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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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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A DIY Banana Stand

DIY Banana Stand

DIY Banana Stand

In the world of kitchen gadgets, it’s rare you get to use power tools or other wood shop equipment.  Sometimes, though, you get the chance to be creative.  That’s what going on with this DIY Banana stand, which uses an Irwin Quick Grip and a wooden fruit bowl with sides that don’t reach vertical.

The way these clamps work, you just squeeze the handle and the non-marking rubber pads close to grip the sides of the bowl.  When it’s time to use the clamp in the garage, you can eat the bananas or set them down on the table temporarily. =)  Then the Quick Grip releases in an instant with the release latch.

It’s worth mentioning that if you’re really going to use your Quick Grip in both DIY projects and a DIY banana stand, you should take care to clean it very thoroughly.  Either that or you’ll want to wash your fruit very well before eating.  You don’t want any harmful construction dust, especially if it could be lead paint dust, settling onto your food!

If you like this, check out our new Hands Free Groceries video.

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