Planning your meals and snacks for the next week saves time and money. Make a meal plan, then make a shopping list of ingredients –and only buy the things you need.

Before you buy groceries:

  • Check on what’s in your fridge and pantry. What do you need to use quickly before it spoil? Plan meals to these ingredients.
  • If you can get to a food pantry, think about the food items you can get there. If you can, go to the food pantry before the grocery store.
  • Be flexible during the week by shopping for foods that can be used in multiple ways. For example, canned tomatoes, beans, and whole grain pasta can be used for many different recipes. Keeping flexible ingredients in your pantry helps to make lots of different healthy, affordable, filling and delicious meals.
  • Recipes are great tools to help feed your family but don’t feel limited if you don’t have every ingredient on hand. Here are some common substitutions you can use (links to new window).
  • Making enough for leftovers can save you extra cooking time.
  • Plan a week’s worth of meals. Think about the foods your family likes and what you need to make those meals for the week. Not sure where to start? Try some of these foods:
    Milk, yogurt, block cheese, eggs, peanut butter, beans (canned or dried), rice, pasta, tortillas, bread, oatmeal. Fruits and veggies could be fresh, frozen, or canned: broccoli, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onion, carrots, celery, tomatoes, apples, bananas.
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