How to Use Pinterest to Meal Plan - the Paperless Way!
May 16, 2013
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:
pork (includes bacon and ham recipes)
soups & stews
meatless main dishes
veggies & side dishes
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?