Days leading to the release of your pay are usually frustrating and stressful – these are the times you must stretch your budget to the maximum as possible, which means all the edible things you can find in your home will be eaten. Meanwhile, there are also those that practice frugality and use everything in their pantry in cooking a decent meal as opposed to getting a take-out from a fast-food chain.
Whatever your reason is, your pantry and all the staples in there are your best friends, especially when you’re low in cash. You’ll be surprised to know that you can actually whip up some delicious meal with the ingredients in your house, something which may eventually convince you to skip take-outs and choose anything homemade. Food blogger Karen Tedesco said that cooking at the comfort of your abode may be the answer to better and more affordable eating – come to think of it, not only will you be shelling out extra moolah for food from restos, but along with the dishes are added salt, preservatives, and other chemicals which may not even be healthy. Here are some of the must-haves in your pantry that will make surviving easier:
Although frugal living seems hard, it is far from that – learning what types of food that make you feel full but at the same time are also healthy is an advantage. Those who are already a pro in this would know how whole grains can be a huge budget-saver without sacrificing their health. So, brown rice and quinoa are essentials in the pantry as these are filled with fiber, the reason why you’re going to feel stuffed more than eating white rice and pasta.
If you’re weight-conscious, opt for whole grains whenever you’re shopping for groceries because these are one of the most versatile items you’ll have in your pantry. It can be a healthy side dish or it can be the main course, as with paella.
Eggs and Oils
Eggs are cheap and a staple in pantries and on lists like this, too! You can technically have it for breakfast, lunch, and even dinner if you’re cash-strapped because it packs lots of nutrients. It will be useful as well for baking needs or if you just want to whip up some homemade pancake. Store in some olive oil as well because you’ll use them more often than you think.
Spices, Condiments, and Herbs
These are the things that you need but oftentimes forget when buying in the grocery or market. Salt and pepper are some of the basic spices you’ll use in everyday cooking for possibly all the dishes you’ll think of. The same can be said of condiments like vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, and ketchup, which are also useful for most meals.
As for herbs, if you’re into a frugal lifestyle, then you probably have plants sitting by your tiny balcony. This way, you’ll save up money and you get the freshest, most aromatic herbs you’ll ever use for your food. Plus, you’ll be sure that no harmful chemicals such as insecticides and pesticides that are mostly used in farms will be present in your plants. So stock up on some rosemary, coriander, basil, as well as onion and garlic.
Unlike most items on pantries, canned goods have the longest shelf life, which makes them ideal for emergency purposes. You’ll never know when you will forget to buy food or when heavy rain will pour, so anything canned is your ally. But be careful and choose which ones offer more nutrients while containing the least preservatives and have zero to low sodium.
Samples of which are canned tomatoes, perfect when you plan to make your own sauce; canned tuna when you just don’t want to head out; and canned beans, which are healthy alternatives to meat because these pack proteins and because there are simply too many dishes you can make with beans.
Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
As much as your aim is to stock up on all the essentials that have the potential to last long, it is best to think of healthier necessities that fall under the basic food groups like fruits and vegetables which you can easily freeze. Apples are a must because the old adage that says one of that crunchy fruit a day will keep the doctor away is so true – what’s more, they have a relatively longer shelf life than other fruits.
Lemons are another way to get vitamins naturally. Just squeeze half of it or a whole piece in a tumbler and add water for the ultimate detoxing. Cabbage, especially the purple one, is filled with antioxidants, so it’s better to have this in your fridge. Also, remember to pile carrots and potato in your house because they last longer than most leafy vegetables.