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When it comes to meal planning in our house, I have the best of intentions…but don’t always see my plans through. I enjoy cooking, and we like to save money and calories, so eating at home most days of the week is normal for us and eating out is more of a treat.
Some nights, dinners are better thought out, and some consist of, “There’s a packet of ramen in the pantry, help yourself!” No matter the complexity of the meal, they all require ingredients, which requires the occasional trek to the grocery store. I am a HUGE fan of going to the store with a list…not so much because I stick to it, but because I can ensure I’m not making any more trips than I have to for forgotten items.
In the past, I’ve tried a variety of those super-organized grocery list pads. A couple of my favorites have been this one from Real Simple for Target:
Both are super functional in that they are organized by section of the store. But for me, I don’t need my grocery list to just help me during my store visit, I want it to help me all week long so I can remember what I bought, and for which recipe. I can have the most carefully-crafted list going to the store and come home with everything on it, only to be at home three days later wondering what the heck I bought the can of pineapple chunks for. (I finally remembered two days later, it was for a stir fry.)
Even with the hippest note pads at my disposal, I found myself still reaching for scratch paper to list out what I wanted to make each night, and then planning my ingredients in “mini lists” according to my plan. It finally dawned on me today to template this and make it easier on myself…and share with all of you! It’s no rocket science, but if you plan your list like I do (by meals and not by store zones), it will hopefully make your life a teensy bit easier…
I print this out and use it to make my meal plan and lists, take it to the store, then I hang it on my fridge once I get home. Don’t throw it away like you would a normal list. This way, I have a list of “oh yeah, I was going to make that” meals across the top…or a menu of options for the week, if you will, that I know I have the stuff on hand to make. I don’t specify days of the week for particular recipes – we just make what we’re in the mood for each night.
As for other random items not pertaining to any specific recipe, I still have space at the bottom to list them like I would on a normal list. And why only four boxes across the top (instead of 5, or even 7?)…because we are never opposed to the occasional pizza ordering or leftover extravaganza…it’s rare we’d make a new meal every single night. But if you are the rare breed who does, you can print more than one copy, as needed…because I’m sharing this list with all of you for your own use!
Download the list by clicking Meals and print copies as you need them, and fill them out.
Happy meal planning, shopping, and most of all enjoying!