Hello! Happy New Year! I hope you all had a happy and healthy holiday. We sure did! Robert and I returned last night from a two week long whirlwind east coast trip. During that time we drove from Chicago to Pittsburgh, PA; Ocean City, MD; Dover, DE; New York City; Mount Snow, VT; Killington, VT; and on our drive back to Chicago we got stuck in Milan, OH for two days due to bad weather. We are thrilled to be home and settling back into a routine again. I’m especially excited to get into the kitchen and cook up lots of healthy, clean meals that I hope to share with you very soon.
During our many hours on the road I had plenty of time to think. One of the the things I kept coming back to is how much I love Pinterest. (Here are my boards.) I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such a useful tool when it comes to meal planning and cooking (I hinted at it in this post). However, I know not everyone feels this way. You may find Pinterest overwhelming or consider it a needless distraction. So that’s why I’m here to share with you my five tips for winning at Pinterest especially when it comes to planning meals. Over time and with trial and error here’s what I’ve found works best for me. I hope it helps you, too!
5 Ways to Master Pinterest for Recipes
1. Only pin what you’ll eat. I realize this may seem obvious, but it’s worth emphasizing. We have a tendency to fantasize about our future selves. For instance, you may imagine that your future self loooves spaghetti squash so you pin dozens of recipes using that ingredient. In reality maybe it’s not your favorite. So when looking through your Pinterest boards you walk away uninspired because you’re not looking at foods you’ll actually make. Thus, only pin what you like. When possible, read recipes before pinning to ensure you like all of the ingredients (or can easily adjust them) and they fit with the time you’re willing to commit. If you don’t like to spend more than 30 minutes in the kitchen cooking dinner don’t pin recipes that take three hours to make. You could also create separate boards for weeknight meals (30 minutes or less) and weekend/dinner party meals (30+ minutes) if that works better for you.
2. Categorize your boards. Create separate boards for different types of meals rather than having one food board. This means different things to different people. Mine are divided by main ingredient/type (poultry, meat, fish, sweets, soup, slow cooker, salads, etc.) This makes complete sense to me, but another way of organizing may make more sense to you. Perhaps you’d prefer breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Or maybe you have a board for healthy meals and one for more indulgent recipes (hello, balance!) Or maybe the time suggestion in the tip above floats your boat. The point is to create a system where you can more easily find recipes that fulfill your needs. If I’m craving soup I know exactly where to look. If I’m trying to eat more fish I go straight to the fish board. The easier recipes are to find the more likely you are to make them.
3. Follow bloggers you love on Pinterest. This can work for any kind of blog, but let’s keep with the food theme here. If you like a certain food blogger you’ll probably like the stuff they’re pinning, too. Some of my favorite bloggers/pinners include Pinch of Yum, Maria from Two Peas and Their Pod, Ali from Gimme Some Oven, Gaby from What’s Gaby Cooking, Beverly from Bev Cooks, Joy from Joy the Baker, Lori from RecipeGirl, and many others. By the same token, the more people you follow on Pinterest (and like) the more awesome stuff you’ll be exposed to when you check Pinterest each day.
4. Pin stuff you find on your own. The tip above increases the items in your feed that you can repin, but to truly make Pinterest work for you it helps to pin items you find on your own. How do you do that? If you read a food blog and see a recipe you like, pin it. Pin recipes you see in magazines, too. Every month I receive Cooking Light, Food & Wine, and Bon Appetit in addition to health magazines like Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Fitness, and others (hey, it’s my job!) Any time I find a recipe I like I pin it and then recycle the magazine (unless I have an article in there). You can also follow all of these magazines on Pinterest and Facebook for even more items to repin. The food magazines also link to great round-up posts if you “like” their Facebook page and can pin recipes from their site.
5. Pin individual recipes. Sometimes you’ll see a pin for “50 slow cooker recipes” or “100 one pot meals.” Don’t pin those. Instead, click through those lists and only pin the recipes you’d actually make—back to tip #1. It’s more time consuming, of course, but it’s so worth it. Making Pinterest work for you means being able to quickly find a recipe you want to cook. If you do the work ahead of time to identify those recipes you can ensure every item on your board is something you’ll love.
Well, there you have it! Do you have any other tips to add? If so, please share in the comments below! I still have more to learn when it comes to maximizing Pinterest. (I also want to figure out how to get a “pin it” button over my images…so far I haven’t had much luck…) I hope my tips help you so you can enjoy Pinterest as much as I do!