How to Organize Recipes Electronically and Meal Plan with Trello
Do you collect recipes from all over the place? You have Pinterest recipes, cookbooks, online recipes, recipes from your mom on a recipe card, and magazine clippings. But if you want to streamline meal planning and organize all of those recipes in one central location, you need to learn how to organize recipes electronically.
Online recipe organization helps eliminate paper clutter and allows you to downsize your cookbook collection. It also allows you to easily search and find a recipe right when you need it. Not only that, but online recipe organization provides an easy way to meal plan for the week or even month all in one location!
I want to show you how to organize recipes electronically and even meal plan right in an online planning tool called Trello. I’ve been using Trello for some time now. At this point, I could definitely teach you how to use Trello to organize your life.
Why Trello Makes an Excellent Meal Planning Tool
Personally, I use Trello for recipes and meal planning, as my weekly planner, and as an editorial calendar for my blog. I even use Trello for project management, events, and gift wish lists. It has seriously made my life so much easier to have all of these things in one convenient place.
If you like to have a family meal plan, or if you want to start, Trello is a fantastic option. Trello is pretty, easy to use, and free! (I say pretty for all of my paper planner lovers out there. I was one of them, but I’ve really come to love the look and feel of my Trello boards.)
Trello is also very user-friendly. You can very quickly set up what Trello calls a board, make it look pretty, create lists, and start getting stuff done! Also, I love that you can just drag and drop recipes where you want them. It makes it super easy to meal plan.
Additionally, there are so many things you can do with the items on your list (called cards). You can label them with different tags/colors, give them a due date and set a reminder, add a checklist or comments to the back, and add an attachment like an image or document.
And this is all for free! Trello also give you one free “power-up” for each board you create. For example, my Trello weekly planner board has the “Repeat” power-up, which allows me to easily set recurring tasks. (Like “Go grocery shopping” every Sunday.)
For my Trello meal planning board, I use the “Calendar” power-up so I can see my Trello cards (which are each a recipe) in a calendar view if I would like.
Psst…I have a free meal planner template for you. Keep reading!
How to Organize Recipes Electronically with Trello
Ready to use Trello for your online recipe organization? Start by gathering all of your favorite recipes. Think about the ones that you make from memory as well!
Now that you have an idea of all the recipes you could add to the board, it’s time to get started!
How to organize recipes electronically in Trello:
1. Create a Trello Board
First, head to Trello and create and account. Go ahead, I’ll wait. 😜
Once you’re signed in, click on the + in the top right corner of the screen and click “Create Board”.
A little popup overlays the page where you can give your new board a name. Try something like “Family Meal Plan” or “Warm Weather Meal Plan” if you like to eat differently in the warm months vs. the cold months like we do here in Minnesota.
You can also choose a background image or color that you like right here in the creation pop-up. Just click on “…” to see more background options. When you’re ready, click “Create Board”. (You can update the name of the board and background at anytime, so no worries!)
2. Add Lists and Cards
Your new board will now open, and you can begin creating lists! To organize online recipes, I would name your lists by basic categories like “Breakfast”, “Lunch”, and “Supper”, or by another category you like to plan around such as type of cuisine.
(Remember, you also have the options to add labels/colors, so you can break it down further that way as well.)
Finally, add your recipes under a list by clicking “+ Add a Card” under the list you want. Enter a title for this card (the recipe name), and click “Add Card”.
Now, if you move your mouse over the card you can see a little pencil. Click on the pencil to see changes you can make to the recipe card.
Editing Trello Recipe Cards
One of the options is to edit the labels. To give each label color a name, simply click on the pencil icon next to that color. Type in the label name and click “Save”.
Another option is to move the card. Click “Move”, choose the list you want to move the card to, and click the green “Move” button.
You can also copy a card. This is especially helpful if you want to give another card the same features such as labels or a checklist. Click “Copy”, name the copied card, check the boxes for which items on the card you want to be copied to the new card, choose the list where you want it to go, and click “Create Card”.
If you change the due date on a card, you are able to choose a date and time that the card will be due. You can even set a reminder ahead of time so you don’t forget. I love this, because I often forget to start dinner in time without the reminder. Once you’ve set your due date, time and reminder, click “Save”.
There is also an option to archive a call, which you may want to do if you ever want to remove a recipe from your board.
Editing the Back of Trello Recipe Cards
Alternatively, you can click directly on the card to view the back of the card. Here you will see more options such as notes you can make, and attachments you can add.
