NutriCal: Healthy meal planning app


The current pandemic situation has taught every human being that the most important thing in life is to have a healthy immune system to fight against these deadly viruses and play a vital role in maintaining our physical and mental health.

During these challenging times, it can be tempting to sideline healthy eating. As it can be tempting to use food as a form of comfort and/or distraction.


Health is one of the most demanding needs of every person in this current tricky situation. It has become a top priority to have a healthy living, strong immune system, and good mental health as that would protect us from every health issue and disease.

While people know the importance of healthy life, they often make wrong decisions about leading a healthy lifestyle either due to lack of knowledge or having fast results and do not think about long-term problems. They often tend to lean towards solutions that produce instant results and aim for immediate change without thinking about how this can affect their physical and mental health.

They tend to forget that having a healthy body does not always mean losing those extra pounds or getting into proper shape but it means having a healthy system in which you have to follow balanced eating and some exercises.

While they miss the point that these fast weight loss diets mess up their system, creating many problems such as reduction in metabolism, headaches, dehydration, and not forgetting causes depression and anxiety as they are always restricting themselves from eating something or facing social discrimination due to their health.


With the importance of maintaining good health and also dealing with numerous health conditions among people, it requires a well-balanced diet, which is often very difficult to follow.

Due to a lack of knowledge and awareness about nutrition, they tend to make the wrong decisions.

As many young students and professionals live away from home for studies or jobs they tend to miss homemade food. Either they don’t get time to cook or they don’t know how to.

They end up ordering food from restaurants which mostly consist of fast food, this ends up causing a lot of health issues.

Design Process


Secondary Research

Online Research

  • Food choices make a huge impact on what the future holds in terms of maintaining good health.
  • Holistic ways to approach weight loss include intuitive eating, which rejects diet culture.
  • When it comes to health it’s unique for all and there is no one-size-fits-all.
  • Increase the quality of what you eat, not just the quantity.
  • A healthy diet is a long-term strategy while dieting is a short-term strategy.
  • A proper diet makes weight loss safe, gradual, and sustainable.
  • The healthiest way is to make small changes that fit your lifestyle.

Primary Research

User Survey

To seek the user’s opinions and problems about healthy eating, I conducted a survey that targets people who are actively following a healthy lifestyle or are planning to do so. The main goal of the research is to understand the goals, motivations, and pain points of the users.


Some more insights we got through this survey:

  • Most of the users wanted to start eating healthy food to improve their overall health.
  • Concerning healthy habits, people primarily focussed on food habits and keeping themselves active.
  • For most people weight and inches loss is a measure of health.
  • Also, we found out that most users still have issues finding time for their health.


User Interviews

User interview was conducted via call so that the user could express their needs and concerns.

For the user interview, the questions were conducted in a semi-structured manner, meaning I will write a guide with the main questions and topics I want to ask about, but I will not completely follow the guide and instead dig into topics that users will bring up during the interview so that it makes them feel more like a conversation than a formal interview.


I used these personas to help me empathize with the feelings and frustration some users felt while planning their meals or while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Considering the different needs that I identified in my personas led me to be more mindful about decision-making.

Affinity Map


  • Able to track daily calorie intake.
  • To find hassle-free information that enables users to make informed decisions.
  • Systematically plan meals so that they can stick to the schedule.
  • Customize meals according to preference and choices.
  • Due to busy schedules want to be reminded of tasks beforehand.
  • Avoid confusion if a particular diet is suitable for them or not.
  • Prefer clean and simple meal planning.
  • Want to find the motivation to be consistent.
  • To be able to track weight loss progress.
  • To share and learn new things from community/society.

Empathy Map

Empathy Map helped me understand what users think and feel and what they do. What they hear and see differently affects their thoughts and actions. This information helped me empathize with my users even more.

How Might We

To find solutions to this problem, I needed to ask the right questions. So far, I have gathered relevant information on the issues users experience which cultivated an empathetic understanding of user needs.

Thinking about the big picture, I formulated a few“How Might We” problem statements to get to the core of the problem.

  • Help users make informed decisions about nutritious meal planning.
  • Enable users to customize plans according to their needs?
  • Create a hassle-free tracking system?
  • Motivate users to maintain/follow their goals?
  • Help users to be on track/schedule?
  • Make healthy eating more interesting to plan and follow?
  • Educate on simple life-changing hacks?


App Map

I worked on a solution to this challenge by creating a sitemap to understand the architecture of the app and ensure the navigation is structured intuitively for the users.

User Flow

A user flow is a specific route that a user might take through a site or app to achieve a goal. I created a user flow diagram to show “red routes” that users would take to complete a task.


Now it was time to bring my project to life by sketching out my design with a focus on the red routes I had identified.

Guerrilla test

I conducted Guerrilla Test to find what difficulties users would face while going through the red Route and implementing any improvements.

I conducted five guerilla usability tests using a prototype version of my sketches to collect quick feedback on the functionality of my design.

The significant key findings of the Guerrilla Testing were:

  • Add hamburger Menu
  • Change the layout of the tasks to perform
  • The labels were not clear.
  • Give clarity to the user on which screen he/she is on
  • Add a screen that will enable the user to view the schedule
  • Change the date section in the planner to more accessible



Next, I generated wireframes to establish a blueprint for the final design.


Wireflow is a combination of wireframes and user flows. With the help of the screen images, wire flows will help represent the places that a user will interact with the various components of a product.

High Fidelity Designs


Usability Testing

To validate the design, I set out to test whether the prototype functions as expected by real users. More specifically I wanted to see how users responded to the proposed user flow as a way to manage subscription services.

The tasks included:

  • Find a recipe.
  • Add a meal to your planner.
  • Update and check your weight loss progress.
  • View your schedule for the upcoming week.
  • Check out the subscription packages.
  • Check your weekly progress.

Findings and Takeaways

Some errors reported included:

  1. Users wanted some features that could keep them motivated.
  2. Provide enough information related to the daily activities.
  3. The UI of the recipe screen seems to be a little overwhelming.

Overall, participants responded positively to the user flow while also providing insightful feedback as to how the application could be improved.