Meal Planning 101- Making Your Grocery List (with tools)

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My goal is to help make meal planning easy and obtainable for you and guide you to become a dinner diva in 2011.

Here is what we’ve covered so far:

Step 1 is to identify your recipe criteria. This will serve as a checklist when you’re searching for and discovering new recipes. You will quickly know if a recipe ‘makes the cut’.

Step 2 is to find recipes. I shared 20 places to find recipes that meet your criteria. Make a list of 21 recipes that meet your checklist. This is perfect for a seamless start to meal planning. 

You are well on your way to becoming a dinner diva. Now, let’s make our grocery list.

Step 3: make your grocery list based on the meals you are going to cook this week. If you’re feeling ambitious you certainly can meal plan for two weeks or even a month at a time. For me, I just do one week at a time because that is what works best for my lifestyle. It prevents me from feeling overwhelmed (embrace baby steps!) and it works in my favor as I do not have tons of pantry or storage space.

Why is making a grocery list so important? I know it can be a pain, but here is why a grocery list is a must.

  • It will prevent you from buying ingredients you already have on hand.
  • It will allow you to be better prepared and organized for meal time preparation knowing you do not need to run out for one more ingredient. Not having all of the needed supplies on hand for a recipe is a quick way to put a damper in your meal planning enthusiasm.
  • It allows you to stick to your budget. As your grocery list grows, you can access what your spending this week before you even leave the house.
  • It gives you the ability to tweak your meal plan before you get to the grocery store checkout and realize you’ve spent more than you wanted to this week. Maybe you need to switch out this meal for a less expensive meal.

Grocery List Tools
Below is a list of awesome grocery templates that will work for just about any person’s lifestyle and needs. (See, this is exciting, right?!)

1) The Creative Mama has a free grocery list download that can be printed, assembled and conveniently placed on your fridge.

2) I love this grocery list template that Org Junkie put together for her readers. It is organized in boxes by category and is free. My kind of list as I think in boxes. 🙂

3) Here is a grocery list planner from Design Sponge  which involves crafting a neat clipboard. The actual grocery list is developed with the meal plan attached at the bottom of the list and is pre-filled with common repeat purchase items.  Love this! Again, free.

4) Are you the ultimate checklist, detail-guru, overload kinda person? has the ultimate grocery list. Kinda sends me into a panic attack, but maybe it is your style. And it is free.

5) Are you a spreadsheet list maker? You’re gonna love this! Practical Spreadsheets has a grocery template that can be downloaded blank or pre-filled.  {You’re welcome.}

6) And if none of the lists so far have met your needs has hundreds to choose from. Blank, category filled, holiday specific, lifestyle specified (for diabetic shoppers, etc) and the list goes on. Set aside a chunk of time to go through all of the lists they have to offer.

7) Get Organized Wizard has an awesome Ultimate To Do List Pack that I purchased in early 2010. There is a fee for it, but it has over 250 lists that you download to make a household notebook. One of the lists is a grocery list as well as meal planning calendars and templates. Love this book!

Tell me, what grocery list do you find most helpful? Are there specifics you prefer to see on your template? What is it about making a grocery list that you dread most?  Found a template you want to share with my readers? Knock yourself out!

Tomorrow we will discuss posting your meal plan. You’re on your way to being a dinner diva! Exciting isn’t it?


  1. Anonymous says:

    I’ve recently started a blog, the information you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  2. Wow! More great info! Thanks for sharing on Thrilling Thursday!

  3. AllieMakes! says:

    Great info! And thank you for sharing the links! I'm sure they will prove useful to all!
    Thanks for linking up to Making It With Allie! I can't wait to see what you have for next week!

  4. Thanks for stopping by ladies!

  5. Kassi @ Truly Lovely says:

    Hello Crystal! Just wanted to say thanks for linking up at Fancy This Fridays on Truly Lovely! We loved your link ups and decided to feature this one specifically!! Come check it out and grab a feature button! 🙂

  6. Laurie Turk says:

    What a great round up of ideas to create menu's! These resources are fabulous. {{knuckle bumps}}

  7. This is perfect! Exactly what I needed for tonight as I plan out my menu’s for the week!! Thanks for sharing.

  8. What a great resource! I love all of the links to the recipes and menu creators … all in ONE spot! I’m delighted to connect through twitter!! 🙂

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