How to Write a Fast Grocery List

Fast Grocery List Dude

If you’re a busy person and want to minimize your time at the grocery store, you need a fast grocery list.

What’s a Fast Grocery List?

It’s a list that helps you get through the store in the shortest possible time.  In particular, a fast grocery list will:

  1. Keep you from revisiting aisles that you were just in, and
  2. Make it visually clear what’s left to find.

A fast grocery list can be written for any set of ingredients.  No change in diet required!  We’re just going to make you a lean, mean, grocery grabbing machine.

Goal #1: Keep You From Revisiting Aisles

Here’s an example of a fast grocery list before the trip to the store:

Fast Grocery List

The list has been organized the way the store is organized.  In this case the store entrance is at lower right.  When you enter, you get your shopping cart and pick up fruit first, because that’s the first thing you’re going to come across that’s also on your list.

Fast Grocery List Step One

You wind your way up and down the aisles, picking up everything you need in the optimal order.

Fast Grocery Shopping: Person on a Mission

Easy, right?

Goal #2: Make it Clear What’s Left to Get

As you go through the store, you want to take a pen and draw a big solid line past the items you get.  Don’t use check marks!  Check marks are just visual clutter!  After you’ve picked up fruit and salad, your list ought to look like this:

Fast Grocery List Marked Up

That makes it much easier to see where in the store you need to go, and where on the list you need to be looking.  After a real shopping trip, here’s what the crumpled, marked up list looked like:

Fast Grocery List All Done

Special Situations

The Meat Counter

Depending on your store, you’re going to want to give some thought to what you’ll do at the meat counter.  You might think chicken, for instance, will line up with the canned tomato aisle, but what if they move it?  You may wish to just get all the meat counter items at once and then backtrack a smidge to get back into the aisles.

Items Available at Checkout Only

Items purchased at checkout, like gift cards, impulse candies, and sometimes city trash bags require special attention.  You can write these on your list, but it’s too easy to head for checkout and think, “List all done!”  And then you don’t look at it again.

The recommended strategy here is, after you’ve done all your aisle shopping, to take your payment method (e.g., credit card) and do something to it (e.g., flip it around, or move it somewhere else).  That way, when the cashier tells you the total, you reach for your payment method and think, “Oh right, I also need a pack of city trash bags.”  Better late in check-out than after you’ve left the store!

So that’s the way to write a Fast Grocery List!

If you liked this advice, check out the extremely healthy recipe for General Doug’s Chicken.


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General Doug’s Chicken: King of the Easy Chicken Recipes

General Doug's Chicken, King of the Easy Chicken Recipes Step 4

You’ve heard of General Gau’s or General Tso’s chicken?  It’s breaded, deep fried and covered in thick sauce.  Delicious! Unfortunately, it’s hard to make and bad for you, too.  Instead of that, look to a modern general who likes healthy food.  Look to the king of all the easy chicken recipes: “General Doug’s Chicken.”

Ingredients needed for this Easy Chicken Recipe

  • Oven
  • Glass baking dish
  • White wine
  • Poultry seasoning
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts

How to make General Doug’s Chicken

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F (180 °C).
  2. Cut open chicken breasts package and place one breast at a time on a cutting board.  Trim off any fat.
  3. As you trim them, place the breasts into your glass baking dish.  Don’t crowd.

    General Doug's Chicken, King of the Easy Chicken Recipes Step 1

    These chicken breasts are frozen. That’s fine, they’ll just take longer to cook.

  4. Pour white wine over the breasts until the pan has a layer of wine on the bottom, somewhere between 1/4″ and 3/8″ inch (0.5 to 0.75 cm).

    General Doug's Chicken, King of the Easy Chicken Recipes Step 2

    This is more than enough wine. The more you add, the longer the cooking time.

  5. Sprinkle poultry seasoning liberally over the breasts (it’ll look almost like bread crumbs).

    General Doug's Chicken, King of the Easy Chicken Recipes Step 3

    This is the least amount of seasoning you want to add.

  6. Cook for about one hour (learn your oven; cooking times vary by maybe fifteen minutes) until a quick read thermometer registers over 170 °F (78 °C).

    General Doug's Chicken, King of the Easy Chicken Recipes Step 4

    The chicken is done when a quick read thermometer reads 170 degrees Fahrenheit average, the surface of the meat is slightly puckered, and some of the wine has boiled away.

  7. Let stand outside the oven for ten minutes.

Note: the USDA and other health authorities may recommend eating chicken only after it has reached a higher temperature.  This tends to dry the chicken out.  Err on the side of “hot” and let the wine keep the chicken moist.

Serving Suggestions

  • Slice length-wise into thin strips and serve in sandwiches
  • Serve whole as a healthy protein source alongside steamed vegetables, brown rice, and a cherry-port reduction
  • Dice and use in soups or other recipes calling for cooked chicken

Shopping Suggestions

  • Poultry seasoning can be purchased in bulk at a very low price per pound in the Spanish food or Spanish spices section of the grocery store.
  • A box of white wine might be half the price per gallon as a bottle and will last as suitable cooking wine for many months.

Total BagPack carrying weight: weight of chicken (< 1 lb per breast).

Price per serving: at sale price of $3/lb, about $1.50 (depending on appetite :).

Once you know how the recipe works, you can do the prep for six breasts in about five minutes.  Then it’s about an hour of cooking time.  The breasts will stay in the fridge for a week.  This surely is the easiest of the easy chicken recipes!  It’s a healthy dinner recipe and very versatile for other meals, as well.

If “Healthy” is Your Thing, check out the Year-Round Useful BagPack

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Take the Stairs and Walk to the Store to Lose Weight

Little changes sometimes add up over time to produce big change.  That’s true for our environment and for our bodies.  If you know someone who’s trying to lose weight, or maintain it, it’s often easiest to recommend that they take the stairs or walk to the store.  Oftentimes this will produce more results for less cost than going to a gym.  Here’s why.

Take the Stairs or Walk to the Store to Burn Calories

Someone weighing 240 lbs who walks to the store a mile away will burn about 300 calories.  This assumes a round trip at a comfortably slow pace, as reported by the Mayo Clinic.  More than half of those calories will come from fat.  This Wikipedia article shows how low intensity exercise draws more from fat than from carbohydrates.

If they take the stairs, they only need to climb six minutes of stairs in a day to burn about 100 calories.  The same Mayo Clinic article implies this under “stair treadmill.”  And remember, the slower they go, the more of that energy comes from fat.

The table below shows an excerpt from the Mayo clinic site with some “low commitment” activities.  These are things that they might do with friends in their neighborhood, or on vacation, or at the gym (if they go).  You can see that slow walking and Thai Chi are going to be way easier recommendations than rope jumping.

Take the Stairs or Walk to the Store to Lose Weight, Calorie Graph

Burn Calories to Lose Weight

So what does all this add up to?  Well, if they increase their activity over their previous level, without also eating anything different from what they normally eat, they will slowly lose weight over time.  How much depends exactly on their particular situation, but it will happen.

There are lots of other good examples, but we like to mention the BagPack at this point because it helps people walk more without adding a lot of time to their schedule.  You can check it out here.

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