Are you looking to eat healthier and include more whole foods into your diet?
Revamping your pantry with whole ingredients is key to being successful in changing up your diet. I thought I would make a list of pantry staples that help me make numerous healthy dishes that can also be very delicious. Once you have a solid pantry of foods you know what to do with, you will come across endless healthy dishes (including many raw food dishes) that you will be able to make. There are so many times when I come across a recipe and because I’ve built up a good pantry, I am able to make many dishes I see without having to run to the store. And if I do, it’s just for a few things. Having a good pantry will help you be more likely to actually make all those awesome dishes you come across instead of just hoping to someday.
Replacing and acquiring different whole food ingredients doesn’t happen overnight, and it takes time to build a good wholesome pantry. Wait for things to go on sale! When you see something on sale that you want, pick it up! I buy the majority of my food on sale. I don’t go to the store very often thinking, ‘I’d like to buy __(some specific food)__ today’. Instead, I browse and let the sales determine what I buy. Also, after eating up foods you already have, try replacing them with some of the foods listed below. Run out of sugar? Get some raw honey, turbinado sugar, sucanat or coconut palm sugar. Run out of table salt? Replace it with some Pink Himalayan Sea Salt, and so on.
This list is comprised of minimally processed and unprocessed ingredients that will help you be on your way to making great tasting food that is also great for your body!
The foods with the asterisks next to them are what I consider the most useful to have in that category if you’re just starting out. The others are really nice to have if you love them or find them on a good sale. The list below includes foods that have worked really well for me and what I like to make, but that may be different for you and that’s totally okay. I’m just hoping that you will find something useful if you are just starting out building a pantry or would like to revamp your existing one!
I know this isn’t technically in the pantry. But I thought I’d include it because having a versatile produce selection at home is important for being able to make different recipes you find or want to try. Plus, once you acquire many of the other things below, produce will most likely be the bulk of your grocery purchase! Try to buy organic when you can!
This is what I normally get when I go grocery shopping or what I like to have at home regularly:
- Leafy Greens (kale, romaine, red/green leaf lettuce, spinach, chard, arugula, dandelion greens, mustard greens, beet greens, turnip greens, radish greens, micro greens, watercress, frisee lettuce, etc.)
- Any fruit or vegetables on a good sale*
- Ginger Root
Finding good spices can make all the difference when cooking with different foods than what you are used to. They add exceptional flavor to dishes and can really shape and give character to what you make.
Spices I like to use include:
- Garlic Powder*
- Onion Powder*
- Cayenne Powder
- All-purpose/No-salt/Blend seasonings*
- Sea Salt (I like Pink Himalayan)*
- Nutritional Yeast
- Vanilla Beans or Extract
Oils and Butters
- Olive Oil*
- Coconut Oil*
- Coconut Butter
- Cacao Butter (good for making homemade chocolate 🙂 )
- Any nut or seed butter (almond, peanut, cashew, pecan, walnut, sunflower seed, hazelnut, tahini, etc.)
Nuts and Seeds
- Hemp seeds*
- Chia seeds*
- Flax Seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Oats* (can get gluten-free)
- Rice (brown, wild, long grain, black, etc.)
- Farro, Kamut, Spelt, Buckwheat groats
- Dried Cranberries (apple juice sweetened like these)
- Dried Cherries
- Dried Blueberries
- Dried Figs
- Medjool Dates*
- Shredded Coconut*
- Raw Cacao Powder*
- Carob Powder
- Maca Powder
- Spirulina Powder (or tablets)
- Superfood Powder
- Wheatgrass Powder
- Acaí Powder
- Lucuma Powder
- Ashwagandha Powder
- Mesquite Powder
- Protein Powders (either organic grass-fed whey, hemp or raw protein)
Just as with fruits, these should be used very sparingly as many people already receive way too much sugar in their diets.
- Raw Honey*
- Maple Syrup
- Turbinado, Rapadura, or Sucanat Sugar
- Coconut Palm Sugar
- Vinegars* (balsamic, rice, coconut, plum, apple cider vinegar)
- Coconut Aminos (you could also get Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or tamari, but I prefer coconut over soy)
Like I said, this list is by no means all-inclusive. It is simply a list to be used as a resource for you to discover different foods and ingredients that may assist you on your healthy-eating journey. Have any other thoughts or suggestions? Leave them in the comments below!