Have you even opened your pantry or freezer full of seemingly random ingredients only to find yourself exclaiming “there’s no food in the house!” Fear not! We’re here to help you organize and stock your pantry so that if you find yourself stuck in the house for a few days or just getting home late from work, you’ll have everything you need on hand to make nutritious, delicious, and satisfying meals.
First things first, go through the items in your pantry and throw out anything that is expired. If you have some cans that have been knocking around there for a while that you can’t bring yourself to eat, donate if it’s well before the expiration date, otherwise toss them out. If you aren’t sure if something is still okay to eat, check out Foodkeeper to see what the recommended time frames are to store foods.
Do your taste buds a favor and go through dried herbs and spices that you’ve had in the back of a drawer or cupboard. Ground spices last 3 to 4 years, whole spices last 4 years, and dried herbs last anywhere from 1 to 3 years. If you don’t know when you bought them, they should still have a strong smell when opened and the color shouldn’t be faded. If they don’t smell like much, they probably won’t add a lot of flavor to your food.
Once your pantry is clean and ready for new items, make sure to take into account your own personal tastes and preferences. If you hate cumin, you probably don’t need to have it in your pantry. If you know that lentils are your jam, make sure to get those in bulk for the best price so you don’t run low!
When setting up your pantry, it can be helpful to keep the Brook Healthy Plate in mind, both for organizing and for making sure you have all components you need for a balanced meal. We’re considering your freezer an extension of your pantry, so make sure to clean out and organize that too!
With your pantry well-stocked, you’re now ready to start making some healthy meals! Not sure how to get started? Check out Making Easy, Healthy Meals Using Pantry Staples.
on March 19th, 2020. Kelsea is a Registered Dietitian with her Master's degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA, and is one of our Health Coaches.