How to Organize a Healthy Shopping List

How to organize a real food shopping list around your meal plan

Healthy meal plans have made a massive difference in my family’s health, and I found that 90% of the struggle of meal planning is having a good plan and a good shopping list when I go to the farmer’s market and the store.

A recipe for failure is going to the store hungry and without a plan. To simplify, I’ve started creating a rotating list of meal plans that use seasonal produce and corresponding shopping lists that are organized by the part of the store the food is in.

My Wellness Mama Meals subscribers get these each week to simplify things, but you can do this at home as well. Below, I’m sharing what a sample week of meal plans and a corresponding shopping list would look like for our family:

The Meal Plan

Monday: Tacos served on Romaine Lettuce with salsa or chopped tomatoes, onions and sour cream, cheese and hot sauce (all optional)

Tuesday: Chicken Stir Fry With Chicken, Onions, Squash, and Broccoli

Wednesday: Pork Chops with baked apples served with spinach salad

Thursday: Chili and salad

Friday: Baked Fish of choice with baked cauliflower and sweet potatoes

Saturday: Roast with Onions served with sweet potato fries, broccoli and salad

Sunday: Baked Chicken, Broccoli, and winter squash. (or leftovers if I don’t feel like cooking)

The Organization

To simplify the process, I write my recipes on 3×5 index cards with the ingredients on the back. For each ingredient, I write the amount needed per person (not total!)

This allows me to easy adjust the recipe up or down if we are having company or if some of the kids won’t be home for a certain meal. In other words, the back of one of my recipe cards might have:

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1/4 pound broccoli, fresh
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • etc

To make the shopping list for the week, I just multiply the per-person number by the number I’m serving for that meal and add to the list.

Shopping List

Note: this particular shopping list is based on the meal plan above and is designed for 2-3 people, so adjust up or down as necessary! I’ve also organized by the part of the store foods are in so I don’t go up and down each aisle multiple times.


  • 3 lbs ground beef or turkey
  • 8 chicken breasts or 16 thighs (or more if you will eat it)
  • One 3-4 pound roast of choice
  • 2 pork chops (or more if you want leftovers)
  • 2 servings fish of choice (or more if you want leftovers)


  • 2 medium size sweet potatoes
  • 1 medium to large winter squash (acorn or butternut)
  • 1 bag carrots
  • 1 bag onions
  • 1 red pepper (optional)
  • 1 Small bag of apples
  • 2 or more heads Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 Large bag or box of spinach
  • 2 medium or 1 large zucchini or squash
  • 2-3 tomatoes (optional)
  • Any other vegetables you want for salads or snacks including cucumber, more carrots, celery, peppers, etc.


  • 3-4 lbs frozen broccoli
  • 3-4 lbs frozen cauliflower


  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can tomato paste


  • 1 pound butter (organic is best)
  • cheese (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
  • 3 dozen eggs (not dairy, I know, but in the same area)


  • Cumin (spice aisle)
  • Chili Powder (spice aisle)
  • Hot sauce (optional)

If you’ve never pre-organized your shopping list before, I highly recommend you give it a shot, as it continually saves me time and money at the store.

Do you meal plan? How do you organize your shopping list?

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Reader Comments

  1. thank you so much for this site. My husband wants to eat healthier and since I am raw and vegan, I have a tough time finding food that he will like that is not as veggie as I am. These are as nice array of foods for a meat eater that will not make us broke to serve.

  2. Do you have any recommendations to substitute pork chops with? We try to steer clear of swine, thanks!

    • Replace pork with lamb.

  3. What about quinoa and text or steal cut and brown rice noodles.?

  4. What can you use instead of rice and potato

  5. What about the China Study which shows scientific evidence that animal protein causes cancer? Everything I read seems to make sense, but it’s all contradictory.

    • I thought exactly the same, don’t eat wholegrain I get that and agree but let’s not eat meat either as it causes acid in the body therefore giving you cancer etc.

      • Yes, Katie – found your blog a few days ago and absolutely love it! I have read most of your posts and want to sit down and read them all from start to finish. I’m sure you’ve gotten to this in a post I haven’t read yet – but what are some good options for vegetarians/vegans? My husband and I aren’t total vegetarians but getting there – try not to eat meat more than once a week. I’m a little overwhelmed thinking about no meat, dairy, grains, or beans, since now most of our meals consist of vegetables, beans, and rice. Do you already have a post that I have missed for vegetarians, or could you please offer some guidance on this subject? Thanks!


  6. Thank you for this!
    I’m currently living in Japan and my grocery shopping has become difficult. With as prevalent as rice, other grains and beans are here, I was having a hard time figuring out meals and such. (It was never an issue back in the states).
    I end up just throuwing random things in the cart and eating a lot of salads and a lot of the same satueed veggies and grilled fish.
    This gives me more ideas I can easily adapt to the meats and veggies available here! I do try not to eat beef and pork more than one or twice per week and eat mostly fish, (fish tacos on romaine, anyone!?) so I can easily switch out some of the ingredients!

    Thanks for all your great content!

    • Hi Lizette!

      I’m currently living in Japan too and now that ive decided to cut out grains and soy .. I’m struggling a bit to find alternative options! I’d be curious to hear some of your tips 🙂


  7. I came across your site from a pin I pinned on Pinterest. I am excited about the changes yet overwhelmed to some degree. We have been on a slow process of changing things since our son was diagnosed with Autism in 2007. I know you mentioned doing things overtime but I can’t help to look at plastic and wanting to rid my house of everything. On another note my family is vegetarian so just like the message mentioned above, I am kind of at a loss for meals. Any advice?

  8. This diet sounds good however you consume animal products. For those of us whom are vegan, eliminating grains and corn and potatoes leaves us with eating salad all day. Do you have any recipes for this sector of your audience?

  9. i AM A VEGETARIAN mostly vegan but I eat cheese every now and then and eggs,which I am fighting to stay away from, I feel as though I am close to starving yet I can’t lose a single pound. Grains is probably the reason if I give up grains, I can’t imagine what I can eat there after, I want to try it but I have like six boxes of vegetarian meats so I will have to wait but in the mean time, I will try it gradually. I hope that works I need to lose 150lbs and I am going nowhere fast. I don’t eat the meats often but I am glad to have them, but I do eat cereal in rice milk and I eat bagels and toast, not big on pasta but big on potatoes and chips. thats perhaps my problem. I am just tired of being sick all the time.

    • I have tried being Vegan and Vegetarian so I understand feeling like you are starving… If you look at successful raw vegans who only eat raw fruits, vegetables they have to eat huge bowls or many fruits per meal to get needed calories… A cup of salad will not work, you need to eat one or two heads of lettuce per meal with other vegetables and fruits… I am now back to eating animal foods and have been working to get more healthy choices. Lately, I have been eating free range, organic pastured eggs, I get mine from Azure Standard, through a local buying group. Instead of rice milk, I learned to make Almond milk, it is very easy to make and does not have the additives that store milk has…