Meal Planning

How Meal Planning with Pinterest Saves Me Hours Each Week

Meal PlanningRecently there was some discussion about meal planning in one of the fantastic FB groups I’m in.  One member had designed a lovely sheet for meal planning.  I got to thinking about my experience with meal planning and realized that a cute planner only solves part of the problem.

Have you spent more than enough time grocery shopping? Give yourself permission to make a change.

In my experience and observation, society teaches us that a woman’s time is not valuable and actions a woman takes to free up time, for herself, are the height of selfishness.  This is one of the reasons why we have difficulty developing efficiencies for ourselves. In my case, this was compounded by my marriage to a Narcissist.  We separated and I gradually learned that the way things had been was not the way they should continue.  I enrolled in a Masters program in Professional and Applied Ethics. I was excited and terrified!   It was supposed to be part time but I was sure it would take full-time hours (it did and then some!).  I looked for ways to be more efficient with my time doing chores.  Money was also tight so spending wisely was important. I would spend time nearly everyday grocery shopping. I decided I wanted to spend time with my boys, on my thesis and have time for me. I had spent enough time shopping.

I decided I wanted to spend time with my boys, on my thesis and have time for me. I had spent enough time shopping. Click To Tweet

Huge changes in my life! Time for some efficiency with Meal Planning.

I enrolled in a Masters program in Professional and Applied Ethics. I was excited and terrified!   It was supposed to be part-time but I was sure it would take full-time hours (it did and then some!).  I looked for ways to be more efficient with my time doing chores.  Money was also tight so spending wisely was important. I would spend time nearly everyday grocery shopping. I decided I wanted to spend time with my boys, the pets, on my thesis and have time for me. I had spent enough time shopping.

In the past, I had shopped with a vague idea about what we would eat for a week but invariably when it got to preparation time I would not have a plan with meat thawed out or would be missing half the ingredients. This meant a rush trip to the store. Almost without exception, I would end up in the slowest line behind the person who had to fish their change out of their coin purse one coin at a time.  Not the way to foster a beneficial mindset.

There was a lot of food that sat in the freezer and pantry because there wasn’t a plan for it.  I was also very bad at “shopping my food storage”. Rather than finding out what I had, I tended to forget what was there and planned my shopping from scratch each week. I was wasting so much time running to the store and standing under the bright fluorescent lights which can trigger migraines that I was not happy. There had to be a better way. I’m in Graduate school dammit! I’m supposed to be smart. Right? Figure it out girl!

Meal Planning, www.moderngillie.com

My Arc Planner

At first, I started with a meal plan. I had a master list of meals on little post-it notes and picked from them for the week. The problem was I could not rely on my memory to make up the shopping list.  Vital items ended up not getting bought. The post-it notes also showed wear pretty quickly. They got all bent and lost their stickiness.

Try, Try, Again!

The next iteration was to make up the week’s meal plan using a printable meal planner I found on the Web, then find the recipes.  This meant gathering up cookbooks, Cook’s Illustrated magazines, and my iPad for searching the internet. Scrolling through the books and magazines was not at all efficient. More than half the time I couldn’t remember which book or magazine a recipe was in.

Meal Planning, www.moderngillie.comNext, I tried keeping recipes in Evernote.  As it turned out, Evernote and I do not get along- not for my thesis and not for recipes.  I wasted a lot of time finding and re-finding my recipes.   I found that more and more I was referring to my “Yum!!” board in Pinterest.

YUM!!

I began seriously collecting recipes to my board in Pinterest. These boards are part of my personal account, not Modern Gillie, at the moment.  Nearly every recipe I had in paper form was available on the Web and could be saved to the board. I can scroll through the recipes looking at the pictures and it’s a quick click to get the ingredients. Often the ingredients are in the Pin, which is even better.  If I don’t have what I’m looking for on my board,  the Pinterest search is usually efficient. I remove recipes that I don’t like so I am sure that all the ones I have are tasty and usable.

The “Yum!” board eventually became unwieldy so I split it into Yum – breakfast (especially waffles) board, Yum-Sweet board with the original board being mostly dinner recipes.  I have curated a nice collection of dinners, sweet stuffs,  and breakfasts. I expect other splits to happen soon with a meatless meals board appearing.

Meal Planning, www.moderngillie.com

It takes about 30-45, usually pleasant, minutes one evening a week. I don’t use a paper meal planner anymore. I do my rough drafts using the notepads delivered from our many local real estate agents and a shopping app on my iPhone. I use ShopShop. It is very basic and easy to use. My son uses a different one and finds it very good. There are many free ones available from the App store. Try out several until you find the one that works for you.  When I prepare the coming week’s list I have the current one handy to keep duplications down.

 

Meal Planning, www.moderngillie.com

Arc System Dividers

I put the meals on one sheet, in pencil, and the ingredients I need into the shopping app.  When I am done I rewrite the meal plan onto one of the nifty dividers that goes with my Arc planner and place it on the rings.

meal planning, www.moderngillie.com

A few of my favorites!

I use a fountain pen this time, because fountain pens with gorgeous ink are one of my guilty pleasures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The shopping app allows me to rearrange my list according to the store layout so my shopping trip is also more efficient.

disclosure, www.moderngillie.com

The Staples Arc planners are available at Staples and can be found on Amazon.

