Meal Planning Part 3: A Pre-Populated Grocery List

This is part three of a four-part series on meal planning tools and tactics: A pre-populated grocery list, to streamline shopping. First, a quick refresher on where we are in the series:

  1. Magically searchable recipe collection
  2. Indispensable go-to meal and snack list
  3. (This week) Pre-populated grocery list
  4. Four basic (plus three bonus) steps to weekly meal planning.

Creating a pre-printed grocery list is more upfront work than starting with a blank sheet of paper, so why bother?

  • It reminds you of your essentials, which saves you from having to run to the store for just one or two items (which turns into ten).
  • It’s quicker to check off items than write them.
  • It helps you get through the grocery store faster, because it’s organized by section.

As with last week’s Go-To Meal and Snack list, this doesn’t have to be complicated. If you like, feel free to download mine to use as a starting point if you like.

What goes on this list? I’d recommend including:

  • Items you buy once a buy once a month or more.
  • The ingredients for your “pantry meals,” those go-to meals and snacks you can make with items typically found in your pantry. (Need ideas? Look here.)
  • Anything essential — if you ran out, you’d be on your way to the store — toilet paper, dish soap, etc. And make them bold. Then you can quickly scan the bolded items before heading to the store.

Here’s a bonus, for the kitchen organizing geeks like me. If you regularly shop at one store, map your list to your store. It’s easier than it sounds! Next time you do a big shop, just note the aisle number for each item. When you get home, reorganize your list by aisle number. You’ll be even faster, and double bonus – this also makes it easier to outsource the shopping to other family members.

Once you’re happy with it, print 20 copies or so and stash in a kitchen drawer. As soon as you finish your shop, pull out the new list, stick it on the fridge, and start checking off whatever is running low.

(And maybe put a shortcut to the file on your desktop, so you can easily find it to update or print more when needed.)

Let’s Do This

Bonus: If you want a jumpstart on creating your list, you can download my list here. It’s available as a PDF or a Word document, so you can customize and make it yours.

(No judging! I have some processed foods in there, because sanity. And there are brand names where I think they’re better than the alternatives, but as always, I have no affiliation with those companies.)

Bonus bonus: There is also a Costco list there too, mapped to the layout of the Deerfoot Meadows store in Calgary. Again, you can personalize it as a starting point.

Isn’t getting organized fun? (#geekalert) Let me know if you try this! Comments and questions always welcome on Facebook. Next week, we’ll pull it all together and talk about my weekly meal planning routine.

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