If you’re a VIP Lounge member then you have seen my regular ‘Meal Plan With Me’ videos I do. You know I go through my fridge, freezer(s) and pantry to do my meal planning and grocery list. Going through these areas first before I even start my meal planning and grocery list is a vital process to save as much money as possible and reduce wastage. That is why I have created this easy go to printable, so you too can also ‘shop your pantry’ and meal plan as efficiently as possible for your family!
Doing steps like this has helped me save hundreds of $$$ per year, because I am no longer buying ingredients I don't need or all ready have. I was also throwing out ingredients that I didn’t but should of used! If you do this then start to 'shop your pantry' today so you too can save $$$ per year!
Step 1 – Print Off The Printable :
Why use a printable why not just write on a piece of paper? I prefer having organized printables as I can easily keep them for reference and also easily use them to look back on for ideas in the future. These along with some others such as the Monthly Meal Planning sheet (can be used for 1-4 weeks) I keep 2-3 at a time to look back on. Get the 4pk Meal Planning printables when you subscribe FREE to This Mum At Home.
Step 2 - Clean Up:
Before every grocery shop I clean up my pantry, fridge and freezer discarding anything that is empty, out of date etc Having these areas clean before I even start makes meal planning so much easier. I can then clearly see what I already have on hand.
*Note – because I do this step regularly it takes less than 10 minutes to do . Read Simple Pantry Organization That Works to see how my pantry is organized.
Step 3 - Making My Ingredients List:
So then comes the task of going through my three areas fridge, freezer and pantry. I go through every area to see what ingredients and meals I already have. Anything that can be made into a meal I write down under ‘Ingredients On Hand’. Any meals I already have eg freezer meals/left overs I put under ‘Existing Meals’
Step 4 – Creating Meal Ideas:
Looking at the ingredients I already have on hand I start writing down meal ideas I could make from these ingredients under ‘New Meal Ideas’.
For this to be efficient and cost effective I firstly go with meal ideas that will use multiple ingredients first, resulting in less new ingredients I have to buy. For example If I have some peas, corn, carrots, zucchini, beef stock, potato & shredded cheese then something like my Shepards Pie is a great option as I only need to purchase tomato paste & mince. Both ingredients are cheap to buy and my recipe makes enough to go over 2-3 meals for a family of 4 (depending on the age of your children) and I can freeze meals for later. For ingredients that I have to add a lot more to I leave those meal ideas to last to avoid having to buy too much extra in the grocery budget!
Step 5 – New Ideas :
If I’m stuck on ideas or just after something new websites like Pinterest are a great place to look. I can go to Pinterest and type in any ingredient eg potato and a world of recipes will appear. Sometimes it reminds me of a recipe I already know and can do or other times it will give me new ideas I can adapt to make my own recipes.
Step 6 – Extra Ingredients Needed:
Any extra ingredients I need to make the meals selected I write down under ‘Ingredients Needed For Meals’. That way I have an accurate list I can transfer onto my Grocery List Budget sheet.
Step 7 – Meal Plan:
On my Monthly Meal Planning Sheet (can be used for 1-4 weeks of planning) I write down my meal ideas for the time frame I’m planning out eg a week, fortnight or month firstly using my ideas from ‘shopping my pantry’. Any days I still need to fill I do so within my set grocery budget.
So now you have the steps and know how to 'shop from your pantry’ be sure to get the printables and get started. It’s a simple step that everyone should do to ensure YOU SAVE AS MUCH $$$ AS YOU CAN and reduce wastage. You will be surprised how much this will help you in your meal planning. Be sure to follow along This Mum At Home’s You Tube channel to see the latest grocery haul!