Menu Planning Tutorial Part 2: Taking Inventory

Taking Inventory

Today, you can start by taking stock of what you have on hand. Go through your cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer and throw away anything that has expired and  is spoiled or stale.

Keep a box or bag handy for dry goods that you feel your family won’t eat and donate the items to a local food bank.

After purging, take time to organize the space.

  • Group like foods together; for example, store all canned foods in the same cupboard and all dry goods, such as rice and pasta in the same cupboard.
  • Keep breakfast cereal, poptarts, etc. together for a breakfast area
  • Create a sandwich shelf or drawer – keep cold cuts, condiments, etc. all in one area for easy access when you make sandwiches
  • In the freezer organize by type of meat or product: keep frozen veggies on the door, keep chicken on one shelf, beef on another…
  • Keep regularly used items front and center. You’ll save time by not continuously reaching and bending for these items.

Next, make a list of what you have, and the quantities. You want an inventory of the ingredients you have on hand to refer to when you begin menu planning and creating your grocery shopping list.

I have a simple hand-written list of everything I have in-stock, with little boxes next to each item. The number of boxes corresponds with the number of items I have on hand. So each time I take something out, I put an X through the box. This not only helps me with my menu planning, but assures that I never run out of something!

See you tomorrow for Part 3: The Basic Methods.

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