How the Timeline Works

The Timeline is a helpful tool that tells you what you need to do and when you need to do it to get your delicious, wholesome meals on the table.  It is populated by instructions that are included in the recipe cards.

You can modify Timeline instructions on Real Plans recipes (making it a Real Plans-Modified recipe in your Recipe Box) to suit your specific needs, such as thawing something the night before instead of the morning of, for example.  You can also make Timeline instructions on the recipes you import

Let's take a look at how the Timeline works.  You can find the Timeline instructions on the bottom of the recipe cards. 

The number (2) there tells us that we will start our slow cooker meal 12 hours before the meal for which it will be served.  Here's how:

The Timeline divides each day into 4 segments.  One segment is a 6-hour period, so if we start our slow cooker 2 segments before the meal, that would mean 12 hours. 

1 day = 4 segments (Morning, Afternoon, Evening, and Night)

1 segment = a 6-hour period

Everyone’s schedules are individual, so we leave hours of the day off the Timeline.  If your Timeline has a morning instruction, you would follow that as your schedule allows, modifying when necessary.  The 6-hour segments give a guideline so you know how much time you need to be sure dinner gets on the table when you need it.  You can also mark specific instructions, such as “Start Chili Colorado in slow cooker before you leave for work,” or "Put chicken breasts in refrigerator to thaw before bed." 

To modify the Timeline instructions, open the recipe card and select Actions-> Modify.

You can then locate the Timeline instructions at the bottom right of the recipe card.

Fill in your desired instruction, select the segment using the arrows- - and click .

Example:  You have a salad that you will be making for dinner, but you'd like to go ahead and chop the veggies that morning.  Fill in "Chop veggies for salad," and select 2 segments back (12 hours) for the Timeline to schedule that as a morning instruction.  Those instructions will now appear in your Timeline on the day that meal will be served.

You can make Timeline instructions up to 3 days (12 segments) ahead of the meal you have planned. Changes you make to the Timeline instructions will change them permanently, so if you just need a reminder to prep items for the week, you may want to make notes on your Meal Plan instead of actually changing the Timeline.  

To view your complete Timeline instructions for the week, go to your Meal Planner and select "Timeline".  The entire week's Timeline instructions will be populated.  The recipe pictures will be placed in the order they appear in your Meal Planner.  

If you only want to see the Timeline instructions for one day or for specific recipes, just click on the recipe(s) for which you want to see the instructions. The other recipe pictures will be grayed out, and only Timeline instructions for the recipes you clicked will be showing.  This is especially helpful for holiday meal planning so that you can have the Timeline instructions for your holiday meal at your fingertips!  (Mobile app users:  This action can only be performed on our website at this time.  You can access our website using your preferred device's web browser at realplans.com.)

 **Mobile app users:  Click here to learn how to enable Timeline notifications on your device.**

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