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A. General Questions

What if I can't remember my password?
Click here to have a new password emailed to you. In order to keep your information secure not even the MealDesigner staff has access to your password. A new one will be generated and emailed to your registered email account. Once you login with your new password you may change it by clicking on "Edit Account."

When I "Create A Trial," what does that mean?
An account will set up for you after collecting some basic information. This "Trial Account" is a fully functional account which is active for 30 days. If you do not become a member within those 30 days your account and everything created within that account will be deleted.

When I create a full membership what happens?
Your fully functional "Trial Membership" will become permanent and all your recipes will be maintained. For your convenience, your subscription to MealDesigner is handled through PayPal on a monthly basis.

Is my information on MealDesigner secure?
Yes! Your information collected during the registration process will be kept strictly confidential. Your email address will only be used to send you notice regarding the MealDesigner site or your subscription, or if you forget your password.

How do I pay for a full subscription to MealDesigner?
MealDesigner uses PayPal, a secure and trusted online merchant as the method for your subscription. For your convenience, there are various payment options available through PayPal.

Can I E-mail my favorite recipes to family or friends?
Yes! When you are using or reviewing your recipes you can E-mail a recipe to a friend by entering in their E-mail address in the "Email Recipe To Friend" field.

My shopping list contains an item with an unusual quantity (i.e. "Pecans: 1/2 Cup(s) [4 Ounce(s)] + As a garnish"). What does that mean?
MealDesigner adds together the quantities of an ingredient from all the different recipes you have scheduled. If a recipe uses an ingredient in different fashion from another recipe (i.e. "As a garnish"), MealDesigner will place that "quantity unit" after a "+" symbol. Again, the following being an example: Pecans: 1/2 Cup(s) [4 Ounce(s)] + As a garnish.

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B. How do I use MealDesigner

What is the purpose of the "Schedule Tab?"
These screens are where you plan your meals. You can view daily, weekly or monthly meals plans. From this site you can add, update or remove meals. When you add a recipe to your schedule, you can specify the number of servings. If you increase the number of servings, individual ingredient quantities are increased or decreased proportionally.

What is the purpose of the "Recipes Tab?"
Use the "Recipes Tab" tab to add your own personal recipes for future use. You can enter your ingredients, your nutritional values, and upload a photo of your recipe. As well, you and search or find a recipe, edit a recipe, or remove a recipe from your recipe list.

What is the purpose of the "Grocery Tab?"
This tab allows you to pick days you wish to go grocery shopping. Clicking on the green "+" icon (right of the date) adds that date to the grocery date list just right of the calendar. If you click on a grocery date a shopping list is created (from that date until your next shopping date). This list includes all ingredients for your recipes during that time period and this list can then be edited. You can also enter the layout of your favorite grocery store. This will organize your created shopping list to match the layout of your grocery store.

What is the purpose of the "Nutrition Tab?"
From this page you are able to determine the nutritional value of all your entered meals over a selected period of time. You can determine the nutritional values of ingredients in your recipe, by using the link at the bottom of the "Add a Recipe" page, to

What is the purpose of the "Shared Recipes Tab?"
This tab allows you to view or search recipes in the MealDesigner database. Recipes in this public database are recipes which have been "shared" by others for use by any MealDesigner member. Recipes are organized by category type or style. Once you add a recipe from the public database to your schedule or edit a recipe it will automatically be stored in your personal recipe list or database.

How do I add a "Shared Recipe" to my personal recipe list?
You will notice on shared recipes, an "Add To My Recipes" link at the top. Clicking this link allows you to add that specific recipe to your personal recipe list. You also add a public recipe to your personal list when you schedule a recipe in your MealDesigner calendar.

How do I remove a "Shared Recipe" from my personal recipe list?
By clicking the ?Remove From My Recipes? link at at the top of each recipe, or by clicking the "Remove" icon when you are viewing all your personal recipes, you can remove a recipe from your personal recipe list.

