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…
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 firstname.lastname@example.org too.
Happy Meal Planning!