In this episode of The Feel Good Effect, we’re talking all about the capsule grocery list!

This is going to change how you shop, how you eat, and add so much more ease to healthy eating and happy habits.

We’ll break down what this is, why you’ll want to do it, and how to adapt it to fit your lifestyle.  

Spoiler alert: we’re sharing our done-for-you Capsule Grocery List free of charge so you can get started right away!

Tune in or read the transcript to take the guesswork out of shopping for groceries and add so much more ease to healthy eating & happy habits.

Let’s make it happen! 

here’s a glance at this episode

  • [01:44] Learn where to get the free, done-for-you Capsule Grocery List download.
  • [04:13] Understanding what a Capsule Grocery List is and how it can help simplify meal planning & healthy eating.
  • [5:40] Create your own customized shopping list using these four simple steps:
    • [06:26] Step #1: Create a complete list by section of the grocery store (or get a head start by downloading my Capsule Grocery List).
    • [07:01] Step #2: Learn easy ways to customize the list to make it your own.
    • [10:53] Step #3: Adapt your list to work with what you’ve got by checking the pantry, fridge & freezer.
    • [11:33] Step #4: How to save on groceries by stocking up on staples or buying favorite ingredients in bulk.
  • [13:57] Refining your list so it works for your real life & how you like to eat.
  • [15:32] Planning for snacks, drinks, and fun foods on your list.

links mentioned in this episode

Download the Free Capsule Grocery List

Real Food Whole Life Healthy Recipe Library 

Dump & Go Slow Cooker Recipes

The 3 Simple Habits You Need to Create a Capsule Wardrobe

more episodes on meal planning

How to Create a Capsule Meal Plan for Summer

Feel Good Effect Your Meal Plan: How to Create a Fall Capsule Meal Plan

Meal Planning for Unpredictable Schedules

A Decision Diet for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner (FGE Meals)

read the transcript

Robyn Conley Downs: (00:01)

You’re listening to The Feel Good Effect. Capsule grocery list. Yes. This is a game-changer. You need it in your life and I’m going to tell you exactly what it is and how to do it. Let’s make it happen.

Robyn Conley Downs: (00:17)

Radically simple and ridiculously doable. The Feel Good Effect will help you redefine wellness on your terms. Hi, I’m your host Robyn Conley Downs. And I believe that wellness isn’t about achieving another set of impossible standards, but instead, finding what works for you, drawing from cutting-edge science on mindfulness habit and behavior change. This podcast offers a collection of small mindset shifts that allow for more calm, clarity, and joy in everyday life and allows you to embrace the idea that gentle is the new perfect. I invite you to listen in as we cut through the clutter and find the small shifts that create huge changes in your life. Less striving, more ease. It’s time to feel good.

Robyn Conley Downs: (01:06)

Well, Hey, feel-good fam. I am so glad you’re here. We are talking capsule grocery lists, which I’m telling you is going to change how you shop, how you eat, and add so much more ease to healthy eating and happy habits. Look, I’ve worked with thousands of people over the years on healthy living and healthy eating and one of the barriers is having the right ingredients on hand, and that starts at the grocery store. And the step before that is having a list. And while it seems like it should be easy it’s often anything but that.

Robyn Conley Downs: (01:44)

So we’re adding ease into the process with this concept of a capsule grocery list, which by the way, spoiler alert, we’ve actually made a list for you. A printable grocery list – completely for free. You can grab it at We do this as a free service as a way to add more ease into your life and, you know, make this kind of lifestyle a little more accessible. So definitely take the shortcut, get the list. We’ve already done it for you. It’s organized by area of the grocery store. It has little checkboxes and then a way that then you can kind of customize it to how you want to eat. So,

Robyn Conley Downs: (02:29)

And look, grocery shopping can be stressful. It’s one of those things that feels like it should be easier, but some days you just find yourself wandering around the store again, without a plan. Does that ever happen to you? You know, you need food and then you’re just walking around, you don’t know what to buy or you buy things you don’t need, or maybe the problem for you is, like I said, buying things you don’t actually need so you end up throwing food away like that, that guilt that comes from food waste and also just wasting money in the process. Or maybe the issue is that you just don’t have what you need when you need it. I mean, we’ve all been there digging through the cupboards, hoping to magically come across one ingredient that you actually need for that night’s dinner. Or maybe you even like grocery shopping. I know for some of you, it’s sort of your, it’s your me-time, your time to be alone. But at the end of the long day, you find yourself drained of energy and without the bandwidth to make even one more decision, and we are all about reducing decision fatigue here. So yeah, I’m here to tell you that if grocery shopping feels anything but easy, just know that you’re not alone. It seems like it should be simple, but the process of figuring out what to make, putting together a list of just what you need and nothing you don’t, and then gathering the energy for it all can feel exhausting on top of all the other decisions that we have to make in one day. The truth is there is a simpler way to add more ease to your planning and shopping process. And I know that this might sound wild, but even turn grocery shopping into something you actually enjoy. So that’s why I came up with this concept. It’s called the capsule grocery list to add more calm and clarity than you ever thought possible around grocery shopping.

