Keeping a well stocked pantry is something I learned early in life from my parents. It was important to prepare for any unexpected events that can come up. Many things can keep you from getting to the store as planned in a week including family or work emergencies, bad weather, personal illness, or community illness outbreaks. Stocking your pantry and keeping the basics around the house has saved us a few times. This also helps prevent emergency trips to the store when needing to whip up something fast for a meal or carry in event.
Stocking For The First Time
Stocking your pantry for the first time can seem like a daunting task. Although it doesn’t need to be. Take at look at meals you normally would eat and think about the basics you would want to have around for these. Also think about substitutes that would be helpful to use in a pinch if needed. My most used substitute out of my pantry stock is dry milk. It comes in handy when I run just short of how much milk a recipe calls for!
Here are my basics I keep stocked in the pantry at all times and the meals they correspond with:
Baked Spaghetti – Italian Spice, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Thin Spaghetti Noodles and Spaghetti Sauce
Pancakes – Pancake Mix, chocolate chips, Dry Milk to use as mix with the pancake mix if I don’t have any milk on hand
Chicken or Beef and Noodles – Canned Beef or Chicken, Egg Noodles, Broth Mix
Other Essentials I stock include:
Baking items: Flour, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Vegetable Oil
Spices: Seasoned Salt, Salt, Pepper, cinnamon
Snacks: Pretzels, Granola Bars, Fruit Snacks
Breakfast Foods: Cereal, Granola Bars, Oatmeal
Canned Good: Corn, Green Beans, Soups, Fruits, Apple Sauce
Other Foods: Mac and Cheese Boxes, Extra Condiments, Parmesan cheese, peanut butter, evaporated milk
I totaled up all of my basic pantry items and they could be purchased for about $75 according the Walmart Shopping app. This would give you a good start to your pantry.
These staples also allow me to make several of my other favorite recipes including our oatmeal chocolate chip butterscotch cookies and slow cooker mac and cheese. Just add a few basic refrigerated items including eggs, butter, and milk.
Stocking Your Pantry To
Prepare For The Unexpected
After you have the basics stocked in your pantry it is time to prepare for the unexpected. I have easy to prepare meals and correspond my freezer stash and my pantry. This way I can easily make meals if we have a situation where we are not able to leave home for several days due to inclement weather or other community emergencies.
Every month take an inventory as to what you have used and what needs replaced. I have set par levels for items I use regularly like the spaghetti sauce and noodles. Make a list of what you need and review your local sale flyers. I often buy pantry stock based on sale items for the week as well. For example, if green beans are on sale I may over buy them by a few cans so I won’t have to purchase them for a while.
Also make sure to rotate your oldest stock to the front of your cabinet to use it first. According to ready.gov you should have at least a 3 day supply of non-perishable food on hand. I prefer to have at least 2 weeks on hand, but you can decide what fits your lifestyle, budget and available space.
Once you have your pantry fully stocked and at good par levels it is usually pretty easy to maintain if you keep up the work. Continue to do inventories every month and replace things as you use them. This will help you maintain preparedness for any unforeseen events.