Here's my routine, which takes place on the morning of grocery shopping.
1. Make a list of that days between now and the next planned grocery trip. Note anything specific that needs to be planned for. Any nights we know we're eating dinner somewhere else, people are coming over, I'm working late, etc. If I already know what's planned for any specific night, I go ahead and write it in. Then figure out how many meals I need to plan on cooking that week. For example, it might be 2 crockpot meals, 1 quick dinner, 3 regular meals, and a night off (for leftovers, pizza, whatever).
2. Head to the kitchen. By checking out cupboards, fridge and freezer, see how many of those meals I can fill in with what's on hand or buying minimal stuff. Then I fill in the remaining meals as needed. I don't always make the meals on the list on the days they're written down, but I know crockpot meals will be for nights I work late, more labor intensive meals will be my days off, etc.
3. Then I go through and write down all the ingredients I need to buy, organized by departments of the store. That keeps me from missing things or backtracking around the store. I also fill in the basics as needed like milk, bread, cereal, etc.
4. While I'm grocery shopping, I carry my meal list too. If I come across a great sale, I might switch out a meal. I don't buy without a plan, with one exception, meat. If there's sale or clearance meats I know we'll eat, I buy them and stock up the freezer. My goal is to not need to buy a specific meat at the store as inevitably, its the one that's not on sale; I'd rather use the meat from the freezer that I bought on sale.
Hi! I'm Shannon
Wife to J
Mama to a couple of crazy boys - L (12/07)
and E (2/11)
and Meatball coming 4/14