Check out Goulet Pen Company and Wonder Pens for lovely pens and inks. 

I no longer assign a meal to a particular day because my international students are quite busy and it’s easier to be flexible.  Knowing I have everything I need is very satisfying and getting things out to thaw is much easier to remember. these days I hit the grocery store once a week and Costco once every two or three weeks. My grocery bill, with myself and two teenage boys dining, is easily 50% less than when I began this journey with myself and my youngest son being the two people I was shopping for. As I said earlier I have tried several printable planner pages. The ones that worked best for me were those that were like bookmarks and could sit in the middle of my week on 2 pages Filofax. 

Printable Planner Pages for Meal Planning

As I said earlier, I have tried several printable planner pages. The ones that worked best for me were those that were like bookmarks and could sit in the middle of my week on 2 pages Filofax. Two of the clever printable creators have given me permission to use their pictures and of course, you can go to their sites and print these for yourselves.

 

 

 

 

Monika Wright has one designed for a Filofax, but it can work with any planner. For the Arc planner, I use my “hole” punch so it fits the rings.

Click HERE to go to Monika’s page.

 

 

 

 

 

Meal Planner, www.moderngillie.com

Meal Planner for Happy Planners

 

 

 

For you Happy Planner lovers, Amber Downs has a simple, elegant design with bonus recipe cards. Check out what she does with them. Click HERE to go to Amber’s page.

I hope you have found this helpful.  I encourage you to use this a jumping off point to develop a system that works for you. You deserve to have time for you!

I will continue to work on more uses for Pinterest. I think I have only scratched the surface. Don’t forget to subscribe for updates.

Please let me know how you are making meal planning work for you in the comments.
Grammarly Writing Support

30 thoughts on “How Meal Planning with Pinterest Saves Me Hours Each Week

  1. Mary Jane says:
    Wow you are organized! I'm completely inspired by this to organize my pinterest and my meals more efficiently. I also had trouble with Evernote...so I understand! Thanks for this post...it's super useful :)
    • Gillikent says:
      I'm so glad it wasn't just me. You won't be sorry by meal planning this way. It took some discipline in the beginning. Now it's habit.
  2. Jenn says:
    Great Post. Pinterest is the perfect platform for meal planning because it's so visual. If a recipe doesn't have a good picture, I don't make it! Good luck with your masters program!
  3. Heather says:
    I use a similar method, but am always so curious as to how other organize themselves. I don't jot them into a planner, though, as we have a white board on the fridge we write them onto (and in turn I take a weekly photo of that to have on hand via my phone if I need to reference it). Great post and ideas! :)
  4. Ali says:
    Great ideas! I use Pinterest in a similar way, but am not nearly as organized as this! You've given me something to aspire to in the New Year. :)
  5. Haydee Skeet says:
    Hmm, I may need to revisit my Pinterest Board, if only to use as a family favorite recipe book!! Of course I'm in the middle of meal planning with picky kids (and Dad!) So my meals are anything but exciting. I LOVE to shop online with Save-On- Foods and am trying to develop an "essentials" grocery list on thier app. Delivery is cheap and pick up is free - I save sooo much time not shopping.
  6. Vicki @ Babies to Bookworms says:
    I had to do the same thing with my Pinterest boards! They started as Food, but now I easily have 10-15 food and drink boards, including a "Recipes I've Tried" board. Makes meal planning so much more fun to scroll through all the pictures and pins!
  7. jiselle says:
    you have become super organised but I guess that's from trial and error. I have started many times and stopped, now I just do a mind sketch on Sunday ensure I have what I need and cook from there. Sometimes I even do the doughs for breakfast or lunch of that week the sunday so I'll have less to do during the week.
  8. SHALINI BAISIWALA says:
    Wow! my single living is going to benefit so much from this post of yours. I end up doing the same - unplanned meals and unplanned shopping- so a lot of food ither goes waste or I aimlessly pick up stuff n never get around to making anything from it. Will check out your pinterest board too. Sounds full of great recipes. cheers
    • Gillikent says:
      It's my personal board at Gillian Kent. My son lives alone and he does this so he can buy a bunch of meat and portion it out. At first he was having chicken 7 days a week. I convinced him he could by something else and have variety. Thank you for checking my Pinterest too.
  9. T.M. Brown says:
    I'm a HUGE Taste of Home fan, but have been finding some really great ideas off of Pinterest, as well. I love my Franklin menu planner and sit down every Saturday afternoon to plan out the next week of meals. It certainly takes out the sting for me of wondering what is for dinner each night. Thanks for the info and tips!
    • Gillikent says:
      I haven't had many bad ones. Ones we ended up not particularly liking, still not too many. I will read the post with the recipe and if the writer sounds like they genuinely made the dish then I'll give it a try. I've had more fails from food.com and allrecipes.com than Pinterest posts.
  10. Daria says:
    Your process is almost exactly the same as mine! I use Pinterest and a meal binder of family favorites to plan out the week's meals. I always recommend meal planning to my clients. It's a huge time saver!
  11. Christina Berger says:
    I love using Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram to find a variety of foods that I do want to end up trying for something new. I would be using these social media well into the future when I figure out what to make when I start to live indeendently

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *