Grocery Buying & Menu Planning

A glimpse at my current system for grocery buying and menu planning.  The system changes every month/week, but this is where I’m at right now as I commit (yet again!) to a healthier eating plan.

1: Check fridge contents on Wednesday’s to assess what we have and need to use up.
Fridge Contents

2: Check store cupboard contents and update freezer inventory (for the same reason).

3: Make a menu plan using what we have, and then make a grocery list for what we need.
Menu Plan + Grocery List

As you can see from the list above. Sometimes I make double the meal so that I have one to freeze. Other times I use something that is already made in the freezer. It’s all basic stuff, but I go off track with this so many times!

4: Buy groceries – sticking to the list!

Grocery Haul
Last weeks grocery

That’s it! So simple IF I stick to the system!

On another note I pretty much have a 2 weekly menu plan ready to share with you. The plan is to get in a food routine, which may seem boring, but we eat the same things all the time and so it makes sense for us.

Let me know. How do you plan your menu’s? Do you have a great system that you can share with us? 



26 thoughts on “Grocery Buying & Menu Planning

  1. I like your system! We are getting into more of a routine with our meals too, and it might work to have a regular rotation, instead of pretending to think it all out from scratch every time :)

  2. I love doing my grocery task every weekend and every time I go to the grocery I make sure that I bring my loyalty card and my grocery list with me. But one thing that I have a problem with is sticking to the list! I usually buy foods or items that not on the list and I’m still working on that attitude.

  3. A brilliant system …. I totally need to steal this shamelessly from you … AND STICK TO IT!!

    We plunge and plummet from system to system always going back to our main one ….. ‘peering in the freezer and seeing what’s there’ ….. and there’s less and less there now we have eaten our way through the top few layers, so I need to start to organise things and get a revolving menu rota on the go.

  4. I really need to pinch this way of food shopping off you. I always have good intentions when it comes to meal planning and shopping list planning but all to quickly it goes out the window!

  5. I use a similar system but on Mondays. I also try to work around store ads to get the best price on meat and produce.

  6. Since dispensing with the car I definitely only buy what is absolutely necessary as I have to carry it home on the bus. As I don’t want to have to buy a daily bus ticket very often, I build a menu around what I have and use things up rather than shop for more. I try to keep a good stock of staple items, and the garden is starting to produce again, so there will be even less shopping going on! My shopping for this week has comprised of 2 punnets of mushrooms, and some Edam cheese for my daughter, all bought from a local supermarket that I walked to.

    1. That’s a very minimal shopping list Scarlet. When we move I’m going to try to avoid using the car as much as possible – it’ll definitely stop me buying too much!

      Do you keep a full freezer? I’m always loathe to empty it totally and so leave things in there instead of using them up.

  7. So true when you say ‘very simple, just have to stick to it.’ We’ve been terrible lately.

    One thing I have to do is write the meal plan on the kitchen chalkboard. No matter how tired I am in the mornings I then remember to defrost meat before work.

    The other thing I’m doing is adding up shopping as I go. Once I hit my limit, I put things back on the shelf if needed.

    1. I add up as I go and then press the wrong number on my phone, which leads to disaster! Chalkboards are the greatest thing – I wonder if I can add one to the apartment!

  8. I love your systematic approach, it’s worked for us in the past, sticking to it is the real problem tho.

    At the mo im dabbling with ready meals as a way to decrease stress on the busy nights, at most once or twice a week.

    Was the first night last night and it seemed v to go ok, more research required I think

  9. My method is *officially* the same as yours, but I have learned to maximise the use of the freezer to allow for contingencies, such as tonight, I got asked to babysit so the plan to do a chill has been scrapped, and I have eaten at my brother’s instead. Also, I had forgotten I was out last night. Ah well, plenty to eat into next week!

  10. OH it looks like a great plan!

    I have thought that too – I should just keep a few months’ of weekly menu plans and recycle recycle recycle!! So easy that way.

    I’m the queen of freezer food based meals. The BF hardly has a clue what’s in the freezer (I put things in there that I know aren’t in the next day or two of cooking to save spoilage). He’s so clueless, I’ve recently started a list of ‘meals’ that are RTG in the fridge and freezer for him, so he knows when he’s running low on meals he likes and needs to cook us more (incidentally I cook too, soups and ‘healthy’ stuff, alas he doesn’t touch that stockpile, and I always have a lunch to bring, as I hate deciding what to eat/going out at lunch).

    1. Keeping a list is a good idea, especially if he leads to the BF cooking to increase supplies!

      My menu plan will be Chicken Monday. Pasta Thursday etc. That way I can vary what we have but still have a set plan.

  11. What a great idea! I’ve never been this organized at using up the stuff in the freezer. I need to look through everything and make a list as well. Usually I poke around in there and pick something to use but there are probably things at the bottom that I’ve forgotten.

    1. We only have a fridge freezer with only 3 drawers – it makes it difficult to lose things, but I still forget when something is in there if I don’t have a list.

  12. My routine is slightly different each week depending on what we are doing in the week / if we have been away at the weekend / and if hubby is away on business. I usually keep quick to make items in the freezer like a pizza base or veg Samosas as a stand by and we always have eggs.
    Most nights I cook from scratch as we are not ready meal fans and being vegetarian the choice is limited -I generally make enough for two meals but that is so I cook from scratch one night and heat up the leftovers the next rather than freeze it so I can do an hours cleaning or ironing or even blogging on the leftovers night! Sometimes I find I have to write my menu plan for the week in Sainsbury’s cafe if I have not had any planning time at home beforehand so I keep a small binder of recipes handy in the car with my reusable bags so that I can check on ingredients required. I usually do a quick overview of the cupboards before I go shopping and memorise (bit like the tray game!)and try and use what we have buying fresh items to go with it. So it is more or less similar to your routine but I have to be flexible and when my cupboards look full I try to live of the food we already have rather than buy more. I think you are doing well even though a times it may seem like you are going off course – I think I have accepted that this is one area where I cannot keep to a strict routine.

    1. Hi Viv. You’re back! I missed you!

      Menu planning in the cafe sounds like a good idea. I probably need to try and have a use it up.minimal shopping week after this week. It’s getting close to freezer defrosting time for our move.

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