Menu planning has always been a pretty big deal at our house – even when I had less kiddos to cook for. I enjoy the process of menu planning to an extent (finding new recipes, dreaming about how much my family is going to love the meals, etc.), but it is a big chore that typically takes several hours to complete.
I’ve also found that no matter how great my plan, it ALWAYS changes. I have to cross things off the list, move them to another day, or sometimes just skip the meal altogether. After reading Mystie Winckler’s Paperless Home Organization, I decided it was time to ditch the pen and paper when it comes to menu planning and find a better way.
(See my full review of Paperless Home Organization HERE.)
Mystie introduced me to using Google Calendar to handle my menu planning, and I LOVE IT! It has fixed a lot of the issues I was having with menu planning, and has simplified the process altogether.
So, let me share how I do it…
I use Gmail, so the calendar is built in to my email program, and I have it set up to sync to all my devices (my phone and my iPad – this is important for reasons I’ll explain in a moment.)
If you click the squares in the right hand side of your Gmail screen, you will get a drop down menu in which you will find your Calendar.
A large calendar pops up and you can add all sorts of things to it. I have a household calendar, a blogging calendar, an appointment calendar, and my menu planning calendar. I usually have all of them together where I can see everything at a glance; however, you can turn on and off whatever calendars you would like. You can also share the calendars with anyone who has a Gmail account. When I am menu planning, I usually keep all the calendars on, so I can see what might be coming up that week and plan my meals accordingly.
I only put in lunch and supper on my calendar. Breakfast is almost always the same – whatever you can find! Actually, I keep cereal, bread, yogurt and fruit on hand as our staple breakfasts every day but Saturday, when we make a bigger hot breakfast.
As I work through my Pinterest boards and cookbooks, I am able to add the meal to the calendar and add a link if need be into the description section of each calendar item. (Read more HERE about how I do this – you will notice I was not using Google Calendar when I wrote that post.)
I can also make notes and set timers for anything I need to do to get the meal ready…thaw meat, start sourdough, etc. I can set the calendar to sound an alarm, put a pop up on my screen, or send me an email. This is a great feature for me because I am forever sidetracked it seems!
The great thing about syncing the calendar with my phone and iPad is that I can use those devices in the kitchen to cook. I can simply click on the link in the calendar and it opens up to my recipe! If the recipe isn’t online, I can make a note of what page and what cookbook it is in.
And the best part? If I don’t use a meal that day, I just drag and drop it to another day! It really has taken a lot of the headache out of meal planning for me
If you need a little more information on using Google Calendar itself, Mystie has a great tutorial to help you:
And if you are interested in learning more about managing your home in a paperless way, take a gander at Mystie’s ebook Paperless Home Organization!