How to Make a Meal Plan with Google Calendar

For months and months, Joe and I argued about what to have for dinner almost every night.

The conversation would go something like this:

Joe: What should we have for dinner?

Me: I don’t know. What do you want to have?

Joe: I asked you first! Why do I always have to make all of the decisions?!?

Me: Are you serious? You don’t make all of the decisions! I make all of the decisions, and I’m tired of it. Why can’t you choose something once in a while?

No kidding. Isn’t that absurd?

I was determined to end the madness by planning out a menu in advance. I had tried to start (and failed) many times before, but I was determined this time to figure it out and make it work.

Here’s what I came up with –

How to Make a Meal Plan with Google Calendar

1. Create a Calendar

I started small, creating a new Google calendar for our menus, calling it Meal Plan and sharing it with Joe (in the Calendar Settings page). I wanted him to be able to view and make changes to the calendar, so I told Google Calendar to give him permission to make changes to the menu and added his email address.

menu planning with Google Calendar

2. Add in Recipes

A year or two ago, Joe and I made a cookbook of our favorite recipes. I grabbed that book and flipped through it, finding a recipe for each day. I planned out only our dinners, and I skipped days when we already had dinner plans.

I typed the ingredients for each recipe (or copy/pasted if the recipe was online) into the event details.

For the recipes that are online, I also included the URL (so that whoever was making it could grab the recipe from there rather than digging through cookbooks).

For recipes that are not on my blog, I included the name of the cookbook.

menu planning with google calendar

When I was finished, we had a few weeks’ worth of meals, all planned out.

menu planning with google calendar

Changing Plans

There are some blank spots in the menu because we changed our plans. It’s really simple and easy to change a meal to another day, in the event that we decide to go out to eat or have lots of leftovers or whatever. We just click on it and drag to a new day.

Repeating Meals

Repeating meals is easy. If you want to repeat a meal on the same day, at regular intervals, you can add that in the Repeats section. (See the green photo above for the location of the Repeats info.)

If you want to repeat a meal, but not on the same day of the week, you can use the copy function. After clicking on “copy to my calendar,” the meal will pop up again on the same day.

menu planning with Google calendar

Drag that new event to the new date you’ve chosen, click on it, and change it to your Meal Plan calendar. It is that easy.

Make Meal Planning a Family Event

Joe’s even gotten involved. When he has some extra time, he logs on to the calendar and adds recipes. That’s how corned beef and cabbage (a meal I detest) snuck in there on St. Patrick’s Day.

I can see us continuing to play our menus this way for a long time because it’s easy, and we can cooperate.

It works for us.

More Meal Planning Resources

I used these websites as I was figure out the Google calendar meal planning thing. I started with Simple Mom’s suggestions, and then I added or deleted things after reading the others.

8 Tips for Stress-free Living

© 2010 – 2014, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. Krista says

    This is fantastic! I never knew you could do this. I am going to have to try it out since I think I can access google calendar with my itouch (?), if so that would be really handy! Thank you for sharing. :)

  2. says

    This is great! I almost (the hubs will say I totally) lost it yesterday on this very topic. I swore if one more person asked me what was for dinner I was going to scream (well, maybe I did). I have never been the domestic goddess with all the answers. I have never been able to open the cupboard and wave my arms and viola! a meal. You would think that after 8 months I would have figured this stuff out!! Everyone tells me that meal planning is the answer – this looks very helpful. Thanks!!

  3. says

    After 8 months?!? Oh my goodness. I've lived on my own for almost 10 years. When it was just me, I often did throw open the pantry and whip something up… but I could also spend an hour or two in the kitchen, and it was no big deal.

    Now, time is premium. Grace is hungry, we only have two hours together as a family before she goes to bed. That method just doesn't work for us.

  4. GoofyMamma says

    And then I'd have to make it my home page so I wouldn't forget to look at it. LOL! That is a fabulous idea!

    Blessings,
    Kim

  5. gograhamgo says

    Honestly, this is the best way to save money! We have been following a meal plan for the past year and I have cut our grocery costs in half! We now spend $50 a week on groceries in most cases.

