Automated Food Planner Spreadsheet

Speaking of not typing things more than once, a number of years ago we were sitting around Boulder City, planning food for a 21 day Grand Canyon trip. Hours into the discussion of how many ounces of pasta to buy, my wife decided that ‘there has got to be a better way.’ One may not agree that this is better, but it certainly is different. On a good day with no complaints from the others, I can produce a shopping list for a 20 day trip in 15 minutes. It also produces lists broken up by day for packing on the river. This does actually work, but as someone once told me, ‘you get what you pay for…’ It gives food ingredients for each dish, but does not include the actual recipes. I suggested that my wife might like to type some up and her response was that anyone that was able to figure out this spreadsheet could certainly figure out how to cook ‘JR’s Potato Soup’. If anyone wants to be published on the internet, send me the recipes as you figure them out! If you like the spreadsheet but not the menus, it is relatively easy to replace them with your own.

We set up this system with Excel on a PC. It needs Excel installed and depends heavily on Macros. It will not work on Office 2008 on the Macs because Apple/Microsoft removed macro support, but they put it back in for subsequent versions. Macros are a serious potential security breach. If you would like to know more and how to view these so that you are convinced that this isn’t a virus, check out my Macros in Excel page (this page was written for some statistical spreadsheets that I shared out, but the information is the same. The back link won’t take you back here though – use your browser’s back button). We did this way back in the days of Excel 97 – current versions of Office expect you to use .xlsm files. It’s ok to convert the file to that, but my website won’t let me upload them because of security concerns. But it does let me upload .xls files. Contact me if you want reassurance that this is not a virus that will hurt your computer.

If you want to see some menus before downloading files, check out the

  This is the actual spreadsheet, with some instructions built in.  You must enable macros to use it.

Questions? send to Pete Tryon: (or if you actually use this, let me know!) Also, while we have used this for years, we recently upgraded it for ‘the public’. If you see something that doesn’t work correctly, please let me know – I’d like to fix it.

Updated: 6/3/21