Give Your Pantry a CHEF Approved Makeover!

by Katy Bowen, MS, RDN, LD

If you’re stuck at home, looking for something to do, now’s the perfect time to give your kitchen a CHEF-Approved makeover! Cleaning out a cluttered pantry will not only help you stay organized but also more likely to use the ingredients you already have on hand. Stocking up on healthy staples will mean your family is more likely to make nutritious choices.

After a long day, opening the door to a messy pantry doesn’t provide any encouragement to cook a healthy meal.

Preparing a healthy meal starts with an organized pantry, full of healthy ingredients. Being able to see which ingredients you have, can help cut down on food waste. The First In – First Out (FIFO) method is a great way to organize your pantry in order of which food you purchased first. After returning from the grocery store, simply move existing ingredients to the front of the shelf and add your new items to the back of the shelf. This process will help eliminate food from reaching its expiration date, saving you money!

Here are 7 easy steps to organize your pantry:

  1. Declutter! Go through your pantry and toss out food that has expired.
  2. Clean it up! Wipe down your pantry shelves to clean up any dust, dirt, or food crumbs to keep your food safe from germs.
  3. Group similar foods. Organize the food in your pantry by food group so that your ingredients are easy to find. Be sure to place healthier foods on shelves at eye level to encourage you to cook healthy meals more often.
  4. Arrange foods based on their expiration date. Practice First In, First Out to prevent food waste and save money.
  5. Shop your house for pantry organizers. Before you spend lots of money on pantry organizers, search your house for unused baskets, shoe boxes, and other storage containers that can help you organize your pantry for free.
  6. Optional: Purchase pantry organizers. No need to splurge on pricey pantry organizers. Simply shop around to find a few airtight containers to help extend the life of your food. I purchased a can rack, and I don’t know how I ever lived without one!
  7. Label it: Use labels to help keep each shelf organized and to identify foods in airtight containers. Be sure to write the expiration date on the label for items you remove from their original packaging.

Are you wondering which foods should go in the pantry instead of the fridge? Check out this helpful guide from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics: