Food insecurity can occur to anyone at any time, whether due to a job loss or extreme weather conditions. Don't be caught without food for your family! Plan now and create a well stocked pantry to provide food security year round, with or without a garden.
There are all sorts of reasons for wanting or needing to not grocery shop for a while. From just wanting to use up the food you have, to needing to save money due to a job loss, there are a lot of things that will have you looking at your pantry to see what you can make of it.
5 Steps to Avoiding Food Insecurity with a Well Stocked Pantry
We are currently in the latter scenario and doing just fine! But we were prepared before the job loss hit. It's easy to do, however the level of success you have with this idea depends on several factors. Check out the list below and make sure you have all your bases covered!
1. Be Prepared
Whether you think you will need to implement this option soon or not, you need to be as prepared for it in advance as you can be. So, before it's an issue (if you're not already in a place of need), make sure you have good food on hand -
2. Know What you Have
If you don't know what you have, how can you use it effectively? Which goes hand in hand with the next point.
This Food Preservation Planner from The Free Range Life is a great place to start if you don’t know what you have. It includes pantry, freezer, and fridge inventory sheets, as well as details on how to make sure you have enough food for the year for your family!
It’s amazing and very in-depth. I grabbed it last week and have been loving the process of getting it all filled out and knowing that I'm going to have enough food for my family this year.
It's especially useful if you have a garden, but the planner can also be used for buying things on sale at the store!
3. Fill in the Gaps
Now that you know what you have on hand, if you are able, make sure you have all of your basics covered. This may be a step you need to skip if you find yourself suddenly in need of just using what you have...
But if you can, go ahead and fill out your pantry a bit. Do you have staples? Flour, sugar, water, canned goods… and so on. Make sure that you have sources for protein, veggies, fruit, and anything else you want to have on hand.
Be sure to not go crazy with this step. There is a difference between something that you need (veggies, meat) and something that you want (soda, ice cream).
4. Make a Meal Plan
This is KEY. You know what you have, and hopefully you've been able to cover all your basics, now you need to use those items effectively. It’s time to make a real, actionable meal plan and Stick. To. It.
Without a meal plan you're going to get to the end of your month (or however long) and be stuck eating just beans. Or you're going to break down and go to the store.
This is the meal planning tool we use to create a 5 week plan, it's free and only takes about 2 minutes total to fill out on the computer, print it, and have it hanging on the fridge!
5. Be Willing to Be Uncomfortable
Ok, this is a hard one. Sometimes in order to make the ends meet, you have to step outside your comfort zone just a little bit.
It's OK to not have fresh veggies. Use your canned goods instead.
It's OK to make bread a few times a week instead of buying store-bought. In fact, I'd argue that it's MUCH better!
It's OK to go without soda or milk for a while. There are other ways to get calcium and protein, you'll survive.
It's OK to go without. Period. You will survive and your family will still thrive.
Think Outside the Pantry
There are other things that might cause you to run to the store. Make sure you are stocked up on those items as well so that you don't get caught without them in times of crisis!
* Soap and Shampoo
* Diapers and Wipes
* Toilet Paper
* Feminine Items
* Pet Food
and so on... the items may be different for your family. So canvas your home and make sure that everything is accounted for!
We use this system to keep our monthly food and household bill to under $200, which allows us to use a little extra money to stock up on things for the pantry. Currently we have about a 6-9 month supply of food and household items that we could fall back on if needed.