How I use Excel for organizing recipes, meal planning, food inventory and grocery lists (2022)

I live just down the road from 3 supermarkets so have always been a basket shopper. However, due to Coronavirus, people hoarding groceries leaving empty shelves and sometimes having to queue due to limits on the number of people allowed in a shop at one time; I’ve had to be a bit more organized with my meal planning and grocery shopping beyond just the week ahead. Since Excel has proven so useful for budgeting and organizing all my brain dumping tasks, I decided to create some spreadsheets for meal planning, food inventory and grocery shopping.

I hope you find this post helpful and that it gives you some ideas for tweaking your current meal planning method (or starting one!).

If you’d like a copy of the spreadsheets I made, they’re available in my shop (here) or my Etsy shop (here). They will work in Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets (free online tool) and Numbers for Mac.

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Let’s take a closer look!

Toenlarge the screenof the video, click the square icon in the bottom right hand corner of the video (it will say ‘full screen’ when you hover your mouse over the icon).

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I made this spreadsheet a few months ago now, and have been using it in Google Sheets on my iPad. I click the URL recipe link, place my iPad on it’s stand and start cooking. I do still prefer recipes printed on paper so have been using this only for recipes I’m trying for the first time. If I like the recipe, then I print and add it to one of my recipe binders.

Read more: How to organize recipes plus a free printable recipe binder

(Video) How I Use Excel for organizing recipes, meal planning, food inventory and grocery lists

I’ve labelled this spreadsheet ‘Favorite Recipes List’ as everyone probably doesn’t organize their recipes the same way I do. You can rename the spreadsheet as ‘Recipes to Try’ instead if you like.

Tips and examples are in the spreadsheets to help guide you/recommended use (hover your mouse over cells that have a red triangle in the corner)

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I’ve added some useful info to the spreadsheet:
– Category (click the drop-down arrow to filter by category). E.g. if you haven’t eaten pork in a while, filter to only see pork recipes
– Recipe name
– Source (URL of the website, or if you have a lot of recipes in binders, the binder reference e.g.#4). By storing the URL link you can directly click from the spreadsheet to the recipe page – handy if you use an iPad for cooking
– Staple ingredients (that you already have on hand)
– Other ingredients (need to buy)
– Prep + cooking time
– Optional: add a photo
– Family rating

Next is a monthly meal planner. I’ve tried various methods of meal planning including printables, notepads, sticky notes, whiteboards etc. and do still use those methods but if you want to keep everything in the one place, I’ve added a spreadsheet for that.

I really only meal plan dinner (and then eat the leftovers for lunch the next day), but you could add lunch and other meals as well. If you prefer to do weekly meal planning, just use the first row of this spreadsheet.

I’ve set the spreadsheet up so that when you enter the date in the first box, the rest of the month’s dates will automatically pre-fill 🙂

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3. MEAL PLANNER – DETAILED

If you want to plan out every meal, use this monthly meal planner instead.

There are sections for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

If you want to write multiple lines of text, press Alt + Enter on your keyboard for a new line.

(Video) Spreadsheets4Life | Grocery List Generator for Excel | Meal Planner | Recipe | Shopping | Cooking

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I normally wouldn’t worry about keeping a detailed food inventory, however with supermarket shelves practically empty, I’ve found I needed to start tracking what I do and don’t have, not only for creating a grocery list (feels more like a wish list these days..), but also for figuring out what to cook using what I already have on hand.

The cells will automatically turn blue when the quantity drops to 0 or 1 signalling it’s time to restock and you should add this item to your grocery list.

Enter food by location: pantry, freezer or fridge then use the dropdown arrow to filter food by each location. You can also use CTRL + F keyboard shortcut to find the food item quickly as well.

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I’ve pre-populated this grocery list with more than 220 common items. You can easily add your own grocery items, and delete any I’ve already entered that aren’t relevant to you.

Enter the quantity required and the price you typically pay and the spreadsheet will automatically calculate the expected total cost for that shop.

You can use this for any duration you like. Weekly shop, fortnightly, monthly etc.

Right click on the tab and select ‘duplicate’ to save a copy of that grocery list. You can also save a copy of the meal plans in the same way, so everything is in the one place for future reference.

(Video) How I Use a Food Inventory For Easy Grocery Shopping and Meal Prepping

Formulas automatically calculate so you don’t need to waste time totalling up how much the shop is going to cost, just scroll to the bottom of the spreadsheet. Currency can be changed from $ to pounds, Yen or any other currency you like.

