How to Make Your Plant-Based Grocery List

So how do you make a good grocery list? Well, the first thing you need is pen and paper. No, seriously. To have an effective list, you need to either write it down or create it on your phone or computer (there are even special apps for that) — whichever way works best for you.

First, it helps to determine into which shopper category you naturally fall:

  • The organizer: This person likes to be on top of things and knows what to expect. You methodically go through each of the food categories (grains, proteins, vegetables, fruits, oils and fats, and superfoods) every week and write down what you need. Even if you don’t think you need anything, you go through the process anyway to make sure nothing is missed.

    This is a good approach for beginner plant-based foodies, because you can visualize which foods are in which category, and it also helps you navigate the grocery store in an efficient manner.

  • The shopper by recipe: This means you select a few recipes you want to make for the week and make a list based on them specifically. So, in essence, you just buy what your recipes call for.

  • The on-the-fly shopper: This describes someone who wants to take a chance, walk around, and grab things as she sees them. Likely this is someone creative who can work with whatever food items she has on hand.

  • The list runner: This person keeps a running list of items he runs out of, perhaps on his counter or fridge. He looks at and adds to it constantly. If you fall into this category, you typically have a mental idea of what you need to get and what you have already, and you may just need to make an additional mini list of “extras.”

    Likely, you’re well stocked to begin with because of regular grocery-store trips and just need things like produce or specialty items.

After you determine what type of shopper you are, formulate your grocery list. Write down what you need and then hit the grocery store.

Not making a list can set you up for not-so-good results. When you don’t make a list, you may buy random, unwanted items that waste your time and money, among other things. Consider these three consequences of not making a good list:

  • You overbuy on items you already have. It’s important to take an inventory of items at home; otherwise, you may end up with foods well past their expiration date.

  • You buy unhealthy or unwanted ingredients, kind of like impulse buying the latest gadget or trendy article of clothing. You may think you want it, but it’s not really in your plans for the week — again, just wasted money.

  • You don’t get what you want or anything at all. Without a proper plan, you may get overwhelmed at the store and be too intimidated to buy anything at all, resulting in a wasted trip and an empty shopping bag.

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