grocery shopping

Free Meal Planning Worksheet

by Sally on September 23, 2014

Meal planning is a gift that keeps on giving. Spending 5-10 minutes on it at the beginning of the week means no more 5:30 “what’s-for-dinner??” angst.

A crucial step in meal planning is food shopping. I make my week’s dinner menus and grocery list at the same time. That way, I can avoid last minute trips to the store where I run in for garlic and come out with $150 worth of other stuff. And completely forget the garlic.

I’m old-school with my meal planning and still prefer paper to apps. I used this template from 100 Days of Food for a while, but found myself making separate columns for multiple stores and scribbling my meal plan at the bottom. So I asked my husband to make a sheet that fit the way I do meal planning.

I typically shop at two stores for groceries (usually ALDI plus my neighborhood grocery store or natural foods market). I also like having the week’s dinners right on my grocery list so I can be sure I’ve got everything I need, including sides.

To view or print a copy of my free meal planning worksheet, click HERE.

What kinds of tools do YOU use for meal planning and grocery shopping?

Meal Planning Worksheet from Real Mom Nutrition

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Throughout the pages of my new book Cooking Light Dinnertime Survival Guide are tricks that help me save time, money, and sanity. I call them “Crazy Tricks That Actually Work”. I’m sharing a few of these on my blog.

The Smartest Place to Buy Herbs & Spices

I’m a pretty frugal shopper, and shelling out $6 for a tiny jar of dried herbs is painful. So I head to the ethnic foods aisle. Did you know that the herbs and spices there are generally a lot less expensive than those found elsewhere in the supermarket?

(Yes, I know some cooks have very discriminating tastes and prefer to buy theirs at specialty shops. I’d rather save time and money wherever I can.)

Example 1: Smoked Paprika

Cheapest smoked paprika in the spice aisle (.9 ounces): $5.99

Smoked paprika in the ethnic foods aisle (2 ounces): $1.79

Example 2: Ground Ginger

Cheapest ground ginger in the spice aisle (.8 ounces): $4.99

Ground ginger in the ethnic foods aisle (1.5 ounces): $1.79

What are your best money-saving tricks at the grocery store?

Dinnertime Survival Guide

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My Favorite Packaged Foods

March 10, 2014

In the last few years, I’ve made a conscious decision to make more food from scratch. But I still buy packaged food (read “From-Scratch Cooking Confession: I Can’t Keep Up!“). Several readers asked me for more details on the kinds of packaged products I buy, so I wanted to share some of my favorites. When […]

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From-Scratch Cooking Confession: I Can’t Keep Up!

March 3, 2014

I believe that a diet based around whole foods is the way to go. I believe we should know what’s in our food, that we should strive to eat food that isn’t laden with preservatives and artificial flavors. Over the years, my suspicion about ingredients like artificial colors has grown, and I’ve become increasingly annoyed with […]

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Do Food Labels Even Matter? Here’s Why I Say YES.

February 28, 2014

This week, the FDA proposed some big changes to food labels (aka the Nutrition Facts label). Some of the changes include: Requiring information about the amount of added sugar, not just total sugar. Putting the calorie content in larger print. Revising servings sizes on some products to better reflect the amount people actually eat. Removing […]

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Pantry Challenge: Week #3 Meal Plan & Home Stretch!

November 12, 2012

Should beer and wine count toward the weekly Pantry Challenge grocery budget? Not surprisingly, my husband–who is no fan of the Pantry Challenge–emphatically says no. If he’s right and it doesn’t, I stayed close to my $50 goal last week. I even hosted a neighborhood party–and I tried to use what I had on hand […]

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Pantry Challenge: Week #2 Meal Plan

November 5, 2012

The good news is that I stuck to my meal plan pretty closely last week (read: Pantry Challenge: Week #1 Shopping Trip & Meal Plan). The bad news is that we had two last-minute events that busted my budget. One was an out-of-town trip that involved pizza delivery. Another was hosting a night time Nerf […]

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Aldi Haul: My Best Finds This Week

October 14, 2012

I’ve already waxed poetic about Aldi (read: Ode to Aldi). So I won’t go on and on about how much I love the discount grocery chain. But I couldn’t help but share these especially good deals (and a few new finds) from this week’s shopping trip: 16-ounce bag of frozen fruit for morning smoothies Aldi […]

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Ode to Aldi

September 5, 2012

I’m pretty frugal. I coupon. I’ve even been known to hoard groceries when I come across a really good deal. So naturally, I love Aldi. I love their no-frills approach. They don’t need fancy lighting and free samples. They’re not going to give your kid a balloon at checkout. They’re not even going to bag […]

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Organic Mom

September 14, 2011

Organic Mom was in line behind me at the grocery store the other day. Full disclosure: I have this really bad habit of looking at the contents of other people’s grocery carts. I’m not judging them. Okay, sometimes I am judging them. Mostly, I view it as “research”. But when Organic Mom was behind me […]

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