After much research, I'm loving the recipe management app "Paprika". It lets me capture recipes from sparkrecipes as well as many other recipe sites & my own personal recipes! With all my recipes in one place, I can build the week's meal plan & hit a button for a grocery list. The big plus for ME is that I can have everything offline, since I'm not always on wifi to use sparkrecipes. It costs $20 for MAC, $5 for iPad, $5 for iPhone or iPod and uses a cloud to sync everything together. Awesome!
I rarely enter a grocery store these days. Instead, I use a local web-based grocery delivery service. It forces me to consider my purchases carefully before ordering, and I am not tempted by unhealthy choices. The lack of tempting end cap displays and lack of excuses to pick up something unhealthy because I am out saves me both calories and money!
When its time for plan my meals and make a grocery list, I tak out my dinner notebook. My dinner notebook contains, pages of dinners that my family likes. Under each dinner, I include a list of the items I need for each meal (not the recipe). That way when its time to make my grocery list, it cuts the time in half.
I hit the following websites weekly to stock up on electronic coupons for grocery shopping. For some, you can load them directly onto your savings card (paperless!), and others you can print out and take with you. The paperless ones automatically redeem at checkout.
When I get home from the grocery store, I immediately measure our servings and put them into plastic bags or tupperware containers. It may take a little more time after shopping, but they're easy to grab when you're in a rush, and prevents you from over-eating when you're snacking at home.
Keeping your house stocked with handy healthy foods is easy if you make a habit of always picking up something when you pop into the market. I always just grab an extra rice cakes, whole wheat pita, broccoli, nuts, etc. so that I never run out of these basic items. I do shop monthly for the house, but I go to the market 1-2x week for fresh produce or milk, and I've found just grabbing some of these other items keeps me from accidentally running out!
Plan your holiday meals now and make a list of the goodies you'll bake for the hoildays. Consider what's on the list each week when you go to the grocery store. If you add in an extra item or two that is designated for the holidays, you will not have to buy it all at once when the money is tight. This is the same concept as those who purchase gifts all year long. It's much easier to break up the expense over weeks and months, than purchasing all at once. Staples like sugar & flour save easily.
I have a white board in my kitchen where, every Sunday, I organize my week across the following categories: House, Office, Kids, General To Do, and Dinners. I grocery shop on Mondays. Every Sunday I also schedule gym time and plan my workouts.
When I go shopping I always go to the fruits and veggies section first and pick up ... anything. It saves me from wandering into the less healthy stuff and it ensures that I always have fruits and veggies around.
We have all heard not to grocery shop when hungry. Let me add another. Learned the hard way that you shouldn't grocery shop when sleepy either. I ended up not paying attention to what I was buying. I ended up with a lot of junk that I put directly into my mouth when I got home.
I typically plan my meals on the weekend for the coming week before going to the grocery store. When I looked at the food I already had in the freezer and pantry, I realized that I didn't need to go to the store. I have plenty for the week. "Shopping" what you already have saves money!
I LOVE to go grocery shopping and cooking. One way that I keep my grocery shopping in line with my diet is to 1) browse the online circular to see what is on sale. Writing out a shopping list helps me stay on track with buying what is healthy. 2) Always make sure I go shopping after eating.
I make use of the envelopes from junk mail in two ways. I use one side for making a list of meal plans for the week. The other side is for the grocery list, based on the meal plans (& food sales). I put the coupons inside the envelope and head off to the store.
We've all heard the old trick of eating before grocery shopping, to minimize the tendency to buy foods on impulse. I couple that trick with chewing sugarless gum when I shop. It further reduces my urge to grab snack foods or things not on my shopping list, because my taste buds feel satisfied.
Carry items in your arms or a basket and forgo the shopping cart for quick shopping trips. Or bring a reusable bag and only purchase what can fit into it. Not only does this limit the amount of items you can purchase, it also gives your arms a bit of a workout.
I spend some time when returning from the grocery store to wash, chop, dice, slice all my fruits (berries and melon) and veggies (especially lettuce, carrots, celery, jicama, tomatoes) and lemons and limes for my water. They are all ready for me to grab when making meals or planning snacks.
I buy spices I don't use very frequently from the organic bulk food section. While they may cost a little more per pound, I spend .50 cents on a couple teaspoons I know I'll use rather than $10 on an entire jar I end up throwing away!
I often used to buy something at the grocery store because it was on sale, planning to using it in a specific dish that I thought would be cheap. But add a bunch of other pricey ingredients, and it doesn't work out that way! Now I buy items that are on sale and that go together!
My husband and I have recently paid off every credit card we had; after working on this task for nearly two years! It just aggravated me to no end to see all that interest that we did pay and would have paid had we continued to keep them alive and acitve!