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Meal Planning + Google Calendars = Easy Peasy

Some of the ladies over at my favorite photography forum have been discussing using e-Mealz for meal planning.  We’ve been using e-mealz for quite some time now and it has been such a sanity saver for us!  I wrote a post about it a while back, which you can find here.  I mentioned over there that I use a Google Calendar in conjunction with our 3 other Google Calendars for all our going ons, and it’s super slick!  So, I thought I would do a blog post about how I use it in hopes that it would help others.

Before I dive in, I will tell you WHY I use this method.  I am a very electronically based person.  I can’t keep a paper planner and I like my devices in life (hello iPad & iPhone!) So, by using a Google Calendar method, I am able to pull up our menus & recipes on my phone, iPad, or the computer too (or any computer for that matter, so long as I have an internet connection!)  All this to say, this is what works for me, and I encourage you to tweak this so that it works for YOU!

Now…onto the good stuff!  Let’s get started

1.  Create a Google Calendar for Meal Planning.

Start by going to Google Calendars and setup your Google account if you don’t have one, or log into your current account.  Create your new Calendar (just click the Add button at the bottom), I call mine Meal Planning (creative, I know :-P)

Your calendar should now be created and show up in your My Calendars list.  You can also color code your calendars, as you can see, mine is Orange.

2.  Start Adding Meals to your Calendar!

This is where the fun begins!  I do this step about once a week, at the same time I’m ordering groceries.  I log into my e-mealz account,  and download the current menus for our meal plans (our family subscribes to the Low-Carb and Portion Control Meal Plans for Any Store).  The meal plans are in PDF format, which fortunately, allows you to copy and paste.

So, to add a meal to your calendar, create a new event in your Meal Planning Calendar.  Then, title your event the title of your meal.  Next, simply copy and paste your ingredient list from the menu into the description of your event.  Do the same with the cooking instructions and save!

You can also do this with your family’s current favorite recipes as well!

3.  Plan ahead 

This next part is my absolute favorite part.  You may have noticed it in the graphic above…see if you can figure it out…

….

….

Repeat.

You can plan your meals out for months and months ahead by simply clicking on the Repeat box in your event!

I usually choose to have them repeat every 6 or 8 weeks, and that way, you have an ever-growing list of recipes for your family that are automatically showing up on your meal planning calendar!  If there’s something we want to skip, then I just delete that particular “event” (don’t delete all of the instances) but then the meals continue to show up at my chosen increments.  It’s so slick!!

So, when my week is done, this is what my calendar looks like (I have my other ones hidden).  I can easily see what meals we have coming up and what days we are missing things on (or maybe are eating out that day).  It’s easy to click and drag and move things around to different days.

Whew!  Ok, that was a lot of steps and info.  There is one more little bonus thing that I do as well, but I will save that for another post this week.

Feel free to post questions if I missed something or if something isn’t clear!  You can also email me at amylemaniak@gmail.com too.  :-)

Happy Meal Planning!




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Summer Safrit - Thank you for typing all of this out! You rock!

Stacey Rainer - Hey! I signed up last night from the link you posted here. Now I find out you get credit if I sign up from your referral link. But the link here just takes me to the regular home page. No extra stuff in the url. So, unless there is something hiding in the back end, I don’t think you got credit! I sent them an email requesting you get credit for my membership, but you might want to change the link so you get credit for sending all the loafers!

Nikki Westbrock - You are so well organized! I’m working on it and I think this may help…. A Lot!

Fun Finds | Maniak Madness - […] Rel­ish – In fol­low up to my recent Meal Plan­ning post, we’ve been try­ing out another site in addi­tion to e-mealz.  As much as I’ve loved […]

April - Thank you! This is fantastic! I even got it to all sync to my iPod today so I can access it at anytime! :)

Kirstie - My husband has got me doing my meal plan this way this year! It’s growing on me slowly.

Rebecca - Thank you so much for this tip I think it’s a brilliant idea .
I set it up straight away as it’s just what I am looking for the only problem is like you I like my calendar to sync to my i phone and iPad but it’s not showing up on them HELP.
any tips on what I may be doing wrong they do show up on my main computer ?
Kinds regards
Rebecca
X

Lisa - New blog subscriber here. This is great. What I’m wondering is why bother saving the recipe in the calendar event? It doesn’t create a grocery list. I’m guessing you don’t use another type of cooking/cookbook app where the recipe would already be saved?

Amy - Hi Lisa!
I like to save the contents of the recipe to the calendar simply because I use my iPad a lot while actually making the meal, so it’s nice to have it all in one place without having to print it out. Hope that helps!!

Menu Plan Monday ~ Jan 16/12 : I'm an Organizing Junkie - […] How to Use Google Calendars for Menu Planning ~ @ Maniak Madness […]

Valerie - You don’t want to make your menu planning calendar public, do you?????? (Insert puppy dog eyes!!!)

This is SUCH an awesome idea!!! I love it!!! I already use Google Calendar for EVERYTHING, so this fits in perfectly!!!! Thank you!

Flashback Friday - […] you meal plan? This woman makes it looks easy using Google Calendars… I NEED to get on […]

Courtney - Just starting using this to plan my meals, and it works like a dream. I also have created my Shopping list, based on the week’s menu plan, that I keep in my calendar and repeat every 6 weeks.

Great idea and thanks for sharing!

Freezer Organization : I'm an Organizing Junkie - […] I love the focus on menu planning here on I’m An Organizing Junkie!  For me, this is a HUGE way to to keep life sane.  I recently started meal planning using Google calendar and I love it.  I followed a great tutorial posted HERE. […]

Lisa - Thanks for sharing! This is brilliant!

Micki - I am sooooo glad that found this suggestion! I have entered my menu plan into Google Calendars which now syncs over to my Cozi acct (which I love too because I have it on my computer and I have it on my iPod Touch – and it helps me with my grocery lists, etc.)!. I’m loving it! This is helping to get me organized!

Ella - Thank you so much for sharing this. I have just become a WAHM (quitting a 12 years career in the office) and I am trying to figure things out. Mornings and nap time are great, but my biggest challenge is organizing the after nap’s life when my husband is back from work (so workout, dinner ,bedtime and… well-deserved and rare US time!) For some reasons, it just get CRAZY… and we end up in bed at midnight too exhausted to even talk.
You mentioned you used multiple Google calendars… It sounds like a great idea but I want to know more before I get started. Could you please shoot me an email or send me on the right path? Thanks!! EH

Juju - LIFE. CHANGING. Thank you so much! I’ve been working off an Excel program for the past couple of years, but this is WAY BETTER!

Found you through Pinterest. I’ll be following you!

Andrea - What a fantastic idea. My family thanks you…can you please link to the ‘bonus idea’ that you mentioned you’d be doing post about? Pretty please.

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