Grocery and Meal Prep

Grocery and Meal prep can be a daunting task. It usually only falls on one person in the household, which compounds the stress. Here are my step by step instructions for grocery shopping and meal prepping that will save your budget and your sanity.

Organize and Tidy

The first and most crucial step to grocery shopping and meal prepping is to organize and tidy your pantry, fridge and freezer. There are two main reasons we do this. First, we are prepping the space for the new groceries. This makes putting the groceries away on buying day MUCH simpler. Second, it allows us to see what we have available. A big reason households waste food and overspend on groceries is because they aren’t taking advantage of what they already have stocked up. So, while organizing your spaces you can be making mental notes of what’s already there.

Shop FIRST From Your Stock

As I mentioned above, you already made a mental note of ingredients you had on hand. So, now you’ll use that to create your meals for the week. But there’s a sequence you must follow to create your grocery list.

First, start by adding your staples/necessities. These are items you won’t be able to go another week without. For me, that might include toilet paper, laundry detergent, milk, etc.

Second, add kid must haves. Once I’ve added my necessities I move onto foods the kids need for their lunches and snacks.

Finally, I’ll use the available balance (we allow $100 total per week) and meal plan. I’ll start by going through what we already had on hand (shopping our stock) and then use the available funds to purchase any additional ingredients needed.

Pantry Staples

Every household will be different. But these are the items I keep on hand at all times. Remember, we are NOT overstocking our kitchen. So, these are merely the building blocks to creating a lot of different meals.

My staples include: milk, eggs, butter, cream cheese, sour cream, shredded cheese, minced garlic, soy sauce, barbecue sauce, worcestershire, flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, pepper, garlic salt, paprika, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, onion powder, can of tomatoes, onions, potatoes, chicken broth, pasta, panko, oil, frozen vegetables, canned vegetables and some type of frozen protein.

Multipurpose Food

When you buy groceries for meal prepping you need to think big picture. How can I get multiple uses out of one item? For example, let’s say you want fish tacos. You need to think, “okay what’s another meal that would utilize those same ingredients?” For fish tacos you would need tilapia and tortilla shells. So now next week you need a meal that contains the additional tilapia you didn’t use and the tortilla shells. So, you could do pan fried tilapia one night and breakfast tacos another. Now we didn’t use ingredients for just one meal, but three. Always think big picture. Let’s do another example. When I need a cheap protein, I always turn to a whole chicken. I can buy one from my local Walmart for around $8. So, I’ll buy a whole chicken and roast it. I pre-portion the cooked meat into bags and freeze it (typically one bag serves two people and I’ll use four bags) then I use the carcass and make stock. I’ve got potentially 5 dishes from one chicken. Remember, make those ingredients multipurpose and watch your grocery budget shrink!

The Importance of Storage Solutions

People always assume when I use containers to store my food, I’m doing it for aesthetic purposes. But that’s just not true. My focus is on freshness, organization and visibility. Let’s look at each of those.


As a child, my parents always used chip clips. As an adult, I see the issue with these. The most glaringly obvious one is no matter how well you get the air out of the bag and close it up, it’s still not air tight. So chip clips are not used in our home. Instead, we use snap and lock containers. I’ll link all of the ones we use below. But the containers work really well in our home. We keep salsa bowls beside the snack containers and our children have to fill their salsa bowl with their snack before they leave the pantry. This keeps the food contained and helps portion the kids’ snacking.


I think we’ve all had bags of crumpled chips or empty snack cake boxes sitting in our pantry. Putting everything into containers and trays helps keep everything tidy and organized.


How often have you grabbed a bag or box out of your pantry and it was empty?? A lot, right? By using clear containers and trays, you’re able to quickly assess your stock level.

Grocery Shopping/Meal Prep is Thankless Job

As I already mentioned, there is so much pressure that goes along with planning meals, buying groceries, staying on budget. Family members are quick with a “you forgot my Oreos”, but not so quick with a “thank you for all you do”.

So, here are my tips for dealing with this thankless job. First, remember you can’t please everyone. Your job is to provide food for everyone. You’re not a personal chef. Second, don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself. If you’ve reached your budget for the week and have to throw together a cheap meal, don’t fret. I have a rule, if there’s something you want you MUST tell me before I’ve created the upcoming grocery order or you’re not getting it that week.

You can find the full video playlist on this series here.

Thanks for reading!


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