The Fastest Way to Plan Your Meals (10 Minutes or Less!)

Inside: How to plan your meals without crying every single week. This cheap and easy online meal planning tool makes meal planning and grocery shopping a breeze!

Meal planning is the worst, isn’t it? Everyone in your family HAS TO EAT, three (or more) times a day. How dare they ask for food again?! Their constant demands seriously tempt me to call a family-wide, week long fast. I’m joking…but kind of not.

I used to love meal planning. Every week, I spread out my cookbooks and grocery store flyers and coupons all across the kitchen table. I would spend hours curating the perfect weekly meal plan that saved tons of money and that everyone would actually enjoy.

Maybe you too loved meal planning once upon a time. But a couple of kids later, I’m guessing it’s now one of your least favorite tasks. Even if you hate it, you know you need meal planning to save your budget from the Chick-fil-a drive thru every other night.

Meal planning: it’s a love-hate relationship.

The Cure for Meal Planning Burnout

When I hit meal planning burnout, I tried minimalist meal planning for a few months. While I personally loved it (and if you can swing it, do it!), the rest of the family got tired of eating the same meals week after week.

Unfortunately, some favorite meals were so overdone I had to take them out of the rotation permanently.

I explored other options, like $5 meal plan that everyone seems to love. It sounded heavenly! A meal plan and grocery list delivered to my inbox week after week!

Sadly, my husband is unusually picky – he avoids all condiments like the plague – which ruled out most recipes that came with the meal plans put together by someone other than me.

   Related Content: 7 Benefits of Minimalist Meal Planning

I wanted to cook the food my family enjoys, but I desperately needed help making the whole meal planning, grocery list making process more efficient.

Enter Plan to Eat: my FAVORITE online meal planning tool!

Plan to Eat is an extremely affordable online meal planning tool. I am constantly amazed at how much time and energy it saves me week after week!

Plan to Eat allows you to import and store your recipes, drag and drop them onto a calendar, and add snacks, and breakfast and lunch items. The best part is: it makes your grocery list for you (praise!). You can access it on your smart phone in the store and check items off your list while you shop. No printing or paper required.

You can look back at your calendar to see what you’ve already made that month so you can space out your meals to avoid repetition. There’s even an option to double a meal and “add it to the freezer” in Plan to Eat world. When you want to add your freezer meal to the menu for that week, you simply drag and drop it onto the calendar just like you would a recipe. If you have friends who end up signing up for Plan to Eat, you can even share your recipes with those friends within the program itself.

Basically, if you’re looking for a simple tool to plan your meals and make your grocery list for you in no time at all using your own recipes, you will love Plan to Eat.

The best part? They offer new users a free, 30-day trial, so you can give them a shot for a whole month to see if it’s a good fit for your needs. If you decide not to purchase an annual or monthly subscription, you can always export any recipes you uploaded – nothing is lost.

To help you get started and get the most out of Plan to Eat, I’ve created a tutorial that covers all the basics features of Plan to Eat. I’ll show you exactly how to get the most out of it.

Sometimes what stops us from using and loving a new tool is not knowing how to use it.  I would hate for that to happen with Plan to Eat because I know what a meal planning life-saver it can be!

Do you dread meal planning? Does it take you forever to put together your weekly meal plan and shopping list? Check out this meal planning tool that will make it so simple to plan your meals every single week!

Plan Your Meals in 10 Minutes or Less {Plan to Eat Tutorial}

Step One: Start Your Free Trial

Sign up for your free 30-day trial (click HERE). Choose a username, enter your e-mail, and pick a password. Then click the red “Start My 30-Day Free Trial” button.

Step One: Start Your Free Trial

 

Step Two: Import Your Recipes

Once you log into your account, you will see a red button that says “Add Recipe.”

Step Two: Add Your Recipes

If you click the drop-down arrow, you will see all the different options for importing recipes. Most of my own recipes come from the web, and the import tool is extremely easy to use.

The first three options offer video tutorials created by Plan to Eat. Option 4 (Import recipes from a file) is only applicable if you have exported recipes from another online meal planning tool.

Options for Adding Recipes

To import a recipe, click the “Add Recipe” button (upper left corner). In order to import a recipe from the web, click the button that contains a globe icon and “Import from the Web”.

Next, you will see a screen asking you to input your recipe URL. Copy directly from the web browser and paste into the box. Click the red “Import or Search” button.

