Creating a Capsule Pantry at home can be one of the best decisions you’ll make. Not only does a capsule pantry help to reduce waste but it will also help to streamline your menu planning and meal prep. This means you’ll reduce the time spent figuring out what to feed your family. Plus you’ll also save time at the grocery store, where you’ll start spending less.
When we moved at the beginning of this year we moved into a slightly smaller house with a slightly smaller kitchen and a MUCH smaller pantry. In the past when I’d find myself in such a situation I would have rushed out and bought extra storage for all of my extra things. But over the past couple of years I’ve been decluttering our home A LOT. I’ve also been focusing on being more intentional with the things we bring into our home. So I thought…. why can’t I do that with my pantry too?
What Exactly is a Capsule Pantry?
A capsule pantry consists of a limited number of ingredients that can be used in multiple ways to create a bunch of your family’s favourite meals and snacks.
By having fewer items in your pantry there’s fewer decisions to make when it comes to menu planning. Planning meals and snacks becomes a simple and streamlined process. Knowing what is stocked in your pantry also means less time spent cruising the aisles of the supermarket wondering what to buy.
When you choose what items to keep in your capsule pantry you intentionally choose ingredients you can mix-and-match to create an endless variety of meals.
What are the benefits of having a capsule pantry?
1. Save time
Having a capsule pantry means that you can save time at the supermarket. When you have a clear idea of what you use each week it’s a lot faster to do your shopping. Meal planning is also faster and easier. I’ve been able to curate a list of meals and snacks I know my family enjoys and that are easy to make with ingredients in my capsule pantry. Choosing what to make each week has become more streamlined. I’m no longer searching for new recipes to try or spending extra time in the kitchen making new meals.
2. Save Money
I’m no longer wasting money on random ingredients that I only use a small amount of. Only to discover the recipe I bought it for actually tastes pretty average. If I want to try something new then I get creative with what ingredients I already have. I’m able to create flavour bases for Asian, American, English and Australian meals with the staples I keep in my pantry. Variety is important to us so I’ve allowed for ingredients to cover many cultures. If I see a new product at the shops I now stop and ask myself if it’s something I see myself using regularly. Or do I already have an ingredient in my pantry that can be used to substitute.
3. Reduce Waste
The biggest difference I’ve noticed since creating my capsule pantry has been in the amount of waste. I’m cooking meals that I know my family eats and I’m only buying what we need each week. My husband has even commented on how little is going out in our kerbside bins each week. I buy as many of my pantry staples as I can from our bulk store. This also helps to reduce the amount of packaging coming in the house. Any packaging that does come in we recycle, either in our kerbside bin or through REDcycle.
Creating your own Capsule Pantry
If creating a capsule pantry sounds like an idea you resonate with, remember that it will take time.
Spend some time decluttering your pantry first. Get rid of anything rancid and old. Try to find ways to use up ingredients that you find that you won’t include in your capsule pantry.
Come up with a list of meals and snacks you regularly like to make. Create a list of ingredients you use to make these. Those ingredients can be the start of your very own capsule pantry.
I’m 6 months into creating my capsule pantry and I’m still using up stray ingredients that I won’t be replacing. I do have a clear idea of where I’m going and the finish is in sight. When we first moved in I had filled my new pantry PLUS some of the laundry cupboard PLUS another kitchen cupboard AND a large box on the floor at end of the kitchen. Now I’m proud to say that I can almost fit everything solely in my pantry. And my KitchenAid is in there too. I’m spending less time in the kitchen. Less time meal planning. Less time shopping.
Make sure you’re following me over on Instagram where I’ll share a sneak peek of my pantry once I’m done.
Chelsea is a mum of two and a university qualified nutritionist. She works with families to help combat fussy eating and create stress-free mealtimes. She is passionate about a balanced approach to nutrition and believes all food is there to be enjoyed. You can work with Chelsea here or follow her on Facebook and Instagram for more helpful tips and advice.