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Meal Planning Made Simple

4 Steps to Plan Meals and a Healthy Grocery List


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  • Guess I have it easy shopping for myself. When I go to the store, I have a general idea of what I have. I know I will need protein, starches, veggies, fruit, creamer for my coffee, etc. I probably always have a little more than I need, but I never have an excuse NOT to have a nutritious meal.
  • I'm 73 and have been shopping and planning meals for a long time, and can honestly say I do all these things... my problem was eating too much of the good things rather than eating badly... I've recently challenged myself to making one new healthy recipe each week. Since my husband's church (Ukrainian Catholic) requires fish 3 times/week during Lent, I'm trying some of the fish and shellfish recipes I've been collecting for years. This week will be a stir-fry with shrimp, baby corn and many other vegetables over brown rice.
  • #5 Order your main kitchen and bathroom essentials online and put them on a monthly recurrence basis. Set a calendar reminder to check on them about 15 days before they are normally scheduled to arrive in case you need to skip anything.

    You'll stop having to list (or try to remember) things like toilet paper, flour, dried quinoa, tissues, etc. and your weekly grocery shopping will go a lot more quickly.

    Monthly subscribe and save on Amazon has free shipping 100% of the time and, if you are ordering 5 or more items at a time, you get 15% off (hence try to go for the smallest amount in the shortest time interval, and have a lot of subscriptions so you can get some on, say, odd months and others on evens in order to take advantage of this without too much jiggering on your part).

    Of course, never order something you don't want, but if your brand of toilet paper is covered by subscribe and save and the price is comparable, then you don't have to pick it up from the grocery store.

    Ever again.
  • Click on the "Weekly Grocery List" link, and you will see the sample template that the author mentions.

    Good article!
  • A question please? What does the author, Sarah Haan, mean by the statement; "Try using a basic template for all recipes" in her article: 'MEAL PLANNING MADE SIMPLE'?
    I think I have a vague idea; but wondered about her specific meaning of, 'basic template'.
    Thank you anyone, for your input.
  • We have a white board on the fridge and add items as we need them - then that becomes my grocery list. Occasionally i will pick up something else - but always have a plan on how to use.
    And I have a calendar that I use to plan at least a week in advance. Makes cooking so much easier to know in advance.
  • I like to be well organized. My shopping list makes me stay away from items I shouldn't have in the house.
  • I sometimes prefer going to the supermarket without a list, and depend on what I remember. I do this because, while I realize this is its disorganized, it affords me the opportunity to walk all over the store looking for the things I need. I target those I items I need usually in a different order, sometimes first the items for breakfast, then lunch, dinner, fluids, etc., so I may end up visiting produce 3 times, dairy 2 times, and I go down the aisles only where I need something. I usually get approaching double the amount of exercise I get by not just going through every aisle in order. In addition, I rarely get anything I don't need.
  • I use an app called Shopping Cart on my phone. I set it up with all of the places where I shop. It teacks prices, so I can see when there's a good deal, plus it helps me to know how much I'm spending as I go along. I can also estimate what the cost is before I go into the store. Once you get your info programmed, it's so easy !
  • Good article. One suggestion for keeping a running list is on your phone. I use my notes app and I have a shopping tab that I set up and as I think of things I need, I type them in the list. That way any time I go to the store I have my phone with me and my list. I simply delete the items from my list as they go in my cart.
  • I use lists, recipes and coupons but my problem is that I cannot be an extreme couponer as stores near me do not double coupons. Also, the stores usually do not run a sale on an item when a coupon is available. In other words, I cannot stack a coupon on a sale. I often look for clearance items, especially produce.

    Your article is very nice. I need to go through my recipes and toss. You'll laugh...Xerox copies of recipes that I do not use go toward being my "fancy" stationary for writing letters!
  • Great article. As it happens I go shopping more than once a week because I use walking time to local shops as extra movement in my day. I'm very lucky to have the extra time that takes. However, it doesn't always work as well as I wish - often something I've forgotten - but the list templates are such a good and simple way to manage everything better. Thanks
    I have a list of my family's favorite meals. When I go shopping I buy what is seasonal and what I've run out of or is on sale for a great price. I cook for scratch so many ingredients go in most of my meals. I know I will use garlic for almost everything for example. My husband eats eggs several times a week so I know I need eggs. Do I forget things? Well sometimes but if you can substitute or tweak recipes you're not running to the store all the time.
  • What makes eating more interesting for me is to change food intake from week to week. I plan fish and salad for one week and the next week I plan soup and sandwiches. In the third week I eat fruit salads and so on and so forth.

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