Why oh why do meal plans cause so much stress?! The absolute easiest way I have found to create my large family meal plans is to use a Trello board. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel when it comes to meal planning. After all, we eat every single day and most of us have a few tried and true favorites that we are happy to eat on a regular basis.
Large Family Meal Plans with Trello
If you aren’t familiar with Trello, you are in for a treat. Trello is a free app that I use to digitally organize basically everything in my life. I am working on a detailed post about it, but today I want to focus on how I create large family meal plans (and grocery lists) in just minutes. But first things first.
Creating Meal Plans for the First Time
If you haven’t created actual meal plans in the past, or if you are just looking for a way to improve, start with these steps.
Step 1: Make a Master Meal List
Gather the family together and have them list out their favorite meals. Everything is fair game for this brainstorming session. Steak, ribs, ice cream…the idea is to come up with a list of what your family enjoys eating. Write down every idea and suggestion…even if it isn’t something you currently make.
Step 2: Categorize Meals
I like to categorize my meals by meat, protein source, or type of meal. Use whatever categories make sense to you. I have chicken, beef, beans, soup, casseroles, camping meals, and holiday meals.
Meal Planning Magic
Now, here is where Trello becomes the real hero! First of all, if you don’t already have a Trello account, go set one up.
Now set up a new Trello board for meal planning. Or better yet, use the one I already started.* You can edit and make adjustments so the meal plan fits your family. The first column should be Weekly Meal Plan, the second column Grocery List, and the rest will be the categories that you have chosen.
*first off, duplicate the board so you can customize it to fit your family. It’s easy: Open the board’s menu, then click “More” and choose “Copy Board.” Now you can fully customize this to fit your family’s needs.
Grab links from Pinterest or your favorite recipe website. Place the link in the description box and then click save. Next, click on checklist and change the name to ingredients.
Copy and paste the ingredients from the recipe into the checklist you just named ingredients.
Now click save and Trello will automatically convert your list into a checklist. Boom, all the ingredients needed, just like that!
Because Trello is an app, if you are at the grocery store you can quickly pull up a recipe or your meal plans and make sure you have everything you need!
Next, use the labels on the side to sort your meals into whatever categories make sense for you. I have Instant Pot, Crockpot, Mexican, and Freezer Meals.
As you can see here, I can quickly see what beef recipes I have and it is further categorized into Instant Pot, Crockpot Mexican, or Freezer Meals. This can be totally customized for whatever works for your family.
The great thing about Trello is, each card on the board can easily be moved. When I sit down to create my weekly meal plans, I simply move cards from the category (beef/chicken/beans/etc) over to my weekly meal plan list. Then I cut and paste the ingredients into my grocery list!
This Large Family Meal Plan Method Ends Frustration!
With this method, I can have my large family meal plans done in five minutes and I never have to worry about forgetting an ingredient, because my list is right there with me at the store (in the mobile app). This list is completely flexible and I can add to it anytime we find a new favorite recipe!
I hope this method of large family meal planning helps you as much as it has helped me. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below!
More Large Family Cooking Tips
Large Family Freezer Cooking Hacks
How to Make Freezer Meals the Easy Way
Grocery Shopping in a Large Family