3 Steps to Creating the Perfect Grocery List
If you’re giving meal prepping a shot, one of the most important steps is creating a shopping list. This may seem like a simple task, but developing a good shopping list takes some preparation and skill. Follow these 3 simple steps to create your perfect grocery list and set yourself up for success.
Choose your recipes for the week and add up the common food items to determine the quantity of each food item you will need to purchase. For example, if you have two meals that both require 1 pound of chicken, you add them together and put 2 pounds of chicken on your list. Doing this prevents you from overbuying foods and risking spoilage.
Once you have a single list of all the ingredients and quantity of each ingredient, you can begin planning your trip to the store. It can be easier to shop at one store to save time and energy, however, shopping at multiple stores can help you find the best prices. Make sure you check online and local newspapers for sales to see if shopping at multiple stores is worth the extra time and effort. For additional savings, see what coupons are available at the store(s) you’ve chosen. If you have a smartphone, many stores now have apps with electronic coupons.
Now that you’ve chosen a store, plan your route through the store. This saves time and can save money. Most stores are laid out so that you must go through the entire store to get to the most frequently purchased products. That’s why things like milk, eggs, and butter are always in the back. This increases the likelihood that you’ll see a “deal” and make a purchase that wasn’t on your list.
Organize your list according to what section of the grocery store it is located in. Here are a few general categories that can help you organize: Produce, Meat, Dairy, Frozen Foods, and Pantry Foods. If you have a preferred grocery store, you’ll eventually learn the layout and be able to organize your list even more! A good rule of thumb is to get cold foods last to reduce the amount of time they are exposed to higher temperatures.
It’s best to have a small snack or meal before heading to the store. Going to the store on an empty stomach makes you more likely to deviate from your list and impulsively buy snack foods. If you know you’ll be cooking a meal when you get home, eat a light snack before leaving.
Now that you’ve chosen your recipes, planned your meals, compiled your shopping list, chosen your store(s), clipped (or downloaded) some coupons, planned your route through the store, and eaten a snack, you’re ready to go and do it! This may seem like a time-consuming process, but as with any skill, you get better and more efficient each time you go through it.