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C. Specifics of Entering a Recipe

How do I add an ingredient to my recipe?
Recipe entry is intuitive and easy! On the left side of the screen is our "Quick Find" function. Type the name of your ingredient and MealDesigner will search thousands of ingredients and create a list for you to pick the specific ingredient. Once you pick your ingredient you can further define how that ingredient is prepared (i.e. chopped, diced, minced.....) as well as the ingredient quantity. Once you click the "Update" button the ingredient will be added to the list. These ingredients are the specific items which will populate your shopping list.

How do I update and re-order the sequence of my recipe ingredients?
You can delete an ingredient by clicking on the red "X" which is on the left of the ingredient. Then you can add or update your ingredients. After adding or updating your ingredients, you can reorder the sequence of ingredients. Reorder the list of ingredients by assigning an "order number" to each ingredient and then click the "Update" button. Thus, your ingredients are in the order in which they are used in your recipe.

How do I enter the instructions, nutritional data, number of servings, and upload an image?
You are able to free text type into the "text editor box" for entering your recipe instructions. As well, you can copy and past from Word any text including special characters. You can enter nutritional data either per serving or per recipe. will calculate the other for you and this is based on the number of servings your recipe makes for your needs. In addition to entering the "Servings" for your recipe which will allow easy scaling of your recipe, we recommend that you put in the serving size and number of servings in the instruction section as a text reference for you when you make and serve your recipes. Please note you will need to "Update" and save your typed or copies instructions, otherwise it will be lost if you move to a different part of the website. Once you have all your data uploaded, you can also upload an image into your online recipe. Click the "Browse" button and you will be able to select your image. MealDesigner will upload and resize your image for display in your recipe.

I can not find an ingredient for my recipe. How do I add an ingredient to the "quick find list?"
You can add an ingredient by doing the following 5 steps. First, go to the "Grocery Tab." Second pick either the frequent list or staple list. Third, select a category (i.e. Vegetables) in the drop down list. Fourth, in the second drop down list, select "Add Item." Fifth, type the name of the new item for that category in the prompt box. Make sure the item is spelled correctly and formatted correctly as noted below, and click ?OK.? To maintain consistent formatting, we capitalize the first letter of the item name. We also use product descriptors such as fresh, frozen, dried, thin, wide, and etc. Descriptors are placed after the item name and after a comma. Do not use preparation modifiers such as chopped, diced, or minced when entering an ingredient. Preparation modifiers are used when entering a recipe into MealDesigner.

Can I add a "Category" to MealDesigner?
Although we do allow you to enter individual ingredient into MealDesigner, at the current time we ask that you send us a request message for adding a category by clicking ?Contact Us? and detailing your category request. This restriction is necessary to prevent item duplication in the MealDesigner database and in your shopping list. Furthermore, it ensures accurate item quantity calculations in your shopping list. For example, if a category "Protein" was added to the database it would become confusing whether bacon or cottage cheese should be listed in a protein category or meat and dairy category, respectively. If the category for an item is not consistent, the calculated quantity of an item could be inaccurate and the way the item is presented in your shopping list could be inconsistent. We have designed the category database to reflect the general layout and grouping of individual items in grocery stores or supermarkets.

What is the proper format for entering a new ingredient into the "quick find list?"
To maintain consistent formatting, we capitalize the first letter of the item name. We also use product descriptors such as fresh, frozen, dried, thin, wide, and etc. Descriptors are placed after the item name and after a comma. Do not use preparation modifiers such as chopped, diced, or minced when entering an ingredient. Preparation modifiers are used when entering a recipe into MealDesigner.

What if an ingredient is misspelled or incorrectly categorized?
Please "Contact Us" by sending us a message and we will make the necessary correction(s). In your message please detail the mistake, the category and the incorrect ingredient. As well, how it should be corrected. We appreciate your input and are consistently striving to maintain the most accurate MealDesigner database possible.