For the sake of example, I imported this recipe from the Pioneer Woman. Also, if you don’t know and love the Pioneer Woman, you NEED to check out her recipes (and what rock have you been under?)!

Once, the recipe is imported, you will see the recipe in its entirety on the screen. You can edit as desired. Don’t want to use a whole onion? Make it a half! Take an ingredient out altogether if you want to.

You can also edit the description. Most recipes imported from the web end up grouping all the directions into one large paragraph. It can be helpful to indent each separate step for easier reading and cooking later on.

As you can see in the second screenshot, you also have the option to change the course designation, add a main ingredient, the type of cuisine, or any tags. Doing this now can help you later on as your recipe database grows, and you want to search for chicken dishes or Italian recipes, for example.

Don’t forget to save any changes you make! Repeat with remaining recipes. In order to avoid getting overwhelmed, I recommend importing recipes in groups of 10-12 (enough for two weeks worth of meals). The longer you use Plan to Eat, the more the up front work of importing recipes will pay off.

Imported Recipe Example – 1 of 2

 

Imported Recipe Example – 2 of 2

 

Step Three: Plan

You convinced me! Start my free 30-day Plan to Eat trial RIGHT NOW! 

Now that your recipes are imported, you can move onto planning! Click the “Plan” tab in the upper left-hand corner to bring up your calendar (see #1). Next, make sure “My Recipes” is highlighted (see #2). If it isn’t you won’t see any of your recipes is the left-hand sidebar.

Once you can see your recipes, choose one to bring to the calendar. Right-click and hold the icon to the right of the recipe (see #3). Drag and drop it into the appropriate date and meal time (breakfast, lunch, or dinner).

Step Three: Plan Your Meals

You can plan as much or as little as you want. I mainly use recipes for dinners. For lunches and breakfasts, I simply add ingredients.

To add an ingredient, click the “+” symbol to the right of the meal name (see screenshot below).

Add Ingredient Feature

Add a Meal to the Freezer

Have you ever made a freezer meal and forgotten it existed? You find it six months later sitting at the back of the freezer, freezer-burned and a total waste?

Plan to Eat can help!

Plan to Eat helps you remember what freezer meals you have, so you can add it to a future weekly meal plan and eliminate waste.

If you decide to make a double batch of a meal in order to create a freezer meal, you can “duplicate the meal”, which will double all of the ingredients on your shopping list. First, click the icon next to next to the type of meal – Supper in this example (see #1).

Next, click “Duplicate” (see #2). This will cause a duplicate meal to appear in your planning box under “Supper”.

You can then add one of those meals “to the freezer” – it doesn’t matter which one. Click “Add to Freezer” (see #3). This will create a virtual freezer meal that you can add to any calendar day in the future (see #4). The total number of meals you have in your freezer will show up in the parentheses to the right of “Freezer” in the left-hand sidebar.

Freezer Meals: Yay!

 

Step Four: Shop

This might just be my favorite feature of Plan to Eat: they make your shopping list for you. Not only is it a list, it is a categorized list. Praise! Click “Shop” (see #1) to see this awesomeness.

On your list, you can see what recipe each ingredient is for. So if you forget why you need a super random ingredient, all you need to do is click the letter in the brackets to the right of the ingredient (see #2).

As you can see in #3, if you haven’t purchased an item yet, the box is still open and there is not strike through the ingredient. You have the option of hiding already purchased ingredients or showing them (see #4).

Finally, the default dates for your list are the next 7 days, but you can always change the date range if you plan your meals and shop biweekly or monthly (see #5).

Your Beautiful Grocery Shopping List

This list really comes in handy when you are shopping in the store with your smart phone. When you are in the store, pull up Plan to Eat in your web browser. Then click the mobile icon (as circled in left screenshot) in order to resize it to a mobile-friendly version of the website.

Non-mobile Friendly Version

Mobile-friendly Version

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Closing

There you have it! Everything you need to get started with Plan to Eat and start planning your meals in ten minutes of less every single week.

No more dreading meal planning!

Give Plan to Eat a try – start your 30-day free trial HERE. They just might make you love meal planning again.

Do you dread meal planning? Does it take you forever to put together your weekly meal plan and shopping list? Check out this meal planning tool that will make meal planning so simple you might actually look forward to it!

Help a friend out: share this!