Creating a Monthly Meal Plan: Step 3 – Creating Grocery Lists

In my previous two posts, I described how I’ve been creating a month’s worth of meal plans by choosing recipes and then scheduling them.  Now, it’s time to make the grocery lists!

What you will need:

  • Your collection of recipes on sticky notes organized by week
  • The cookbooks and recipe cards for all the meals in your plan
  • Paper and pen OR computer

The Process:

  1. First, decide on how often you want to go grocery shopping. If it’s once a week, then you will be creating one grocery list for each week. If you prefer to go grocery shopping every other week, then you will only be creating two grocery lists to cover the whole month.
  2. Then, you will start creating your grocery lists. You could do this with pen and paper or on the computer. At the top, list each of the meals (main dish, sides, etc.) that the grocery list covers.
  3. Now, you will simply look up each recipe and write down all the necessary ingredients. (If you wrote down the name of the cookbook and the page number on your sticky notes, this will be easy.) As you are writing down all the ingredients, it will help your future shopping process if you break down everything into categories.  The categories I use are: Meats, Dairy, Frozen, Produce, General Grocery, and Pantry Staples (items that I probably already have on hand but just need to double-check).
  4. Once you have everything the way you like it on your lists, make several copies of you lists.  If you have handwritten master copies, be sure to write “Master-Copy Only” in yellow hightlighter across the top of each list. (Yellow highlighter won’t show up in the copies but will prevent you from using your master copy.)

The Result:

Now, when it’s time to go to the grocery store, you can take a copy of that week’s list and cross off any items that you happen to still have in your fridge and pantry.  You can also add any other non-food items to the bottom of the list.

The Next Step (Optional):

Assembling a Meal Plan Notebook

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