Robyn Conley Downs: (04:13)

So here’s what a capsule grocery list actually is and how it works. Just like a capsule wardrobe, which we’ve done an episode that y’all loved in the past. So if you wanna check that out, we’ll link the capsule wardrobe episode in the show notes allows you to pick a few core pieces that mix and match with other items in your closet to dress well with ease, a capsule grocery list does the same thing for your kitchen, your pantry, your freezer, your fridge, because once you have it set up, it takes out a lot of the effort of planning of buying the ingredients and creating healthy meals. Because when you have consistent go-to ingredients in your kitchen, you’re prepared to create a variety of dishes without running back to the store, buying ingredients for recipes that you’ll never use again. And because many of them, um, many of them on the list that we put together for you, or that you could make yourself are freezer-stable or shelf-stable, you can have them on hand, add more when they go on sale, which is definitely the way that I do it. Plus you can stock up when you buy in bulk. If that’s something that you’re able to do, ensuring that you always have what you need and that you never run out of staples and like everything we do here, it’s a science fact life tested resource and the science behind it is really about reducing decision fatigue. Because when you make fewer decisions, you have more energy, more energy, more willpower, um, more focus to spend on the things that actually matter to you.

Robyn Conley Downs: (05:40)

So now let’s talk about how actually do it. Like I said, grocery shopping can actually be one of the most complicated parts of meal planning and cooking healthy meals. And I know we talk about meal planning here. We actually have a whole bunch of episodes on creating a capsule meal plan, which we will also link to. But even if you’re not a meal planner, I really love the idea of a capsule grocery list because you can actually skip meal planning to a certain extent if that’s not for you, because you still have like the structure of a bit of a plan of knowing exactly what and how much you need to buy at the store and go from guessing running last minute, or just trying to get one more thing, and instead just having the right things on hand. So here’s how you do it.

Robyn Conley Downs: (06:26)

Step one is making sort of a master list of what you need by area of the grocery store. And I would highly recommend, like we did the heavy lifting for you and you can grab the free capsule grocery list for yourself,, no strings attached. It’s not, we’re not selling something associated with it. It’s truly to help make this process easier. And starting with a list done for you, I think is a lot easier than trying to do this out of nothing. So I would say step one, get the list, download it.

Robyn Conley Downs: (07:01)

And then step two, is make it your own. So the capsule list, grocery list that I’m giving to you is actually my personal grocery list. It’s a peak behind the curtain if you will, but I want you to start using it to customize based on how you or your family actually eat. So how do you make it your own? Well, I would say, ask these questions. Number one, does this grocery list align with the way that I eat? Number two, does this grocery list match my or my family’s eating style? Three: are there items I want to add? And four, are there items that I know I don’t like or wouldn’t want to eat? So this is so key to creating a personalized capsule grocery list is use ours as a starting point, a jumping off point. Now I will say, that I created our capsule grocery list to go along with like the 500 free recipes on www.realfoodwhole So if you have our list and then you have the free resources of recipes on the site, you are in very good shape, but hey, everyone has different ways of eating. So you could make a version of this capsule grocery list that is a, a vegan grocery list, a vegetarian grocery list, a grocery list for college student or for a one single person or grocery list for a couple. So, yeah, after you’ve downloaded the list, I want you to go through it and actually ask those questions and look at each ingredient and ask, is this aligned with the way I eat? Does this match my family’s eating style or my own personal eating style? Are there items I want add or are there items I don’t, you know, there’s some meat, for example, on there, if you’re or vegetarian or vegan, that’s obviously not for you. You can add other optional, other kinds of protein sources.

Robyn Conley Downs: (08:48)

I’ll add here that it actually helps so much to organize your capsule grocery list by category of item, cuz it usually corresponds to the part of the grocery store. I’m always, this is a tip by itself is just to organize your list by category and that way, when you’re checking with what you have or don’t have, it’s easy but also when you’re at the store, you’re not jumping around on your list. This alone is like such a great tip. So we have our capsule grocery list organized by produce, by canned and jar, which is usually kind of like those two or three aisles in the grocery store that usually have those canned and jarred ingredients. Then we have grains, nuts and seeds. So again, these are usually kind of middle aisle that have their shelf-stable that you can buy um and stock up in or you can also buy in bulk. So these are often found in the bulk aisle as well. Then I have an oils, spices and condiment section. Again, usually these are shelf-stable items that you can stock up on, buy in bulk. And then we have our meat, seafood and dairy. So if you are a vegan or vegetarian I have some vegan and vegetarian plant-based protein sources on here, but you could certainly add to this list then baking and sweeteners and then a frozen section. So that’s how I organize the capsule grocery list. And if you’re starting from scratch and you don’t want use our template for whatever reason, that’s how I’d recommend you do it too. But this is how you really get into customizing and knowing like, do I eat this way or do I like have a lot of things? Do I have a big freezer? So I can really bulk and stock up on freezer items or I really have a tiny freezer so I’m not going do too much in the freezer section. You might be cooking from a cuisine or culture that uses tons of spices so you want a huge number of options when it comes to spices or maybe you’re more of a minimalist and you just want a handful of spices. This is where you can kind of make those decisions ahead of time and the work is done.

