Pantry and Freezer Challenge!
For the month of March, I’m hosting a pantry challenge!
For 31 days, I invite you to join me in preparing meals at home using only what you have on hand – no grocery shopping for a whole month!!
It’s a great way to get creative, save a ton of money, waste less and fall in love with cooking (or fall back in love with it, perhaps). It might seem intimidating at first, but with a bit of planning, it can be done!
Last October, I set a goal to try and grocery shop as little as possible this winter and primarily cook from our pantry, freezer and root cellar. It’s been a really rewarding and enjoyable experience. I get a ton of feedback and questions about how and why I shop/cook this way. I’m hoping that this challenge will encourage people to try it and see how easy it can be once you get in the routine of it.
Sure, cooking from the freezer and pantry can be more time consuming. But so is shopping. At least where we live… The two hour round trip to town every week or so to grocery shop takes a lot of work, time and money!
I would rather do more work and enjoy a bit more time than usual in the kitchen, than having to spend most of a day wrangling a toddler in town to a bunch of different stores to spend more money than I would’ve liked to.
Plus there’s so many more wonderful benefits like knowing exactly what’s in your food, saving money, learning new skills, teaching your kids to cook, greatly reducing food waste, did I mention saving money?
Here are a few helpful tips for preparing for the challenge and planning for success:
- Take an inventory of all the food you currently have stored! Knowing what you have is knowing what you need to use up. Plus having an inventory list to look at and work from is much easier than rummaging through cupboards when planning and preparing meals.
- Think of a few of each breakfast/lunches/dinners/snacks recipes that you can make from your inventory. Don’t be afraid to try new things or make substitutions in your favourite recipes with things you already have on hand.
- Try making a meal plan and do some food prep. You don’t have to follow a super detailed daily meal plan if that doesn’t work for you, but a rough guide could be a big help. Also doing some big batches of food prep on weekends or days you have more time will also be helpful. Especially if you’ll be doing a lot more baking and cooking from scratch.
- Stock up on some essentials beforehand if needed. The idea here is to use what you have an excess of and save money. But you need to have some staples on hand with a bit of variety to help you be successful!
- Fresh produce doesn’t have to be off the menu! When shopping this week, try to buy a few things that keep longer to enjoy throughout the month. Think carrots, rutabagas, potatoes, cabbages, squash, apples, citrus, etc.
- Freeze a few dairy products for later in the month or buy a few shelf stable fresh dairy alternatives to incorporate into baking, smoothies and cooking.
- Don’t forget about pet food/supplies and non-food items. Make sure you have enough paper products, cleaning supplies, toiletries, diapers, etc. to last the month. If buying a month’s worth of certain things all at once isn’t in your budget, do what you can! Also if you currently use or want to try adding some reusable products into your household, this is their time to shine!
- If a month seems outrageous to you, try participating for just 2 weeks of it. Another option is you can plan to only spend a small amount weekly on some fresh foods to make it more manageable. I do really encourage you to try and stick to the whole month without shopping, but this is YOUR pantry challenge. Do what works best for you and your family!
- Last but certainly not least – Plan for success! You will do what you need to do in order to do what you want to do! Choosing convenience and old habits over something challenging and building new skills will not set you up for success. Do what you can, and you can plan for success!
For more helpful tips and pantry meal ideas, be sure to check out my Facebook or Instagram. Join in on the fun and share your some of your pantry challenge success with others, using the hashtag #pintsizedpantrychallenge
So there you have it. I hope you found this helpful and I sure hope you decide to give this challenge a try. It’s going to be a lot of fun!
All the best,