in the kitchen

Green Living Tip 8 {Meal Plan Before Grocery Shopping}

Green Living Meal Plan Before Grocery Shopping Go Gingham

Today’s green living tip: meal plan before grocery shopping. Meal planning is the process of taking a few minutes to think about what you’d like to eat for dinner, in the week ahead, scanning the cupboards, fridge, and freezer for what you already have on hand, and then making a grocery list. It takes less than 10 minutes to do, too! By factoring in leftovers, it helps keep food waste down and you also get a night off from cooking.

Meal planning before grocery shopping is a small step that reduces food waste by using what you have on hand. In the U.S., our dumpsters and garbage cans are full of food that hasn’t been eaten. So much food gets tossed out because it’s gone bad. Eating food before it goes bad reduces food waste and that can save a lot of money, too.

Green Living Meal Plan Before Grocery Shopping Go Gingham

Meal planning is also a time saver – it reduces trips to the grocery store so you’re not running to the store every day to pick up an item or two. I use meal planning as a way to keep track of what night my kids are cooking dinner, too. (Here are 11 reasons to meal plan.)

Green Living Meal Plan Before Grocery Shopping Go Gingham

Meal planning keeps us on track for eating healthy meals cooked at home and reduces food waste. When we have a plan, we eat the food we have at home and skip the fast food. Try it for a week and see if it helps you save!

Are you a meal planner? Does wasting food drive you crazy, too?

Go Gingham Earth Month:

To celebrate April as “Earth Month,” I’m sharing a tip every day this month. Find all the tips by clicking the image below.

Green Living Go GinghamYou’ll find simple and easy ideas to implement at your home – and they’ll save money as well!

4 thoughts on “Green Living Tip 8 {Meal Plan Before Grocery Shopping}

  1. I’ve been doing this for over a year now (all because of you), and I am so much happier to know what is on the docket for dinner each night instead of having to think about it after a long day of work. It also really does cut down on going out just b/c I’m too lazy to come up with something or because I don’t have the ingredients to make what I want. Next year when I go back to work full time that might change, but I hope I can stay on track with it. Thanks for encouraging me to do this!


    1. Yay! I have a feeling you might stick with it – makes life easier when it’s busier because you know what you’ll be eating and shopping for. Thanks, Erin! Same job next year or something different?


  2. I’ll admit, meal planning has always been a challenge for me! I think I feel like I have to have creative/exotic & delicious meals every time I put something on the table for my family. But seeing your meal plans is very helpful and reminds me to keep things simple.

    I am also curious about grocery budget: I have tried for so long to get our grocery budget under $1000/mo for my family of 4 (and my kids aren’t even teens!), but I just never seem to be able to accomplish that! What do you think is a reasonable grocery budget for a family of 4, provided the meals would be similar to the plans you have laid out here on your website? I greatly appreciate any advice you can offer. 🙂


    1. Hi Heather,
      Our meal planning is super simple and this week even included ‘leftover’ night – which helps clean out the fridge but doesn’t really satisfy. It has to be done sometimes though!
      As far as the grocery budget, I would look at what you’re buying and how often you’re going out to eat. Those two expenditures can really make a grocery budget large. Ready made food and snacks used to get me – and canned beans! Cooking with simple ingredients, baking more, and cooking with dried beans have been big savers in our budget – and not going out to eat. They do take effort but now seem easy and just how we live.
      It’s hard to pin a dollar amount on a budget because so many factors go in – where you live, how much organic you’re buying, etc. Feeding your family healthy food that’s cooked at home doesn’t have to cost a lot. Economize and don’t waste food are big factors, too.
      Good luck! Great questions ~ thanks for writing in 🙂


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