Monday, March 25, 2013

How to Plan Your Meals (With Pinterest)

My sincere love and devotion to Pinterest is a pretty recent thing, maybe 8 or 9 months. I heard people talking about it but I always thought it was a place to get funny pictures and memes (I’ll stick to Reddit for that.)

And then my friend told me about the recipes. SO. MANY. RECIPES.
Then a few months back, my boyfriend and I decided to grocery shop and make everything at home. Before we started dating, he was a Wendys, chips and countless dr. pepper type of guy. Seriously, and he left them everywhere.

So we started to cook from home but what I was finding was that I was actually spending MORE money than us eating out all the time. There was just all this wasted food in our fridge. I had no idea how to plan a meal and shop accordingly.

I love lists, I would list my lists if there were a sliver of a benefit to doing so. And I decided to combine my two loves: Pinterest and List Making. This method has changed our lives for the better and I hope you can take some tips out of it as well!

Step One: Create three different boards
Pinterest version of folders, the boards. You can name them anything you like and have as many as you like! And trust me, I have everything from my “dream home” board to “date night” but when it comes to food and meal planning, I find it helpful to be as organized as possible. I have three boards
-Healthy Dinners
-Special Treats
-Weekly Dinners

Helpful Hint: There is a “Food and Drink” explore category but I find most recipes there are very unhealthy. This is good for my special treat board, but for my healthy dinners board, these will not do. I instead go to the “Health and Fitness” category. If you can get past all the pictures of abs, there are some great recipes here! And who knows, maybe all those exercise pictures will motivate me to get back into the gym!

Step Two: Pin your little butt off!
I used any spare time I had to pin. Waiting for dinner to cook? Waiting for a doctors appointment? Boyfriend playing a single player video game? Perfect times to pin!

And trust me, this is a fun chore to have. Try to pin both main courses and fun sides as well. Just remember that as you’re pinning to “repin” to either healthy dinners or special treats. And as for weekly dinners...

Step Three: Weekly Dinners
Once you have a decent amount of dinner ideas pinned, you can start on your weekly dinners board. Scroll through your two boards and choose five to seven meals that you think would be great for this week.

I always choose five because we almost always have leftovers and I don’t want to waste (such delicious) food. It also gives us flex room if we want to have dinner with friends or family. Try to think of how much time you have. Are there days where you’re super busy and a crockpot recipe might be easier? Is there a free time day in there somewhere where you can have fun with a new chicken pot pie from scratch recipe? Keep all this in mind while planning your weekly dinners.

Step Four: Make your grocery list
For breakfast and lunches, we’re usually pretty plain. Sandwiches, oatmeal, leftovers, cereal. We find it’s cheaper, easier and it builds more excitement over our dinners!
So here is an example of what my meal planning looks like:
(You may notice the numbers by the meals, I'll get to that in a minute)

Step Five: Shop!
And I go shopping! I don’t keep a close eye on my spending because I know that as long as I stick to my list, it shouldn’t be too expensive and I know we will eat all of the food purchased.

And be sure to dress you and your helper up for the occasion ;)
I buy everything except meat that spoils quickly and I don’t like frozen (which is really any type of fish)
Each meal has a number next to it. On the second page, I number the ingredient based on the recipes that needs it. This way, if there is something that spoils (like asparagus) but it's not needed until Friday's meal, I'll know and won't buy it on a Monday.
Every other meat I (try) to buy in bulk but they take up so much room in the freezer, I’m debating whether it’s worth it.

Step Six: Be a Master Chef (sort of)
That last step is to set a beautiful table...

And have fun being a chef!

So what if you don't know what "broil" is or most of your meals came from  Jimmy Johns? This is your chance to be creative, have fun, save money, and your boy will love the homecooked bacon wrapped chicken!

And that’s it. It’s worked out really well for us so far and we’ve been using this method pretty much since I became a Pinterest convert.

If you try it out, please let me know if it works for you! How do you plan your weekly meals? Do you use any tools?


  1. We are obsessing over pinterest as well. It's such a great resource and way to organize your recipes, etc! Thanks for sharing! Xo, M&K at

    1. Of course! As much as I love real books, Pinterest is definitely winning when it comes to recipes. Thank you for reading!