I must admit to being a bit supprised when I found out that some people don't make meal plans. After all how do you know what to buy if you haven't planned what you're going to eat? Then I started to look at some of the tools that are out to help make a meal plan and I was amazed. With fancy fonts and charts they made the whole thing seem complicated, when it doesn't have to be.
1. On the top of a blank piece of paper write down the days of the week.
2. Look at your schedule for the next week and decide what you are going to eat for supper over the next 7 days. Be logical. Chose easy meals or leftovers for days where you won't have much time at home and leave more elaborate meals for leisurely evenings.
3. Write down what meals you have decided on.
4. Go down the list of meals and see what ingredients are needed for each meal. Check and see if you have each of these ingrdients. If you do not write them on the bottom of the piece of paper.
5. Take a tally of what you normally eat for breakfast, lunch and snacks and make sure that you have the makings. If you don't add them to the list. (In my house this is easy because breakfast is the same every day, lunch is the leftovers from the night before and snacks are almost always fruit.)
6. Make sure you have enough of your beverage of choice. (MILK!) Add to the list if needed.
7. Decide if you will be doing any special baking over the next 7 days and if yes make sure you have the ingredients, if not add them to the list.
TADA! You're done, no one died and with a bit of practice should be able to do this in 10 min or less. You no longer order take out or buy frozen or canned dinners. You don't end up throwing stuff out that never got used.
Essentially I've changed the way that you look at grocery shopping for the rest of your life.