Coming up and maintaining our weekly meal schedule was becoming such a chore at home for us. We would always forget what meals we were having at various points throughout the week, which meant sometimes we couldn't cook our scrumptious dishes as well as we'd wished for. We thought we could harness the power of Alexa Conversations to develop a meal plan organizer that would feel natural and easy for people to use so that's where the idea for Food Meal Planner came to life for us.
What it does
Foodie Meal Planner allows you to set up and query your meal plan for the week ahead and also set meal preparation reminders so that you never forget to soak your chickpeas overnight ever again!
With Foodie Meal Planner you can:
- Add breakfast, lunch and dinner meals to every day of the week ahead.
- Ask what's on the menu for any given day.
- Set Alexa reminders for those important prep steps that have to be done very early in advance. When setting a reminder, try saying "Remind me to soak the chickpeas in water" or "remind me to defrost the chicken".
How we built it
Foodie Meal Planner is an Alexa-hosted skill backed by a Node.js lambda and an Amazon DynamoDB table as its storage backend. And it's obviously fully powered by Alexa Conversations!
Challenges we ran into
We were completely new to Alexa skill development when we started developing this skill barely a few weeks ago. That in and of itself was a big challenge for us, as we had never built a voice-driven app before. We had to research how to build an Alexa skill app from scratch, using Alexa Conversations, which is a very powerful and new piece of technology on top of that. Nevertheless, the journey has been very rewarding and we're looking forward to using Alexa Conversations for more skills in the future.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We have definitely come a long way since that first brainstorming session we had a few weeks ago. The fact that we managed to build a working, useful Alexa skill that we've been able to make a part of our daily routines has been a major accomplishment for us.
What we learned
Too many things to count! Alexa skill development and Alexa Conversations would definitely be the highlights. Building Alexa skills using Conversations has been such a fun and interesting experience for us.
What's next for Foodie Meal Planner
We would like to enrich the dialogue options available in the skill and train Alexa Conversations further to make it easier and quicker for our users to plan out their week.
We'd also love to tap into the power of AI/ML at some point to develop a meal suggestion feature that helps people decide what they're having throughout their week based on their meal history and other preferences.