One of the things that took me the longest time to get into the rhythm of was finding and planning out a weekly grocery last that satisfied my needs for: budget, healthy, tastes good, lasts the entire week, and mixes things up every week.
I bought groceries for two years in college, but it’s completely different when you’re able to go home and cook whenever you want vs. the busy life of post-grad where you’re rarely in your kitchen besides dinner and possibly breakfast.
I’ve shared some of my favorite meal prep recipes (all of them can be found here), but actually being able to plan for them and supplement the rest of your week with meals and snacks is a completely different challenge!
I typically just make weekly lists in my phone to take with me, but if you’re a pen and paper girl this meal planning sheet and grocery list is amazing. Just pick out what you want for each meal, and then break down all of the ingredients you will need to make sure you don’t forget anything! (I’ve been on the hunt for a great app, but honestly I think they’re all trying to do a little too much).
You could also try filling that sheet out by hand then snapping a pic – I’ve done it a few times! I look at the meal planner as more of a guide, and then I break down every ingredients that it includes into my grocery list to make sure I don’t forget anything…and then sometimes add a snack or two from there!
My game plan usually consists of picking out my weekly lunch on Pinterest, and then building out the same few routines for dinners and breakfasts around that. Lunch is what has to be done in advance/in large quantity, so it creates the bulk of my groceries.I shared a sample of what my weekly meal plan + grocery list looks like for reference, but really it’s all about finding a core group of healthy items you can eat again and again! I’m not a big breakfast person, so a smoothie or peanut butter toast is all it takes for me. I’m by no means a nutritionist, but this works for me and I like it!
**I wrote this out as if I don’t have a single ingredient in my pantry…but in reality I have a lot of these things and use them time and time again, such as Quinoa (I buy a huge bag at Costco, same with my rice!), the frozen fruit for my smoothies, and the ingredients to make my salad dressing).
The biggest key to saving money and still making sure that you have everything you need is to find ingredients you love that work with multiple meals. I eat eggs throughout the entire week, but I cook them so many different ways: scrambled, over-easy with avocado toast, mixed into a stir fry or Pad Thai recipe, or in a breakfast burrito.PS – that Superfood Salad I reference is included right here, and it’s my absolute favorite!
Dinners can totally vary for me, so I like to keep a lot of frozen ingredients around that I don’t have to worry about going bad, and that are easy to heat up. Some of my go-to’s are these Chicken Patties, this Frozen Diced Chicken (great for throwing in with rice from my rice cooker and adding a frozen vegetable), or Burgers on the Grill!
I love to keep a core group of 2-4 types of snacks around all week – fruit with peanut butter, wheat thin crackers and cheese, string cheese, grapes are some of my favorites! They’re all super easy to throw in a container and bring to work as an extra for that mid-afternoon slump when you start to feel hungry again.
Hopefully this helps you feel a little more confident in being able to plan out a meal list for next week and try out some fun new recipes! As always, if you have any questions or comments please post them below or shoot me an email!