Sunday, January 24, 2016

My Vegan Grocery List + Meal Plan

When it comes to grocery planning, I have to admit I enjoy it. I know some people dread it or have their spouse take care of it, but for me I started going to the grocery store with my Dad when I was little and I've loved it ever since. Maybe it's the control freak in me that likes to pick out and plan the food for the week, or maybe I just love the challenge of trying to get good tasting, healthy food within a budget. Since starting my blog years ago and diving into the world of green and healthy living, grocery shopping and meal planning has taken on a whole new level of intensity and I've come to learn the saying, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

I see my grocery shopping/list and meal planning as a way to prepare myself to succeed with a healthy diet. The more I can fill my house with healthy, vegan snacks and plan meals that taste great and give my family energy and taste great then we'll all be better for it.

So given this passion plus the fact that I'm a pretty "type A" personality, I've got a pretty structured and routine list that I use and meal plan that I stick to.

Here's my grocery list template:

I have listed under each store box all the items I could potentially buy from there. I've chose to get some items from one store and not the other sometimes due to prices being cheaper, as well as availability, some things I can only find at one store.

I also have them organized in order by how I would pick them up around the store. So the things I would get in the first aisle or two of the store are listed at the top, and then further down on the list means they are last in the way I shop at the store.

Here's a visual look at how I make my grocery list and plan my meals in this week's video:

As you can see the two boxes I have are for the two stores I go to: Terra: Health & Wellness Market and Trader Joe's.
Click here to see my video tour.

When it comes time to make my new grocery list, I take a look at my old grocery list and note the items I wrote down during the previous week that we need. Things that come up while you're baking a recipe, or cooking dinner that you don't want to forget you're out of. I make note of these on my grocery lists and then transfer them to the new list. 

From there I then start taking inventory of my kitchen. I check my pantry, fridge, freezer, baking cabinet (where I store all my gluten-free flours, and last my spice cabinet. Here I check for common staples that we always keep on hand and that I can tell might be running low.

After this I then start going through my Recipe Binder. I keep all my printed recipes in a binder with page protectors for each recipe (I can fit two in one page protector) and they are organized by meal type (pasta, burritos, tofu, desserts, etc.).  

Then as I see a meal I like or that my family has requested for the upcoming week I make note of the ingredients needed on my list by either circling the item or writing a number next to it to note how many are needed. Also, if something is not need on my list I just cross it out. 

From there I end up with a list of meals at the top, one for each night of the week. 

As well as a little list of other items that need to be made. Usually I have some type of a breakfast snack (pancakes or biscuits), a healthier dessert, and a snack (Buffalo Cauliflower Wings are my favorite!).

This brings me to the seven types of vegan meals I plan for each week. I find that this helps make meal planning so much easier because the categories are already in place, I just choose a different recipe to go for that week.  My seven meals are:
  1. Soup
  2. Cheesy Pasta or Rice Dish
  3. Veggie Burgers and Roasted Potatoes
  4. Tofu Dish
  5. Sandwiches
  6. Burritos
  7. Spaghetti

So when I'm planning my meals I go to each category of my Recipe Binder, flip through till I see a recipe in that category that sounds good and then choose that one to have. We try to rotate the recipes out so we don't get bored. 

Here's a visual look at each of the seven categories:

1. Soup: Here's one of our favorite vegetable soup recipes (I'll post it soon!)
2. Cheesy Pasta or Rice Dish: "Cheesy Mushroom & Broccoli Skillet"
3. Veggie Burger and Roasted Potatoes (usually with another vegetable on the side).

4. Tofu Dish: "Genghis Khan Mongolian BBQ"
5. Sandwiches: "Grilled Cheese, Tomato Soup and Roasted Veggies"

I include our "Homemade Vegan Pizza" in this sandwich category as well.
6. Burritos: With sautéed veggies, corn, black beans, guacamole, salsa, vegan
cheese and a gluten-free tortilla shell.
7. Spaghetti: Our go-to is a simple plain spaghetti with gluten-free noodles,
a vegan spaghetti sauce, and organic green beans. 

So there you have it, how I meal plan and make my grocery list. Post below, what's your grocery list like and how do you plan your meals? Happy shopping!

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