Is there another option for entering my recipes?
Yes!! For MealDesigner to be used to its full potential it needs to be filled with your favorite recipes! Adding in your recipes can be a time consuming process, so let us do the work for you using our Recipe Entry Service! For 50 cents per recipe we will help build your online cookbook by entering your recipes into the MealDesigner database for you. This service allows you to designate the number of recipes you would like us enter. Once you have completed your order, send us copies of your recipes via an E-mail attachment, by fax or by standard mail. After we receive your recipes, we will enter them into your database. Our e-mail address is, our fax number is (206)309-0958, and our mail address is MealDesigner Inc, P.O. Box 390653, Omaha, Nebraska 68139-0653.

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D. Scheduling recipes and planning my meals!

What information do I need for adding a new recipe into
First we will need your "Recipe Name." As well, we will want you to categorize the recipe into styles and types, give copyright credit, and indicate if you would like to share your recipe with other members. Once this data is entered you will be able to enter recipe ingredients, instructions, nutritional data, and serving number. As well, you can upload an image of your finished recipe.

How do I add a recipe to my schedule?
A recipe can be added to your schedule and planner in multiple ways. When reviewing recipes you can add a recipe to a desired date. As well, you can define the number of servings you are planning to prepare.

Can I update the number of servings needed for a recipe?
Yes!! Once you select a date, you can "Update" the number of servings for a specific recipe. For reference, MealDesigner details the number of servings the original recipe served.

If I update the number of servings for a recipe, will the quantity of each ingredient be adjusted accordingly?
Yes, when you modify the number of servings for a recipe on a given date, the quantity of each ingredient is adjusted and scaled proportionately.

Can I delete a recipe from a specific date?
Yes, you can remove a recipe by clicking on the "red X"

Can I repeat a recipe or a menu plan?
Yes! You will note when scheduling your meals, there is a "Menu Repeat" function on the lower right side of the page. With this function you can select a range of dates you would like to repeat, for example, a single day or a complete month?s menu plan. After selecting date range of recipes or menu?s you would like to repeat, then select the date you would like to start repeating the recipes. This powerful tool allows MealDesigner users to easily repeat favorite recipes or meal plans. Remember, once these recipes have been repeated, any of the repeated recipes can be modified on a day-by-day basis.

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E. Creating a shopping list!

What is the first thing I should do to start a shopping list?
Click the "Grocery Tab," and select a date to go shopping. Do this by clicking on the "green +" icon for that specific shopping day on the calendar. This will result in a "date link" on the right side of the calendar. Clicking on that "date link," creates your shopping list. The time span for your shopping list will be from the date you selected until your next shopping date. If there is not a future shopping date, the shopping list will include ingredients for all future scheduled recipes. You can remove a shopping day by clicking the "red X" icon on the calendar.

Can I delete an item from my shopping list?
Yes! On your generated shopping list (before you print the list) you can click on the "red -" icon and that item will be "crossed out." You can also add an ingredient by selecting the category and the specific item from the drop down lists. Once you have made final changes, you can print your shopping list.

What are "Frequent Items?"
Frequent items are items you frequently buy when you shop and are an ingredient of a recipe. For example, Kleenex, shampoo, dishwasher soap, or milk for drinking. Items on your "Frequent List" will be added to every shopping list you generate. As previously noted, you can remove these items from your final list before printing if desired.

What are "Staple Items?"
Items on your "Staple Items" are unique or bulk items which would not necessarily purchased in a grocery store, for example, buying paper towels or printer paper at Sams Club or Costco. This list can be printed at any time or date when you are buying such items.

How do I organize my shopping list to reflect my favorite grocery store layout?
Click on the "Store Layout" link on the "Grocery Tab." This page allows you to organize, by number, the category titles. Order the categories in the same sequence as you shop in your favorite grocery store. We would recommend listing your category titles by 10's. This will allow you to move categories without having to renumber all of the categories.

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