Have you ever done a pantry challenge?
Set a tiny budget and use everything up in your pantry, fridge, freezer etc that has been sitting there a while. It makes you get more creative and means those random ingredients that keep sitting there get used!
This week we wanted to scale right back, try a few new things but mostly use up what we have since my partner ended up away for 3 days last week resulting in less food being eaten. I didn’t want to spend more than $50 this week and managed to come in at $22.85, this included some cleaning and toiletries such as soap, dishwashing liquid, toilet paper and tissues, as well as a few food items. We got a code to try a free meal delivery option this week, which is interesting, but we won’t be using again. It was about $25 worth of food which they charge $85 for!
1.) Clear out your pantry
Pull everything out, check used by dates, write it all down and see what you have to use in your menu plan.
2.) Create a plan
If you have some weird ingredients, look up ways to use them. A pantry challenge is the week your usual meals go out the window and you get creative. For example, love chicken schnitzel but don’t have breadcrumbs? Use coconut (recipe for gluten free chicken schnitzel here).
Do you have random seeds like chia or quinoa in your cupboard? Add them to salads or make muffins.
3.) Cook ahead of time
Do whatever prep work you can earlier in the week. Plan out your meals then look at what might be able to be cooked and frozen to save time later. Sometimes, later in the week it can be hard to feel creative or think about what to cook. Knowing what you are cooking ahead of time and having some of it done helps with this.
Here is our menu plan:
This week, 2 meals a day for my partner and I will be protein shakes, which we already have.
Breakfast for our kids each day will be gluten free cereal.
Lunch for our kids: ham sandwich, capsicum sticks with hummus, an apple, crackers and a muffin.
Monday – Cauliflower fritters with roast vegetable salad and boiled eggs
Tuesday – Italian roast chicken and vegetables
Wednesday – Japanese-style chicken with ribbon salad (from the meal box delivery)
Thursday – Sausages, rice and vegetables
Friday – Fried rice
Saturday – Pizza
Sunday – Burgers
For a treat, we will probably have chocolate pancakes at some point.
We made a few changes to our usual meal plan this week, aside from the protein shakes and meal box. No alcohol or caffeine. We used to be addicted to Pepsi Max and while my partner still occasionally has some caffeine, I am determined to continue without it. I do have a few teas I am trying, but other than water or a shake, I won’t be drinking anything.
Alcohol has to go this week for health reasons. We both feel our clothes are a little snug and when we have had a glass or two, we get peckish, and it’s not good food we go after. This is often when I end up cooking crumble or brownies or something with portion sizes getting thrown out the window!
How can you do groceries for under $25?
This isn’t a new concept. There are entire books dedicated to keeping groceries below a certain amount or doing pantry challenges.
Doing a pantry challenge is simple.