Food for Thought: GPS for the GS (Grocery Store)

Dear Friends,

One of the issues in menu planning is the actual grocery shopping. I have a dear friend whose husband has taken over the grocery shopping due to her inability to navigate the grocery store. Her grocery store trip takes 2-3 times longer than it should. The problem? My friend has GSPS (Grocery Store Pinball Syndrome). She darts all over the store like a pinball, going back and forth and revisiting aisles that she should have only gone down once. Her grocery trips leave her exhausted, frustrated and almost dizzy! Can you relate to this malady?

The way to get rid of GSPS is to categorize your grocery list. With a categorized grocery list, you can navigate your way thru the aisles, picking up what you need with ease; no more retracing your steps!

Here’s how to do it:

1) Make your grocery list on your computer or write it out if that suits you. Don’t organize what you need, just let it all out, writing everything down with no rhyme or reason. The point is getting it all down on paper. Write your rough draft list based on everything you’re going to make that week for dinner, lunches, breakfast and snacks. Don’t forget the detergent, dog food and TP!

2) Now make categories; Canned Goods, Meat, Dairy, Frozen, etc. Like goes with like. For example: you’re having pork chops on Tuesday and chicken on Thursday. Put the chicken and pork under the MEAT category. To make sure you get everything, cut and paste (or if you’re writing it out, cross it off) what you listed into your categories so you don’t inadvertently drop something.

3) Refine your list as you go. Adjust as necessary according to your stores aisles and make notes. For example, my store has canned beans on a different aisle then canned tomatoes and spaghetti sauce, so I put a space on the beans and tomatoes in the Canned Goods category signaling to me that they are on a different aisle! I pick up the spaghetti sauce and canned tomatoes first because in my store, that aisle is first the way I shop. Get it? This will help you have even better lists in the future.

4) Now that you’ve gone to all that work, don’t forget your list! Go potty, have hubby watch the kids and make sure you’re not hungry! This will keep you on task so you can get it done in record time. Yay!!

Navigating the grocery store starts with a good map (a list!). Remember, the better, more accurate your list, the more time, money and energy you’ll save!

Leanne Ely, Your Dinner Diva
Saving Your Dinner since 2001
Grocery List Template courtesy of

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