I have had so many questions about how I use Evernote for meal planning, I decided to write a more in-depth post about it. Many of you have busy lives, and don’t have time to write detailed plans each week. You want a simple, paperless way to get the job done. Am I right?
Well friends, this is your huckleberry.
During my 21 years as a mom, I have tried just about every technique under the sun, and this has won me over. I’m in love, I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it!
So What Is Evernote?
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Evernote, think of it as a brain dump. All the ideas, goals, recipes, plans, and websites you love can be saved and categorized within it, in a way that makes sense to you. You can create notes using photos, receipts, entire web pages, or your own writing. Then categorize them into “Notebooks” and “Stacks” to keep them organized. Here’s a page from my account to give you an example.
This screenshot shows a partial list of my notebooks and stacks. Have a look at the “Recipes” stack. Here’s what you are seeing.
- Recipes is the Stack. It contains several Notebooks.
- Breakfast is one of the Notebooks in this stack.
- (10) is the number of Notes inside my Breakfast Notebook. So if I opened it, I would find 10 breakfast recipes.
FYI: This is a screenshot from my phone. It will look a little different on a computer or tablet, but the basic setup is the same.
The great thing about Evernote is how versatile it is. It starts out as a blank slate, then it becomes exactly what you need it to be, as you start to customize it. I have stacks for goal setting, homeschooling, budgeting, blogging, journaling, traveling, homesteading and meal planning. Other folks use it for home decor ideas, work related projects, genealogy, warranty info, Bible studying and craft projects, just to name a few.
How Does It Work For Meal Planning?
In order to have an easy and organized meal plan, you need three things:
- A collection of favorite recipes
- A meal plan
- A shopping list to accomplish your plan
The good news is, that all three of these components can be stored in Evernote.
First, let’s talk recipes.
To save them from your favorite websites, you’ll need to install the web clipper. Details on how to do that can be found HERE, or by watching the video above. Once you have this part done, you’ll never have to go chasing after your favorite recipes all over the internet ever again. The web clipper will allow you to store them inside the notebook of your choosing. Put them under Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack, Sweet Treats, or any other folder you like. Bam. Done.
SIDE NOTE: If you don’t want to install the web clipper, you can hyperlink directly to the web page containing your recipe. More on that later.
Once you have your recipes saved, you need to create a meal plan with them. The screenshot above shows my Notebook containing several completed plans (I like to shop for 3 weeks at a time, but you could do it however you like). If you were to open one of them up, here’s what it would look like:
What you have here is a plan AND a shopping list all in one (you would need to scroll down to see the whole thing). When it’s time to go shopping, I just take a quick look at the list, cross off the items I already have on-hand, and head to the store. I can use this list over and over again, and all the work is done for me!
Oh, and here are three more convenient features I should mention:
- I can email my note to anyone (even if they don’t have an Evernote account), so if my husband is out doing the shopping I can send him the list from home, and he can retrieve it from his smartphone.
- Everything on Evernote is printable, so if you’re an old-school paper person, this will work for you too. 😉
- You can use hyperlinks within your notes to link directly to the recipes (as shown below). Hyperlinking is easiest on a computer rather than a phone or tablet. But they will all sync together, so you can use them interchangeably!
I hope this answered any questions about using Evernote for meal planning. If you have any more, please leave them in the comments!