Are you using your pantry to help with meal planning and meal prep? If not, you should be! Instead of using your pantry as a storage place for foods to hide until they go bad, use it as an amazing place to build an arsenal of nourishing foods you can use anytime! How do you stock the perfect meal planning pantry? So glad you asked! It all starts with surveying, organizing and stocking!
Step 1: Survey
Is your pantry loaded with stuff, half of which shouldn’t be in there? Now’s the time to rummage around in there and take stock. Look through each drawer and shelf. Keep the stuff you know you’ll eat and toss the expired stuff and donate the foods that you know you won’t use. This step is vital because you don’t want to meal plan without knowing what’s in your pantry.
Step 2: Organize
Congratulations! You’ve successfully surveyed and purged your pantry. Now it’s time to get organized! That’s right, part of building a winning meal-planning pantry is to put things away in a logical way. Maybe that means placing your whole grains all together in one spot and your canned goods in another. Do what works for you. Just remember, keeping an organized pantry promotes sanity and helps prevent food waste. It will also make meal planning easier because you’ll know exactly what’s in there and what needs to be used before it goes bad.
Step 3: Stock
Now that you’re organized, it’s time to fill in the gaps. A stocked pantry makes meal prep and planning a cinch. So build it like champ! Load up on canned and jarred sauces such as marinara, pesto and salsa. Make sure you’ve got plenty of canned vegetables in there such as diced tomatoes, artichoke hearts and green beans. And don’t forget canned and dry beans and lentils. Add some whole grains too. Quick cooking grains such as quinoa and bulgur are a great addition. But don’t forget rice and whole grain pastas too. Other great items to add include broth, canned meats and fish as well as dried fruits, dried nuts and whole grain crackers.
That’s it! With these 3 steps you’ll be well on your way to building a well-stocked and organized pantry that’s one hundred percent primed to inspire your meal planning. And remember to repeat these steps as often as you need to! Tell us, do you have any tips on creating an awesome pantry for meal planning? Let us know in the comments below!
From the Plan to Eat Team:
The list created above can be easily added to your Plan to Eat account in the Staples List. This allows you quick access to your list of Staples/Pantry items when you’re making your Shopping List at home or when you’re on the go. Keeping your list of Staples up to date in your Plan to Eat account is such an easy way to go from planning to shopping to cooking and meal prep!
We recommend using this list because you can easily customize what you have at home. When you run out of these ingredients and items, you can move them over to the Shopping List in a few easy steps:
- When you have run out of a staple item and are ready to purchase it again, select the item you need to purchase by clicking in the checkbox next to the item name.
- Once you have done that, you will see a menu of options appear at the top of your Staples List. Select “copy to Shopping List” and then you will be prompted to select the correct store it is placed in on that list.
- You’re all set to purchase that item when you go shopping next!
You can also search your recipe book using the “with ingredients” filter or “with all ingredients” filter to find recipes using ingredients that you have on hand! To search for recipes containing multiple ingredients used in one recipe, use the “with all ingredients” filter. To search for recipes that contain any of the ingredients you are searching for, use the “with ingredients” filter. (Learn more about this feature by reading our Filters help article)