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How to Buy Groceries for Groups

October 15, 2013

Calculate food amounts to feed large groups.

How to plan groceries for group meals.

Planning a large event or tasked with feeding a group? Buying groceries for meals that will satisfy different palates is a difficult task. Calculating the perfect amount of food to fill bellies without going over or under is even trickier. The last thing you want is to run out of food before everyone has had a chance to eat! By using the proper techniques, you can calculate how much food you need to buy for the appetizer, main dish, and dessert!

Tips for Buying Groceries for Groups

  • Estimate how many mouths you will be feeding. Try to get an accurate headcount as to how many people will be in attendance for the meal. We understand there will be some wiggle room with this number, but count RSVPs or use numbers based on past attendance.
  • Take the above number and multiply it by three. This will give you how many servings you will need for the appetizer. Always calculate a big group meal as though it is a buffet, even if it is a sit down affair. People especially tend to take bigger servings or go back for seconds at buffets. It’s always better to have more food, rather than not enough!
  • Prep the salad using four heads of lettuce for every five guests. For heavier salads that aren’t so lean and green, like macaroni or potato salad, you will need a gallon for every group of 25 people.
  • Pick the perfect amount of pasta. Calculate four ounces of pasta for every guest if it is the main course. Only calculate two ounces for each guest if pasta is the side dish.
  • Six ounces of fish for each guest. If you’re choosing a different meat for your main course, the calculations vary slightly. An 18-pound turkey, 12-pound roast or 7-pound boneless ham is enough for 25 to 30 people.
  • Serving sweet treats. Plan for one piece of pie or cake per guest. If the desserts are smaller, like cookies or brownies, estimate three pieces per guest.
  • One drink per person each hour. This is a starting baseline. Adjust accordingly for the crowd. Serving food for a football game? Plan on more drinks than for a business meeting or baby shower. Keep the drinks cool and refreshing by having a pound of ice available for every six guests.

Planning ahead for grocery shopping will help you host a stress-free meal for a large group! Keep everyone well-fed and satisfied by following these tips for buying groceries for groups.

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