Like a capsule wardrobe, a capsule pantry helps you simplify, streamline, and eat real, healthy food with ease. Here's how to do it.
What is a capsule pantry?
A capsule pantry is similar to a capsule wardrobe: a limited number of items, carefully selected to be combined in a number of different ways.
Many people who adopt a capsule wardrobe approach fall in love with the sense of ease and liberation it provides in getting dressed each day.
By having fewer items, there are fewer decisions to make, and getting dressed in the morning becomes simple and streamlined.
A capsule pantry follows the same philosophy: an intentional selection of pantry and fridge staples that can be mixed-and-matched to create an endless variety of meals.
grab your free simplified capsule grocery list!
What are the benefits of a capsule pantry?
There are so many benefits of creating a capsule pantry!
First, by putting thought into the specific items you keep on hand, you’ll be able to streamline grocery shopping and cooking.
Second, you’ll reduce the number of decisions you need to make each week when it comes to meal prep, meal planning, and cooking.
Finally, you’ll reduce food waste, because you’ll know how to use what you have on hand, instead of buying ingredients only to throw them away later on.
Tips to Keep in Mind When Creating a Capsule Pantry
Keep in mind that this is an iterative process, meaning that it takes a little time and exploration to work out the details.
You’ll likely need to experiment with the exact items you want to keep on hand, as well as the specific ingredients that you’ll actually use.
There is no magic number when it comes to creating a capsule pantry, rather it’s about finding the right balance of items that you’ll actually use, that lend enough variety to your cooking, and that you have room to store.
Remember, this isn’t about perfection!
Simplifying is about asking what you actually need, and then letting go of the rest.
Now, let’s get to it!
How to create a capsule pantry in 4 simple steps
1. Clean out & Declutter
The first step in creating a capsule pantry is to declutter.
To tackle the pantry and fridge, those two problem areas that cause alllllllllllllll the kitchen chaos (you know what I’m talking about)!
Here’s the step-by-step on decluttering your pantry and fridge.
2. Items to Include in Your Capsule Pantry
Now that you’ve cleared the clutter, it’s time to start building your capsule pantry.
Start by writing a grocery list of staples, those items that you know you use, week after week.
I’ve created a simplified grocery list for you to use as a jumping off point.
Tip: keep these ingredients on hand and you’ll be able to make about 95% of the recipes on Real Food Whole Life without needing to run to the grocery store for additional items.
Download the simplified grocery list!
Of course, my list will probably be different than yours, depending on your dietary preferences, and other factors.
Feel free to use the list as a guide, and then adapt to your tastes and preferences.
3. Grocery Shop with Intention
Bring your capsule grocery list to the store and make sure you’re referencing it as you fill your grocery cart.
If it feels overwhelming to gather all the ingredients at once, simply start with one or two items per week, until your capsule feels complete.
Tip: Stock up on capsule items when they go on sale, particularly shelf stable items that will last for a few months.
4. Create Meals with Your Capsule Ingredients
Now that you have a capsule pantry, it’s time to start cooking!
Plan simple meals using the ingredients on hand, substituting and adapting where necessary.
Here are 20 capsule recipes using the Simplified Grocery List to get you started.
Tip: You can make all of these recipes using the items on the Simplified Grocery List, plus a few extra ingredients depending on the recipe.
20 Capsule Pantry recipes using the Simplified Grocery List
5-Ingredient Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili make it
Crockpot Salsa Chicken Stuffed Potatoes make it
The Best Golden Glow Red Lentil Soup make it
Sunshine Lemon Chicken Chowder make it
Turmeric No-Noodle Chicken Soup make it
Turmeric Lentil Chili make it
Slow Cooker Lemon Herb Chicken make it
Sweet Potato, Apple & Turmeric Soup make it
Tuscan Pumpkin Soup make it
Creamy Potato Corn Chowder make it
20-Minute Southwest Sweet Potato Beef Skillet make it
5-Ingredient Free Meatballs make it
20-Minute Tomato Cream Sauce make it
Meal Prep Golden Glow Chicken Salad make it
Turmeric Tahini Chicken Salad make it
5-Ingredient Mediterranean Pasta Salad make it
Blender Maple Banana Muffins make it
One-Bowl Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins make it
Pumpkin Spice Pancakes make it
Sweet Potato Hash Brown Egg Nests make it