Food shopping can be tedious, time-consuming, and stressful if you are not prepared. The key to a more pleasurable supermarket experience is to always write a shopping list. Always. Having an up-to-date list ensures that you will know what you need and not be subject to over- or under-buying. No more coming home to find there is already enough cayenne pepper to make enough homemade chili to feed an army or there are no have eggs for your favorite cookie recipe. Taking the time to create a shopping list before heading to the store will change your food shopping experience and save your time. Learn to food shop the right way. If you are not a fan of writing lists on scrap paper or want to make the process of creating a list even more organized, seek out the tools available to make food shopping easy.
Many online sources provide a supermarket list template to print at home, or download a store-specific or generic food shopping app onto your phone or tablet. Many apps allow you to star regular items, save lists, and have different lists for each store you shop. Decide what works best for you and your shopping needs. Once you decide on the tools to make your list (even if just a pencil and paper) be strategic about how you proceed. Before making your list, plan meals one or two weeks in advance depending on how often you food shop, and check circulars in stores or online to see what is on sale. This allows you to incorporate sale items into your planning. When making your list, keep in mind how you navigate the store and base the list order on your store’s specific layout. Once you have completed your list, keep it handy in a familiar place, like your wallet, in case you need to add more items or have an impromptu supermarket trip. A detailed list is a simple solution to food shopping, saving you time, money, and frustration. This new routine allows for a consistently well-stocked kitchen with everything you need to make the perfect meal or snack, and a little extra room in your mental notes file to remember something beyond, “I need milk.”
- Routinely review. Thoroughly review items in the kitchen including the refrigerator, pantry, and any other cabinets or drawers where food items are stored. Be sure to discard all expired products.
- Make a list. Write down groceries needed based on what is needed to create meals and any additional items needed like snacks and personal items. The list should include the following categories based on the order of the store aisles: sale items, fruits and veggies, dairy, canned goods, condiments, dry goods, snacks/baking, baby supplies, personal items, meat/seafood, frozen foods, beverages, deli, paper/cleaners, miscellaneous. Frozen foods should be last so they have the least amount of time outside the freezer.
- Stick to you list! While shopping, check items off the list as you place them into cart. Do not stray from the list unless a specific item was left off. Add the forgotten items to the current list and use it as a reference for the next list to help you remember everything you need.