We've all been there. At the grocery store. With no list. And we all know what the outcome of a trip without a list is. Lots of extras in the cart and lots of extra trips to gather the things you forgot!
Meal planning and grocery planning is something I've been doing since I was first married. It was something my mom did, and it is something you should do too!
For the longest time I used a 3 list method. Sometimes I still do! Here is my process:
First, I grab my pad and my pen.
This is my favorite pen by-the-way. The Sharpie Pen, and not just the Sharpie Pen, but the one that clicks. I can't keep track of the caps, so a clicking pen is perfect for me. I love how they write!
I start by making a list of the meals we'll be eating until my next grocery trip. Be sure to include dinners, lunches, and breakfasts.
What's on my nails this time? Essie brand polish in Butler Please. Love this shade so so much!
From that list I make a second list of the ingredients I need to create the meals.
Did you know that I'm a font? Yep - you heard me right, I'm a font - Pea Kadee to be exact. And my font is free to anyone who wants it. You can type just like I write thanks to the Kevin and Amanda Blog. Download my font HERE.
THEN from that list I make a third list separating the ingredients into categories (produce, meat, dairy, etc.)
My goal at the grocery store is to be in and out as quickly as possible - so I don't want to have to backtrack to an aisle I've already been down. Dividing the items into categories makes your trip faster, easier, and keeps you on track. The only thing worse than going back and forth all over the store for your items is to leave the store with a dozen un-needed things that caught your eye.
NOW let's talk about a more tech savvy, efficient way of doing this process. Now-a-days we have AWESOME technology. There are lots and lots of grocery shopping and meal planning apps that are available on your smart phone or tablet. I've tried several, but most recently I've enjoyed this app: MealBoard.
You can add all your favorite recipes to the app, and assign them to different days for your meal plan. THEN it will automatically make a grocery list for you! love it!
You can also take an inventory of your pantry so you don't purchase items you already have.
Another feature that I love about this particular app is that when you add an item you can select a store that you plan on buying it at...and then it will divide your items between different stores. So - if you're like me you can plan a trip to Costco for the bulk items and to your local grocery store for the odds and ends.
Let's not forget about actually doing the shopping. When I get to the grocery store I always start in the produce section and then move towards the back of the store. There I pick up my dairy and meats. Next I hit the bakery section and then weave my way up and down the aisles ending in the produce section again. I find this method to work the most efficiently and the most quickly.
So - grab your favorite shopping parter and head to the market (and don't forget to snap a low-quality cell phone pic, ha ha.)
One more thing before I go - what about the meals you've planned? A great way to keep them fresh on your mind and to give your family some input it so make a visual menu. At our house we like to just list the meals and then pick an item from the list that sounds good. Some people like to plan what they eat each day, but we like having a "menu" to choose from.
How 'bout a printable? Print this guy out on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper, trim it to 8x10 and then place it in a frame. Use a dry erase marker to list your upcoming meals and simply cross them out or erase them when you've made them.
Download yours for Free HERE