How to Use Pinterest for Weekly Meal Planning

Since January I have been weekly meal planning.  It’s been a very effective tool to keep me on track with mindful eating not only with dinner, but planning my breakfast and lunch meals as well.  Knowing what you will be eating in advance increases the likelihood you will make healthier choices.  If you think about how many times you have left work, tired from a full day and say “what am I going to fix for dinner?”  If you don’t have a plan you will likely pull into fast food and spend the money and calories on food that really wasn’t that tasty or healthy.  Did you know the average American spends $2,625 per year on restaurants (Motley Fool) and wastes around $525 annually tossing groceries in the trash from lack of planning (USA Today)?

There are many techniques for meal planning.  You can make your own journal, you can print the recipes every week and some cookbook authors have their own meal planners  like Skinnytaste .

I like using Pinterest.  It’s free and convenient.  I can meal plan anywhere without having to write anything down.  Here’s the bonus:  Not only do I create my  Weekly Meal Plan from recipes I’ve found on Pinterest, but I can also add recipes from cookbooks I have at home. So, everything is saved to one centralized location.  No photocopying recipes.  Plus, Pinterest has really evolved with allowing users to upload just about anything you can find online.  Love that recipe you saw posted on Facebook?  Love getting your recipes from the daily newspaper?  You can even save links directly from Instagram to Pinterest.

Each Saturday, I look through my Pinterest recipes and my own cookbooks to plan at least three meals for the week.  The other four days we will eat leftovers,  go out to eat at least one night a week, or if we both have evening committments we will just eat a sandwich.

This week was spring break.  Miss Bee is home from school so I planned a menu I knew she would eat.  I also planned to watch a movie for my graduate school class and I wanted to prepare Indian Food to accompany the theme of the film.  I found recipes for Samosas, Hummus, Naan, Indian Butter Chicken, Butternut Squash Lasagna, and Honey Siracha Salmon.  All these recipes are here on my March 11 Weekly Meal Plan board on Pinterest.

When I create my shopping list, I click on each recipe on my Pinterest board and record the ingredients I need to shop for.  Since I use Shipt to do my shopping for me I record the ingredients I need directly into my Shipt shopping cart.

Each week, I create a brand new board with that week’s date.  I’ve also planned my recipes for next week March 18 (you can check those out here).

When it’s time to prepare the meal, I just pull up my Pinterest board, access the recipe and set my device on the kitchen counter to follow the recipe.  No cookbooks to search through or papers to fumble.

Are there recipes in a hardcopy cookbook you love  or maybe a hand-written recipe?  Here are the steps to upload your own recipes to your Pinterest board.

  1.  First, you need a Pinterest account.  It’s free and easy. Just go to www.Pinterest.com.
  2. Now your Pinterest page won’t look like mine because I have had my account for about ten years and it’s full of content.  You will have a blank page.  First, you want to create a board.   Think of ‘boards’ as bulletin boards for each topic of your interest.  See the gray box with the red circle.  Click on that circle and give your board a name, then click on create.  Now you have a board to pin recipes to.

If you want to add your own recipes, not found on Pinterest, this next step shows you how to take your personal recipes and upload them to your newly created menu board.

3. Take screen shots with your phone of the pages of the cookbook or hand-written recipes you want to load on your pinterest board.  Then go to the next step.

4. See the arrow in the upper right hand corner of my Pinterest home page, that little red circle with the plus sign – that’s how you create pins. When you click on it a drop down menu will pop up and you will click on “create pin”

I have added arrows and text with numbers 1-3 on the steps. Your screen will not have all of theses arrows and instructions.

Step 1. What is the name of your pin?  More than likely it’s the name of your recipe.  Let’s say it’s Southern Living meatloaf, well then that’s what you will title it.

Step 2. Click on the gray box and upload your screen shot of the recipe.  Your phone gallery will pop up and click on the photo you want to upload.  It will now show up here.

Step 3.  You must tell Pinterest where you want to save the photo.  Since you created the Board ‘Weekly Meal Plan March 18’, click on the down arrow and scroll until you find that board’s title and select it (if you are new to Pinterest you won’t have many boards to choose from).

