I’ve been reaching a little bit further into the back of our pantry during our Eat from the Pantry Challenge, and have found a few “I didn’t know we still had that” kind of surprises.
While I don’t encourage you to eat food that is expired, I do believe that some food is still good past its sell by date. I’ve used my own judgment and had a little help from Still Tasty to decide on a few items, but when in doubt, I tossed the items out. And keep in mind, that even if something has lost its freshness (such as pasta or beans), there may be other uses for it. Perhaps you can use them for sensory activities with your toddlers or in craft projects.
The challenge has made me realize that I need to stop buying so much of things we don’t eat. (I know the Wacky Mac was on sale, but seriously, how much do we REALLY need?). And as certain staples have dwindled, it has made me more aware of what we do need.
I’ve also realized that there are many things in our pantry that we could make ourselves – brownie and cake mixes, pancake mixes, soups. I typically haven’t made these items myself – either because the price with coupons was very good or because I just enjoy the convenience of the pre-made items. I’ve gone back to cooking dried beans and freezing them for recipes, rather than just cracking open a can. While it does take some work, it has been a money-saver for us.
The challenge has made me stop and think about the ingredients in the convenience foods we buy. I may be saving a little bit of time, but at what cost to our health?
How is the challenge going for you? Are you struggling to come up with menu plans?