Aww… shucks: What users are saying about Wholesum

It’s been just over 2 years since we officially launched Wholesum in an effort to help outfitters, camps, caterers and event planners streamline their menu planning.   We took a minute to check in and look back on what some of our early adopters have said about their use of Wholesum these last two years:

“For years we did all of our menu planning in excel spreadsheets, it worked but was labor intensive, required a good bit of knowledge and experience to not screw it up, was tough with dietary adjustments, and generally not very nimble or user friendly for guides.  Wholesum has changed everything.  Last year I said numerous times, starting my wholesum account was the most important thing I did.  Now I can adjust for dietary restrictions or different kinds of groups on the fly with ease, we are more efficient in our buying which has greatly reduced waste and our guides are supported with easy to use menus adjusted for their specific trip and group.  Happier clients, happier guides, saving a ton of money and less work for me!  Basically it is an all-around win.  For how much staff time, my time and food expense we are saving this is the easiest and best money saving thing you can do this year.”
—Erik, Orange Torpedo Trips

 

“Wholesum has been a total game-changer for us!

We were able to hire a full time food shopper with no previous experience and she was able to immediately start using the software and there was no guess work on the shopping lists. We have more flexibility with menu planning, enhancing our guests culinary experience. Setting up the recipes, creating the meal plans and exporting the shopping lists to an excel spreadsheet was very intuitive and efficient. ”
—Gia, Lewis & Clark Trail Adventures

 

“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, EPI

 

“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

 

“We used to have an old, outdated Excel spreadsheet full of errors, which was a struggle to use.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

 

Have feedback you like to share with us (or the world!)?   Don’t hesitate to reach out.  We’re always happy to hear how Wholesum has impacted your organization and (on the flip side) are always looking for ways to improve the platform.  We couldn’t have done it without users like you!

Menu Planning Logistics

Our customers come from many industries. If you’re regularly planning menus for large groups of people, Wholesum could be just what you’re looking for, whether you’re an outfitter, a caterer, an educator, or another professional in charge of providing meals. We’ll take some time over the next few months to look a bit further into these industries, and how Wholesum is helping customers in these fields plan menus, navigate dietary restrictions, scale meals track costs, develop accurate shopping lists and so much more. This May, let’s start with outfitters!

We’re excited to feed people delicious meals that enhance their outdoor experience, but – in most cases – we have other things to take care of, too.  For many outfitters though, it can be a real headache. There is a surprising amount of complexity that can go into planning a menu for a trip: group size, trip duration, ingredient quantities and – increasingly – dietary restrictions. Here’s how Erik Weiseth of Orange Torpedo Trips put it: “For years we did all of our menu planning in Excel spreadsheets.

Here are a few tips and tricks we’ve learned to reduce the brain pain over the years:

  • When planning meals for groups, whether in the back or front country, make sure you consider how you’ll be storing food at night and what your refrigeration/ice situation is – health and safety are key.
  • Meal options that are a “build your own” can be a great way to accommodate the varying needs while simplifying planning and giving clients more autonomy in food selection (e.g. sandwich bar, taco bar, or oatmeal bar.)
  • Remember, appetite size can vary! Metabolic rate skyrockets in cold temperature, so make sure to plan for large appetites if you are expecting chilly conditions. Age, weight, gender, and level of activity can also cause real fluctuations in the amount of food you may need to pack.
  • Keep in mind what device(s) you’ll be cooking with, the length of your trip, how you’ll be carrying your weight (raft, backpack, canoe + portage, van, etc.), and your level of exertion. These aspects of your trip will dictate what kind of food (fresh, frozen, dehydrated, etc.) you should bring, how light it must be, how many calories you and your fellow campers should consume, and how you’ll want to pack those meals.
  • Take stock of who you’ll be traveling with, including their age, level of fitness, and dietary restrictions, as these facets may also influence portion size and alternative ingredients.
  • Have fun! Pack something special, something sweet, and/or something spicy. It’s a fantastic surprise to have steak the first night or chocolate after a long twelfth day! Every meal is a little bit better when eaten under the stars.

Finally, make sure you are using the appropriate technology for your operations to streamline planning. If you have a small-scale operation or staff that generally steer clear of computers, pen and paper may be your best bet. Spreadsheets can also be a great option if you are using “ration” or “pantry” style planning, but is usually insufficient for preset menu planning (The book NOLS Cookery is a great resource for ration-based ideas and calculations.)

Three years ago, when we had exhausted all other technology options for menu-based planning, we started developing Wholesum Food Calculator (www.whlsum.com) to help others streamline food planning. Wholesum is the only menu planning tool designed specifically for large groups and/or multi-day trips. It’s a cloud-based platform, and has a suite of functions available based on feedback we’ve received from users including substitutions for dietary restrictions, easy scaling, and detailed shopping and packing list options.

In Erik’s words, “Wholesum has changed everything. Last year, I said numerous times, starting my Wholesum account was the most important thing I did. Now I can adjust for dietary restrictions or different kinds of groups on the fly with ease, we are more efficient in our buying which has greatly reduced waste, and our guides are supported with easy-to-use menus adjusted for their specific trip and group. Happier clients, happier guides, saving
a ton of money, and less work for me!  Basically, it is an all-around win.  For how much staff time, my time, and food expense we are saving this is the easiest and best money saving thing you can do this year.”

Leveraging technology has also changed the game for Gina Randono, co-owner of Lewis & Clark Trail Adventures. “Wholesum Food Calculator is a powerful tool for our business. We were able to hire a full-time food shopper with no previous experience and she was able to immediately start using the software with no guesswork on the shopping lists. We have more flexibility with menu planning, which has enhanced our guests’ culinary experience. Setting up the recipes, creating the meal plans, and exporting the shopping lists were very intuitive and efficient.”

At the end of the day, we hope that – like us – some of these tips and tools can help make menu planning easier and more enjoyable for years to come!

 

Three overlooked tips/tricks to getting the most out of Wholesum

1. ACCOMMODATE DIETARY RESTRICTIONS

Want to bring the right number of gluten-free bagels instead of regular bagels whenever you have gluten sensitivity in your group?  Wholesum can automatically plan for you!
Head over to your “Profile” Page and turn on Ingredient Substitution.   Need a primer on how to get it all set up?  We’ve got a video for that.

All you’ll need to do is define which ingredients need substitutes!

2. SMART PHONE SHOPPING LISTS!

Everyone knows that you can export your shopping lists to PDF or Excel, right?  But did you know that you can use your iPhone or Android Smartphone to view your shopping lists?  Create your meal plan online and then view your lists synced between any device.

3. COMBINE LISTS & SHOP FOR MULTIPLE GROUPS!

Planning your seasonal orders in bulk?  Shopping for more than one group at a time?  Why bother with trying to make sense of multiple shopping lists when Wholesum can aggregate all of the lists for you!  Use the “Export Lists” button on your meal plan page to combine (or multiply) lists from all of your groups

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! https://wholesumfoodcalc.com/users/sign_up

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):

[CP_CALCULATED_FIELDS id=”6″]

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 Allrecipes.com!

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 allrecipes.com. Just click “Add from allrecipes.com“, 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:

1. FANCY SCHMANCY PEANUT BUTTER TRUFFLES.  (OUTSIDE MAGAZINE)

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  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

bourbonbreadpudding

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

DIRECTIONS

  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

3.  BEAR SCAT COOKIES (JET BOIL)

 

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

DIRECTIONS

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.

INGREDIENTS

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

DIRECTIONS

  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