When creating a recipe or a meal plan, you will need to add many food/recipe items from a nutritional database. A food database can provide macronutrient and micronutrient analysis for items in a plan.
Often, a bottleneck in creating a meal plan is adding items from the database. If the user needs to perform many clicks back and forth, or does not have an efficient way to glance at an item’s nutritional content before adding it to the plan, a lot of time can be wasted.
If you have many meal plans/recipes to make for the week, and every single time you must add an item there is a tedious process to undertake, you can easily see how this would create friction and be inefficient.
To optimise the meal planning process with Mealplana, we have implemented a single nutrition search bar that queries multiple food composition databases as you type.
This means that, if you want to query an item like “banana”, you can simply type “banana” and, as you type, in real time, suggestions are presented on a relevance basis.
Behind the scenes, Mealplana is querying multiple food databases on your behalf, and sorting results by relevance. You can get a glance at multiple items’ caloric content, as well as macronutrient distribution, all within seconds and without extra clicks around the interface.
So, if you query “rice”, you can quickly distinguish between cooked/raw rice, for example (raw rice will have a higher caloric density since it’s dry), or if you want to compare products from different databases, you can also do that.
Food databases available
There are several food databases available for commercial use. Some of them are provided by country governments for free, and others are sold by private companies.
At Mealplana, we currently have access to the following food databases:
- USDA/Food Data Central (Probably the most popular food composition database, provided by the US government)
- USDA/Food Data Central Branded products database
- The UK’s McCance and Widdowson’s ‘composition of foods integrated dataset
- Australia’s AUSNUT database
- Custom foods created by the user
More databases may be added in the future based on user demand
As we continue improving Mealplana, we want to make the search bar as seamless as possible. The search bar will learn which food items you use often, and give a higher relevant to those results.
The goal is to implement anything that can allow the user to click and type less, and get more done in less time.
If you get the chance to try the nutrition search bar and you find yourself doing any repetitive action, please reach out to us and let us know so that we can see if there is a way to automate additional actions.
Please consider signing up for a free trial of Mealplana at mealplana.com to try out the nutrition search bar if you are interested