When I was a kid, my mom would start thinking about dinner right after lunch. She would figure out what she was going to make and then inevitably have to run to the grocery store for one or more items that she needed.
This happened every day.
When I got old enough to drive, it was my job to do the daily grocery store run. It got to the point that the manager knew who I was and would ring up my purchases for me.
I make a big effort to do things differently than my mom. While I might find myself at the grocery store more than once a week, most of the time I can get all I need in one trip.
Here is how I do it:
I start by planning out dinners for the coming week. Since I have started Weight Watchers (a couple of weeks ago) I find that I need to plan lunches for myself as well.
I aim for a variety throughout the week – not too many chicken or ground beef nights – and also keep an eye on my schedule for the coming week. That way, on busy days, I can plan something simple and easy.
You can get ideas for dinners online, in magazines, or in cookbooks. You can even sign up for a service that does that for you. I keep track of what we eat each night in my planner so that I can always look back and get ideas.
I also have a list of about 60 family favorites organized by type of main dish: chicken, beef, ground meat, vegetarian, etc. that I use for meal planning.
Once I’ve decided what I’m going to make, I start my list. I use a piece of notebook paper from a spiral notebook.
In the top margin I write our meals for the week. On the first line, I put headings for Produce, Meat, and Dairy. Halfway down the page I add headings for Canned & Dry, Paper & Pets, and Frozen. Halfway under Frozen I add another heading for Gluten Free.
Now I go through my dinner ideas, think of sides, and then add any ingredients I need under the proper heading. I also add in staples and other things we might need.
I don’t use coupons because most of what I buy is fresh, not prepared. It isn’t worth it to me to take up time hunting for coupons for a few things that might be on my list.
That’s my process. I feed 4 adults each week for about $130 and if you’re my Facebook friend, you know how well we eat. 🙂
If grocery shopping is hard for you, give my system a try and see what happens.