  6. upstatemomof3 says

    That is great! We do this but on paper with a pencil. Otherwise we never have the food in the house for the things we want/need. Menu planning and cooking are my biggest tackles on a weekly basis. I hate it!

  7. says

    I have been thinking about doing one on my calendar for awhile and haven’t done it. I love the idea to link to my honey so he can change it if he wants to also, and he knows what the plans are. I am going to start (right after Spring Break!)

  8. says

    Great idea! I use Google calander too keep up with all our many dr appts. Didn’t think about using it to keep up with the menu!

  9. says

    It is a lot of work. I think using the Google calendar will make it a little easier since I can copy and paste meals we've already made. The ingredients for those things are already typed in.

  10. says

    Oooh! I love this! I've been doing something similar for about a year, but I've used a spreadsheet. There's no room on it to include recipes – I'd already been linking to the ones online – without making it too unwieldy. I'm going to try it this way. Thanks, Tara!

  11. gograhamgo says

    Tara,

    It just helps me organize… so I plan my meals around what I have on hand.
    For instance, if I have an over abundance of carrots then I will make sure
    to find a few recipes that will help me make the most of them. I just go to
    the store with a plan and stick to it. I found that before I was planning I
    would make a random list of things and come home and find that I already had
    a few of the items and that we may have bought things that really made no
    sense. I definitely try to buy all organic meat and then fill in with non
    organic items here and there. I stick to the dirty dozen list when it comes
    to organic.

  12. christyisrc says

    I love google calendar, I have like 14 different calendars to organize my life, I am so adding the Meal Plan!!

  13. ben says

    I discovered this same thing about a month ago. It has removed stress and take out from our meal times. The one tip I would add is that you can open a google task window in your calendar, and past the ingredient list from each meal into the task list. This can then be printed as a shopping list. I actually access it from my blakberry when at the grocery store. No printing necessary.

  14. says

    WOW! I love GCal and why didn't I ever think of this?!? I always get SMS/Text Messages from GCal for bill paying etc etc, but the endless possibilities of having this with the meal plan? Have reminders pop up on my iphone? Just wow. This is the best tip I've ever read. Thanks so much for sharing!! Off to creating a Menu Plan on GCal!!

  15. says

    WOW! I love GCal and why didn't I ever think of this?!? I always get SMS/Text Messages from GCal for bill paying etc etc, but the endless possibilities of having this with the meal plan? Have reminders pop up on my iphone? Just wow. This is the best tip I've ever read. Thanks so much for sharing!! Off to creating a Menu Plan on GCal!!

  16. KNunnelley says

    This is GREAT! We've been doing meal planning using good ol pencil and paper for months. This is a wonderful idea. I have 2 weeks worth done, entered, and the grocery list entered into my task list like Ben mentioned. My only question… How can I make it PRINTER friendly so I can have my menu and my recipes available both ONLINE and in my Meal Planning Binder for easy use while cooking in the kitchen?? Any thoughts???

  17. says

    Thanks Kristin :)

    It is simple to print a calendar on Google Calendar. Next to the
    Day/Week/Month tabs, to the left of those, is a Print icon. When you click
    it, a new window will open with printer options. If you choose to show only
    your menu planning calendar, that's all that will print.

    Does that make sense?

  18. Kristin says

    Yeah makes total sense…I can get the actual calendar to print…and my “task list” grocery list… but Is there anyway to print my day details so I can see the recipes I've added in event details? (I like to have mine printed and put in order of my meal plan for easy access! :)) Or do you just bring up your online recipe each time you make a meal and use your computer? ;) Thanks again!

  19. Joy says

    I use Google calendar for my meal plan but hadn’t thought to add the actual recipe to it! I divide mine into the following categories: breakfast, lunch, supper, treats, & prep. Treats is for our regular Friday night dessert, special occasion desserts, or “company’s coming” desserts. Prep is to remind me to thaw a whole chicken a few days before I need it or start something that needs to be done overnight.

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