You can print the grocery list by going to file > print (just make sure you’ve checked the ‘fit all columns to one page’ option otherwise the spreadsheets might not print correctly). If you use the spreadsheets in Google Sheets, you can open the grocery list spreadsheet from the app on your iPhone.

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Same as above only it’s blank so you can build your own grocery list from scratch.

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Enter the prices for up to 3 shops (grocery items are pre-filled same as the grocery list, but you can delete and add your own as well) and the spreadsheet will automatically highlight which shop is the cheapest for that item, as well as the average price for that item.

If you take this with you to the shops you can see if it’s worthwhile waiting to go to a shop that has the product cheaper, or if the price is close to the average for that item, it might be worthwhile to just get it.

To see all of the items that are the cheapest at one store, click the dropdown arrow at the top of the column and choose ‘filter by color’ then select the blue that will appear. Now you can either print the spreadsheet and take it with you to that shop or write out your shopping list by store based on what products are cheaper.

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If you’d like a copy of the spreadsheets I made, they’re available in my shop (here) or my Etsy shop (here).

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(Video) Meal Planner and Automated Grocery List Builder Google Sheets Template, How to Meal Plan for a MONTH

Open in Google Sheets on your iPad or iPhone

  1. Download Google Sheets app to your iPhone or iPad if you haven’t done so already
  2. Email the file to yourself and click on the attachment
  3. Press the box with the arrow pointing upwards and select ‘copy to sheets’

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  1. If you haven’t already, login to your Google Sheets account
  2. The file should automatically open. If you save the file in Google Sheets you’ll be able to see those changes when you login to Google Sheets on your computer, iPad etc.

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Open in Google Sheets on your computer

  1. Go to Google Sheets and login (or create a login)
  2. Click the + sign to make a new spreadsheet
  3. Go to ‘file’ and then ‘open’
  4. Choose upload, then navigate to where you saved the file on your computer

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5. Now you can use the spreadsheet just like you would in Excel

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If you want to use an Excel file in Numbers on your iPad or iPhone

  1. Email the file to yourself and click on the attachment
  2. Press the box with the arrow pointing upwards and select ‘copy to numbers’

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  1. If you haven’t already, login to your Numbers account
  2. The file should automatically open
  3. Now you can use it just like you would in Excel (except the tabs are at the top not the bottom because Apple has to be different…). Also, if you want to type text in a cell, you’ll need to double tap the box to bring up the on-screen keyboard.

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More ideas for planning using Excel

  • Week 41:Weekly planning using Microsoft Excel
  • How I use Excel to organize all my travel plans (research, itinerary, hotel, tours, bookings, packing list etc.)
  • How to organize your life using 1 simple spreadsheet in Excel (plus free download)

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(Video) Creating your meal Plans, Shopping Lists and recipe Library

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FAQs

Is there an app that creates a grocery list from recipes? ›

You Might Also Like
  • Recipe Keeper by OrganizEat. Food & Drink.
  • Mealime Meal Plans & Recipes. Food & Drink.
  • Plan to Eat. Food & Drink.
  • Mealthy: Easy Healthy Recipes. Food & Drink.
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How do you format a shopping list? ›

How to Organize Your Weekly Shopping List
  1. Keep a Running List in the Kitchen.
  2. Use the Store Sales Circular.
  3. Organize Your List by Aisles.
  4. Keep It All Together.
  5. Categories to Print Out.
10 Nov 2020

How do I randomly generate a generator in Excel? ›

If you want to use RAND to generate a random number but don't want the numbers to change every time the cell is calculated, you can enter =RAND() in the formula bar, and then press F9 to change the formula to a random number. The formula will calculate and leave you with just a value.

How do I use meal planning in Google Sheets? ›

To create a meal plan:
  1. You first have to plan out what you want to eat.
  2. Add the recipes to the spreadsheet one by one.
  3. Write down their ingredients and check to see if you have the ingredients in your house.
  4. Start creating a grocery list and go out shopping.
  5. Simply stick to the plan and enjoy a healthy diet.

How do I count macros in Excel? ›

Use the COUNT function to get the number of entries in a number field that is in a range or array of numbers. For example, you can enter the following formula to count the numbers in the range A1:A20: =COUNT(A1:A20). In this example, if five of the cells in the range contain numbers, the result is 5.

Is there a free app for meal planning? ›

Best Meal Planning Apps of 2022
  • Best Overall: Paprika.
  • Best for Vegetarians: Forks Over Knives.
  • Best Free Option: Yummly.
  • Best for Families: Cozi.
  • Best for Fitness Goals: PlateJoy.
  • Best for Shopping Lists: Mealime.
  • Best for Easy Recipes: MealPrepPro.

