Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Pantry Challenge- getting ready

Every January I like to do a pantry challenge (that's when we eat out of the pantry and freezer for as long as we can, getting creative and buying very little).  Over the year stuff has accumulated in the pantry and the freezer, you know, random stuff that got pushed to the back and forgotten.  We're also coming off of the holidays and despite how hard I try.... I go over budget.  It's time to clean out and get the budget back on track!  This works best when I prepare some things ahead of time.  Here's how I prepare for my pantry challenge.

I take inventory of what is in my pantry and freezer.  I check expiration dates.  I want to be sure that I'm using anything close to expiring first.  Go through the freezer and refrigerator as well.  This would be a good time to finish off those almost (or half) empty bottles of sauces, or do something with that piece of meat in the back of the freezer, or the bag of pot stickers you had forgotten about....

I gather everything I really want us using durning the challenge into one place.  All of those odd items that got lost in the back, or that are about to expire; they all need to be in one place.  Either set aside a shelf, spot on the counter, or some sort of bin for all of this (the nonperishable stuff).  If possible set aside a shelf in the freezer and refrigerator for the items you found there.
These two totes hold all of the items we want to use up first.  Open packages and food close to the expiration date (in the next 4 months or so) all get pulled out and put in here.  It's mostly breakfast and snack type items.

I start planning our meals from what I've found.  I do this a week at a time durning the challenge taking a quick inventory each week to see what else we need to get through.

My goal this year is both to clean out the pantry and to get our food budget back on track.  Part of the cleaning out goal is getting rid of the junk that accumulated over the year and get us back on track in the diet area.

Are you going to do a pantry challenge?  If so, what are your goals?  Let me know!