I love my huge pantry, but it is so easy for me to keep buying food to fill up the shelves because one, I have the space and two, I will buy things on sale just because I have the room to store it. This creates some problems over time if I’m not careful. You might be wondering how on earth this could become a problem? Well, I tend to forget what I bought and then open my pantry to look at what I have for meal inspiration, but I seem to have everything, but nothing that will make a cohesive meal. This is where a large pantry will fail you if you don’t plan. I have not been much for meal planning in the past, but recently I have started to. I am still learning and trying not to impulse buy food on sale or stockpile for when we are in our RV, we definitely won’t have the space to store this extra food.
First, you’ll want to go through your pantry and take stock of what you have currently. This may seem daunting at first, but take an hour or two(set a timer even!) and throw away any items that are expired. Have a paper and pen on hand and write down what you have. The items that are going to expire soon, put a star or check next to them. If there’s canned or packaged food that you just don’t see you or your family eating, donate it to a food pantry, now is a great time to do this. Try your hardest to plan meals around what you currently have on hand, then you’ll be able to start fresh with meal planning.
With meal planning, I’ve learned to keep it simple. I may some weeks get bored with my menu, but it does make nightly dinner preparation easier in the long run. My girls love tacos, so I have adopted “taco Tuesday.” I never was a fan of things like this, but it does take off a whole lot of pressure to know that at least one day of the week, everyone will be happy with the meal and it is easy to keep these items on hand.
I typically grocery shop on Tuesday’s as I’m right by the store coming from the library’s toddler story time, so I try to make my weekly meal plan on Sunday’s or Monday’s. Monday’s we typically have leftovers or if no leftovers, then breakfast for dinner.
I like to use the app, OurGroceries, which is nice to keep a running list. I have not used a paper grocery list in ages as I would forget it frequently at home and not remember what I need and I always have my phone on me. I do jot my weekly menu plan on a scrap piece of paper mostly, but lately I’ve liked to use a small note pad or book so I’m able to glance back at meals.
As you can see from the picture of one section of my pantry, I’m still trying to pair down. So, be easy on yourself and be happy that you’ll have more time, better money management, and less stress from simple meal planning.