I have a generic grocery shopping template that I print out each week. On the back of the page I have a menu template. Generally I clean the fridge, empty the produce drawers, scrub out the condiment sections in the door, throw away dubious left-overs, the usual. As I clean I cross out anything on my shopping list that I don't need. I add any staples or extras I think I may want. My list is organized by the departments at my local cooperative grocery store Seward Co-op. However, I generally go to the meat counter first and select whatever looks best or cheapest, and that's when my menu starts to take shape. From there I back track to the produce department and see what's local, fresh, and affordable. After that I simply swing around the store perimeter with the occasional dash into the aisles for tea, olive oil, or other staples. I have been shopping from this list for about 3 months, it's a winter list for sure, the only local produce I can find these days is either frozen, pickled, or root vegetables. I will probably drop mushrooms from the list in the spring, but they are local and seasonal. The lettuce is local and hydroponic, the carrots were local bulk carrots till the supply ran out, now they are from California. As I make seasonal changes in my list I will post new lists.
Here is my weekly list:
potatoes baking boiling
+ 3 seasonal veg
+ seasonal fruit
3 doz. eggs
kid-friendly cheese: muenster, colby, mozzarella
snacking cheese prairie breeze, brie, etc.
yogurt whole, greek, flavored
one bag bagels or a loaf of bread
GF crackers: Flackers, Mary's Gone Crackers, etc.
rice or wild rice
GF oats: rolled, Irish cut
masa, taco shells, tortillas
nuts: almonds, macadamias, etc.
dried fruit: cherries, dehydrated strawberries, etc.
dried beans: chili beans, pinto, garbanzos, navy, lentil, etc.
2 # hamburger or ground lamb
1 # bulk sausage: mild italian, breakfast, etc.
1 package other fresh sausage: chicken feta, polish ring, etc.
ham or bacon
coffee: decaf, regular
tea: peppermint, breakfast, Earl Gray, etc.
Special items: coconut milk, curry sauce, tomato paste, etc.
Staples: olive oil, coconut oil, GF tamari, etc.
I don't get every thing on this list every week, but if I look for deals, and don't over buy, I can generally get much of the above, local, organic, and sustainably/fair trade produced for around $220.00 a week, for a family of 5. I will post a detailed receipt with prices some time soon. By way of context, the local food stamp budget for a family of 5 is $150.00 a week. I could probably buy the conventional version of all of the above, perhaps reserving the meat and dairy for organics, and stay under the food stamp total. I will try that in a later post.