The options are endless! I added some additional information to this recipe card below just so you can see some possibilities. (Note: In the description, I added the link to the online recipe. Instead, copy and paste the recipe into the description so that if the link ever ceases to work, you will still have your recipe.)
I added a label of “Quick” so I know that this recipe is fair game for a busy night. I also added labels for “Crockpot” and “Chicken” to further signify what kind of recipe this is.
I added an image of the recipe to the attachments, and I have the option to have the picture on the cover (or front) of the card.
Ingredients were added to the card via the checklist option, but you could also simply type these into the description as well.
Finally, I added a comment to the back of the card to help me remember that this recipe was a family favorite. (Even the kids liked it! 😱)
Now that you know how to organize recipes electronically, let’s move onto taking your board to the next level: meal planning.
Keep reading to get my free meal planner template!
How to Meal Plan with Trello
Now that you have all of your favorite recipes in a Trello board, it’s easy to use the same board to plan your meals. For Trello meal planning, all you have to do is create lists for your meal plan, then drag and drop the recipes you plan to make!
Monthly Family Meal Plan
If you have enough recipes for a month, I would create a list for each week. Meal planning an entire month at a time is the most efficient way to meal plan! To make it even easier on yourself, you can use the same meal plan month after month until you feel the need to change it up. 😉
Name your lists “Week 1”, “Week 2”, “Week 3”, “Week 4” and “Week 5”. Then, move your recipe cards in order under the week you will be making them.
Weekly Family Meal Plan
If you would rather only plan one week at a time, you could add a list for each day of the week. Next, just drag and drop the recipes you plan to make onto the list for that day. When the week is over, move the recipes back to the bottom of your category list so recipes you haven’t made in a while are at the top.
Doing your Trello meal planning weekly makes it easier for you to plan breakfast, lunch, and supper. Under Monday, for example, you would have three cards. One for breakfast, one for lunch, and one for supper.
Additional Trello Features
There are other helpful capabilities of Trello boards that make it easier for you to meal plan.
If you are wanting to start fresh with you meal plan, you can move all of the Trello recipe cards from a list back to their home in, say, the supper list by clicking on the “…” at the top of the list and choosing “Move All Cards in This List”.
You can also copy a card that you know your family would love to eat more often. Maybe your family really likes pot roast and will eat this twice in a month.
Want to see your meal plan in a calendar view? To create a family meal plan calendar, simply add the “Calendar” power-up from the side menu. Then, click on the calendar icon to switch back and forth between calendar and list view.
Looking for a recipe? Use Trello’s search bar to quickly view the card no matter what list (or board) it is found on.
Want a grocery list for the week right in Trello? You can create another list or card for this as well!
Want to share your meal plan with your spouse or a babysitter? You can send an invitation to use the board to someone else by clicking “Invite” at the top of the board. Just enter their email, and as long as they accept the invitation, they will now how access to your board.
When you find a new recipe that you love, simply create a card and it’s added to your rotation!
My Free Meal Planner Template
To snag my free meal planner template as a starting point for your own board, start by creating a Trello account if you haven’t already. Then, click on my link or the image of the board below to go to my free meal planner template.
You won’t be able to make changes to my board, so you need to copy the board for your own use. To do this, click on “Show Menu” on the side, click on “… More” and choose “Copy Board”. (If you are using the app for iOS, you will have to do go to Trello’s website on the browser on your phone instead of the app to do this step. But, after you do this, the copied board will be available in the app.)
Now you simply rename the board, decide if you want to keep the cards on my board, and click “Create”.
Happy meal planning!
When it comes to simplifying our lives, focusing on tasks we do all of the time like laundry, cleaning, and meal planning is really smart. When we simplify and streamline these areas, we are able to make life easier and save tons of time.
For me, using Trello and having the app on my phone for when I’m on the go has helped me be more productive in less time in each of these areas and so many more. I hope learning how to organize recipes electronically and meal plan with Trello has been incredibly helpful for you!
Meal planning with Trello has simplified my family’s life so that we can spend more time together and less time stressing over what to eat.
Theresa Bedford is a syndicated freelance home and travel writer with regular contributions to the Associated Press wire and MSN. She helps everyday people love the life they have through simplicity, organization, and prioritization.
I’m blown away by this. I have recently started using Trello at work and then found this post. I’ve been trying to get in the habit of meal planning but have found it quite daunting and this just makes it so simple and flexible. I love it!