In our last post, we looked at the meals that my family ate for the last two weeks and decided to use those items as the basis for a proposed 2 week rotating menu. You can use this same principle to figure out what to include in your family’s food storage. Let’s look at that list of meals again.
Breakfasts: Bagels, cereal, oatmeal, french toast with bacon, and pancakes with 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.
Begin your food storage by storing the ingredients needed for your family’s favorite meals.
To make my grocery list, I need to simply write down the items that are the building block components of these meals. For instance, bagels are usually eaten one of two ways, toasted and spread with cream cheese, or spread with butter and “toasted” in a pan on the stove. Oatmeal is eaten with butter, sugar, and milk, so all of these things need to go on my list. As I go down my list of meals, I look not only at what the food item was that will be served, but also at what is used to make the meal. Oatmeal served in a bowl without any milk, butter, or sugar might be okay for some people, but in my house, it would be considered cruel and unusual punishment.
There are many resources available on the internet for free printables to help with this process. My current favorite is this weekly meal plan form from Frugal Family Food. It has a place on the left to list all of your meals, and a place on the right to make your shopping list. Just remember to include snack items in your food storage, too. This can be as simple as a piece of fruit, some homemade cookies, yogurt, or some popcorn. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.
As you make you list, remember to include all of the component parts of the meal that you need to make it complete, and make sure you are purchasing enough of the shelf stable items to ensure that you have enough stored to last for the amount of time you have in mind. I try to only shop once a week for groceries, but there are times when I shop less often. Studies show that each time we go to the grocery store, we spend more than we intended, so limiting trips to the store is a great way to save money.
Buying the ingredients for your favorite meals and rotating through them is a great way to ensure that your food storage stays fresh as you replenish what you use. I try to buy a few extra ingredients when I have the cash in my grocery budget. Our ultimate goal is to only shop to replace what we have used. In this way, we can wait to purchase food items when they are on sale which helps us to save money.
Do you have any special strategies for determining what you store in your pantry? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Thanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.
Coming Next Week: How much should I store?