How To Make a Grocery List Like a Pro

My original title was “How to Make a Kick Ass Grocery List,” but then I remembered I don’t say “kick ass” in real life, so I probably shouldn’t do it on the internet either.

A few weeks ago, Joey was in charge of meal planning, grocery list-making and shopping.  Look, I love him dearly and there’s very few things he’s not good at, but he came home with 3 pounds of butter, not a single green vegetable and zero boxes of cereal (you know, the food HE eats every day for breakfast), so I think it’s safe to say groceries aren’t his forte.  Just being real over here!  But because I love him dearly, I’ve written this simple guide to making an amazing grocery list.


Step 1: Make a plan!

Not like which aisle you’re going to start on, but a meal plan.  If you’re food obsessed and neurotic like me, you have an endless amount of recipes saved.  And in a perfect world, where I’m not trying to make some unnecessary and unrealistic balance of ingredients, it’s simple to just pick a few good-looking recipes.  My magic recipe number is four.  Also, I double most recipes (that feed 4, at least) because we can’t be bothered with proper portion sizes and because lunch leftovers are a life saver.


Step 2: Divide and conquer!

As in divide your ingredients into like categories.  I’m simple and go “Produce” vs. “Other,” but when I’ve had way too much time on my hands or felt like not backtracking all over the store, I’ve added other categories like “Dairy,” “Meat” and “Freezer.”  My mom always wishes she had a map of the store so she could write ingredients in the order you would find them in the store but that sounds a little too involved for me.


Step 3: Check yourself before you wreck yourself!

Speaking of things I don’t say in real life…

In other words, cross off anything that you already have on hand.  I live week to week in terms of groceries, so I almost never have, say, an extra can of black beans hanging around, but maybe you do, so cross that one of your list.  Helpful Tip: When you make your list, write it all down.  Even if you think you already have it, you can just cross it off later.  I notoriously don’t do this, then forget Step 3 and come Wednesday, mid-cooking, I realize “oops, I don’t have the red beans for red beans and rice.”  P.S. If earlier you thought “Lauren made a great point about doubling recipes!” then don’t forget to double all your ingredients as you write them down.


Step 4: Fill in the gaps!

Thigh gaps.  Just kidding, I don’t know why I said that.  By gaps, I mean think of all the staples you’re running low on — eggs (often), milk (always), bread (occasionally) — then add snack foods, breakfast makings (because I only include dinner in my meal plan) and SIDE DISHES!  I hate when I forget sides.  Dinner just feels so incomplete without them.  And by “side dishes,” I clearly mean a simple bundle of asparagus or a couple heads of broccoli, because that’s as fancy as I get on sides.  Oh and don’t forget any non-food staples you’re running low on.  I hate that stuff because A) I can’t eat it so it doesn’t excite me and B) It’s always expensive.  Ugh, laundry detergent.


Et voila!  So easy, right?

5 Things That Are ALWAYS On My Grocery List

Bananas (organic because I swear they don’t go bad as fast)

Milk (where does it go?!)

Oranges (or whatever Joey happens to be into at the moment)

Snack Bars (because I’m seriously lazy about snacks)

Spinach (because green smoothies are a magic elixir I couldn’t live without)


Do you have any grocery list-making tips?



February Goals


Last Thursday, as Joey and I dug into our lunch at Chipotle (seriously, how much better is Chipotle after a 3 week hiatus from eating it?!), I suggested we make some goals for the month.

To which Joey said, “I think I’m doing pretty good in life, so I’ll pass.” He’s no fun. But I gave him “the look” and 5 minutes later we were busy brainstorming.

I decided my goals would be to 1. Start going through my French book. I bought one a couple weeks ago so I could reacquaint myself with the language. I took 5 years of it in school, but never took it seriously and now I so wish I spoke another language. 2. Lift 2x/week. I’ve been “lifting” for years but only half heartedly and recently, only as a way to say I worked out without actually feeling like I worked out. If you’re thinking that sounds like a waste of time, it’s because it is. I’ve been taking it more seriously in the past couple of weeks and it feels really good! 3. Realize when I’m in a bad mood and make a concentrated effort to get out of it. You know, instead of just stewing in my own crankiness.

Joey had a couple solo goals too, but we’re most excited for our joint goals. 1. Cut back on the amount of time we spend on our phones. For me, being on my phone is actually an addiction. I get sucked in SO easily and so often and it’s definitely a bad habit I’m looking to break. 2. Joey does the meal planning for two weeks. I have serious control issues when it comes to the food we eat and generally anything that goes on in our kitchen. I have a mini panic attack every time I watch Joey cook. Like a “oh my god, I just cleaned that stove and now it’s covered in diced onions!!!!” panic attack. Joey on the other hand, never contributes to the meal planning and feels like he should. I think this’ll be good for both of us.  I think there was a third goal but I’m drawing a blank…

I’m usually not the type to make a list of goals, but for some reason I felt motivated to try it.  They’re not anything crazy and who knows if they’ll carry on past February.  All I know is that after our lunchtime brainstorming session, I felt seriously rejuvenated.  Or maybe that was just the Chipotle.

There’s nothing wrong with starting out the month with some good intentions, right?


Do you ever make monthly/weekly/yearly/etc. goals?

Is there something you get controlling about?

What’s your favorite thing to get at Chipotle?