Get Grocery Shopping: Easy Meal Planning

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May 22, 2012

Making a grocery shopping list isn’t always easy, and sometimes can be a downright bore of a chore. But there are a few simple tips you can use to easily create your meal plan for the week – and save a little time and money in the process:

Make a Master List
One day I sat down and wrote out all the meals we like to eat. I made a list of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, side items, and snacks. I created this list so I could easily go down the list of foods to create our meal plan. This also helps from us getting in a food rut. I used to make the same meals every week, but once I browsed our favorites, I realized I had a lot of easy recipes I could go to.

Take An Inventory
Go through your refrigerator and pantry to see what you already have in your house. How many times have you noticed two or three bottles of ketchup in the back of your pantry? You can also plan your meals around what you already have in your house. If you have boxes of pasta, have a pasta night. If you have a lot of chicken in the freezer, plan some chicken dinners. Doing this will help you use the foods you already have before they go bad.

Think About Your Week
I try to think about what is going on during the week. Will I have to rush to baseball practice one night? If so, I plan a slow cooker meal. How’s the weather? Will you want to grill outside one night? If it’s going to be a hot week, I tend to stay away from dinners that need to cook in the oven. You can also ask your kids if they have any suggestions.

Have Your Recipes Handy
I have a 3-ring binder with most of my recipes. After I have created my meal plan, I go through my recipes and see what other ingredients I need to buy. When I forget this step, I inevitably forget to buy some small, but important, ingredient.

Make Your List
Once you have done all this, it should be easy to write out your grocery list. Do it a few times and it will be even faster. If you notice you are buying a lot of the same items, you could make a master list you photocopy or add to a grocery app. This will save you from writing the same things over and over again.

I try to plan about 10-12 meals for two weeks. Things come up and sometimes you don’t eat dinner at home, or you have leftovers you can eat for lunch the next day. I like to keep my dinner plan on my refrigerator. In the morning, I can look at the list and pick what we will eat for dinner.

What tips do you have for easy meal planning?

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