When a new challenge comes along, I look for ways to simplify. I've simplified my grocery list, by simplifying the way I think about meal planning. Variety was once high on my list of meal planning priorities, but lately I've let that go a bit. I'm focusing on bowl meals (vegetables + greens + grain + protein), because they are my favorite. A bowl meal could be a salad, soup, roasted vegetables, pasta (Julia's favorite), etc. A bowl meal could skew Japanese, Indian, Italian, Greek, Mexican (variety!), etc. And yet, the concept is simple.
On one side of a notecard, I've listed what we eat for each meal. We are happy to eat basically the same things every day for breakfast + lunch. Supper is a bowl meal. Now it is quite simple to turn the card over + make a basic list of items to stock (in-season fruits, vegetables, greens, grains, lemons, beans, etc.).
I imagine a lot of people shop like this...with the list in their heads. I'm not sure if it is the stress that I will forget something, a chatty companion, my poor memory or a very limited budget that has preventing me from shopping purely by memory. All I can say is that this list is a shift for me...and I think it's working...for now. :)