Why You Need a Custom Grocery List

Why You Need a Custom Grocery ListGenetics are a funny thing.

They spring forward at unexpected times, don’t they?

I was at my brother’s place a while ago and a paper in his kitchen caught my eye. It was a grocery list.

A customized grocery list he had printed up very neatly.


Tidy rows of ingredients and household items. Categorized by Costco aisle. With extra spaces for miscellaneous ingredients. It was breath-taking-ing-ly organized.

I chuckled because I had created an eerily similar version a few years back. Printed up neatly. Tidy rows of ingredients. Categorized by aisle. Except mine had a little check boxes next to each item and no spaces for miscellaneous ingredients.

I don’t remember ever having had a conversation with my brother about grocery lists- or even grocery shopping, for that matter. And yet, here we were, with our individually customized grocery lists, organized by aisle with painstaking accuracy. Genetics are a funny thing.

The advantage of creating your own customized grocery list is how much time it saves you. And brain power. Seriously.

Start by creating a master list. Take a minute to think of all the ingredients you regularly use. Take a mental walk through your grocery store, jotting down items from each department that you regularly get. Bananas? Chicken drumsticks? Almond milk?

Maybe you have some grocery lists left over from previous grocery shopping expeditions. If you’re anything like me pre-organization, there might be ingredients scrawled on the back of receipts or leftover envelopes. Grab whatever lists you have and add those ingredients to your master list.

The more specific you are with your items, the more useful your list will be. It might feel like you’re writing out a really long list, but it’s surprising how much we use the same ingredients over and over. Once you get them on the list, you’ll never have to rack your brain again to remember what you’ve forgotten!

Now, type that baby up.

  • Organize it by department- fruit with fruit, meat with meat and so on.
  • Give each ingredient its own line.
  • Be specific- for example, you might have a separate line for boneless skinless chicken breasts; boneless skinless chicken thighs; chicken drumsticks, etc.
  • You can even divide it by store, if that helps. On my list, I had a separate section for items I exclusively bought at the health food store. 
  • Add empty checkmark boxes if you want.
  • Print out several copies.

I used a giant clip to attach a stack to my fridge with a pen attached. As I run out of staple ingredients like eggs or almond flour, I just check off the ingredient. I check off the rest once I sit down to make my meal plan.

Presto! Another way to save your sanity as you keep the good food cookin’ in the kitchen.

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