Step 4.  Click on the red “SAVE” button at the top of the screen.  You have now successfully saved your pin!

I hope this helps give you inspiration to start menu planning and create a system that works for you to make it happen.  Be sure to check back and let me know how it’s going!

Monday Motivation: Transform your wellness with meal planning

Rise and shine, it’s Monday!  Another week to start new goals, work on current ones and celebrate the week ahead.  Our goal at Home with a Twist is to redefine Monday and make it the best day of the week.  Let’s dive in with some ideas.

Meal Planning:  This “new to me” practice has been very effective in my health and wellness journey.  It is a tool that is discussed a lot in my Noom community (Noom is an online weight-loss app you read about here).  The importance of meal planning is that it allows you to know in advance what you will be eating so that you are more likely to make healthier food choices.  Meal planning also helps you keep food costs down because there is less “hangry” food impulse buying.  Here is a terrific article on meal prep 101 .

One thing to consider is you don’t need to plan elaborate menus for the week.  If you like to cook, and that’s how you want to approach meal planning, then go for it.  Since I work and I am now in graduate school, my free time is not as conducive to cooking every night of the week even though I enjoy it.  Here’s how I approach meal prep:

Sunday — Mr. Bee and I discuss what our schedule looks like for the week and what evenings we have free to sit down together for a meal.  Let’s say this week we’ve got Monday, Tuesday and Friday evenings free.  After church we shop at Trader Joe’s and get all our fresh groceries for the week.  Maybe this is another day for you like Saturday.  The point is to pick a day that is your start of the week and stick with it.  The other days of the week we eat leftovers or a sandwich, or we might go out one night a week for dinner.

Dinner — We will go around the store and brainstorm three dinner meals always making sure to include a protein and lots of fruits and vegetables.  It might be their spatchcocked chicken (which is the THE most read of my blog posts.  I get comments on it daily and I wrote that post over two years ago. If you google Trader Joe’s Spatchcocked Chicken my blog is usually the third or fourth on the list.  I know!  Who knew a chicken would make me famous.).  Anyway, back to the current story.  Put the chicken in your cart, throw in a box of brown organic rice, which has enough servings for three meals, and a package of Brussels sprouts from produce.  Boom meal one done.  And you will probably have enough left over for lunch the next day.  Another great resource — the TJs staff.  They love to help.  Ask them for ideas for a quick and healthy dinner.  Maybe it’s ground turkey or chicken and one of their sauces and pasta (or spaghetti squash).  Add a bag of salad and there’s meal two.  We usually make omelets at least one evening of the week.  Toss in lots of veggies, herbs and some low-fat mozzarella cheese.  Add a slice of whole wheat toast and you have a well-rounded meal three.  So, there are three dinner ideas for you this week.

Lunches — I also shop for my lunches for the week like a fresh loaf of whole wheat bread, sliced turkey breast and veggies.  They sell the most delicious bag of tiny colorful bell peppers.  Slice those into strips and measure their hummus into a small container and you have a healthy side for your sandwich.  Add an apple for fiber for good measure.  TJs has lots of lovely pre-made salads that are $5-$7 you can stock up on for the week, too.  You can grill a few pieces of chicken on the weekend and have those for lunch during the week with a baked sweet potato.

Breakfasts — Studies have shown that breakfast eaters are all-around healthier, less likely to be obese, more likely to have good blood sugar levels, less likely to be hungry later on in the day, and may have improved cognitive function.  Embracing, and not skipping, breakfast kick starts your metabolism and boosts your energy after a long fast.  I love TJ’s steel-cut oatmeal in the freezer section.  Add in a tablespoon of almond butter for your protein and partner it with a hard-boiled egg and you will have a power breakfast that will keep you full for hours.  Here’s a guide to healthy breakfasts for the week.    Overnight oatmeal is so delish — here’s a recipe I have tried from Kathy Eats Real Food.  Unlike the crock pot oatmeal I made that tasted like barf (if you want that recipe click here and God, bless).

I’ll come back another time for healthy snack ideas to inspire you.  But, for now try these tips to make your Monday matter!