Sunday, July 10, 2011

Seven Steps to a Healthy Pantry: Step 5

Step 5: Let’s Get Organized

You’ve bought the groceries, now what?  Organizing your pantry can be simple or complex.  Here are my tips on how to get organized:

Tip #1: Divide & Conquer

Hopefully you’ve taken advantage of online and warehouse shopping, which means you now have what I affectionately call “back-up” food.  This overstock could live in your pantry, or you could do what I’ve done:

When we realized we would save a lot of money by buying in bulk my husband and I spent $39 on a wire shelving unit at Costco.  He installed it next to my deep freezer, both of which are in the garage. 

I promptly filled it up with goodies from Costco and  This one change in the way I organize our home has saved me countless hours in drive time and shopping, not to mention gas money.  It’s by far my favorite part of my pantry switch.

Tip #2: Categorize

This may seem simple and obvious, but I really do believe that it will change the way you eat.  Here’s what I mean: organize your shelves according to type of meal. 

For example, put items that contribute to baked goods (flour, sugar, etc), on one shelf – preferably a shelf that is up high and a little hard to reach.  Put salty snacks on one shelf.  Put sweet snacks on another shelf (if your shelves are too large to devote to one type of meal, then simply create an area that is distinct).  Put side dishes on one shelf (grains, beans, etc.).  Put things like root vegetables and onions on a vegetable shelf. 

And of course, put kid-friendly snacks on a shelf that they can reach.  Be sure to tell them that this shelf is on-limits twice a day so they can choose what snacks they want.  (But they should be healthy snacks!)

Why does this matter?  You’re giving yourself a visual of how much you have of what type of meal.  If your salty snack shelf is overflowing and your vegetables shelf is almost empty, you see that you might need to make an adjustment there.  (It can be helpful to do this in the refrigerator, too.)

You don’t have to organize by meal.  You could organize by organic vs. non-organic, processed vs. clean (aka whole ingredients), etc.  I would choose something that will ultimately help you meet the goal you set for yourself in Step 3.

I’d love to see how ya’ll reorganize your pantries.  Post pic’s or share changes you’ve made!

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