Having a stocked pantry is an important part of adopting a healthy lifestyle, because it gives you the basics for just about any recipe you might want to whip up. I know when I first started moving towards a healthier diet I was at times a bit overwhelmed at all of the different ingredients I needed for certain recipes, and I felt frustrated when I didn’t have most of them on hand. However, once I slowly started to stock up on some of the basics it made such a difference and I was able to create so many recipes. I’ve compiled a list below of some of the things I use most often, and things I think are great basics to set yourself up for success.
Here are my top 10 pantry staples:
1) Coconut Milk
I always use full-fat coconut milk for any recipe that calls for coconut milk and my favourite brand is Thai Kitchen. I especially like to have this on hand for my chia pudding recipe so I can whip up a batch anytime I need a filling snack or breakfast option.
2) Nut Flours
Having a good selection of different nut flours is an important pantry staple, not only for baked goods like these chocolate chip cookies, but also for some entrees like my spiced chicken tenders or you can use them as thickeners for soups and stews. I like having almond meal, coconut flour, arrowroot starch and buckwheat flour on hand. Some recipes will call for other flours such as spelt flour, chickpea flour, brown rice flour etc. You can stock up on as many as you think you will use, but these are just the ones I use the most often.
3) Organic Spices
Organic spices have become such an important part of my pantry even though at first I had no clue what kind of spices to use. If you’re brand new to the world of spices just start with some simple ones you’ll get lots of use out of. Things like cinnamon, garlic powder, onion powder, chilli powder, turmeric and Italian seasoning are just a few that I use all the time. Spices add so much flavour to your meals and they have great nutritional benefits too! Read this post for more information on why buying organic spices is important.
4) Organic Tomatoes
I love having a jar or two of organic tomatoes stocked to make things like simple tomato sauces, pizza sauce or to add to soups. I try to buy the brands that come in glass jars because most tin cans are lined with bisphenol-A (BPA), which is a powerful hormone disruptor. If you’re buying any food that comes in a can look for cans that are BPA free.
I always have organic extra virgin olive oil for all of my lower heat cooking and I use avocado oil and coconut oil for cooking at higher temperatures. It’s important to make sure you have more than one oil in your kitchen since cooking certain oils like olive oil at a high temperature causes the oil to smoke creating carcinogenic compounds. Avocado oil and coconut oil are more stable at higher temperatures and are safer to use in these cases.
I always have a few different kinds of pasta in my pantry since it’s such a versatile staple. My favourite pastas are red lentil, chickpea, or black rice pasta. Look for ones that have simple ingredients in them and that don’t contain additives you can’t pronounce. If pasta is on your menu just be sure to add lots of veggies to your plate or even serve it with a big salad to get those greens in! Filling up on a big bowl of pasta might be delicious, but without the veggies, you’re missing out on so many vitamins and minerals your body is craving.
7) Nuts and Seeds
Having a good selection of nuts and seeds can be useful for so many things! I like using nuts to make homemade granola, trail mix, or to sprinkle on salad. I also like to have chia seeds on hand for chia pudding, sesame seeds for salads, and hemp hearts for adding protein and essential fats to smoothies. However, I actually don’t keep my nuts and seeds in my pantry. It’s a good habit to get into to keep all varieties of nuts and seeds in the fridge to keep them fresher longer and prevent them from going rancid. I actually keep my nut flours in the fridge for the same reason.
8) Honey and Maple Syrup
If you’re a baker like me, natural sweeteners are a must! Maple syrup and honey are my two favourites. For honey, try to support your local honey farmers and look for unpasteurized. Pasteurization heats the honey and kills beneficial enzymes and phytonutrients. For maple syrup the darker the colour the richer the flavour.
9) Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV is a great product to have on hand for a couple of reasons. I like to add ACV to my water when I’m making bone broth because it helps extract the minerals from the bones and bring them into the broth. It can also be beneficial to drink a tablespoon or two of ACV in a large glass of water if you have an underactive stomach and need to give your gut some digestive support. It’s also great to make homemade salad dressings with! Make sure you buy raw and unpasteurized ACV for all the added benefits of fermentation.
10) Vegetable/Chicken Stock
In a perfect world, I would always have a homemade batch of organic bone broth prepped and ready to go in the freezer for when I wanted to whip together a delicious soup. The truth is though, sometimes I just buy vegetable and chicken stock at the grocery store because I’m not always perfectly prepared. If you’re looking for stock in the grocery store make sure you’re reading the ingredient list carefully. Stocks are usually filled with all kinds of nonsense including sugar and artificial garbage. Remember that anything in the ingredient list ending in “ose” is just another name for sugar! Try to avoid brands with added sugar or artificial colouring. Again, try to make your own and have it ready to go in your freezer as often as possible since the collagen and minerals from organic chicken and beef bones are so beneficial to your body. The store-bought stuff should be used as a backup.
I hope that helps you stock up on some important staples so you’re always prepared for making all sorts of delicious recipes at home. What are your favourite pantry staples to always have on hand? Let me know in the comments below!