The art of the grocery list

The zen art of grocery shopping: How an efficient list can save you both time and money

We all watch in frustration as our grocery bills grow higher and higher. But grocery shopping is a key part of maintaining a healthy diet, and we are here to teach you how to organize your trips to the supermarket in a way that will save you money and time. Your grocery list can be your best friend, as long as you keep a few basic rules in mind when you put it together.

First step: It's all about planning

Before you even leave the house, you have to know exactly what you need to bring back from the store. Take some time the morning before you go grocery shopping to plan out the week's menu. This can help reduce impulse buying, and you won't end up with random items that don't quite add up to a full meal. Check out the week's flyers for attractive deals, and then look for recipes online that use the ingredients you find on sale. Make sure to sign up for our newsletter and get the week's best deals delivered right to your inbox every Wednesday.

Your menu plan should include every meal: breakfast, lunch and dinner, and why not, snacks and desserts too! Add in a couple of Mediterranean products you've been wanting to try or a ready-made meal to save time on one of those busy nights. It's also important to plan around your family's schedule-what good is a huge lasagna for dinner when Dad is working late and your oldest is at the dance studio?

Second step: Engineering the perfect list

Once you've settled on a menu, scan your cupboards, fridge and freezer to note what you already have and what you still need for your recipes, and whether you're running low on any essentials (milk, bread, eggs). This way, you won't end up with two dozen eggs in your fridge! One good strategy is to organize your grocery list by category: fruits and vegetables, bakery and bread, meat and fish, canned food, dairy and frozen foods. Ramp up your efficiency by breaking your list down by aisle, so you don't have to run back and forth in the supermarket. Another good idea is to follow the order they appear in the flyer.

A logical, well-organized list will make your life easier and prevent you from forgetting something important. It will also spare you from walking every aisle or hitting parts of the supermarket you don't need anything from. That's how things end up magically appearing in your cart! Your wallet will thank you later.

Third step: Make it a rolling list

Now that you know how to put together the perfect shopping list, you're going to want to get in the habit of keeping a list right on your fridge. As soon as you run out of something, add it to the list and you won't forget a thing! Get your family or roommates on board and ask them to add items to the list themselves. What a great way to keep everyone's bellies happy!