Preparing a Well-Stocked Pantry

By Lisa Holcomb
A well-stocked pantry is key to making mealtime successful. It can make the difference between running through the fast food drive-through and a good home-cooked meal. If we can make the meals at home less expensively, not to mention healthier, then it is worth it. When it comes to preparing food for your family, there are basic pantry staples that you need regardless of how tight your grocery budget is. A pantry stocked with pasta and rice, some soups and sauces, and a few spices is a must for quick cooking. You don’t even need a huge inventory of ingredients.
Here’s a basic list of some pantry items that are helpful to keep stocked up on:
Dry or Canned Foods

  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Canned fruits
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned mushrooms
  • Canned tuna, salmon
  • Nuts, raisins

Freezer Foods

  • Ready-to-cook chicken
  • Ground beef
  • Frozen fruits
  • Frozen Vegetables

Refrigerated Foods

Condiments and Sauces

  • Vinaigrette salad dressing
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Olive oil/coconut oil
  • Cream soups
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 or 4 spices (Italian, garlic,

seasoning mixture, etc.)
Room Storage

  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Onions

This is a very basic list of ingredients. You most likely would have additional or different pantry/freezer items that would be important to your family. Having a well-stocked pantry allows you to shop from your pantry first. Know what you have on hand and use it to plan your meals. When you are short on time or you need to stretch those groceries a couple more days, a well-stocked pantry allows you to still pull together a good home-cooked meal.

While it is very helpful to have a well-stocked pantry, it doesn’t do much good if you don’t know what you are going to do with those ingredients. That’s where you need to plan. Do you need to plan for a week’s worth of meals or two weeks or a full month? Do you plan for just dinner or do you plan two or even three meals a day? The more you plan, the more prepared you will be with your meals. Take the time to sit down and plan your meals. A menu-planning service can help as well. The important thing is that you plan. Plan to keep your pantry and freezer stocked with some basic ingredients and plan your menus. You and your family will be glad you did!
Lisa and her husband, Will, have six children and live near Austin, Texas. Lisa is co-founder of and is known as the “Queen of Meal Time Makeovers.” She is an author, speaker, and an advocate for adoption, family nutrition, savvy grocery shopping, and family dinners. Feel free to email her at [email protected].

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  1. Pingback: Winter months seems to be when we think about our pantry. | Only By God's Grace

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