How to organize a kitchen pantry to promote nutritious, budget-friendly meals

March is National Nutrition Month and to commemorate the occasion, Hillcrest Medical Center and Oklahoma Heart Institute dietitian Andrea Shotton will share her expertise on the topic of nutrition in a pandemic through a series of weekly blogs. In this edition, Shotton discusses how to organize the pantry at home and other tips that promote nutritious, budget-friendly meals.

Marketing at the grocery store seems like it is designed to encourage overspending. Again, remember planning and meal prepping helps to stay on budget. Also keep the following in mind:

  • Skip items that are easy to make at home, such as soup, pancake mix and salad dressing. Instead stock your pantry with mustard, flour, bread or other convenience items.
  • Buy larger containers instead of single serving sized packaged foods and divide food into small containers or bags at home.
  • Buy a block of cheese instead of shredded or sliced and save money by grating or slicing cheese at home.
  • Prepare produce at home. Pre-cut fruits and vegetables tend to be more expensive.
  • Buy dried herbs instead of fresh, especially when fresh herbs are not in season. 
  • Choose store-brands that tend to be much cheaper than name brands.

What are other tips/ideas you would share for nutritious, budget-friendly meals?

Here are a few other tips to keep in mind:

  • A slow cooker or pressure cooker can be invaluable when work hours are unpredictable and childcare responsibilities are high, but a neighbor or coworker may not. Consider donating or gifting your resources.
  • Consider splitting warehouse store foods with a friend or coworker who may not have the storage space to purchase large quantities without it going to waste.
  • Plan for leftovers rather than throwing them away. Either bring them to work for lunch the next day or consider dropping them off at a neighbor’s doorstep.