Meal planning is one of the things that we do, that can be SUCH A PAIN! As someone who absolutely hates to cook… It’s even more of a pain. Fortunately I’ve toyed with several different ways of using technology to plan my meals, and there’s a little something for everyone!
Bing Food & Drink – I love using Bing Food & Drink (this is the one I’m using the most right now). I love that my meal plan syncs across computers/devices. If I don’t have my Surface 2 nearby (but really, how often is THAT happening?), then I can pull up my meal plan easily on the downstairs computer, or any other Windows 8.1 computer that I’m logged into. It’s got a connection to All Recipes, which I love to be able to find new recipes, and I can enter my own recipes extremely easily. I can generate shopping list from my meal plan, and easily categorize my own recipes and add them to my weekly meal plan. The big selling poing here (and why I’m using this the most right now) is that I can step forward in a recipe without touching my Surface tablet using the hands free mode. The downside to this system is that you can only plan one week in advance. You can’t go further than that out. Also, when you add recipes to the shopping list, you have to go through and do them individually. There isn’t a button to add the entire plan to the shopping list, which I would prefer.
ZipList – For those of you that like to find new recipes among your favorite blogs, ZipList is a great tool for you. As you are browsing through the internet and find one you want to clip over to your ziplist recipe box, you can just click on the ziplist clipper in your browser’s toolbar and grab the ingredients to the recipe you want to make. Usually, as you are making the recipe, you’ll have to hop back over to the real page to get the directions, but there will be an easy link for you to do so. You can enter your own recipes though, and have full access to them without leaving the website or app. You can generate a shopping list based on your meal plan, and plan up to a few weeks in advance. I also love that I can sync my meal plan to my Google Calendar and be able to see on my phone exactly what’s on tap for the day. The downside here, is sometimes the website and the phone app are quite slow, and loading recipes up can take a while. The Android app needs a serious facelift as well. It’s looking quite dated.
Meal Planning Service (superhealthykids.com) – Signing up for a meal planning service like SuperHealthyKids.com can really take all the guesswork away, and allows you to just shop and cook. I love this idea, as I’ll bet breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner delivered right to my inbox. All I would need to do is print out the shopping list for the week, go shopping and then I’m ready for all the meals I’ll be cooking for the week. The only problem I have with this, is sometimes I would not be interested in making the included meals. What can I say, I’m a picky eater!
Google Calendar (lowest tech way) – Perfect if you like to plan from physical cookbooks, but still want a way to easily see what your meal plan for the day is. I like that in the morning when looking at my phone for the day’s appointments and activities I can see what meal I’m supposed to be making. If it’s an easy quick meal, I can wait till later in the day, but if it’s going to head into the slow cooker, then I need to get on that a lot sooner. You just need to add the recipe title as an “all day appointment” and then in the notes I like to put which cookbook and page number the recipe can be found. The strength of this method is you can use recipes from all of your cookbooks, without having to enter the recipe into a website or program. Weakness is it’s the most time consuming, as you’ll have to manually generate a shopping list as you add recipes to your schedule.
Pinterest – If you are a pinterest JUNKIE then maybe this is the perfect solution for you. Create a board for each day of the week (you can see my boards for an example). So Monday, Tuesday, Etc. As you find recipes on Pinterest you want to try, you can just repin them to the particular day of the week, until you have them all filled. If a recipe doesn’t pan out you delete it from the board. If it’s great, keep it on the board and maybe in a couple weeks from now on Monday, you’ll make it again. Strength is it’s minimal work at the front end, as all you do is repin to the appropriate board. Weakness is that you’ll have to visit each post when you are generating your shopping list to find the ingredients to buy, and then visit the page again when it’s time to make it. You can also just print the recipe from the website the image was pinned from and keep all the papers in the kitchen for the week.
Now… if only I could find some motivation to actually cook… does anyone know where I can find an app for that?
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