Implementing strategies to simplify the process of planning, buying, and making food will save you time, but more importantly, it will save you mental energy and brain power. If the details of life feel like too much to manage, simplifying the food related tasks of our duties is the best place to begin. And such simplifying does not have to include buying pre-packaged, ready-to-go foods. You can still eat whole, real food without going broke or going crazy.
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Yesterday: Clean Out Your Pantry
Grocery Shopping Tip: Keep less stuff in your pantry.
If your food storage space is stuffed with five-year-old unopened boxes, half-used bits of specialty bulk ingredients, or items that were deals too good to pass up (but you don’t know how or when to use), then you’ll benefit greatly from my pantry strategy.
Here’s the deal: With rare (usually birthday or holiday) exceptions, I only buy groceries on my master grocery list.
I’ll be developing that strategy more all month, but for now, use it to focus and clear out your pantry.
Use up the bits of ingredients languishing in your pantry.
Toss the moldy or very expired items.
Donate any nonperishable food items you are not likely to use. Be honest.
It doesn’t matter what coupon you had or how cheap it was, if you buy it and don’t use it, it’s not a good deal. If you buy it and it sits in your pantry, causing you guilt whenever you see it, it’s not worth it.
While browsing the shelves and the coupons and the sales, it’s easy to be optimistic in our good intentions. But how many of those good intentions actually turn into good meals? How many just result in more food than necessary being purchased and wasted?
Work on your master grocery list, and use up or get rid of items in your pantry you don’t want to be part of your regular plan.
Tomorrow: Make a Master Pantry List
Mystie Winckler began menu planning at 11 years old when her mom delegated one dinner a week to her. Marrying at 19, she’s had a lot of practice over the years. But between growing and homeschooling her family, meal planning often requires brain power that just isn’t there any more. Simplified Dinners is her solution to take the effort and thought out of healthy, frugal cooking. And now it is available for you, too!