There is nothing more depressing then opening up your cupboards and not have what you need to put a meal together. I’ve said it many times: a well-stocked pantry is a gal’s best friend. I mean it! You have to have your pantry stocked. And don’t forget that in today’s
modern world, a pantry is more than a cupboard of dry goods. It is also your fridge and freezer.
And while I do have a Body Clutter daily menu (with breakfast, lunch and 2 snacks) for our subscribers on SavingDinner.com, I also recognize that it’s possible to do breakfast and lunch without a menu per se, but utilizing your well-stocked pantry. Let me explain that a bit more, starting with lunch.
Once upon a time my kids were younger and I used to pack lunches everyday. To make it as easy as possible, I kept certain things on hand just for their lunches. First the non-perishable tools: plastic spoons, napkins, little containers, blue ice packs for the lunch box (frozen and ready to use) and a lunch box (or bags if your prefer). I bought my supplies in large quantities, usually taking advantage of sales. I had two drawers I used for wraps and bags: one held my rolls and the larger gallon zipper topped bags and the other held all my zipper-topped bags. I still keep quart sized, sandwich sized and snack
sized bag with back up boxes in the pantry.
Next, I considered the actual pantry itself to be my inventory for lunches. I had on hand things like rice chips (like a thin toasted rice cake), healthy ginger snap cookies, and a case of smaller bottled waters. I bought most of this weekly or semi weekly and these things stayed on my perpetual shopping list so I was sure to pick them up. In the breadbasket, I still keep whole wheat bread for sandwiches, whole-wheat bagels, fruit leathers, and Luna bars or some other type of healthy snack-type of bar.
Then comes the fridge. Again, this stuff is all on my perpetual shopping list: string cheese or cheese twists (cheddar & mozzarella together), individual yogurts, Ranch dressing (ugh?this is where I cave to kid pressure), baby carrots, celery sticks, apples. I also have whole-wheat tortillas, cream cheese and homemade muffins (not all the time). I don’t pack it all. I choose a few things each time and they take me five minutes to pack, tops. Sometimes I will have the kids help, sometimes they are doing other things themselves to get ready.
The sandwiches were usually almond butter and a fruit conserve (like preserves, but sweetened with juice). To mix things up, I also toasted a bagel and sent cream cheese in a container and a plastic knife, or a wrap made with a whole grain tortilla, cream cheese and maybe leftover chicken from the night before. My kids also liked (and still like) almond butter in a little plastic container to dip their celery. Apples cut up and dipped in almond butter is also a favorite. I also use peanut butter but my kids prefer almond butter. I get most of these things inexpensively at Trader Joe’s. If you live near a TJ’s,
this is an awesome resource for healthy foods.
Breakfast is even easier? I keep two cold cereals in my pantry, plus two hot cereals oatmeal mixed with oat bran (I do this myself) and grits (if you’re not in the South, you can find them in health food stores if not on your grocer’s shelf). I also have honey or brown sugar for the hot cereal. (also recommended is sucanat? evaporated dried sugar cane juice). Additionally, I have whole grain frozen waffles and whole grain French toast in the freezer (you can make and freeze or buy). When I’m running to the gym to workout, I’ll take a toasted waffle to go, spread with peanut butter, which is a great breakfast. In the fridge, I have the usual suspects. Eggs and milk. We drink juice a little juice, but I like to get my kids to opt for whole fruit. There are always bananas in the basket and apples are just now in season and are extra crisp and delicious and work great as a take-along fruit. So take a peek: breakfast is in there!
So there you have it! Breakfast and lunch perpetual pantries. Your pantries don’t need to look the same as mine, but I bet you can draw some similarities or at least, find a place to start. Let these ideas be a beginning place for you to make your own perpetual pantry based on your family’s preferences. This is essential for menu planning. You need a little flexibility there!
That’s it! It’s that simple and keeping a perpetual pantry (via your perpetual shopping list) keeps you stocked up and ready. Are you ready to FLY at all your mealtimes? Pack lunches that are easy, healthy and good? Send your tribe off with full tummies in the morning? Now you have the tools and ideas to make it happen?have FUN!