The Grocery List

I have this phenomenal friend who is the reigning queen of organization.  Not only is she the loving mother of 2 young children, works full-time and travels often as part of her employment, she keeps a beautiful home and I won’t even go into the state of her closet…well maybe I will a little.

It’s like a lilliputian boutique tucked into the corner of her master bedroom.  Beautiful clothes on matching hangers all lined up with equal space between them.  The feminine equivalent of an upscale gentleman’s club.  It just makes you wanna take a seat and enjoy the view.  In fact, she should add a mini-bar and a chaise lounge to that sweet little slice of luxurious real estate.  Sipping wine and basking within such a fashionably pristine environment would simply be divine.

shoppingcartI could go on about the virtues held by my lovely comrade, because I’ve only scratched the surface, but I’m really here to talk about spreadsheets, particularly spreadsheets with food items on them.  You see, I’ve stolen a remarkable tip from my amazingly organized pal, and now I’m going to share it with you.  It’s a grocery list organized by aisle.  You construct a master list in Excel of everything you usually or might possibly ever buy at the grocery store.  Then you just print it out and use a highlighter to identify the particulars for each trip.  Brilliant!  The only hard part is going through the store with your initial list, getting the items laid out in the order you shop.  I felt daunted by this preliminary step, but was shocked when I was basically able to create most of the list from memory.  Seems I spend SO much time at the supermarket, the layout was subconsciously branded on my brain.

I will say it’s much easier now that I shop more peripherally.  As I’m sure you’re aware, most of the whole foods are stocked in the perimeter of the store, while the more processed items fall toward the center section.   The list keeps me on track, and out of tempting areas.  In fact, there are some aisles I’ve been able to bypass all together, like the one dedicated to fruit snacks, granola bars and chips.  Seriously.

That said, I want to be clear that this is a shopping list for ME.

bluebell ice creamMy household isn’t always partaking of the clean-eating ways, so the small person and the lobster require ice cream, among other treats, as a mainstay on the family spreadsheet.  It’s not that I haven’t tried to turn them.  I mostly have succeeded at dinner-time, since neither is miserable enough with the usual fare to entertain the thought of preparing their own.  However, other mealtimes remain a challenge, and probably will be for some time.  I’m working on it.

markersSo here’s the list.  I’ve given you a glimpse below for preview’s sake, along with a downloadable Excel file 43fitnessgrocerylist.  Also included are hotlinks to a few recipes I’ve posted.  The list covers all the (mostly) clean items I typically purchase within a month’s time.  It’s a collective, spanning all seasons, so I don’t buy everything on the list during every trip, but it’s nice to have the whole shootin’ match in one place.  I simply highlight only what I want before I go.

WHAMI’m also slightly proud of myself for reusing my lists by choosing different highlighter colors for subsequent outings.  This eventually creates a lovely neon rainbow effect which is particularly comforting to me, as a child who was deeply marinated in the 80s culture.  It can sometimes get dicey, though, because at my age I can’t remember my name, much less which color denotes which trip.  I sometimes end up with 7 duplicates of what I didn’t need and 0 quantity of what I did.  Anyway.  We all shop at different stores, so I’ve categorized the items as best I could.  You can customize for your personal locale from there.

Now you have no excuse if you’re feeling overwhelmed about stocking up to embrace clean eating.  It’s a great starting place because you can see there isn’t loads of food here (probably unlike you, I’m woefully Rainman-esque in my eating habits).  I never said I was an adventurous eater, kind readers.  So you can print this off and go, or use it to build your own massive clean shopping list.  Whatever you decide, my hope is to give you a fighting chance to make clean eating (and fun, splashy colors) a reality in your world!

How do you make clean eating happen?