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Do you keep a list like this?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I am just embarking on my first real attempt to get my grocery spending under control through careful shopping and meal planning.

I have made a list of dozens of family favorite, easy meals. I want to type it up along with the ingredients needed for each, and then construct my weekly meal plan and shopping list from it.

My problem is that I can't decide how to format it. It helps me immensely to *see* an example in action as a jumping off point. I swear I saw one within the last couple of days!

Is this something that people do, or is it overkill? If it's something you do...can I see it?

Thanks!
post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 
Or do you do a master meal list, then cross-reference it with recipes when you make up the meal plan? : This isn't coming easy for me but I'm bound and determined to find a simple method that WORKS.
post #3 of 14
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post #4 of 14
I make a menu and then make a shopping list from the things I don't have to make the meals.
I always make sure to put the list in the same order the grocery store is laid out. I walk through fresh veggies first so fresh veggies are first on my list ... diary is last in the store so I put dairy last on the list.
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by reneeisorym View Post
I make a menu and then make a shopping list from the things I don't have to make the meals.
I always make sure to put the list in the same order the grocery store is laid out. I walk through fresh veggies first so fresh veggies are first on my list ... diary is last in the store so I put dairy last on the list.

I try to do this too! Not too good at meal planning yet but I hope to get better. Anyone willing to let me see their list so I can get an idea of how to do it too plz?
post #6 of 14
I am an obsessive list maker. I also make my list based on the layout of the store. Drives my husband insane.

But I do not make a master meal list. I might have to rethink that. What I do is plan out my meals for say a 3 to 5 day period and buy everything I need for that. I keep some things stocked...like spaghetti sauce, enchilada sauce, potatoes, rice, etc. So even if they aren't on my menu for the week, I have them around...just in case.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
I am hoping that having a master list will help me make a meal plan, and then will help me skip a step when making a shopping list from the meal plan. I'll have a cheat sheet right there to give me inspiration for dishes to make, and then if the ingredients are also listed, I can quickly cross-check with what I have on the shelves. An MDC member gave me an example spreadsheet but I still think I might do it on paper. If/when I do, I'll see about sharing a template!
post #8 of 14
A simple method that works for us is I decide what to cook each week and shop accordingly. Then, each week the leftovers go into the makings of a quiche or a soup, both of which we have once a week specifically to use up the odds and ends. Makes for some creative quiche and soup! Yum!!
post #9 of 14
I have a master list with letters referencing the source (and I collect internet based recipes from blogs in a blog format so they are accessible from all computers anywhere because I read blogs on my desktop upstairs and generally am looking at recipes to cook from on a laptop downstairs). VMC is referencing Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, for example. The front page of my meal planning binder has a list of the abbreviations.

I also have alist of "staples" that I keep on hand nearly all the time (brown rice, lentils, black and garbanzo beans, flours, etc), and I keep my spice box well stocked. The master list has small notes of what ingredients are unusual that I generally might not have (specific dairy products like sour cream, specific vegetables).

I would like to further break that master list into seasons so I have a different list for early growing season (asparagus, early greens, etc), late growing season (zucchini, tomatoes, etc), and winter (no fresh tomatoes, no cucumbers, heavy on root vegetables and hardy squashes, etc), but I haven't yet.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamasgroovin View Post
I also make my list based on the layout of the store.
I do this too! Our store has an odd layout and he always starts in the wrong aisle, making thgns far more complicated than they ought be!
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamasgroovin View Post
I am an obsessive list maker. I also make my list based on the layout of the store. Drives my husband insane.

But I do not make a master meal list. I might have to rethink that. What I do is plan out my meals for say a 3 to 5 day period and buy everything I need for that. I keep some things stocked...like spaghetti sauce, enchilada sauce, potatoes, rice, etc. So even if they aren't on my menu for the week, I have them around...just in case.
X2, except I'm not always obsessive about list-making. I used to do a week in advance, but I find a few days works better and often ends up being stretched to a week as there's always something popping up to foil my plans these days. When I make a list with our local market in mind, it is all in the order we'll grab it. For Dominick's or Whole Foods, it's just however I throw it together, or if I've copied the list it's neatly grouped.

I am always (currently) trying new recipes, especially for what's in season, and throwing old things in. I keep the present menus in a sticky that is stored when I delete it off of the desktop, and any bookmarked recipes in a folder for that month. So I have some around, but not very organized. And not all of them work well into optimal meal plans.

I'm definitely interested in starting a better system, but it's not something I have a ton of time to devote to so I don't see anything revolutionary happening for us. I like to find different ways to mix up the same ingredients, but it is also important to me to include a seasonal variety. These ideals can certainly be balanced but I think it takes years of experience and conscientiousness. ETA: it's also extra difficult when you're cutting out dairy and other things that can irritate a nursling's tummy!!

I will check out some of the resources listed here, thanks mamas!
post #12 of 14
I'll start this by saying that I am one of the most disorganized people I know. It took about 2 years to finally get this system tweaked so it's working well. It's where I focused my organizing energy. So, if I can do it, anybody can.

I have a four-week meal plan. On a 'calendar' I have the meals listed. I have each recipe on an index card in a recipe box. They're put in the order of the meal plan. When I cook for one day I have a heads up on the next day's meal (in case I need to thaw something). Saturdays are 'use up the leftovers' days and the 'extra' days in the month tha don't fit on the plan are for things that we don't usually have but we like ie. cabbage rolls. I try to have most of our favourite meals on the meal plan (some of them, like chilli, twice) so we get them at least once a month.

After I had the meal plan figured out I went through it making a list of ingredients we needed for each meal. From this list I made another list with all of the nonperishable food for the month that we needed plus the perishable food for week one in the first section. Then I listed the perishable food we would need for the other weeks in their own sections. I also have a 'miscellaneous/on sale' section. I also am generally a bit generous in the numbers for the amount of non-perishable food we need. (I actually have two list now for alternating months since there are somethings that last us abou two months ie. one month we buy macaroni, the next month we buy spaghetti.)

Doing this makes is so we have one HUGE shopping trip at the beginning of the month and 3 smaller ones. Also, because we usually buy a bit extra of the non-perishable food and there are some things I won't use a whole container of in a month we also have an inventory list. Although it doesn't seem to get done very often. It helps us be sure that we always have things like baking powder but that we're not buying a container every month and ending up with 10 containers of it by the end of the year.


eta: My goal now is to have a summer plan and a winter plan. Also. I don't follow the plan strictly if I'd rather make something else.
post #13 of 14
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post #14 of 14
This thread makes me both giddy and depressed

I yearn for an organized system like you guys are describing but am totally overwhelmed about where to begin. I guess like all thing baby steps would be a good place to start.

I do now organize my shopping list by order in the grocery store, although I found that I had a hard time making a traditional list trying to do this because I was always forgetting something and then having to go back and try to squeeze it into my list where it falls in the store. So now I divide my paper into quarters. The first box is Fruits/Veg/Bulk, the second, Canned/Boxed, the third, Dairy and the Fourth, Bread & Frozen. This is roughly how my store is laid out. So now I can make a list adding things to each section whenever they occur to me but in the end I have a fairly organized list based on the sections in my market.
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