Below you will find my:
- 3-Step Meal Prepping Plan
- Master List of Food Staples
- Time & Money Saving Tips
My 3-Step Meal Prepping Plan:
1.) Determine what recipes I want to prep for that week.
Typically, I meal prep with mainly dinner in mind. I look for recipes that are healthy, high protein, pretty easy to make, and that don’t need many ingredients I normally would not buy. I scan each recipe’s ingredients and make notes of some that I need to check if I have and write down any that I need to buy.
Once I’ve planned our dinners for the following week, I fill out a template (below) for dinner so every night that upcoming week I know what I’m making/prepping/reheating. I write out the entire dinner (veggie, protein, & carb) so I don’t miss anything. If we’re having leftovers, I’ll simply write “LO” and if Kyle and I are having the exact same thing, I’ll just draw an arrow from my box to his.
2.) Check to see if I have any/all of the ingredients.
It takes some time going through the fridge, pantry, and cabinets, but the worst thing is buying something and then realizing you already had it at home!
3.) Write out a categorized list of food/ingredients I need. (Key word: categorized) 🙂
I categorize my shopping list into the following sections to make finding things easier and because this is the way I move around the grocery store.
And that’s it! I’m all set to head to the grocery store 🙂
My Master List of Food Staples:
This list is based on a typical trip to Stop & Shop and most of the time, I buy the Stop & Shop brand to save money. I also do not buy everything on this list each week. It’s just a master list for me to work from and some weeks I need to add to this based off the recipes I’m making.
Produce: apples, bananas, berries, avocados, leafy greens, carrots, peppers, seasonal fruit, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, cauliflower, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, lemons, hummus
Meat: boneless skinless chicken thighs, ground turkey/beef/chicken, bison, pork tenderloin, deli meat, bacon, chicken wings, turkey pepperoni
Dairy: skim milk, eggs, egg whites, Laughing Cow cheese wedges, Two Good yogurt, sliced cheese, reduced fat shredded cheese, feta cheese, nonfat greek yogurt, unsalted butter
- Condiments/Dressings: EVOO, white vinegar, no sugar added ketchup, mustard, salad dressing, pickles, BBQ sauce, sriracha sauce, Franks RedHot wing sauce
- Baking: chia seeds, flours (all purpose, almond, coconut), honey, coconut oil, baking soda and powder, chocolate chips, unsweetened coconut flakes, SF pudding, Reeses peanut butter cups (Kyle’s favorite!)
- Snacks: crackers (wheat thins or Triscuits), nut butter, almonds/mixed nuts, Kind bars, chips
- Grains: oatmeal (flavored & unflavored), coffee beans (cause it’s right across from the oatmeal), pasta (Barilla Protein+/Red Lentil/Chickpea, Banza), brown rice, jumbalaya, quinoa
- Spices: too many to list!
- Canned/Jarred: salsa, pizza sauce, pasta sauce, jalapeno peppers, banana peppers, black beans
- Bread: whole wheat bread, bagels, bulky rolls, Josephs Lavish wraps/pitas/flatbreads, burger & hotdog buns, rice cakes, Mama Mary’s pizza crust
- Beverages: lemon lime seltzer
Home/Health/Beauty: disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, sponges, batteries, light bulbs, laundry detergent, vitamins, paper products, eye care & dental care products
Frozen: veggies – lots and lots of frozen veggies!
Time & Money Saving Tips:
- Stick to your list! Do not give into temptations to buy impulse items because they look good. This will increase your bill and most likely you won’t stop with just one item.
- Don’t shop when you’re hungry. You’ll be more tempted to buy unhealthy foods.
- Shop when the store is empty. I go Friday afternoons or first thing on a weekday morning – (never on the weekends!!!)
- Use a smaller cart or basket. If I know I don’t need a ton of stuff, I’ll grab the smaller cart or even a basket. That way I can’t add more items that I don’t need.
- Grab perishable items from the back & check expiration dates.
- Buy some items in bulk. Sometimes coffee will be on sale and instead of buying 1 or 2 bags of beans, I’ll buy 3 to save money in the long run.
- Have a budget
- Buy generic
- Buy in-season produce
- Use coupons. It takes more time to prep before a grocery store trip, but I use paper coupons and log into my Stop & Shop account and load digital coupons to my card. Saving money is worth the extra time!
- Shop once a week. If I get home and wish I had gotten something I didn’t – oh well. Gotta wait until next week. Multiple trips a week = more money spent.
- Use reusable bags. Stores haven’t allowed this during quarantine, but I have reusable produce bags and large bags to carry out my groceries.
Do you have any tips for meal prepping, food shopping, or saving time and money? What’s one item that’s on your master grocery shopping list?