Are you looking for ways to make meal planning and preparation
easier? Maybe you should start by taking a look at your pantry. If is
disorganized or bare like Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard, you might
benefit from these tips on keeping a healthy pantry stocked. Keeping
your pantry organized and stocked can help save time and money while
making menu planning easier.
Use the FIFO or first in, first out method to stock your pantry
shelves after grocery store trips. If you have purchased an item that
already have in your pantry, make sure to put the new item behind the
existing one in your pantry. That will help ensure that you use older
items that are closer to their expiration date first.
Moving items into cute canisters or containers makes for a
good-looking pantry, but it might also make it harder to remember
expiration dates for foods, read nutrition facts labels, or find serving
sizes and instructions. Keep items in their original packaging if
possible or use a labeling system on canisters and containers to clearly
identify items and their expiration dates. Items such as flour should
be sealed inside a zip top plastic bag if leaving in the original
package after opening.
Food should be stored at least 6 inches above the ground. Avoid
storing foods on the floor of the pantry. This will help keep pests
away and help prevent potential contamination. It will also make it
easier for cleaning floors and under shelves.
Chemicals and cleaning items should be stored away from foods.
Having a separate cabinet for these items is a good solution. These
items should also be stored out of the reach of small children.
Shop your pantry before you make a trip to the grocery store. Take
stock of what items you already have on hand and plan meals around those
ingredients. This is also a good time to check expiration dates and
clean out ingredients that need to be discarded.
Keeping healthful snacks in your pantry is a great way to help encourage your family to choose more nutrient dense foods. Some great options to try for healthier snacks are oatmeal, popcorn, canned fruit (in water, juice, or light syrup), nuts, and dried fruit.
Keeping your pantry stocked with basic food items will go along way
towards allowing you to cook simple, healthy meals in a small amount of
time. Include common spices and seasonings to add flavor to meals. A
well-stocked pantry can help you make dinner time so much easier so you
can enjoy mealtime with your family this week.
Dinner Tonight – Texas A&M Agrilife Extension
North Carolina Cooperative Extension – Haywood County Center
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture