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Optimize Trello At The Grocery Store

Or How I Use Trello To Be A Grocery Store Superstar

Last week I shared with you my meal planning board as well as tips on how to get started creating a meal planning board of your own. This week I will go into setting up your grocery list, ruling the grocery store, and I'll share some additional tips and tricks that you might want to use with your board.

Grocery Shopping

The Grocery “List”

At this point you have a few weeks or a month of meals planned out, you are organized, you are motivated, your future is so bright that you gotta wear shades.  You open up your fridge and… oh right, you haven’t cooked since you got that food processor for your birthday last year.  The cupboards are looking equally bare, and maybe it is time to toss that expired ramen, as you think to yourself, “Wait, ramen expires?!”  Luckily, Trello makes creating grocery lists a cinch.

The first thing I did was to make a new list on my board called “Grocery Lists.”  For each week of meals that I have planned out I added a new card.  Breaking up your shopping into weeks makes grocery lists more manageable and I want to spend as little time shopping as possible.

GroceryListsList

Now we are going to create our grocery list for the first week by adding a checklist to the card.  Checklists in Trello have a few great features that the old pen and paper grocery list of yesteryear don’t have. To add a checklist, click the card to open it and select “Checklist” from back of the card in the Add section, name your checklist whatever you like, (I went with the very original “Grocery List”) and then click “Add”.

The quickest way to add items to your checklist is to copy and paste the ingredients from each recipe into a checklist item.  Trello will automatically create a new checklist item for every line separated item in your recipe's ingredient list.  To do this, open the card of one of the recipes you are going to make this week, highlight the list of ingredients, copy the text, then open your grocery list card for the week and under the checklist click “Add an item.”  Now paste your copied text into the field, press add, and watch the magic unfold as each item in your list becomes a separate checklist item.  I am going to give you a minute to go through and add the rest of your ingredients for each meal into your checklist.

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Once you have all of your ingredients for your week's worth of recipes added to your checklist, it’s time to do a little organization and clean-up.  

First, there are probably some items on the checklist that you already have and don’t need to buy.  Remove these from the checklist by clicking the checklist item and then selecting “Delete.”  

Organize your list by dragging and dropping checklist items into whatever order makes most sense to you.  I like to organize my list by produce, meat/dairy, and dry goods (aka all of the stuff in the center of the store that you can never easily find).

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If you have a few redundant items, like 2 checklist items that each call for a yellow onion, feel free to consolidate these items by clicking the first checklist item to enable edit mode, change the item to say 2 yellow onions, and then delete the second onion checklist item from your list.

I should note that you are not limited to one checklist on a card, so if you want to make more checklists for your grocery list, feel free to do so! Also, encourage other members of your household that are on your Trello board to add any items to your grocery list for any snacks that they want, like those coveted seaweed snacks.

Supermarket Sweep

Where we live in Brooklyn there are four different markets that we like to shop at all within a two block radius: the produce stand, the local baker, the organic foods market, and the supermarket. In order to get our shopping done fast we like to split up, divide and conquer style.  This also makes shopping in one mega supermarket way more sane.

Trello is available on both iOS and Android devices and it syncs in real time so we can leave the apartment at the same time, go to different stores and know exactly what has already been added to each other’s shopping carts by checking off checklist items as we go.   

If I am going to the bakery and Jess suddenly has a craving for some babka she can add it to the grocery list and I will be able to see the update in real time.  Never had babka? Go do yourself a favor and get some.

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Bonus Tips

Trello has a lot of other great features that you might find useful on your meal planning journey, and I want to touch on a few them really quick.

Labels: Labels are a great way to make information more visual on your board.  Consider adding labels to your recipe cards to make certain features about those cards stand out more, perhaps labels for dietary restrictions, the style of food, for cooking time, or for the season the dish tastes best. To learn more about labels check out this article.

Calendar iCal feed: The calendar for your board has a unique iCal feed that you can import into a third party calendar, such as Google or Apple’s calendar.  If you are someone that schedules your life in an online calendar, you might find this useful.  To learn more check out this article.

Markdown formatting: On my recipe cards I like to get fancy with my formatting by using bullet points for ingredient lists, as well as bold and italicized fonts.  Trello incorporates Markdown syntax to do this and you can learn more about adding Markdown to your cards here this article.

Collaboration: Just like sharing a meal, Trello makes it easy to share your recipes with others.  Got some friends and family that love to cook? Add them to your board.  I added my sister and my parents to my meal planning board so that they can get ideas for things to make, and they have added me to theirs.  Now if my sister adds a great new recipe to her board, I can copy the card and add it to my board in a few clicks.  To learn more about copying cards, lists, and boards check out this article.

Board backgrounds: My mother always says that she considers the plate a canvas, ready to be filled with not only exquisite flavors, but also visual delights.  With Trello Gold you can make your board background your canvas for culinary delights by adding a custom board background.  To learn more about custom board backgrounds, check out this article.

Well, that sums up my experience so far into using Trello as a meal planning tool.  It has been great getting back into the kitchen more, developing my cooking skills, and sharing one of the greatest gifts with my family and friends, a nice home cooked meal.

Do you have any favorite recipes? Share them with the rest of the Trello community by adding them to this card  or by sharing them with us on Twitter by tweeting @trello