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Steps to Building a Healthy, Organized Shopping List
1. Have a list on the fridge that is updated.
Have a list posted on the refrigerator door and a pen in the kitchen at all times. Make it a habit for everyone who lives at home; even children can help.
2. Plan meals.
We all plan meals differently, depending on the number of people we feed and how often we go to the grocery store or market. However, this step must always precede purchase. Set aside some time at least once a week to plan meals for the next few days. Here are some basic things to keep in mind when planning meals:
- Our schedule. Check our calendar for the week or a few days in advance. A busy week ahead? In that case, we need to sit down with our calendar and come up with a meal plan based on the time we have available. Choose several quick recipes, some dishes with which to take advantage of leftovers and meals that require more time so that the kitchen always adjusts to our schedule.
- Company. Are we having a visitor soon? We may need to buy some special items at the store or plan a larger dinner.
- Coupons, discounts and offers. Some people prefer to see coupons and sale brochures during the meal planning phase to organize dishes that use the cheapest ingredients. Others prefer to plan their meals and then look for coupons or offers on the ingredients they need to make those meals. We can choose the method we prefer.
- The season. What we cook and eat should vary according to what is in season and our tastes, but keep in mind that fruits and vegetables that are in season are going to be cheaper and easier to find.
3. Gather the recipes.
Once the meals have been planned based on the time available, our tastes, the season and the coupons, it is time to gather the recipes.
4. Make the shopping list.
Next, we sit down with the list of basic foods that we have been depleting during the week and writing down daily (the one from Step 1), our weekly meal plan and the recipes to create an organized list to help us navigate the store. Group the items on the list based on supermarket departments: bakery, meat / poultry, frozen food, dairy, beverage, household items, etc. Configure the list based on our preferences and the distribution of the supermarket we usually go to. Remember to attach your coupons to the list before leaving for the store.
And one last tip. When you arrive at the supermarket, you have to stick to the list and avoid being distracted by the various promotions of the day, no matter how tempting they may appear.