The internet is full of suggestions on how to build a food storage for $5 or $10 per week as well as suggestions for what you should store. These suggestions can be good for some, but not for everyone. Many of these one size fits all food storage plans encourage storing wheat. Since allergy to gluten (the protein in wheat) is on the rise, wheat might not be a good thing to build your food storage around. If one of these blueprint plans for food storage recommended buying canned carrots or spinach, it wouldn’t work for our family. I’m not likely to eat either of those vegetables from cans, but I really like canned beets, but someone reading this post may despise beets. It’s all a matter of personal taste, and choosing the right foods can be the difference between having a usable food storage or a family mutiny.
Build your food storage based upon your family’s preferences.
Food storage should be catered to your family’s needs and preferences. The things that go into your pantry should be things that your family will eat. For our purposes, we will consider the freezer an extension of the pantry. When planning the items that went into our family’s “pantry”, I didn’t use a list. Instead, I took a different approach. I looked at what we ate on a regular basis, determined how often we wanted to eat this item, and then stocked my pantry accordingly.
A few weeks ago, I asked you to keep track of the meals that you prepared for your family. Look at that list and ask yourself if everything on the list was something that you or other family members want to eat again. Cross items off of your list that no one particularly liked, then look at the remaining items. How often would you want to eat them? Would you want them every week or only once a month? My family can eat spaghetti and meatballs or spaghetti bolognese every week, but that’s really the only thing that they enjoy that often. I can’t even serve this crowd tacos every Tuesday.
Having a list of your family’s favorite meals is a great place to start when building you food storage.
Another alternative is to make a collection of your favorite recipes and then decide how often you would want to eat each of them. A good strategy is to put your favorite dinner recipes into a binder or folder where you can easily find and access them. In our household, because of the temperature extremes in our area, we actually have two different groups of recipes that we draw upon depending upon the time of year. In the cooler weather, things can simmer on the stove all day or roast in the oven for hours, but when it’s hot outside, our menu is all about quick, simple foods that are preferably cooked outside. This is when we are more likely to have foil pouch meals. Our food supply reflects this as well.
Let’s look at what the memvers of the Patty Cake’s Pantry household ate for the last 2 weeks:
Breakfasts: Bagels, cereal, oatmeal, french toast with bacon, waffles with peanut butter, and pancakes with eggs and sausage. On work or school days, our breakfasts are generally pretty simple and often repeated for several days. More complicated breakfasts are reserved for weekends.
Lunch: Generally leftovers from dinner the night before, but there were a few sandwiches, salads, and some cans of soup.
Dinner: Pasta with meat sauce, pasta with meat balls, Chicken alfredo with pasta and vegetables, chili dogs and oven fries, grilled chicken and vegetables with steamed rice, fried rice with vegetable potstickers, pork chops with fingerling potatoes and green beans, fish tacos with rice and veggies, hamburgers with tater tots, grilled salmon with rice pilaf and roasted asparagus, and pork stroganoff with green salad.
There are only 11 meals listed because we had leftovers that we ate for two nights and one night we went out to dinner to celebrate a birthday.
No one complained about any of the meals that I prepared, so all of these dishes are good to use for a repeat performance. Let’s say that we are interested in having a two week rotating menu where every other week, you find yourself eating the same thing, etc. In my house, we have some items that are eaten once a month and some that are eaten weekly, but let’s start with two weeks and use the items listed above as the basis for my pantry supplies.
Grab a piece of paper or a spread sheet, and check back next week to learn how to make the list for your pantry supplies.
How do you decide what items to store in your pantry and fridge. Do you have a plan, or do you just shop with reckless abandon? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Thanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.
COMING NEXT WEEK: Part 2, Making Your Food List