Meal Planning & Shopping Hints
By Vicki Bentley
Plan your meals/menus
Include a variety of foods, to provide balanced nutrition. According to Dr. Rex Russell's book, What the Bible Says About Healthy Living, three main factors in food selection should be:
(The book expounds upon these, plus has lots of other great information.)
If you are having trouble coming up with menus, remember that your family is probably more impressed with eating nourishing food at a regular time each day than with trying a vast array of new foods each week.
To get into the habit of regular, healthy dinner times, consider something as basic as a weekly rotation of the same basic meals. You can work up to scheduling certain categories of meals on the weekdays (for example: meatless meal on Monday, poultry meal on Tuesday, ground beef meal on Wednesday, poultry on Thursday, new recipe on Friday, etc.). Then, as you are more comfortable with menu planning, you could even plan a month at a time, if you have room to store the groceries for that many meals. I found that when I planned/shopped for a month at a time, my cost per meal was significantly reduced.
Grocery shop with a list
I prefer to use a pre-printed list with my commonly used items pre-categorized. I simply check off the items I need, with quantities noted; it is simple to customize a list on your computer. (Download a free, printable list at www.homeworksbest.net/groclist.pdf or www.everydayhomemaking.com.) You might ask your local grocery store for a map of the aisles so you can customize your shopping list to the order of the aisles in your store.
I was always terrible at trying to keep track of my grocery purchases with the calculator. I never failed to somehow lose track and get surprised at the checkout counter! I have found the following method helpful for staying on budget at the store.
I always round up to dollars in my pricing, so it is not exact, but I will be likely to actually come out under my budgeted amount at the end.