Like most Americans, your dining out and grocery bills are probably really adding up lately – as inflation and higher economic costs continue to sky rocket. The USDA reports that food inflation is at a 14 year high, with grocery store shopping and eating out costing consumers about 6% more this year than last.
However, you can work smarter instead of harder to help curb some of your food expenses. Here are some suggestions on how to keep your home pantry stocked with staple items that will last you awhile, save money by cooking and eating meals at home, and add some variety to your diet as well.
Here are some essential non-perishable ingredients to always have on hand at home:
- Whole grains – Oats, quinoa, rice, muffin mix, tortillas, cereal. Bread and bagels will also have a longer shelf life if refrigerated or frozen and used one by one as needed.
- Beans/legumes – Chickpeas, lentils, all types of beans (black, kidney, lima, etc.)
- Baking ingredients – Flour, sugars, baking powder and soda, vanilla or other flavored extracts.
- Nuts – Almonds, peanuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
- Oil and vinegar
- Condiments – Mayo, mustard, ketchup, soy sauce, hot sauce, honey, BBQ sauce, jarred olives and pickles.
- Jarred sauces
- Dried herbs and spices – Pepper, salt, cumin, Italian seasoning, cinnamon, crushed red pepper, garlic and onion powder.
There are also some pantry staples that would be a good idea to have on hand in addition to what’s listed above, to whip up a quick and inexpensive meal. These items will also last you a decent amount of time unopened in your pantry as well:
- Canned tomatoes
- Peanut/almond butters
- Coconut milk
- Canned corn
- Canned tuna and chicken
- Jarred salsa
- Raisins and dried cranberries
- Maple syrup
You may be asking – what can you make with some of these pantry ingredients? To name a few ideas to start, think quesadillas, homemade hummus, pasta with sauce, granola bars, teriyaki sauce to go over rice or chicken, and pancakes. All of these are simple to make, and will use ingredients you already have at home.
Here are also some food ideas to store in your freezer to have on hand:
- Frozen vegetables like spinach, peas, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower
- Frozen berries to make smoothies or smoothie bowls
- Chicken tenders
- Ground beef
- Burgers, hotdogs or veggie patties
Here are some food staples to keep in your refrigerator that will last a little longer than other more perishable foods:
- Nut milks (Almond milk will last much longer than regular milk).
- Cheeses (Cream cheese, parmesan cheese, cheddar, shredded mozzarella).
Another idea that always goes over well (especially if you have kids) is breakfast for dinner, using many of the ingredients listed in this blog post. This is an easy, inexpensive, and fun way to make an at home meal a special treat!
If you follow the above tips and keep your pantry stocked, you’ll definitely see some savings on your grocery bill over time and not have to go to the store as often. Not to mention, it’s typically healthier to eat at home too. You can even make it a fun household activity and spend quality time together, by giving each person a job in the kitchen to help put together a great family meal.
In the end – you’ll be saving on food costs, spending time together, and eating a delicious meal. You really can’t put a price tag on that!
Article Source: The Penny Hoarder