Adding Recipes in Plan to Eat - 5 Time-Saving Tips - Mommy Standard Time
data-pin-description=”Save time on meal planning with Plan to Eat! Adding recipes to your Plan to Eat collection can be a time-consuming process. Here are five hacks that will save you loads of time when making your shopping list and meal planning. #plantoeat #mealplanning #timesaver” data-no-lazy=”1″ alt=”Adding Recipes in Plan to Eat – Five Time-Saving Tips – Mommy Standard Time” class=”wp-image-3365″/>

If you missed my last post about the most awesome meal planner on the planet, you can check it out here. (Don’t worry, it will open in a new tab so you don’t lose your spot.)

I’ll wait….

Pretty amazing, eh??! If you’ve signed up for your free trial you’re probably itching to get started compiling your recipe collection. Before you get started, I have a few tips that will save you loads of time not only as you enter your recipes, but as you are using the recipes to plan and shop.

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As a quick reminder, Plan to Eat allows you to build your recipe collection in five main ways:

  • TYPE IN YOUR RECIPES – This is the most time-consuming method. However, the form for inputting the recipe is very user-friendly. They even have bulk input where you can just copy and paste into one part of the form and they will split it up by line item for you. Even though it might take you a while to type in your recipes, it’s worth it to have them all in one place. I’ll show you why in a minute.
  • WEB BROWSER BUTTON – This is one of my favorite parts of Plan to Eat! Any time you are on a website and you find a recipe that looks good, all you have to do is push the “Plan to Eat” button on your browser and the program pulls the recipe info from the website and it populates the recipe form for you. You can even choose an image…just like Pinterest! Then you just need to look things over and add any other information you need before clicking save. It takes just a few seconds. It’s literally as easy as pinning something on Pinterest, but it is WAY more useful than your mountain of pins that you have to sort through every time you are making your grocery list. Keep scrolling to see why…
  • COPY AND PASTE URL – Similar to the web browser button, you can copy and paste a URL from a recipe’s website and Plan to Eat will pull that information into the program for you.
  • SHARE WITH FRIENDS – A fun feature of Plan to Eat is the ability to share recipes with “friends.” They have a friends request feature, similar to social media, where you can gain access to the recipes that people have shared. Once you are friends with another Plan to Eat user, you can view and use their recipes as-is or you can copy them and make adjustments for your own taste. You can adjust the privacy settings of your own recipes just like social media; some can be shared with friends while others are for your eyes only. Or none can be shared. It’s totally up to you. Also, becoming friends with people to see their recipes (such as when you click my link) will not automatically unlock access to YOUR recipes. They would have to send you a request. This is similar to Instagram follows.
  • INPUT FROM ANOTHER SOURCE – If you have a spreadsheet or other online database of your own recipes, you can upload the CSV or other compatible file to your Plan to Eat account. In addition, you don’t have to worry about Plan to Eat suddenly disappearing along with your account. Your work in gathering recipes won’t go to waste if you decide to switch, either. You can export your recipes as CSV and take them with you.

This part of the process is pretty time-consuming and you might want to rush through it. However, there are a few important things you want to do in order to make the most of your Plan to Eat recipes. Today I’m going to share FIVE things that you can do as you add your recipes that will save you MAJOR time down the road.


The tag feature of Plan to Eat is one of the biggest time-savers! Before you start adding your recipes, take a few minutes to get your tags customized for you. Here’s a quick post and video from Plan to Eat that describes tags and how to get them set up.

How do you want to look for your recipes when you’re planning? When you’re searching online for something, what terms do you often use as your search criteria? THOSE are the types of tags that you want to use.

I grocery shop once a month, so I tag my recipes for the week of the month that is best for that recipe (Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4).

You could tag your recipes so that you have great ideas for leftovers using tags like “leftover ham,” “leftover chicken,” and so on.

You could even tag recipes with the names of your family members to indicate their favorites. Just keep in mind that these tags ARE visible to friends who have access to your recipes.


Even though you can easily adjust the serving sizes of recipes on your meal planning calendar, I think it’s better to just save yourself the trouble and adjust the original recipe to your family’s needed quantities.

If you would prefer to have access to the original recipe as well, you can always duplicate the original recipe and then note in the title that it’s customized for your family. For example, I do this by writing “ROYER (Recipe Name).” I also make my customized recipe private so that I don’t confuse any of my friends who look through my collection.

If it bothers you to have two copies of a recipe visible in your recipe book, you can always use the “hide recipe” option on the original. That way, the recipe is still in your account but it’s not cluttering your recipe book.

