Plan Your Weekly Meals
Before making a grocery list, write down meals you want to make this week. Buying for the week means you’ll make fewer shopping trips and buy only the items you need.
Here are some basic tips for creating your menu and grocery list:
See what you already have. Look in your freezer, cabinets, and refrigerator. Make a note of what you currently have on hand. You can save money by using these items in the upcoming week’s meals.
Use a worksheet to plan your meals. The Create a Grocery Game Plan Worksheet is great for planning your week and figuring out what items you may need to buy.
Create a list of recipes to try. Find new ideas for healthy and low-cost meals based on what you have on hand, foods your family enjoys, and foods that are good buys.
Visit What's Cooking? for recipe inspiration. Search recipes by ingredient using What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl -- an interactive tool to help with healthy meal planning, cooking, and grocery shopping. Be sure to include some family favorites along with the new recipes.
Think about your schedule. Choose meals you can easily prepare when you don’t have a lot of time. Save recipes that take longer for days off. You also can prepare meals in advance to heat and serve on your busiest days.
Plan to use leftovers. Think about larger recipes with enough servings for multiple meals. This can reduce the number of ingredients you need to buy, and save you time preparing another meal.
Recipe and Menu Ideas: