The “Master Shopping List” (with some basic “Master Recipes”)

Here we have it! A shopping list with everything you need to eat proper, nutritious meals without having to cook for yourself. Because fuck cooking when you’re depressed.

Everything here is inexpensive and easy to find, you should be able to carry it all home if you don’t have a car, and bonus, there’s minimal waste, because most of the recipes you’ll find here use a combination of these “Master” ingredients. It’s amazing how much you can do with so little. (Please note, this shopping list is for one person’s food for the week.)

At the bottom you’ll find a “Master Salad Mix”, “Master Condiments List” (including my family’s cheat version of thousand island sauce), and “Master Tools and Appliances List”, which covers the bare fucking minimum you’ll need to prepare the food here.

The Master Shopping List

Staples (The “buy once” list)

  • Butter/Margarine
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Honey (go with a squeeze bottle for convenience)
  • Dried mint leaves (from the spices section)

Pantry Basics

  • 8-12 tortillas/wraps
  • A box of breakfast cereal OR a loaf of bread*

Meats and Dairy

  • 10 small cans of tuna/salmon in whatever flavours sound good
  • A cooked chicken from the deli
  • Some ham/salami/turkey/sliced sandwich meat of your preference (3-5 sandwiches worth)
  • A litre of milk (choose two if you bought cereal, choose long-life if you barely drink milk)
  • A 300g-500g tub of natural/vanilla yoghurt
  • A small block of feta cheese
  • A small block of tasty cheese OR tasty cheese slices

Fruit and Veg

  • A cos/iceberg lettuce
  • 200g Spinach
  • 200g Arugula (and/or beetroot leaves, if you find arugula too tangy)
  • 300g green beans
  • Two carrots
  • A red onion
  • A capsicum
  • 2-3 large, red tomatoes
  • Bean shoots/alfalfa
  • An avocado (optional)
  • Two lemons
  • Four apples (Granny Smith is always good)
  • A packet of frozen, mixed berries (no strawberries, they turn to mush)

The Master Salad Mix

You will need:

  • Leafy greens (chopped lettuce, spinach, aragula, beetroot leaves)
  • A carrot, grated
  • Half a capsicum, sliced thinly
  • Half a red onion, sliced thinly (only if you like it)
  • OPTIONAL: A handful (100g) of green beans, ends removed, chopped in half


  • Literally just mix it all together. Boom. Salad mix that you can hide in everything and barely taste. Put that baby in the fridge.

Now you have a basic salad that can be hidden in pretty much every meal. Now, the basic, uncut leaves and veg should keep for the week in the fridge. Undressed salad will only keep 3-5 days in the fridge, so I would recommend making the salad mix twice a week. Pick two days, say Monday and Thursday, and spend three minutes making your salad for the days in between. Otherwise you’ll be making salad for every meal.

Don’t freak out if it’s looking slightly wilted day 3-4, but if it goes slimy, throw it out and check that your fridge isn’t too warm. There should be a dial in the back somewhere you can turn to adjust the temperature.

The Master Condiments List

So, this is where all the weight is. So if you’re carrying your groceries home, and you don’t already have the basics, then only get what you’ll put on a sandwich. There’s no reason you can’t have the same three condiments every day for the first week, and then add a little variety week by week. Better than putting your back out and breaking the bank week one.

Everything here is all buy-once-and-forget though so once you’ve bought it, you don’t really need to budget for it.

The necessities:

  • Tomato sauce
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Mayonnaise
  • A chilli sauce of some sort (sriracha, tabasco, peri peri, basic hot sauce, whatever sounds good)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Mustard

The extras (buy it if you like it):

  • Chutney/pickle*
  • Cream cheese spread*
  • Caesar salad sauce*
  • Salad dressing
  • Hoi sin sauce*
  • Thick soy sauce OR kecap manis

*These are NOT healthy and should be eaten in moderation. Salad dressings vary in calories but you never need much of them, so I don’t think they’re worth stressing over.

Cheat’s ‘Sort of Thousand Island’ Sauce (it’s really good, trust me)

Mix together:

  • One heaped tablespoon of mayonnaise
  • One heaped tablespoon of tomato sauce
  • Lemon juice until you like the tang
  • Salt and pepper to taste

If you accidentally overdo the lemon juice and it’s too tangy, just add mayonnaise to compensate. At worst you end up with too much thousand island sauce and have to eat a couple of meals that use it. It’s whatever. Have a stupid stock photo of what your response shouldn’t be when you end up with half a bowl of this stupid sauce, and pretend the author isn’t some dumb fuck laughing at the google search results for “free stock photo angry cooking”.

Funny Cooking Image


The Master Tools and Appliances

Okay, so, this is the bare minimum of stuff you’ll need to prepare and store the food.

  • A fridge (even just a bar fridge, that’s what I have)
  • A plate
  • A bowl
  • Cutlery
  • A chef’s knife
  • A cutting board
  • A cheese grater
  • Some cheap plastic containers (every supermarket will sell stacks of 4-8 for like, $5)


Additionally: If you need any tools, ingredients, or condiments not in these lists, it will always be clearly noted in the recipe. I’m gonna make sure you’re never half-way through making something, only to realise you don’t have what you need, because nobody can be fucked going to the supermarket for one thing. 

If you do go, you’ll get snacks while you’re there, and then it’s crisps for dinner. And this entire blog is about avoiding that extra effort, and avoiding snacks for dinner. So yeah. I’ll do the keeping track of what you’ve got, you’ve just gotta throw it all together. Between you and me, we’ve got this.

39 thoughts on “The “Master Shopping List” (with some basic “Master Recipes”)

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  1. This is a great blog. I found the original post on reddit by chance and bought my masterlist yesterday. My first meal with it was a salad wrap, spicy and crunchy and deliciously satisfying. It took maybe five minutes to build the mix for it and I’ve adapted the rest of the list to my vegetarian diet! It’s so easy to put something together and I don’t feel bad eating until I’m full because it isn’t a bag of burritos.


  2. Does anyone know the budget for this list? It ain’t easy being depressed AND broke, but I’d like to make this work with some minor tweaks if possible


  3. I love this idea so much! And I like your no-nonsense, fuck it all attitude ^_^ I’m super excited to see what else you post!


  4. I loved cooking for two but after a recent breakup i find myself throwing a frozen pizza in the oven way too often because i cant be arsed to cook just for myself. This blog seems like a godsend to get me back into the cooking i love doing again


  5. I’m bipolar, and when my depression hits, it hits hard. I have the opposite problem as many other people here, I completely lose my appetite. I’ve been known to lose 10lbs in less than 3 weeks, from lack of eating. Nothing tastes good, especially the pre-prepared foods in stores, like frozen pizzas and such. I realize that not eating is very bad for you, and probably doesn’t help my depression any, but I find it hard to cook a complete meal just for myself. Usually, I’ll end up heating up a can of progresso soup and just call it good. I’m really looking forward to some ideas that would have me eating better and not require so much of my time or energy, as I don’t have any when depressed.


  6. This sounds like the best fucking idea I’ve heard in a long time. I’ve struggled with my weight and every time I looked at what I was doing it was eating when I’m depressed or stressed. It’s pretty fucking obvious but ok yeah what do I do about it? I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

    There was one time I did lose a fuck-ton of weight (like 50 pounds/ 25 kilos) and two things that made a HUGE difference: 1) eat the same fucking thing every goddamn day for one or two meals. That way you don’t cheat and it’s easy. I had the same bowl of cereal every day for like a year. At first it got boring but then when the weight started to come off I got into it. 2) write down or talk to your phone (“ok google write a note”) EVERY thing you eat for a few days/weeks. You will be so shocked when you look at it and discover that that stress-relief cookie you thought you were having once a week was actually two or three times per week.


  7. I really like how it notes stuff like the fridge temp and stuff. I wish I had seen this when I was younger. Some people just NEVER get taught the basics by their family. I was that way and then I was out on my own with nobody to ask about this stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Genuinely genius! I cant wait to see what great ideas you will be posting! I have a lot of “fuck it” evenings after working and going to school all day.


  9. Really great idea, good luck to you on your blog journey! I was looking at your master recipes and have a suggestion about the master salad. You mentioned how the undressed salad goes bad after a few days, but you can actually make that stretch ever farther with a simple trick. If greens start to wilt and look/feel sad, you can revive them by soaking them in cold water with a little acid (vinegar or lemon juice) for about 20 minutes. As long as they aren’t too far gone they will crisp back up quite nicely. Doesn’t necessarily fit your 3-5 minute format but it is really easy.


  10. Love this! Another thing I’ve discovered recently – rice cakes! I like to eat them with crunchy peanut butter and sliced apples/bananas.


  11. My husband sent me the link to the reddit thread after 2 days of “fuck im not cooking” days because work was shit and i just couldnt be bothered. Love this!


  12. I definitely need this and can’t wait to see what other recipes come up. I love the master list and suggestions for when to make the salads. Without a list I get lost in the store and come home with sweets and other snacks, and no actual nutritious food.


  13. This blog is wonderful!! Depression causes us to be so hard on ourselves, this is a great way to strategize against depression with practicality. Gently remind your brain to catch yourself when you are judging yourself for being depressed. Practice empathy for yourself, envision your sad self sitting right beside you, it’s that friend that needs some unconditional company. And then what can you do in the service of your quality of life for today? Making a simple, tasty, healthy meal has much more to it than being better than chips for dinner, it’s a way of reclaiming what depression tries to take. It has multiple impacts on your brain, both neurochemistry and psychology that are subtle yet powerful. With practice these things get stronger and become ingrained. Battling depression is a practice, it’s not something we do perfectly. Any effort is valuable and adds up. And sometimes, a bag of chips or a bowl of cereal for dinner is totally ok. Especially if one does it mindfully and without harsh self criticism. Love and hugs from a 40 year depression wrangler.


  14. I have found that a handful of walnuts go really well in most salads and are even good as a snack. They are rich in omega 3 and a good source of protein.


  15. This is an amazing idea, again I don’t think I’m suffering from depressions however, I leave my house at 6am to get to work, so breakfast usually is a struggle and don’t return home till after 7pm due to bus travel. After work I do find myself saying fuck it, I’m not cooking. I will definitely be following this blog


  16. I don’t struggle with depression (to my knowledge) but I do have a terrible diet mostly due to pure laziness. I think this might be the solution for me – I’m honestly going to give it a try. Fuck it 🙂


    1. Overnight oats! The ratio of oats to milk is 1:1 then you add whatever you like to flavor it. I’m a fan of peanut butter an honey. Bananas and brown sugar is also good. Maybe throw in some nuts. Mix up 1-3 breakfasts in individual containers in the evening and you’re set for a few days of breakfasts.


    2. Hello Thomas,

      some healthy and lazy options:

      Overnight Oats: You need oats (I use 50g or 5 big spoons) and a liquid of your choice, I prefer milk or plant milks but have also done it with juice. Use a jar (if you need to transport) or a bowl, stir oats and the liquid together and rest over night in the fridge. That’s the basic recipe and you end up having a porridgey texture.

      I like to pimp mine with frozen berries, some ground nuts, a little sweet cocoa powder….

      Mostly I go for berries, or just plain basic with a teaspoon of honey, it’s just easiest and fastest.

      Cereal. Plain old cereal. Not the “kellog’s” kind, but the ones made from oats, raisins, nuts, dried fruits, etc. pour milk over it, done.
      If I need to transport it to my workplace, I take a plain yoghurt cup (about 150g) with me and carry the cereal in a tupperware container, also pimped with frozen berries.

      Whole-grain bread with cottage cheese, lean chicken breast, whatever.
      Granted, I’m from Germany and bread has to be on this list. 😀

      On weekends I sometimes just make pancakes from scratch, or scramble an egg and eat that with bread or make breakfast burritos. They can be prepared in bulk and frozen. I use scrambled egg, kidney beans, red capsicum, corn and sour cream as filling.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I was hospitalized for being malnourished. But I’m depressed! Finally, I’ve found a place where it’s okay for people to say they can’t eat, but could if they were given a chance. Hooray!


  18. Hey– great idea for the blog. Couple quick suggestions coming from an American: most of us have no concept of the metric system, so we give up and eat chips. Might be worth adding the conversions when you state things in grams. If it’s helpful: 200g ≃ 8oz; 450g ≃ 1 lb. Two other notes on americanism: capsicum => bell pepper; tomato sauce => ketchup (unless you’re talking about pasta sauce/marinara, which I’d consider a staple in my kitchen).

    Good luck and thanks again!


    1. Thanks! Australians generally understand the American words for our REAL words (just teasing, “scarnon?” is a grammatically complete question here in Aus, we cannot judge) so I will try to cater to the American dialect as much as I can. Just need people to point out where things can get lost in translation. So thank you!


  19. Recently I’ve been realizing how truly awful my diet is. Most days I sleep through breakfast. What is lunch? As for dinner it is late night candy and a bag of chips. Even the “effort” of microwaving a can of soup is daunting apparently. Need to make a change soon. Reading this shit made me laugh but makes sense. I think I need to move out to really push myself to be healthier. Living with my parents is too easy. If there weren’t big spiders in Australia I’d move there. Anyway keep up the writing.


  20. Just sat down at my computer after being in the kitchen and saying “Fuck it, I’m not cooking”. I saw your link on Reddit and absolutely had to support this idea.
    I’m struggling with my depression daily and to see someone who gets that such a simple need like eating can actually be terribly difficult on a regular basis gives me some much needed hope in my day. Thank you for helping me takes steps to turning my meals from a “Fuck it” to a “Fuck yea”.


  21. Pretty solid advice. You can also store your salad veggies in a plastic container with a moist towel to extend its freshness.
    I cook for a living.
    Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, you can even chop most things if you have a spur of motivation and just grab a handful from your container of pre-chopped goodness for the week. Don’t do that with things that brown fast (apples, avocados) or get mushy (tomatoes, strawberries), but I’ve done it with capsicum, carrots, cucumber, celery,..


  22. Classico makes a Sun-Dried tomato pesto sauce & spread. It’s about $4 USD for 8oz, so it’s not super cheap but it’s amazing on everything. It can really elevate a sandwich or a wrap or pasta so it tastes like you did a lot of work but there is no effort. I highly recommend trying it out when you have a few extra bucks. I’ve eaten it with on chicken/turkey sandwiches and spiral pasta and with different flavors of sausage (the ones you only have to heat up, chicken and mozzarella or something like that). Depression is tough and PB&J sandwiches get old. This is a great idea!


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