Grocery Shopping and Meal Planning

I am not Type A by design. I really have to force myself to be organized and to pre-plan things.

The one thing in my life that I am pretty good about pre-planning is my food. You know those people who “forget” to eat? Yeah. Not me. I like to know exactly when my next meal is, what it is, and where I will be eating it. I think this is in part do the issues I have when my blood sugar gets too low. Although I have been experiencing much fewer blood sugar crashes now that I am aiming for eating more protein and fat, and less carbs.

When I first started cooking for myself, the year I got my first apartment, I never planned out a weekly menu. My roommate and I would go to the grocery store and just sort of meander around until we had enough food for a while. I am embarassed to admit that at that time our food included lots of lean pockets, cans of beef stew, macaroni and cheese from a box, etc. We did often make chicken breasts or hamburgers on our George Foreman, but our diet was terrible.

Now, I plan. If I don’t plan…I end up looking at the pantry/fridge/fruit bowl in despair, getting increasingly hungrier, until I eventually throw my hands up and decide that we have “nothing” to eat. Of course this is never true, especially since we buy our meat in bulk (We cow-share with my in-laws), but I think we’ve all been there.

About a year ago, I created a spreadsheet that helps me plan my meals and the grocery list.

(Please ignore my typos…yikes!)
This document has seriously streamlined my process. It’s based off of a form that I found on this blog.
I try to fill this out on Fridays, and then do my shopping on Saturday mornings.

I do have to say, that my current system does not allow for a lot of “extra” food. I usually only buy what we need for the week, much to my husband’s chagrin. It’s good for our budget though, and our waistlines as well.
I know everyone does it differently, my sister-in-law does one big shopping trip at the beginning of the month and gets a months worth of stuff that is non-perishable, and then makes smaller trips as needed.
My mom goes to the grocery store every night after work to buy what she and my dad need for their dinner that night (she did NOT do this when she had two kids at home though).

What works for you?

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4 Responses to Grocery Shopping and Meal Planning

  1. Casey says:

    Good post. We’ve actually been planning on putting up our “grocery list” as a “Secrets…” post soon on our site. I’m a bit more OCD than you – my list is developed as a database and printed by store section, organized by the order in which each section occurs in our “normal” path through said store (Fred Meyer usually). 🙂

    • slowmiles says:

      Casey-
      Hahaha, yes a little bit more type A than mine. 🙂 Although I do normally follow the same “path” through the grocery store. We do the bulk of our shopping at Winco, and they recently remodeled our store, it took me a few trips to get the new layout figured out!

  2. Heather says:

    That’s awesome that you’re doing a menu plan. If it ever becomes too time consuming for you, you should try out E-Mealz. We’re a menu planning site that does all the work for you. Have a good one!

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