This post is part of my Types of Meal Planning series. There are four main approaches you can take to meal planning, and each is designed to suit households with different time constraints, and requirements.
Have you tried the capsule wardrobe yet? Don’t worry, this hasn’t turned into a fashion blog – stick with me! The idea behind the capsule wardrobe is that you invest in a small number of quality pieces of clothing and you learn how to mix and match them beautifully to create numerous, “put together” outfits. It’s aimed at the person who has a wardrobe full of clothes but nothing to wear!
Well, let me introduce you to the foodie equivalent: the Capsule Pantry. To make a direct comparison, you buy a small(ish) number of adaptable ingredients and mix and match them in different ways to make a number of delicious meals. It’s aimed at the person with cupboards full of food but nothing to eat!
Imagine you’re “on call” so you spend your time waiting around in case you have to go to work. You’ve planned to cook Meal A but your schedule changes last minute and now you simply can’t find the time. So you need to turn to Meal B instead – but you don’t have any of the right ingredients!
But, if you had a Capsule Pantry in action, you could quickly adapt your A to a B and still fit it in your day. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?
Here’s how it works:
- When you sit down to think about your food for the week ahead, try to pick meals that have a number of ingredients in common.
- Pick fairly simple meals that don’t require any specialist purchases or things you can’t use again in the future.
- Then, like a capsule wardrobe, play around with different combinations of ingredients to make as many meals as possible. If you have to bail on one, then just substitute it for another.
The other benefits of the Capsule Pantry (other than helping you become super organised, of course) are that you will save money by restricting your purchasing, save time wondering what to eat and save on waste by only having in ingredients that you know you’ll use again. Brilliant!
A perfect example of the Capsule Pantry
Take a look at this Supper Sudoku. I just started with a 4×4 grid and then chose 4 proteins, 4 carbs, 4 veggies and 4 sauces/extras to go with them. Then I inputted them to the grid making sure there was just one of each category per row, column or diagonal. Now you can read it in any direction and find 10 distinct meals!
Want to learn some other great ways to meal plan?
The CAPSULE PANTRY is only one of the angles you can use to get ahead. Here are some other suggestions:
Rotational Menu – rotating meals based on how much time you have to cook and prepare. For example, quick and easy, low and slow, freezer meals.
Seasonal Menus – eating the very best of what nature has to offer by only buying what’s in season.
Theme Nights – choosing a meal every night based on a cuisine (curry night), cooking style (stir-fry night) or ingredient (pasta night).
Have you tried the Capsule Pantry yet? Leave a comment below and let me know how it’s going!