How to make putting together a grocery list easier

September 30, 2017

The other day I was working with someone who wanted to lose weight, but she found it challenging. As we discussed what she was having difficulties with, we both realized that a significant part of her struggles to stay on track and stick with her with food choices was related to her grocery shopping habits.

She isn’t alone in this.  Many of us have challenges with grocery shopping!

Have you bought it?

“You can’t eat it if you don’t have it,” I often say. That phrase is true for tempting foods which we need to limit. The same phrase is also true regarding foods that we should be eating more of.

Does this sound like you?

You grocery shop once a week, but only buy enough fresh and frozen vegetables to meet your half plate goal for 5 days. This increases your chances of making poor choices and not keeping up with new habits in the days just before your next shopping trip.

Or do you buy too much food and end up throwing it away at some point when it sits in your refrigerator and becomes a new life form, becomes unrecognizable in your freezer, or becomes a relic in the back of your pantry cabinet?  Overbuying can be just as much of an issue and cost you valuable money – not to mention being discouraging.

What to do if you don’t meal plan

Although I recommend creating a meal plan before you go grocery shopping, sometimes even I find that challenging! Over time I have developed a selection of seasonal, healthy recipes that my husband and I enjoy and that I know I can easily make from the items I typically keep in my pantry, freezer and refrigerator.

The key is having those items on hand when you need them

If your budget or space is limited, it is very helpful to keep track of what foods you use and how much of them you will use in the days before your next trip to the grocery store. Or, if you grocery shop at multiple stores as I do, what items you will use before you return to that store? This helps you know what you need to buy at your next trip.

The easy way to build your  list for your next grocery shopping trip

Keep a notebook open on your kitchen counter. Each time you use something up, throw away a package, or empty a container, write the item down on the list.

This helps you develop a list of items that you need to buy, but it also helps you discover how much you need to buy.

A word to the wise: Although it may be as difficult as training a cat, try to get others in your household to add to your grocery shopping list.

What about the items you don’t want to run out of?

Now there are some items that you don’t buy on every grocery shopping trip, but you don’t want to run out of.  Yes, even I have been known to run out of cat food. Not a good thing when your cat has a meow that can be heard in the next galaxy!

So what is a good way to determine when you will need to buy more of something before you run out of it?

Keep a dark marker handy in your kitchen and pantry. When you open the item for the first time, mark the item with the date you opened it. This way when you finish the item you will know how long it lasted. When you use it and are almost out,  add it to the grocery list you are keeping on your counter.


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Having personally struggled with weight and gut health issues, I understand how easy it is to think that food is the enemy especially with the changes our bodies undergo as we age.  It doesn’t have to be that way!

I love using my extensive education and coach approach to help people realize it is possible to feel better and be healthier while still enjoying their life and food.

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