Sometimes your customizations only impact the actual cooking and not the ingredients, so you could use the personal notes section for this.


The shopping list feature of Plan to Eat is absolutely amazing, but to make the most of this feature there is just a touch of legwork that you want to do. It’s best if you can do this from the first recipes that you enter! Begin with the end in mind!

Plan to Eat shopping list with recipe codes

The shopping list combines like ingredients, but the program can only combine things that are completely compatible. For example, the program will treat “chopped onions” and “onions” as two line items on your shopping list. They will be grouped together, since they both include onion, but the quantities will be listed separately.

The best way around this is to focus on compatibility when you’re adding recipes. This means that the quantities are being measured in the same (most common) way (cups, teaspoons, or a simple quantity) and that you’re using the same terms.

SO……what does this look like?

I choose to type up my recipes based on what I’m buying at the store. Do I buy “chopped onion?” No, I buy whole onions and then chop them at home. Instead of typing in 1/2 cup chopped onion as the ingredient, I will change the recipe to say 1/2 onion (the rough equivalent to 1/2 cup chopped onion). Then, I will type “about 1/2 cup chopped” in the notes for that ingredient.

The above picture shows you one of my first lists, where you can see two lines of “chopped onion” toward the bottom. I’m still going through and fixing things as I find them, so learn from my mistake and check compatibility as you enter your recipes!

This is the same for using descriptive words like “small onion,” “large apple,” etc. Do you really buy differently-sized ingredients for your various recipes? If so, keep those words on there and they will be listed separately. If you would prefer to just have one quantity of apples to buy, just take those extra descriptors out.

Onions are one of the biggest culprits for not merging, so that’s why I have so many tips for onions. 🙂 Just one more: Go ahead and type in the onion type that you will be using. Even though “yellow onion” is the fallback when you see that a recipe calls for “onion,” the program treats those two terms as different line items for your shopping list. Go ahead and type in what YOU will buy for that recipe.

I know that this sounds like a pain, but the program actually makes it easier for you. As you type in recipes, the program recognizes the terms that you’ve used. There will be soon be a drop-down of similar terms as you type. As long as you’re using terms from your drop-down, you’ll know you have chosen a compatible term.

Picture of duplicate ingredients in drop down menu

The drop down menu also gives you a glimpse into common compatibility issues. Here is a quick look into my account when I type the ingredient “pepper.” I have obviously saved recipes without checking for compatibility. That’s fine! It gives me an idea of things I can check the next time I save a recipe.

Since the program lists these common ingredients together on the actual shopping list, it’s not a dealbreaker if the actual quantities aren’t merged. Eventually, I would love to have a beautifully compatible recipe book. I am considering making a cheat sheet for myself to check the compatibility of the recipes that I pull in from elsewhere (you know…so I’m consistently using “green bell pepper” instead of “green pepper”). That way I could quickly change terms as needed and then they’d merge beautifully. But in the meantime, I just do my best. This feature still saves an incredible amount of time!

Here’s a great post from Plan to Eat with more tips for making the most of the shopping list feature (when you’re ready for that).


You might remember when I mentioned that the Plan to Eat calendar allows you to just type in ingredients that you need on a given day (for your more casual meals that don’t really have an actual recipe). This is awesome! Until you notice you’re typing things in pretty often.

Consider adding a basic recipe for these meals to save time in the future! Again, I label these types of meals with our last name, such as “ROYER – Hot Dogs.” Do I need instructions for making hot dogs for my family? Nope! I just type in the ingredients and quantities onto the recipe card, adding tags if necessary, and then save it as a private recipe.

It takes just a few seconds and then you have your family’s easy go-to recipes ready to drag onto the calendar for your planning and shopping.


If you’re going to be using ical to sync your meal planner with your favorite digital calendar, consider making use of prep notes! There is a small section near the bottom of the recipe card where you can choose to add a prep note.

These notes will show up on your calendar as all-day events. This feature is AWESOME for those freezer meals that you always forget to take out of the freezer!

So there you have it! My top five time savers to keep in mind when you’re adding recipes to your Plan to Eat collection. A little bit of work up front will save you LOADS of time in the future!

If you haven’t signed up for your FREE 30-day trial, please consider using my link! You will automatically gain access to my recipes, which can give you a head start as you build your own collection. Just click here (you don’t even need your credit card). I do get a small commission when you use my link, but there is no additional cost to you.

Are you using Plan to Eat yet? What do you love about it??