Inspiration

The inspiration for creating Comida was when I noticed that many people, like me, were starting to cook and eat their meals at home more often, and as a result, leftovers were being stored in the fridge for a long time. Since, after many months of eating at home, people are simply tired of eating the same meals over and over again, leftovers that were stored in the refrigerator would end up in the landfill anyway. This is a massive issue, because after ending in the landfill, the spoiled food decomposes and releases methane in the atmosphere, which can contribute to global warming. If food continues to be ending up in the landfill, our environment will slowly deteriorate.

What it does

Comida provides data-driven recommendations on what to make with the leftovers that are stored in your home. In addition, when producing solutions, it takes into account your allergies and how much time you have on your hands in order to produce these results. Finally, it asks for where and how long that you have stored these leftovers, and generates warnings if the food is said to be past its general expiration date. If this does occur, tips on how to safely store that specific food in the future will be shown as well as well as if anything can be done to the spoiled food, such as be used for fertilizer.

How I built it

In order to create this, Flask was used for the backend. The Reddit API and Python was used to parse through posts on reddit and find those with the most upvotes to make with that ingredient. Finally, the user interface of the website was created using HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

Challenges I ran into

Because I had never used Flask before, I had to go through multiple tutorials to figure out on how to use Flask to connect the Python script to the front end. Also, creating the website's layout was difficult because I wanted the website to look aesthetically pleasing, but at the same time, it had to be simple for the user to be able to input information and receive the output. After much deliberation, I arranged the results of the recipes in a table, as it was easy to comprehend and had a clean look. Also, I read the Python Reddit API Wrapper multiple times in order to implement the correct functions to pull specific data from each post.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I am proud of being able to create a functional platform that users can use to find new recipes to create with their leftovers. Also, I love the way that the website turned out, as it is clean and has an easy-to-use interface.

What I learned

I learned how important brainstorming and thinking through one's ideas is. Before starting on my project, I thought through the problems that people are facing during this time, and wrote down my thinking in order to create this platform. This was extremely helpful and gave me a clear idea of what my idea would be. In addition, I learned how to use Flask to connect the Python script that I wrote to pull specific information from Reddit to the front end, and allow it to respond to a user's input.

What's next for MealGuru

In the near future, I hope to spread my platform for people to utilize in order to prevent food wastage. Instead of throwing it into the landfill, they can create new recipes with it and enjoy a delicious meal altogether! In addition, I hope to incorporate an image classifier model that would be able to recognize an image with multiple dishes or ingredients, and find recipes for people to make with those. Comida can be used after the Covid-19 pandemic is over as well, and will help people to make environmentally friendly decisions as well.

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