Is there a free app for grocery list? ›

AnyList is the best way to create grocery shopping lists and collect and organize your recipes. Easily share a list with your spouse or roommates, for free.

What are the 5 basic steps of meal planning? ›

5 steps to meal planning
  • Find your favorites. Ask your family to build a list of their favorite meals, including desserts and sides. ...
  • Check your cabinets. Before thinking about writing your meal plan, see what you have on hand. ...
  • Check your calendar. ...
  • Plan your menu based on the store sales. ...
  • Cook from scratch.
18 Jan 2017

What are the 5 Principles of meal planning? ›

Key Principles of Meal Planning
  • Adequacy.
  • Balance.
  • Variety.
  • Moderation.
  • Nourishment.
28 Jan 2020

How do I calculate my meal plan? ›

Online tools to use help you calculate daily amounts of food, serving sizes and calories:
  1. Men: BMR = 66 + ( 13.7 x weight in kilos ) + ( 5 x height in cm ) – ( 6.8 x age in years )
  2. Women: BMR = 655 + ( 9.6 x weight in kilos ) + ( 1.8 x height in cm ) – ( 4.7 x age in years )

How do I plan my weekly grocery list? ›

Plan Your Weekly Meals
  1. See what you already have. Look in your freezer, cabinets, and refrigerator. ...
  2. Write down your meals. ...
  3. List out recipes to try. ...
  4. Think about your schedule. ...
  5. Plan to use leftovers. ...
  6. Make a grocery list. ...
  7. Build your shopping list as you go. ...
  8. Buy a combination of fresh, frozen, and non-perishable items.

What is a master grocery list? ›

What is a Master Grocery List? A master grocery list is pretty much exactly what it sounds like… a list of food and household items that you frequently buy with space to write down additional items that you may need.

What makes a good grocery list? ›

Make a Great Grocery List in Minutes
  • Bakery and Bread.
  • Meat and Seafood.
  • Pasta and Rice.
  • Oils, Sauces, Salad Dressings, and Condiments.
  • Cereals and Breakfast Foods.
  • Soups and Canned Goods.
  • Frozen Foods.
  • Dairy, Cheese, and Eggs.
27 Jul 2020

How a grocery store is organized? ›

Almost all grocery stores start with the Produce department and then line the walls with Meat, Seafood, Deli & Bakery. Then the center of the store encompasses the Grocery department, along with Beer & Wine, and Health & Beauty. The Front End is where the cashiers and baggers finalize the shopping experience.

Why is it important to make a shopping list? ›

It helps you remember the items to shop for, even if you've left or lost your list on the way to the store.

How do I list names in Excel? ›

Go to the Formulas tab > Define Names group, and click the Create from Selection button. Or, press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + F3. Either way, the Create Names from Selection dialogue box will open. You select the column or row with headers, or both, and click OK.

How do I randomly fill values from a list of data in Excel? ›

(1) In a blank cell enter the formula =RANDBETWEEN(1,15), and drag the fill handle to the range you need. (2) In the cell where you will fill name randomly from the given list, enter the formula =VLOOKUP(C2,$A$1:$B$16,2,FALSE), and drag the fill handle to the range you need.

How do I generate a list of random names in Excel? ›

1. Select this cell and press F9 key, you will get different names randomly. 2. You can also select the cell and drag the fill handle down to list the random names you need, but you will get duplicate names with this formula.

Does Google sheets have a recipe template? ›

Features. This Google Sheet Recipe template allows you to: Automatically get ingredients by the batch amount or the total weight of ingredients. You can set it to display in Imperial (ounces) or Metric (grams).

What does a meal plan consist of? ›

We've identified the simplest, most effective system for meal planning and broke it down into three key steps: selecting recipes, shopping for ingredients, and prepping your meals. These steps might seem pretty obvious, and for the most part they are, but there's critical strategy within each of them.

How do I make a shopping list in Google Sheets? ›

Google Sheets walkthrough (with downloadable template) - YouTube

What is the formula to count rows in Excel? ›

ROWS is useful if we wish to find out the number of rows in a range. The most basic formula used is =ROWS(rng). The function counted the number of rows and returned a numerical value as the result. When we gave the cell reference B6, it returned the result of 1 as only one reference was given.

What is Countif in Excel? ›

Use COUNTIF, one of the statistical functions, to count the number of cells that meet a criterion; for example, to count the number of times a particular city appears in a customer list.

