Have you ever struggled to figure out what is for dinner, open the pantry… and stare blankly at a bunch of snacks and a distinct lack of ingredient to make anything? While I would not exclude the possibility of making a meal of cookies and chips for myself if no one was home, I am not going to let my kids know that is an option. They will have to figure that one out on their own when they are older! I have often heard stories of people who could whip up a meal out of things sitting in their pantry, but I hadn’t aimed at being such an accomplished, “real” grown-up until recently. Now, I try to meal plan ahead of time. But if you want to meal plan or even if you are waiting ’til the last minute, there are certain items that you can stock to make your life much easier. If you know that you have these items already, it is simple to just grab the fresh ingredients you need, and away you go. Here is a list of pantry staples for meal planning that will get you ahead of the game and ultimately make grocery trips and cooking more efficient.
Pantry Staples for Meal Planning
Spices and Seasonings
Crushed red pepper
Fennel or dill seed
Paprika: sweet and smoked
Extra virgin olive oil
Apple cider vinegar
Red wine vinegar
Flour: all-purpose, whole wheat or pastry
Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
Pure vanilla extract
Hot sauce of choice
Beans of choice (black beans, chickpeas, etc.)
Long-grain white rice
Pasta noodles of choice (spaghetti, macaroni elbows, and ziti are good ones)
Quick Meal Items
Peanut butter (or nut butter of choice)
Nuts of choice (peanuts, almonds, walnuts, etc.)
Jelly, jam or preserves
Preferred oats (steel-cut, old-fashioned, quick oats)
Condiments and Toppings
Mustard: Dijon or whole grain
This list will keep your kitchen stocked and ready so that when you find a recipe you like, you are much more likely to be able to make it without a trip to the store. Or if you did wait to figure out what is for dinner, you have plenty of choices on hand!
For more help on meal planning, check out our best free meal planning printable resources. You can also check out the meal planners in the Carrie Elle shop. And we’d love to have you join the FREE 30 Day Meal Plan Challenge! You can find out more below.
Download your free printable pantry checklist below by clicking on the black and white “download here” button.
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