Is Wholesum right for you?

There are a number of meal planning apps out there – some for individuals, some for families, some for potlucks, some for bakers. So what sets Wholesum apart?

Wholesum is specifically designed to take the complexity out of meal planning for groups. Are you feeding meals to more than a few people regularly? Do you have to plan around dietary restrictions? Do you host multi-day trips or large events? Do you have your own recipes you want to use, but could use help scaling up and down based on group size and number of meals served? Then Wholesum might be right for you!

Here’s what a few of our users have to say about the benefits of Wholesum Food Calculator:

“Wholesum has been a total game-changer for us!” — Gia, Lewis & Clark Trail Adventures

“We used to have an old, outdated Excel spreadsheet full of errors, which was a struggle to use. Now, Wholesum Food Calculator allows us to easily drag and drop menu items, and print an organized grocery list in minutes! Bring on the field season!” — Lisa, Grand Canyon Trust

“Wholesum has not only made my job of preparing our food packing list for a 9-month field season easier and more efficient, it has also helped reduce our staff’s workload, helped to forecast our season food budget, and to cut down on food waste.” — Daniel, Ecology Project International

“Our field staff used to get bogged down with hours of ingredient conversations, spreadsheet calculations, and reviewing recipes for dietary restrictions. With Wholesum, menu planning takes a few minutes.” — Katie, Wild Rockies Field Institute

So what are you waiting for? Start your free trial today!

100,000 meals served!

Can you believe it, over 100,000 meals served already in 2017?!

That sizable number is a testament to all of the great, hardworking people who have found that Wholesum Food Calculator saves them the headache, time, and money that too often goes into meal and menu planning for groups. You have other things to focus on – whether it’s planning trip logistics, a program curriculum, or prepping gear – this does not have to be one of them! With a growing number of customers who find that Wholesum is a time and money saving game-changer, we’re so happy to help.

Wholesum helps users plan menus around dietary restrictions, group size, and so much more, and then streamlines the process of shopping for ingredients, and cooking great meals. We’re pleased to see the real-world value of Wholesum for staff members across the spectrum of specialties – from river guides to event planners to wildnerness adventurers – is filling bellies out in the great wide world of forests, rivers, mountains, and everything in between.

To another 100,000 meals!

New Feature! Automatically substitute ingredients

One of the most frequently-requested features that we hear from users is to automate some of the substitution of ingredients when dietary restrictions are present.  Well – I’m happy to say that the feature has been recently added!

To turn on automatic ingredient substitution, log in and head on over to “My Profile” and toggle the “Substitute Ingredients” switch to “on.”    With this feature On, you’ll notice two subtle changes that will allow you to start substituting automatically right away:

  1.   Define your substitutes: On your recipe pages you’ll now notice a new column with a substitute symbol.   By clicking on that symbol, you’ll be able to define a substitute if the ingredient contains a common dietary restriction.
  2.  Number of Dietary Restrictions:  You’ll also notice, now, that instead of just checking off which dietary restrictions are present in a group, you’ll define the actual number of individuals with that dietary restriction.

These two adjustments in combination make a powerful tool:  Wholesum will apply your substitute proportionally based on the total number of individuals with a conflicting restriction.

Take it for a spin!  You can turn it off at any point by heading back to “My Profile” and switching it off.

We look forward to hearing what you think!  Thanks for your on-going ideas for new tools and features.

Mobile Apps for Easy Wholesum Shopping

One of the key benefits of using Wholesum is that we take care of the complicated math behind your multi-meal, multi-day trips and provide you with a complete shopping list, summarizing and organizing your recipes’ total ingredients – by store and department, if you like.

Although many people prefer printing out a hard copy list (and can do so in an editable Excel spreadsheet or PDF format), another camp of our customers like the ease of keeping track of what they’ve picked up and what they still need to purchase on their phone. It is for those users that we’re excited to announce the release of our iPhone and Android Wholesum mobile apps!

Your mobile shopping list will be synced between devices. Make edits on your laptop, and they’ll immediately be reflected on your phone. Perhaps you are shopping at one store on your phone while your coworker is at another on their phone. Just make sure you check off what you’ve picked up, refresh your app by pulling down on your meal plan page, and everyone’s lists will be in sync!


Given the detailed nature of menu planning and recipe creation, these apps focus entirely on the shopping lists that you create. So make sure you develop your recipes and meal plans on your computer, and then when it comes time to shop, you’ll have a responsive mobile option in your pocket! Apps run on iPhone and Android products.