Does Google have a meal planning app? ›

Open your Google Calendar app and under “Other calendars,” click the “+” and “Create new calendar.” Then name that calendar “Menu” or “Meal Plan” or “Family Restaurant” or something else that makes you smile. Now you're ready to get started!

Can I make a grocery list on my phone? ›

OurGroceries. The OurGroceries app (download for iOS or Android) syncs your family's grocery lists across multiple devices so everyone is up to date on changes. The app works with smart devices like the Amazon Echo, so you don't need to have your device on hand if you think of something.

Which cooking app helps you to create a shared grocery list? ›

AnyList - The best way to create and share a grocery shopping...
  • Recipes.
  • Meal Planning.
  • AnyList Complete (Premium)
  • Compare Features & Pricing.

Is there an app to scan and add up groceries? ›

The Perfect Grocery Shopping App: Total Plus makes your life easier when shopping and helps you stay on budget. It calculates your total shopping list based on discounts and the sales tax rate you specify. See exactly how much you will pay at the register. Calculate items by quantity or by weight (Pounds or Kilograms).

How much food do you need for a month? ›

If you're a single adult, depending on your age and sex (the USDA estimates are higher for men and lower for both women and men 71 and older), look to spend between $229 and $419 each month on groceries. For a two-adult household, the figure above will double: $458 to $838.

Does Soap come under Grocery? ›

Where I live, soap in all forms, toilet paper, paper towels, all sorts of household cleaning products, toothpaste, shampoo, nonprescription drugs…all of these count as groceries - if and only if you buy them in a store whose main business is to sell food.

How do I get groceries to last? ›

How to Grocery Shop for Two Weeks at a Time
  1. Buy meats, vegetables, and fruits that have a long shelf life. ...
  2. Allocate time during Week One to freeze some food for Week Two. ...
  3. Get creative with fresh fruit. ...
  4. Buy extra household products. ...
  5. Buy the ingredients for at least one extra meal, just in case.
16 Mar 2020

What is a master grocery list? ›

What is a Master Grocery List? A master grocery list is pretty much exactly what it sounds like… a list of food and household items that you frequently buy with space to write down additional items that you may need.

How does v look up work? ›

The VLOOKUP function performs a vertical lookup by searching for a value in the first column of a table and returning the value in the same row in the index_number position. The VLOOKUP function is a built-in function in Excel that is categorized as a Lookup/Reference Function.

How do I plan my grocery list for the week? ›

Plan Your Weekly Meals
  1. See what you already have. Look in your freezer, cabinets, and refrigerator. ...
  2. Write down your meals. ...
  3. List out recipes to try. ...
  4. Think about your schedule. ...
  5. Plan to use leftovers. ...
  6. Make a grocery list. ...
  7. Build your shopping list as you go. ...
  8. Buy a combination of fresh, frozen, and non-perishable items.

What food items should I stock up on? ›

What to Always Keep in Your Pantry
  • Peanut butter. A great source of energy, peanut butter is chock-full of healthful fats and protein. ...
  • Whole-wheat crackers. ...
  • Nuts and trail mixes. ...
  • Cereal. ...
  • Granola bars and power bars. ...
  • Dried fruits, such as apricots and raisins. ...
  • Canned tuna, salmon, chicken, or turkey. ...
  • Canned soups and chili.
19 May 2022

What are the types of lookup in Excel? ›

There are two forms of LOOKUP in Excel: Vector and Array.

What is Xlookup in Excel? ›

Syntax. The XLOOKUP function searches a range or an array, and then returns the item corresponding to the first match it finds. If no match exists, then XLOOKUP can return the closest (approximate) match.

What does spill mean in Excel? ›

Spill means that a formula has resulted in multiple values, and those values have been placed in the neighboring cells. For example, =SORT(D2:D11,1,-1), which sorts an array in descending order, would return a corresponding array that's 10 rows tall.

Videos

1. Tutorial video for our Google Sheet Grocery List Generator and Meal Planner
(Dink & Gina's)
2. Weekly Meal Planner and Automated Grocery List Builder for Google Sheets
(thinklikeagirlboss)
3. Automate Your Meal Plan and Grocery List
(Her Healthy Home)
4. How The Cooklist App Works: Meal Planner, Grocery List, Pantry Inventory & Recipes
(Cooklist)
5. Excel for Organizing Recipes - Tips
(Dewi)
6. Meal plan to grocery list in under 20 minutes a week!
(JT Longino)

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