Planning the Weekly Groceries

Posted on January 30, 2012


Now I have always had a hard time organizing myself, my life, my week, my day, my meals – pretty much everything. But I have found my niche. I organize and plan the weekly or bi-weekly menu for dinners using various sources for recipes and ideas (including, but not limited to, cooking magazines, clean eating cook books, browsing the web, Gran’s recipes, friend’s creations, and weight watcher recipes).

  1. First, you have to choose a day or set aside a specific time when you can plan your meals and grocery list. You must also have a clear idea of which day you will do your shopping – I find sticking to the same day helps with the organization and consistency of actually going the the grocery store or market 🙂
  2. Second, you have to decide what type of meals you want to consume! (I am eating clean right now so all my meal ideas have to be non-processed. I am also minimizing – if not eliminating – all forms of processed sugar, so this has to be taken into account. I am experimenting with the lovely whole grain, Quinoa, which will affect my menu choices). What type of meals do you want to consume this week? Are you focusing on inexpensive and quick meals? Are you focusing on meals that include whole grains? Are you focusing on including a vegetarian meal to your menu this week? Whatever your desires you be certain on your choice as this will affect your grocery planning.
  3. Third, create or find online some sort of weekly meal planner (I have a simple one I can e-mail if you ask!). And … write down your meal ideas (if they come from different sources – write down where you got the idea or recipe because come Thursday – you WILL forget). I often write down breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack ideas for each day of the week. Things happen, though, I am also able to be flexible and switch things around when necessary.
  4. Fourth, mark down on your grocery list (electronic or paper) any pantry staples that you have run out of (i.e. pickles, bouillon, brown rice, jarred fruit, mustard, etc.) and then mark down the ingredients you need for the meals you have chosen. sometimes if its an obscure ingredient I will research it online first so I know what I am looking for.
  5. Fifth,  if there are other people in the house I will ask if there are any special requests and then mark them down.
  6. Sixth, I pack my fabric shopping bags and fabric produce bags (I sometimes forget but strive to live with less plastic) and make sure I have a coin for the buggy.

Don’t leave home without your list and a pen and/or highlighter to mark off your items!

Oh and while at the grocery store, I often do the much suggested perimeter walk and then do the middle aisles. I start in produce section(if I haven’t had time to do a market run first) and then head to the meat and dairy (by this point most of my groceries are found and I just have some staples to add to my buggy).

Does anyone have any suggestions or different routines that they find effective and efficient!? I invite you to share 🙂

Below is a sample grocery list template that I take with me to my various grocery stops. This is an excel template that you can change and adapt to your personal eating/meal preferences – I haven’t updated mine in awhile because other priorities get in the way but you get the idea! I have apps on my phone for this also but I find the old fashioned way pen and paper so much more organized and easier to navigate. If you would like me to email you a sample of the grocery template please comment with your e-mail address.  I have blacked out two spaces that had names.