Tips for using Pinterest for Meal Planning

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Pinterest is a great place to find great recipes and family meal ideas. I love it because I always have it with me on my phone (unlike a list that usually gets left in the wrong bag or at home - amiright?). But sometimes reality is not like the beautiful pin… we have all seen or experienced #Pinterestfails, and we have all clicked on a scrumptious-looking picture to find a recipe that had a million ingredients, took way too long to make, or had ingredients that our husband or kids won’t eat.

So, then, is using Pinterest for meal planning and meal ideas a big waste of time? It can be if you are just pinning every picture that looks yummy. But if you want to make Pinterest really work for you when it comes to meal planning, here are a couple guidelines to help you:

#8 - Save individual recipes only. Don’t save those pins that have flashy headlines promising “25 chicken recipes” or “50 crockpot freezer recipes”. While it’s enticing, the reality is that most people never actually read through a list that long to find something that they will actually try. And you just end up with a cluttered meal idea board that is overwhelming and not easily actionable.

#7 - Click through and look at a recipe before you save it. I know, it’s so tempting to just hit save when something looks REALLY YUMMY - but have you ever gotten all excited to make a recipe, clicked on it, and then saw 23 ingredients?  Or that it takes 3 hours to make? Or that there are 18 steps? Just take 45 seconds to click and scan the recipe to make sure it’s something you will actually consider making before saving it. You’ll be glad you did.

#6 - Save pins that have lots of “tries”. This is good social proof that the recipe is worthy of your time and grocery dollars.

#5 - Create your own boards for pins and recipes you have tried. I suggest one board for recipes that you want to make again and one for recipes that you will NOT want to make again. On the “make again” board, take the time to put in notes about what you liked about the recipe and any alterations you made. When you are meal planning, use the “make again” board as a great place to start!

#4 - Leverage the guided keyword function in Pinterest. These are the words that pop up in the colored bubbles under the search bar when you are searching. They can really help you refine what it is you are looking for and find the best pins possible.

#3 - Get specific in your searches. If you would love to find “dairy-free 30 min chicken recipes”, search for that!  You will be amazed how specific you can get and get amazing results that really suit what you need.

#2 - Have multiple boards. Set these up in ways that work for you. I have specific boards for low-carb, 30 min or less, slow cooker, pressure cooker, chicken (a staple around here), and what I call “weekend recipes” - recipes that require a lot of hands-on time or attention. When I am meal planning, I usually have some sort of starting point in mind - like we have 7 packages of chicken thighs in the freezer - so I just go straight to the chicken board. This actually makes the recipes I pin USEFUL instead of overwhelming.

So - where do you start if your Pinterest meal boards are a hot mess?  Just start. When you see that chicken enchilada recipe that only takes 30 min to make, start a board for chicken and pin it. You can start a board for 30 min or less recipes and pin it, there, too (oh, I didn’t mention that? Yes, pin to more than 1 board if it makes sense!)  If you ever feel like going through your existing boards and cleaning them up, go for it, but if that doesn’t sound good to you then don’t bother.

#1 - Seek and follow boards that have titles including the words “Pins completed” or “Recipes tried”. These boards are extremely helpful because you can see what people are ACTUALLY making, and if the pinner is diligent (like you will be soon!) you can see their comments and any alterations they made right in the pin description.  You can also see what people tried and DID NOT like, which is super valuable!

I promise taking a few extra seconds to consider what you’re pinning and doing it in an organized way will inspire you to use Pinterest for meal planning more often!

Want to see what I'm pinning? Follow me on Pinterest!  Just click here.