First off, planning before you go shopping is really important. The day before you go shopping (or several hours before you go), clean out your fridge. Take all off the expired food, old leftovers, and wilting veggies out and throw them in your compost/trash. Take all the other stuff out and put it on the counter, then wipe down the inside of the fridge. When you put things back in, put leftovers/things that will expire soon but are still good in front so they get used up faster. Now sit down and plan your menu. I plan my menu on the day I get my CSA box so I know what veggies I have to work with. I used to only plan dinners in advance but then found we weren't buying enough food and were having to go to the store multiple times a week. As you add a meal to your plan, look at the recipe or think in your head if there is anything you need to buy to make that meal. Add these items to your shopping list as you write your menu.
Breakfast is the easiest. Here are some ideas:
-Steel cut oats cook with dates and cinnamon and topped with nuts and fresh fruit (buy whatever's in season, we eat apples all winter. Right now we are just buying a flat of strawberries a week and that's all the fruit we'll eat, making the most of strawberry season) Eaten with whole grain toast with nut butter. You can make oatmeal in the crockpot overnight and it will be ready in the morning!
-Whole grain pancakes (I make mine without any added sugar, instead put sliced bananas or berries in the batter) topped with applesauce and walnuts.
-Eggs cooked with spinach and cheese, kasha (toasted buckwheat groats)
For quick breakfasts when you are rushing to work or whatever:
-Cold cereal with fruit on the side
-Whole grain toast with nut butter and yogurt with fruit
-Muffins (make them without much sweetener) and fruit
It can be fun to get creative with breakfast, but eating the same foods often isn't a big deal for this meal in my opinion.
If we're not going to be home for lunch, I make it the night before and have it ready to grab in the fridge. Even if I will be home, it's nice to have lunch ready, or I spend my whole day cooking. My rule for planning lunches is to have a fruit, a vegetable, a grain food, and some protein (unless our breakfast and dinner that day are protein packed). Lunch ideas, these are things you can pack:
-Hummus with pita, dates, nuts
-Vegetable spring rolls with coconut almond sauce, apples and cheddar cheese
-Grilled cheese with tomato soup
-Burrito: whole wheat tortilla, shredded veggies (lettuce, cabbage, carrots, zuccini, fghvbn kale, etc), leftover beans, rice or other whole grain, salsa, cheese, etc. With fresh fruit!
-Veggie burger (or non-veggie, if you're an omnivore) on a whole grain bun or bread with condiments, kale/lettuce and fresh fruit
-Leftover grains and beans with a salad or steamed veggies
-Leftovers: soup with bread, leftover lasagna, pizza, etc.
This is the meal I always struggle to plan, because I feel like I need to be creative with it. My rule for planning dinner is that it must contain at least two servings of vegetables, one of which must be green, whole grains, and nuts or legumes.
Here are seven dinners that I have made recently, this would look different at a different time of year:
-Spring Beet Soup (soup with onions, carrots, cabbage, beets, and beet greens, topped with sour cream and dill, served with falafel with pita, lemon tahini sauce, salad greens, and feta
-Rice and walnut loaf with almond gravy (kind of the vegetarian equivalent of meatloaf) served with a green salad with green onions, radishes, and toasted sunflower seeds
-Eggs in a nest (brown rice with braised chard and poached eggs on top)
-Pizza with spinach, mushrooms, onions and quinoa salad
-Red lentil soup with rice, veggie stirfry
-Tempeh tacos with cabbage, kale, sour cream or yogurt, cheese, and salsa. Served with baked sweet potato fries.
-Edamame tofu salad http://www.cookusinterruptus.com/index.php?video_id=138