How many apps do you have on your phone? How many apps do you have on your phone that can save you time? I don’t mean that you think they save you time because they are cool to use. I am talking about apps that actually save you real, quantifiable time. Do you have a shopping list app on your phone?
For the past year and a half I have been using MealBoard for my meal planning and shopping lists. I keep this app on my iPhone’s first screen and I use it every day. I love this Shopping List App!
Why Do I Love My Shopping List App?
This app saves me at least 45 minutes each week. Before using this shopping list App, I would sit down and look through cook books until I found a recipe I wanted. Then I would have to write the ingredients down on my list. When I arrived at the grocery store, I found myself continually going back two or three isles because I forgot something.
Basics of a Shopping List App
Any shopping list app should have the basics. Make sure any shopping list app you download has the following:
- Add your favorite recipes with the ingredients. This is the key to save time with a shopping list app. Look for an app that allows you to add your favorite recipes and download recipes from popular websites.
- Plan your week. This is the key to save money with a shopping list app. By planning your meals every week, you will cut down on eating out, which can save you lots of money. If you decided to eat out, make sure to read my article on 4 Ways to Save Money Eating Out.
- Generate Your Shopping List. Once you have added your meals, picked a meal for each night of the week, you are now ready to create your shopping list. MealBoard lets you do this with push of the button. Once you create your shopping list, you can add additional items.
- Arrange Your List by Aisle. This will be your second biggest time saver. Without a list ordered by aisle, you will find yourself retracing your steps finding something that was buried in your list.
Using a Shopping List App Step by Step
- Set Up Your Aisles. One of the best features of a shopping list app is the ability to organize your list by aisle. After you purchase the app, start by setting up your aisles. I recommend giving each aisle a number and a name that describes what is in the aisle, such as baking goods or cereal. Since most stores are split into internal isles(think the bottom part of the T) and the outside of the store (the top part of the T) where all the healthier food is located, you will need to decide where to put things like meat. When aisles run perpendicular, I recommend placing the items in the closes aisle. For example, ground meat is in the baking good aisle.
- Add Your Recipes. Once you download MealBoard, you will need to add recipes. This will take you a few hours, but the time invested up front will be rewarded in short time. MealBoard makes this easy by allowing you to import recipes directly from major websites such as AllRecipes, BBC Good Food, Betty Crocker, Bon Appetit, Eating Well, Epicurious, Food & Wine, Food.com, Food Network, Food Network (CA), MyRecipes, Simply Recipes, South Beach Diet, Taste.com.au, Taste of Home, Vegetarian Times, and Whole Foods. If you are adding your own recipes, each recipe will take you about 15 minutes to add. If you are downloading recipes from one the sites above, each one will take you about 5 minutes.
- Choose your meals. This is where you will save time in putting together your shopping list. In the past, I would sit down at the kitchen table with about 5 cookbooks, pick out recipes, and write down the ingredients. This process would take me about an hour each week as I planned out all the meals. Now, with the MealBoard Shopping List App, I look through the app for meals that look appealing and add them to my meal plan. I can search for specific recipes or I can browse for meals by category.
- Generate your shopping list. Here is where the magic happens. Once your meals are created, you can generate a shopping list. Your ingredients will be organized by aisle. Before I had this MealBoard Shopping List App, I would spend about 10 minutes extra in the store each week going back three aisles because I missed something on my list. I got a lot of exercise, but wasted a lot of time. Now, at the end of each aisle, I just make sure that I have all my items checked off. And don’t worry if the store moves something from one aisle to another. You can change your aisle locations on the fly.
- Follow the Recipe. When I am ready to cook something, I go to the Shopping List App and follow the recipe from the app.
Helpful Tips For Your Shopping List App
- Helpful Tip #1 – Add a recipe called Weekly Items. For this recipe’s ingredients, add all the items you buy at the store every week.
- Helpful Tip #2 – I like to have all of my days filled for the week, but there are some nights when I plan on eating out or having leftovers. I have created meals called “Dining Out” and “Leftovers”. Neither of these meals have ingredients. I can add these meals in to fill my list and satisfy my “Monkish” desires.
- Helpful Tip #3 – With your phone, take a snapshot of each of the aisle signs showing what items are down each isle. When you get back home, you can set up your aisles in the Shopping List App.
p.s. The Walnut Chicken recipe in the image above is one of my favorites and you can find it in the Flat Belly Diet cookbook.
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