to follow content that the app boasts, I’m most proud that it genuinely came from you, the community.  Often times, in our regular “9 to 5” jobs, it can be difficult to see the value you are creating in the world (or for your company).  Not here.   I (we) listen to your feedback and ideas to inform new recipes and work on projects that will help all of us around the world to not only achieve our wellness goals, but also live healthier, happier lives.  Your contribution matters.

 

Thank you for making this possible – I’m confident MealPrepPro will inch you closer to those fitness goals.

Remember, your goals are within reach – just keep stretching.

Comment below with your reactions to the app and other questions RE the app development process.

Keep it healthy, but never, ever boring!