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Make a Plan

Cartoon dollar pushing a shopping cart with coin child

Once you have taken inventory of what you already have in your refrigerator and pantry, you are ready to make your grocery shopping plan.

When planning your meals, think through these questions:

How many days am I grocery shopping for? Some people shop once a week, while others shop every few days and some shop only once or twice a month. Think ahead about how many days you will be buying for to help you plan how much food you need.

How many people will be eating these meals? Are you having family or friends over for dinner? Will kids be home to eat these meals? You can plan each meal better if you have a general idea of how many people you will be feeding. 

How much time will I have to make these meals? Do you already know you have a busy week ahead of you? Try to plan meals that will be quick and easy. Check out our Quick Eats recipes to get you started planning!

Are there any ingredients in my pantry or fridge that I want to use up in my meals this week? If you have any produce or other ingredients close to expiration, pick a recipe where you can use that ingredient. 

Once you’ve thought through those questions, look through our recipes for some inspiration. You can also use MyPlate as a formula for a nutritious and simple meal.

woman in kitchen putting groceries down on counter

Making the Most of Your Groceries

As you meal plan and pick recipes, think about how can use an item more than once during the week.

For instance, if you are using cheddar cheese in Monday’s casserole, plan on using some in Tuesday’s scrambled eggs.

Pick ingredients that can be used in many ways to get the most bang for your buck! Greek yogurt is an example of a versatile ingredient. Use fruit-flavored or vanilla Greek yogurt for parfaits and plain as a sour cream substitute. In some recipes, you may also be able to use Greek yogurt as a substitute for butter or milk.

Want to make grocery shopping a breeze? Organize your grocery list by department, such as “produce”, “dairy”, “freezer”, “pantry”, etc. This can make grocery shopping quicker and simpler so you don't forget any food items.