Thursday, May 16, 2013

How to Use Pinterest to Meal Plan - the Paperless Way!



Did you know that one of the best ways to plan you weekly meals is by using Pinterest? You should! I've been planning out our meals for quite a few years now and I have tried various different ways. Using Pinterest to meal plan has made my Sunday evenings so much easier and I figure if it works for me, it will work for you too!



Step 1 - Create Recipe Category Boards
Ok, so here's what you do. First, create boards for the recipes that you find online. I chose to organize mine by main ingredient (I'll explain why later) but you could organize your boards by meal type. For example Mexican, Italian, Grilling, Vegetarian, etc. Here are my board categories:

  • beef
  • chicken
  • pork (includes bacon and ham recipes)
  • soups & stews
  • breakfast
  • crockpot
  • drinks
  • salads
  • meatless main dishes
  • veggies & side dishes
  • seafood
  • sammies & wraps
  • various dessert board categories

Don't overthink this, just organize it the way it's easiest for the way you like to cook. It also makes it easier if plans change and you're in a pinch and have to find something to make fast.



Step 2 - Find Recipes!
Once you have your Pin boards set up you're ready for the fun part - hunting down some yummy recipes! Most bloggers have added "Pin it" buttons to their recipe posts, but I'm really loving how most recipe websites have them available, too. Check out your favorite brand's website, sometimes they are the best sources for recipes your family may like - besides your favorite food blogger, of course. :) Now is the time to organize your pins if you've just been dumping all the recipes to try into one board. Haha, didn't think I knew you were doing that, did you?





Step 3 - Create a Menu Plan Board
When you're ready to sit down and plan your meals for the week, create a new board called "Menu Plan". I always have my two main grocery store ads sitting in my lap when I'm menu planning. Why? I quickly glance at the front and back pages to see what the hot sales are. (My sister read this tip somewhere years ago - thanks, Renee!) This is why I categorize my boards by main ingredient. For example, if I see that chicken is on sale for $1.99/lb, my chicken Pinterest board is where I'll look for a menu idea first. I don't always go by what's on sale that week, but it does help me stay on track with a budget. When you find a recipe you want to use, simply repin that recipe to your Menu Plan board. 

**Extra Tip** For meals that you don't have pinned (IE family recipes) do a search on Pinterest for a similar recipe and then when pinning, just write in the memo that you're going to use Grandma's recipe, or whatever. 





Step 4 - Paperless Grocery List
I bet you didn't even know every single one of you has a way to keep your grocery list with you at all times and it doesn't involve paper and a pen. Your phone!! As you're looking through all those yummy recipes you have pinned, take out your phone and write a memo to yourself with all the ingredients you'll need. No bothersome grocery list to remember (or forget!). My Samsung phone is ancient (read: I'm cheap) so I use a sticky note application that loads on the front of my screen, and then I just delete it when I've gone grocery shopping. Use whatever method is available on your phone and you'll always have your list with you! Just make sure you have your phone charged before you go grocery shopping. Speaking from experience here haha!



Step 5 - Optional Menu Board
I know and I have pinned various super-cute menu boards to hang in the kitchen. Chalk board ones, white board ones, ones behind a glass picture frame with a really nice print behind it. But I know myself and I wouldn't keep up with that method! I don't have any kind of a menu board, 99% of the battle with me is knowing I have all the recipes in one place and all the ingredients to make the recipes already in my kitchen. 




If you REALLY want to have something hanging on your fridge and you don't have access to a menu board sign of some kind, pull up your Menu Plan board on Pinterest. Hit Control > P and then select "Landscape" before you print. Just make sure you select to only print the first or second page if you've been keeping the menu board for a while, otherwise it will print out the whole thing (recipes from past weeks).



Step 6 - Upkeep
Ok, so the MAIN reason why I absolutely love this method is there is virtually NO upkeep! No menu boards to erase and rewrite (unless you want to), no grocery lists to maintain, no recipe boxes to keep up with. The only thing I would say to do every once in a while is go through your menu plan pin board and delete the recipes you weren't crazy about. You can even add a comment on how you maybe changed some of the ingredients. Really, that's it!


So, how about you - will this change how you menu plan? How do you keep your recipes organized on Pinterest? Where are your favorite sources of recipes on the web?


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{linking up!}

33 comments:

  1. Great idea I will have to try this.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So funny! Not only do I do this....I just made the coconut pie you featured tonight. When I have down time subbing, I get on Pinterest, pick meals, make my shopping list and try to cut coupons too. I can't wait to organize my boards like you suggested! SMART! Love it, because I always know where all my recipes are! The coconut pie was awesome, by the way! :)

    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  3. So glad you liked the coconut pie, Karen! And yes - this is by far the best way for me to meal plan. Have fun organizing!

    ReplyDelete
  4. If you do, let me know how you like planning this way! I really love it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I kind of do most of this already (except the specific menu planning board on Pinterest and keeping the list on my phone). I did it a while ago and then slowly slid back to paper lists because I like to stick it to my fridge and see it at a glance no matter where my phone is. I should try it again though to see if it's easier!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I really love this. I haven't gotten into Pinterest at all, but this seems reasonable and efficient and USEFUL (not just time wasting!). If I try it out in the next few weeks, I'll make sure to link back to your post if I write about it! Thanks for the tips and well-organized, well-written post. I love good grammar and I love lists.
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  8. SUZANNE DESMARAISMay 18, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    Love this! There’s a brand new LINK-UP Party going n over at
    thet2women.com and we would love to have you join us!! Here’s the link :
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  9. Great idea. I'm a paper and pen kind of girl when it comes to this but I do get most of my recipes from Pinterest (meaning I link to the excellent bloggers from my Pinterest boards). I like the idea of making a board for each recipe type instead of all in one board titled "food". Thanks for the great post!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great ideas!! Thanks for linking up at Family Fun Friday at http://happyandblessedhome.com!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yvonne @ StoneGableMay 20, 2013 at 8:22 AM

    Kelly, what a fabulous post!!! You have a wonderful idea using pinterest to help plan and organize meals!!! I love visiting your blog! YOU ROCK!

    ReplyDelete
  12. ChristiDaughertyMay 20, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    I would have never thought about this! Great use for Pinterest recipes.

    ReplyDelete
  13. HappyAndBlessedHomeMay 23, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    This is so great! I lose track of lists and I love the idea of keeping it all electronically! Pinned this, FB promoted and will feature at Family Fun Friday: http://happyandblessedhome.com/category/family-fun/
    Thanks for linking up at http://HappyandBlessedHome.com
    Monica

    ReplyDelete
  14. Fantastic advice here-thank you! I have pinned this!


    Thanks for sharing this post at the Say G'day Saturday linky party. I am featuring this post this weekend.

    Best wishes,

    Natasha in Oz

    ReplyDelete
  15. I've been doing this for a few months now, it's awesome! I love not having to worry about losing my menu or it getting lost in my piles of paper at the desk, lol. I have been making a "secret" board for our menu, and I just redo it each week when I sit down to make our menu plan!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I totally love the idea of using Pinterest to create menu planning boards - I just haven't start yet! As of right now, I use an Excel spreadsheet to make my menu plan and shopping list, then email it to myself so I can access it from my phone while at the grocer. Going to try this out this upcoming week - thank you for sharing at Tasty Tuesdays. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I do this every week, but a little bit differently from you :) Still, very good tips! Thanks for sharing with us at Tasty Tuesdays

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