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How to categorize meals and recipes using tags with the Meal Planner App

Published November 08, 2021

Here are some tips and tricks to organize and categorize meals and recipes like a boss.

Maybe you’ve already started adding meals and recipes to the Meal Planner App and planning meals on the calendar, or maybe you’re just curious about what’s behind the sing-up page. No matter what your meal planning system is, keeping meals organized and categorized is essential to making the process easy without compromising variety and quality when it’s time to eat.

Here are some helpful tips when it comes to keeping meals organized. We’ll use our very own Meal Planner App for examples, but the same principles apply to any system you’re already using.

What are tags in the Meal Planner App?

At Meal Planner App, we use tags very similarly to Instagram or any other social media platform. A tag is a way to categorize a meal any way you choose.

For instance, let's say you added this Sunday chili recipe from Pinch of Yum to your meals list and wanted to categorize it with tags. You could add custom tags like "beef", or "soup season", or "sweater weather" — anything that makes sense to how you want to keep it organized.

How to add a custom tag to a meal

To add a custom tag to a meal, view the desired meal, then fill out the field next to the "Add a tag" button, then click to add the tag for that meal.

How to add a custom tag to a meal

A Tag can be any word or combination of words that you wish to describe the meal.

How to add a rating to a meal

You'll notice below the name of the meal at the top, there's a set of five starts and the instructions "Click a star to add a rating." At any time, you can click one of the stars to add or update a rating for each meal.

You can rate meals based on any criteria that makes sense to you. In our family, we rate meals based on how receptive the family is to the meal. Typically soups and soft foods are not crowd pleasers with our toddlers, so we were pleasantly surprised when our four-year-old ate an entire bowl and asked for seconds when we cooked the chili above. That got a four-star rating because almost everyone in the family loved it (no idea why the three-year-old wasn't a fan, but majority rules).

How to search meals

When you've done the work of tagging and categorizing meals, you now can reap the benefits of being able to search meals. At Meal Planner App, our search encompasses not only the content of the meals, but the tags as well.

To search, click the "Meals" link in your top navigation, then enter a search term and click "Search" at the top.

How to search meals

What tags should I use?

At Meal Planner App, the last thing we want to do is add more decisions to your day. Our goal is to help alleviate some of the decision making you do every day. So it may seem counter-intuitive that tagging is an open-ended form of categorizing. It's seemingly another decision you need to make. That's why we're also providing you with a few tried and true methods for tagging. We want you to have what it takes to be the boss of your meal plan.

Tag according to your dietary needs and preferences

Let's face it, everyone has different opinions and needs when it comes to planning meals. There's the crunchy organic folks, die hard bargain shoppers, and everything in between, including those planning for people with dietary restrictions — shout out to cauliflower for saving gluten-free pizza!

That being said, let's start small with the things that are obvious when it comes to your dietary needs. Some simple ideas for tagging according to dietary needs are "gluten free", "dairy free", or "nut free".

Decide on patterns and themes

At our house, we love the Lazy Genius Collective, and take plenty of cues from their article on creating a meal plan that will save your life and make you pretty. One of the biggest takeaways form the article is to establish themes for each night of the week. This helps alleviate decision fatigue by narrowing the scope of deciding what meals to have each night.

For instance, we make tacos every Tuesday, we eat Thai food every Thursday, and we have pizza every Sunday. The tags on our meals reflect that as well. We have "Taco Tuesday", "Thai Thursday", and "Pizza Sunday" tags for meals that fit into those categories. That way, we can simply search those tags and choose from a smaller list of meals to schedule on those days.

Easy right? We think so too!

Just be yourself

The beauty of having an open-ended system for tagging and categorizing meals is that you can bring your own style to the table — pun intended. You could make a tag for each child's favorite meal, and when it comes time for their birthday, you'll have easy access to a meal that makes them happy.

The world is your oyster. The important thing is that you have a system for keeping your meals and recipes organized and categorized, and at Meal Planner App, we let you do so with our tagging system.

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Featured recipes:

In this article, you can see what it would look like to add these recipes to your meals list: