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The Right Meal App

Submitted for the Verizon App Challenge-Blue Ribbon Award Winner at ITEC Regional Conference

The "Right Meal" Map of major cities in Iowa. High School students went on to present this idea for local start-ups and received excellent reviews

The idea is to build a mobile website or app that will help people to shop for or find "The Right Meal" for them.

The idea for this project is simple, however the viability and powerful implications for such an app are endless.

Our app, "The Right Meal," will highlight eight food topics or categories that people can use to help them find the right meal for them within our home community-and perhaps with time we can expand our app to include many of the other major cities across our state. These topics or categories are the product of our research and time working with local nutrition experts. The Eight Categories include:

Meals under 500 Calories

Meals under 700 mg of Sodium

Meals under $7

No Trans-Fats

Unique Local Restaurants

Restaurants that use local produce

Restaurants that provide Vegetarian options

Restaurants that provide Gluten-Free options

Design Specifications (Prioritized):

1. Serves the needs of our community

a. While there are many apps with somewhat similar functions as ours, almost none of them have been developed for our town or towns similar to our size. Many of them have been created for cities like New York or Chicago-where there is a bigger market for selling their app. Most important to us is to create something that the people of Muscatine or visitors to Muscatine can use to enhance their dining experience here in Muscatine, Iowa.

2. Addresses Health through finding restaurants that serve under 700 mg of sodium per meal, meals under 500 calories and meals with no trans-fats.

a. These are fundamental elements to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Understanding what you are putting into your body is essential for anyone trying to eat healthy. While there are more categories that we debated putting for this category, for example "amount of fat per serving" (saturated or unsaturated), we have already discovered that many restaurants do not have information on these sorts of things. The three listed above were also come by through our time working with Dr. Michael Edmonds-a local nutrition expert and author of, "Healthy Eating Made Easy." Dr. Edmonds suggested that trans-fats were important to monitor as well as caloric intake-depending on your activity level. He also suggested that while there are not many restrictions yet regarding sodium levels in foods, it was his opinion that the government would start putting restrictions/monitoring on this soon and that this could have a drastic impact on healthy lifestyles of people.

3. Advertises local restaurants

a. Sometimes it is difficult for smaller businesses to compete with big commercial restaurants-whether because they do not have the money for advertising, or because they are sometimes "found off the beaten path," we feel that our restaurants here in Muscatine are a big part of our culture and helps to define us as a town.

4. Addresses popular/necessary lifestyles

a. The three lifestyle choices our app addresses are gluten-free options, vegetarianism, and meals under $7.

i. Whether people choose to eat "gluten-free" foods because it is popular or because they have a food related disease, we have provided a resource for finding food options for this growing population. Sales of gluten free foods were projected a around 80 million in 2005 and projected to be over a billion today (see section B).

ii. Another popular lifestyle is vegetarianism. Whether for health reasons or personal reasons, this lifestyle was another one that was popular in our research

iii. Finally, some of the American people and more close to home for us, citizens of Muscatine, Iowa, have been hit hard in recent years with the down economy. Trying to make peoples hard earned money stretch a bit further, we have added an option for people to find meals under $7.

5. Gives people the opportunity to filter/tailor their search to include multiple categories. For example, people will be able to search for both meals under 500 calories and meals under $7-to meet the unique demands of all individuals.

6. Will rate restaurants by the number of options they have for each category using unique icons created for each category-helping to recognize restaurants that are attempting to offer a variety of meals that cater to the categories.

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