When you need to limit your trips to the grocery store, choose items that have a longer shelf life and can be used in multiple recipes. Expiration dates on packaged foods are protection for the food manufacturers and a guide for you. "When in doubt, throw it out" is my moto. I use my own judgement. I have been known to use food that may be past the expiration date on the package, but I always smell, feel, and taste the item first before I use it.
Nutrient Dense Foods in Your Pantry
The focus of your pantry should be on “real food”- food that is less processed, and nutrient dense.
Stock more nutrient dense foods that will keep you full longer and reduce hunger throughout the day.
Natural proteins and fats, frozen vegetables, and full fat dairy are a good base for recipes that are flavorful and satisfying.
High carb foods like pasta, rice, and grains are not a nutrient requirement for good health. Because of their higher starch/carbohydrate content, these foods should be the smallest portion on your plate or replaced with lower carb vegetable alternatives.
Reliance on highly processed packaged snack items should be kept to a minimum. The potato chip add that says "you can't eat just one" is true. processed packaged snacks are created in a laboratory with the intent to make you crave more. Be good to yourself and stock up on nutrient packed nuts (unsalted), pick up veggies, berries, olives, and other snacks that will not promote hunger.