Boost your shelf-esteem: Tips for stocking up your pantry, freezer

Photo of a pantry with food
Lisi Ludwig/Staff

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Grocery shopping can be quite difficult. Getting the same five or six things again and again can be boring, and it often leaves you eating the same meals every day. However, stocking up your pantry with a few ingredients can give you a variety of meal options to cook pretty quickly! Here’s the Clog’s guide to a well-stocked pantry and freezer.


The food pyramid says a large percentage of the calories you eat should include carbohydrates such as bread. While we all have that one carbohydrate we always go for, having some other kinds to switch things up a bit is a good idea. Different forms of carbs have individual tastes and textures that complement a pretty wide range of flavors. Personally, I always have noodles, rice and frozen parathas on hand to go with whatever meal I want that day. With the bulk of your meal sorted, all you have to do is add some flavor.


In Asian cuisine, there are a few standard sauces that are used in different quantities for your standard meal. Depending on your preferences, you can stock up on a bottle of each of your favorite sauces to add complexity to your dish. At the Clog, we like to go for one sweet, one savory and one acidic condiment to cover our bases. For example, I use honey, soy sauce and white vinegar in many of the meals I make.


While your standard jar of sauce provides a prepared blend of flavors, using spices can help enhance certain flavors. To add some spiciness to a dish, for example, you can use chili powder or flakes, while pepper can add an acidic punch to your dish. Spices also make your dish more aromatic, and because 90% of taste is actually smell, scent means flavor. The thing to keep in mind here is that spices are also powerful; choose neutral ones that can complement many dishes, such as sesame.

Canned goods

While buying fresh is the ideal every time, it often just isn’t practical for college students. Picking up canned essentials such as kidney beans or spam can add nutrients and even more flavor to your dishes. The bonus here is that all of these goods were canned when fresh and are likely going to be quite tasty. The same principle works for frozen meats and vegetables. Additionally, using canned goods can really save you some time. Because you’ve picked your flavors out, just choose whatever you think will be tasty.

We hope this helps you plan your meals out for the semester. Happy cooking!

Contact Chandini Dialani at [email protected].