This is our pantry. Pretty basic – grains, oils, nuts, honey, canned veggies and a basket of baking items. Looks dull at first glance, but this little pantry has some tasty, creative, money-saving potential!
Everyone has their own unique cooking style and diet so I’m neither advocating that a tiny pantry is best nor will explain in detail the contents of my pantry or fridge. However, I think there may be merit to minimizing the excess in our cabinets to provide more room for tasty creativity, finding healthy alternatives, and saving money.
Here are three ways that we’ve benefited from a simple pantry.
We make most things from scratch with versatile ingredients (which means we don’t need storage for packaged foods) and make fruits and vegetables a convenient snack. Eating mindfully, knowing when to stop rather than grossly consuming, results in eating less food overall as well. We feel better, value our food differently, and don’t need to buy as much.
The absence of convenience foods has challenged us to explore new ways to use the same foods and develop tasty alternatives. For example, balsamic vinegar can be a salad dressing, used in savory dishes, drizzled on ice cream, and made into a glaze. Nuts are also versatile. They’re a great snack, salad topping, additions to savory and sweet foods, can be made into nut milks and butters.
We’ve saved quite a bit on our groceries with a simpler diet and smaller pantry. We save money by not buying packaged foods and buy staples that stretch meals like grains and stocks (Better than Bullion – saves money and space in the cabinet) in bulk. Also, expired food stashed in the back of the shelf is money lost. By reducing the amount of things stored in the fridge or pantry, items are more likely to be used to their full potential.
Interested in trying this out but don’t want to take a drastic leap? Maybe start small by checking for expired food. Then experiment with a challenge, like seeing how many meals can be made with the rest of the items in your pantry. Get creative. Everyone will have their own unique approach.
Evaluating what is truly needed in the pantry may result in some great benefits!