How I use technology to help with meal planning
I talk about this a lot, and I'm going to keep at it today...meal planning is one of the most important things I do for my sanity. There is nothing simple about consistently preparing food for 4 people (all with adult-sized appetites). If I want us to eat as healthy as possible most of the time, planning is key.
Sometimes my plan is as simple as referring to a list of our family favorite meals OR sometimes my menu plan is a little more elaborate with set weekly menus that get rotated. The busy-ness of my life dictates how much structure I need. One thing that is pretty consistent now, though, is my use of technology to make all this easier. Today I will share a few of my favorite apps and tips.
Tip one: Always have a list of your go-to meals on your phone.
We all like to think we can recall this kind of information at any moment, but that's not always as easy after a long day. Use this list when you're deciding what to prepare for the week. You can also use this list when it's 4pm on Tuesday and you have no idea what's for dinner, but you're determined to cook. Save yourself the hassle of trying to remember what you cook. Use your list!
This list is perfect kept in the notes section of your phone. If you need a recipe, link to it on this list.
Tip two: Use a shopping list app.
Do you have a store where you do the majority of your grocery shopping? Check iTunes or your App Store to see if they have a shopping app. Often, these stores will let you create a shopping list for the store where you'll be shopping. Bonus: sometimes, you can also save lists for future use. Can you take those favorite meals and create a shopping list for them? Try!
If you're looking for something that is not store specific, there are many shopping list apps on the market. My family uses an app called Anylist. We all have it on our phones, so we can all add to the grocery list (we even have Alexa adding to our list for us). Bonus: we can all shop at the same time from the same list.
Anylist also has the capability to upload recipes from the web, a feature I have used many times. As soon as I know that a recipe has made the cut, I upload it to my Anylist. Then, when I'm ready to make that one again, I can select the ingredients from within the recipe to add directly to my shopping list.
Tip three: Keep a list (somewhere) of your frequently bought items
Using one of the above places, keep a list of the items you buy every week. Things on my every week list include: coffee, berries, sandwich stuff, almond milk, apples, etc. Instead of trying to remember what everybody needs (because I'm not good at that), I made an "every week" list in Anylist. It prompts me to buy what we need. No more remembering, so no more forgetting.