Robyn Conley Downs: (10:53)

So now step three, which is so, so important, don’t skip this step, take a look at your pantry and compare what you have to what’s on the list and this is every time. So I’m telling you, you don’t need to make a new list every time, you sort of that’s what makes this work so well, is you start with the same capsule grocery list every time and you kind of adjust it to what you need and what you are making and what you have on hand, so go check your pantry, fridge and freezer, and think about what adjustments you wanna make to this like basic template. Take a pen and paper, change it up the way that you want to for the way that you eat.

Robyn Conley Downs: (11:33)

And the last step is to go out and do some shopping and stock up if you can. So if you already have a lot of things on hand, that’s great, even less work or for the gaps that you find, you can start building on them slowly by buying items as they go on sale or purchasing in bulk. So this is such a great budget tip because I typically buy in bulk for shelf and freezer staples, but this only is actually a money-saving budget tip if it’s something that you use on a regular basis. And I know from my capsule grocery list that I do. And so when something on my list goes on sale, I’ll often buy multiples as long as I know I have a place to keep them, um, which ends up saving our family so much money in a year. And then if you want to go sort of into the next level turbo level with a capsule grocery list, you can actually match it up with some of your favorite recipes. Like I recommend, of course, all the recipes on as I noted most of these ingredients, if you have them on hand, you can make like 90% of the healthy recipes on our website.

Robyn Conley Downs: (12:42)

For example, one of our most popular posts is a dump-and-go slow cooker roundup, which just means that there’s no browning required. So it’s really just chop, drop, open some cans, and you’re good to go. And this is where the magic happens because if you already have these ingredients on hand, then you go and check out this roundup – you don’t have to even really do the heavy lifting of meal planting, or we have a 30-minute meal section, or we have our signature recipe collections by vegan, vegetarian, family-friendly, all the different ways of eating: gluten-free, dairy-free, whole 30, all the things are there for you. So that is it. I’m actually gonna run through exactly what’s on the capsule grocery list that we made for you in a second. But I do want to just really quickly review why you need it because it’s going to help you find more ease with grocery shopping, which really leads to more time, easier to eat healthy and more ease all around plus fewer decisions overall, which is always a really good thing. And it’s pretty simple to do, and we’ve taken most of the work out of it for you.

Robyn Conley Downs: (13:57)

So step one is: make your list, take the shortcut, go to, download our free version to start with. Step two, make it your own. Look at it. Does this align with how you eat? With your eating style? Are there items you want to add to, are there items you wanna cross out? Step three, look at your own fridge, pantry, freezer and compare it to the list. Are there adjustments you want to make? Make those adjustments. And then the last step is go shopping and stock up. And then there’s probably, uh, you know, that extra step like I said is going kind of looking for some of your favorite recipes and creating like a master recipe list that goes along with this capsule grocery list. We’ll talk, we talk about that more when we talk about, uh, capsule meal planning in other episodes and this works so well once you actually have a baseline, right? You have your list and you use it. It starts to become intuitive where you hardly even need the list anymore and where you really refine it to be so personalized and customized to you that it takes all the work out, but that you, you know, you can look at the list after you go shopping and you, you cook with the ingredients and see what’s left. Like maybe that shouldn’t even be on your list cuz you don’t actually use that ingredient. So it’s the process of planning, making the list, doing the shopping, doing the cooking, and then looking at the list again. And as you do that a few times, you’ll notice that this becomes easier and easier and easier.

Robyn Conley Downs: (15:32)

I should note too, that I don’t have like snacks on this list. Not that I’m opposed to snacks. It just, isn’t usually something, that’s an ingredient that’s required for a recipe. So definitely feel free to add like a snack and drinks and fun foods kind of section if, if that’s important to you. Um, but I’m really thinking about this from the perspective of ingredients and having on hand, what you need so that you can get quick and easy meals on the table for yourself or for your family without a lot of fuss.

Robyn Conley Downs: (16:04)

On that note, this is such a great episode to share with a friend it’s free the episode and the grocery list is free. So, if you know somebody that could use a little more ease around healthy food and healthy living, definitely share this episode on whatever app you’re listening on. I hope you enjoyed this snackable size episode with a quick win on happy habits and healthy recipes. You can find all the resources from today’s episode on and grab that grocery list at And you can find me on Instagram @realfoodwholelife as well. As always, I want to thank you so much for listening and for being part of this feel-good movement. Until next time, here’s to feeling good.

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