Take the Pantry Challenge

The next challenge starts January 4, 2016! I’ll be blogging it here as well as scoping it. I hope you’ll join me!


The Pantry Challenge is something I practice twice a year (in January and July) as a kitchen discipline.

  • I use up what we have.
  • I save money on groceries that month.
  • I learn what ingredients our family really loves. Or hates.
  • I save time because I’m not spending hours grocery shopping during the month.

I’ve been doing this type of challenge every year since 2009. It’s become super successful for my family to offset our grocery spending and to refine our shopping habits to better suit our lifestyle.

Each time I set specific goals for the Pantry Challenge, like in December of 2013 when I spent 2-weeks cleaning out our cupboards to make room for healthier ingredients.

Go to this post for how to have a pantry challenge.

Past Pantry Challenges

I typically keep a daily diary of how I feed my family of 8 during the challenge as a way of keeping record for myself as well as sharing with others some of the discoveries we make and lessons we learn. You can read through the pantry challenge archives to get a taste of what a it can be like.

Meal Planning 101 calendar

Helpful printable resources

Inventory Checklist – Take an inventory of the ingredients you have on hand so that you can plan your meals based on what’s in the house already.

Meal Planning Calendar – Use this printable calendar to plan your meals for a month or to plan three meals plus a snack for each day of the week.

Further reading

If you’d like to do a little more reading about eating down the pantry, check out these past posts:


  1. I love this and I will be doing the challenge in July! Will be coming back for more tips.
    I also just finished a post on my blog about saving $on food, even though the blog has a slightly different theme, I am putting the pantry challenge post as a resource link. Please take a look and let me know if that may be not be OK

    Thank you,

  2. This is awesome. I’m so excited to start this. I just moved from a house (that had a pantry as well as a lot of cabinet space) to a small apartment with no pantry and not much cabinet space, and found myself with a lot of canned goods that I don’t have a place for! This is perfect way to get rid of those while saving money, which is what I need right now! 🙂

  3. I’m definitely going to be participating! I just finished doing a Pantry Challenge with a friend of mine, long distance! She’s in Alberta, I’m in BC! We did it from mid-November to mid-December, and it was great for me to be continually mindful of using what we have, and not zipping out to shop for more. We made the full “month” with only picking up produce, milk and cheese! I was also able to stock up my freezer with lots of great meals and meal components for the future! Christmas week, we spent a bit more time shopping, but now that the holidays have basically wrapped up for us, I’m glad to be able to commit again to eating up what we have, and spending less time in the grocery store! Like you, I love grocery shopping, but it can also be my downfall if I let it!

    Thanks for continuing the pantry challenges!

  4. Love your site! I just received 3 of your books yesterday, Christmas gift. So many yummy looking recipes! I so need to do this, and I may. My small chest freezer and refrigerator freezer are stuffed. Need to make room to try some of your freezer meals, ;).

  5. 2016. I am so in. We are stuffed to the max and now kind of broke. LOL. If I had any kind of indoor green thumb I’d be looking at raising cool weather veggies in pots. But alas, stuff only grows for me when it’s outside. 🙁 I’m looking forward to all sorts of ‘use the crumbs’ recipes. 🙂

    My first two weeks could probably just be frozen leftovers. LOL.

  6. I am so up to this, have actually been doing the pantry thing for about six months as i can and freeze a lot of my own produce over the summer

  7. I’m a few weeks behind, but we will be starting the pantry challenge in our family this week and I’ll be sharing all about our experience at my blog, as we’ve NEVER done this before! I’m excited and can’t help but chuckle at the odd meals I’m sure we will be eating in a few weeks haha 😉 Thanks for sharing your tips!

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