Group meal planning made simple – and now, on the go!

How much can Wholesum save you?

What kind of “calculator” tool would we be if we didn’t help you calculate your potential savings from using Wholesum.   We developed this nifty calculator to help you see if Wholesum is a good financial fit for your organization and how much you stand to save by signing up.

Adjust the numbers in the calculator below to see your total potential savings (last row):

New functions to simplify your meal planning

We’re always working to improve our web-based tools to simplify your group meal planning. With your feedback in mind, we have added additional options to make your meal planning and shopping easier, so you can focus more of your time on other areas of your work.


1. Import Any Recipe from!

Creating your recipe list just got a whole lot easier. Now, instead of just creating your own custom recipes manually or importing them from the Wholesum Cookbook, now you can add any of the thousands of recipes on Just click “Add from“, paste the URL of the recipe, and you’re done!

2. Calendar-based planning

Many of you mentioned that your meal planning wasn’t just about meals and ingredients, but also about dates and scheduling. We heard you loud and clear. Now, schedule all of your meals using a calendar and meal grid to schedule each meal served each day throughout the duration of your group plan.

We hope these updates will prove valuable to you. Our goal is for you to spend less time on meal planning, so you can spend more time focusing on your expertise!

As always, let us know if you have any questions!

4 Best Trail-Tested Backcountry Dessert Recipes

There’s nothing sweeter than sitting down to a glutenous dessert after a hard day’s hike/paddle/float.  Here are the 4 top trail-tested desserts that we found for you to add to your next adventure:


This one comes to us from Outside Magazine via NOLS instructor Casey Pikla.  He’s also one of the hosts of the ever-popular NOLS Cooking Show’s YouTube channel.


  • ¾ cup sugar (brown or white depending on preference)
  • ½ cup peanut butter (creamy for a smooth texture, crunchy otherwise)
  • 3 tbsp butter, softened
  • 6 oz chocolate or 1 cup chocolate chips, melted
  • Optional: Cinnamon, honey, oats or any ingredients that tickle your sweet tooth


  1. Mix peanut butter, butter, sugar and any optional ingredients together until well combined. Roll out dollops of the peanut butter mixture into one-inch oblongs; set aside.
  2. Next, in a small pan melt your favorite chocolate. If you’re using a bar, either chop or smash into coarse pieces to quicken the melting process. “You’ll want to use a lot of tender love and care as you melt the chocolate, being sure to stir frequently,” he advises. As chocolate is easy to scorch, his trick is to “…remove the chocolate from the heat just before all the pieces are completely melted and allow the residual heat to finish the job.” Ultimately, you want a smooth consistency throughout.
  3. Continue by rolling your prepared peanut butter balls in the melted chocolate. Set the balls aside on a container or pot lid to cool for about 20 minutes. Or as long as your capacity for civilized self-restraint will allow. Last, but not least, devour.


2.  Bourbon-Bread Pudding (BACKPACKER)

Not the most aesthetically-pleasing dessert, but this one will knock your socks off after a long day on the trail.  This comes cutesy of BACKPACKER



  • 4 large slices whole-grain sandwich bread
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted (or coconut oil)
  • ⅓ cup powdered milk (whole milk preferable)
  •  1/4 cup raisins
  • big pinch nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp powdered eggs


  1. At  home, cube bread and mix with melted butter or coconut oil, raisins, spices, salt and sugar.
  2.  Transfer mixture to ziplock plastic bag
  3. Add powdered milk and powdered eggs to mixture
  4. Meanwhile, add milk powder to 1 cup treated water in a sealable, boilable container or freezer bag and shake well to blend. Add bourbon and egg powder to milk and continue to mix until well blended, then stir into bread mixture.
  5.  Bring a pot of water to boil; add ziplock bag with mixture to boiling water.   Cook in bag for 5 minutes



This one comes from a dear friend, Lauren Koshere  (maker of the famous Ten-Point Cookies) who shared her favorite trail secret with Jet Boil


  • 3 Tbsp powdered milk
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (non-natural works best)
  • 1 1/2 cups of quick oats, uncooked
  • 1 cups of pecan pieces


At Home:

  • Measure and mix dry ingredients (powdered milk, cocoa powder, sugar and salt).

On the trail:

  • Put pre-measured dry ingredients into your pot with water and peanut butter.  Bring to a boil; boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Turn off stove.  Immediately add quick oats and pecan pieces.  Blend well.
  • Spoon rounded teaspoons of dough onto a spare plate or any other flat surface.  Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

4.  Orange Peel Cupcakes (EUREKA TENTS)

camping dessert recipes

The easiest of them all.  An orange peel cupcake recipe brought to you by Eureka Tents.   This one can be prepared at home and only takes a few minutes in the backcountry.


  • “Just Add Water” Dry Cupcake or Muffin Mix:
  • Oranges (for peel only)


  1.  Cut oranges in half and remove/eat the insides
  2. Mix dry cupcake mix with water and fill orange halves
  3. Cover with foil (unless cooking over coals)
  4.  Place filled orange peels in fire/coal and cook for 10-15 minutes

Pantry or Ration Style Planning

Some organizations that run multi-day outdoor trips may choose to pack rations rather than specific recipes. For example, perhaps you would prefer to pack a specific amount per person of carbohydrates and proteins rather than specific recipes in which they’ll be used, with the expectation that you’ll make your meals using what rations of basic ingredients have been packed like a home cook might see what’s in the cupboard before whipping up dinner with what’s on hand with familiar meals in mind.  While the language of Wholesum is designed around recipes, Wholesum can actually work effectively to accommodate ration planning effectively as well.


Some suggested changes in use to plan rations:

  • Rather than create a complete recipe with multiple ingredients, use the recipe creation functionality to create one recipe per ingredient (eg. create a “recipe” called “pasta” or “rice”).
    • Select the # of servings per recipe as “1”
    • Enter a quantity of this ingredient that typically equals one serving

This will allow you to add ingredients to your pantry during the meal planning process

  • Use custom tags to indicate which food group this ingredient/recipe fits in (eg. If your “recipe” is rice, create a custom tag “carbohydrates”)
  • When planning your meal plan, indicate the number of individuals, add ingredients to your pantry/meal plan and select how often you’d like to eat a specific pantry item, how many individuals will eat them and click “Create Meal Plan”

Nutrition Labels for Value Added Farm Products & Artisan Food Makers

Are you a farmer or food entrepreneur making value-added products or other artisan food specialties? Surprise – Wholesum can help you, too!


Whether you’ve perfected the recipe and marketing plan for your jam, artisan bread, soy nut mix, yogurt, Grandma’s cookies, or kombucha, you might be interested in using the math wizardry behind Wholesum to help you shop for and track the costs of ingredients.

Additionally – depending on the size of your operation – you may also want to (or need to!) develop that oh-so-familiar nutrition label before your product hits the farmer’s market table or grocery store shelves.

Before you do, check out these guides that have been developed just for you by experts:

Adding Value to Farm Products: An Overview – ATTRA

Adding Value to Farm Products: Getting the Legal … – Farm Commons

And if the complexity of your recipe, marketing plan, or business size necessitates it, work with professionals (like the folks at UNL’s Food Processing Center) who know the ins and outs of requirements and can help you understand the nutritional details.

And make sure to check out your local state Extension specialists, too. They will have the low down on state-specific regulations and resources.

Fresh Camping Recipe Tips


Wondering how to plan meals for a multi-day camping trip? Many a foodie, chef, and Average Joe have done the hard research for us! From our favorite outdoor cooperative to chefs and mothers, we’ve compiled a great list of tips for you.

Think simple. You’re enjoying the outdoors with family or friends. Be present!
Here are some great ideas for fun, healthy, fast food brought to you by meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert) from outdoor enthusiast and mother Holly of Powers Travelers.

Your experience level counts. REI has a great starter guide to help you think about some of the basics of your trip: Everything from weight and bulk of meals, to ease of preparation, and availability of water.  This will help you think about your options when it comes to fresh foods, dry foods, and how to creatively use spices, among other things.

Consider the shape and size of your trip. What is your mode of transportation? What types of activities will you be doing? Dirty Gourmet has a great list of recipes organized by activity: backpacking, bike touring, car camping, day trips, and picnics.

Keep your favorite fine foods on the menu. Epicurious – a world renowned source for information of food and cooking – will step you through some of the best outside-of-the-box ideas, including mushroom foraging, and the trick to bringing delicious cheese along on the trail.

Nutrition you can carry with you. From the perspective of a dedicated, health-conscious woman, tips on how to pack ready-made meals (just boil water!) from scratch, dense in nutrients and calories that even her non-cook husband will prepare and eat. We’re partial to cheese and summer sausage here.

What do the pros say? Backpacker Magazine has a throughout compilation of recipes and how-to tips to get you started on thinking about what meals to bring on your next big camping trip.

That’ll get you started! Many more tips and tricks to come.