Once you’ve gotten your meal list together- it’s time to get ready for the store! (No worries, the hardest part is over 🙂 )
Fill in your Grocery List.
- Transfer the ingredients for each meal into the appropriate column.
- Also fill in any additional items or ingredients you’ll need for snacks, quick breakfasts, etc.
- If you’re using an electronic version, or if you’re someone who likes to write a “final” version, you can reorganize the list in the same order as your grocery store or, if you shop at multiple places, group the items accordingly.
Shop Your Pantry.
I always go through my grocery list and see if I happen to have any of the items already. This usually ends up being canned or frozen goods from last month’s meals that I didn’t get around to making. Either way, it saves you money, time, and storage space just by checking! (Of course, this works two ways. You can also check what you have before you meal plan and be intentional about choosing meals that will use up those items- especially if they’re perishable!)
Check for Missing Staples.
Next, I move on to one of the best things I’ve created in my meal planning process, a simple & quick way to cut down on random trips to the store- my staples checklist. This is something you will want to fill in and keep handy for each meal planning session. It’s a list of all the things you always want or need on hand, regardless of what recipes you’re using! For me, I include spices and certain sauces, baking ingredients, household items and cosmetics. It looks something like this:
It may seem like a long list, but most of these items only run out every couple of months. When I do my BIG meal planning sessions, I do a quick run through our pantry, fridge, spice cabinet, under the sink, laundry room, etc. and circle anything we need on the list. It helps me to actually print the list so I can check off things as I go.
This minimizes those “what was I supposed to buy? I know I used the last of something the other day” moments, and the less I can rely on my memory, the better- am I right? It’s also a great chance for me to refill spice containers and straighten up the pantry.
These steps have become habit in my meal planning process, and the extra 5-10 minutes help tremendously to make sure I’m not missing anything or I’m not buying anything I already have. Hope they help you too 🙂
Want the rest of the series, the printables, and a fast-track system to get you meal planning?