Meal planning is a MUST for large families. If you’re the matriarch of a larger than normal household, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. Planning ahead allows you to shop ahead, which allows you to save money. 🙂 Here are the tools I use to plan my weekly meals and shopping lists.
Usually, I use an app on my electronic devices for all my meal planning needs. The one I use is called “Food Planner”, and you can get it in the Google Play Store. Yes, we are an Android family…although I did recently get a Windows tablet, but that’s another story for another day. I really like this meal planner, and I”m about to tell you why!
First of all, it’s extremely simple to plan weekly meals. Each time you add a meal to the plan, it also adds that meal to the recipe list. This, in turn, allows you to enter the recipe into the food planner, which means you can create a shopping list from the recipes you choose.
Creating a Shopping List
You can create a shopping list either from a day or a recipe. To avoid adding ingredients that you already have at home, you can keep a running inventory of the ingredients in your pantry. Cool, right? You can also use this feature when creating your meal plans, so you use up what you already have! But I’m getting off topic.
When you create your shopping list, there’s an option that you can enable that will allow you to enter grocery prices. This lets you plan a weekly meal schedule based on your budget for that week!
Add items to your shopping list either by typing them in, adding a recipe or a day from the planner, or scanning items by snapping a picture of the item’s barcode. It’s very easy and convenient to use!
Storing a Recipe
Anytime you add a meal to the calendar, it is automatically added as a recipe to your “cookbook”. You can then access this item by tapping on “Recipes” from the main screen. I actually don’t like the fact that everything gets automatically added to the recipes; as an example, we put cereal as a breakfast item, and it doesn’t require a recipe or ingredients. Other than that, this is a really cool feature. 🙂
To edit the recipe (add ingredients and instructions), go to the main screen of the app and tap “Recipes”. This will bring you to a list of recipes that have been added. Tap the one you wish to edit, and you’ll be able to add ingredients and instructions to the recipe. You’ll also be able to add tags, which is a great feature if you have a large list of recipes.
Perhaps the best feature of all is that you can sync your data in the cloud so you can use it on multiple devices. Simply register with your email and password; each device you use with these credentials will allow you to access the same data.
All in all, I really enjoy using Food Planner, and I highly recommend it to all of y’all who are looking for a convenient way to plan your family meals…on the Android system. As I said above, I do now have a Windows tablet, so I’ll have to check out what they offer in terms of meal planning apps.
Do you use an app to manage your meal planning? What app do you use, and why do you like it?