A well-stocked pantry is one that’s more likely to be used, wouldn’t you agree?
And the more great pantry staples for healthy eating you have in your kitchen, the better quality meals you can create.
And now that you know the most important tip for getting into healthy eating mode, you’ve got to stock your kitchen with the right stuff to keep you on track.
The A List
I have prepared a list of the best pantry staples that have served me well over the years. They allow me to create super healthful meals with flavor!
The imagination’s (read: google’s) the limit!!
And what’s best, is it’s not only that crappy, overly steamed, tasteless kind of food that you probably THINK of when you start “dieting”.
No, becoming healthy for good takes a lot of variety in ingredients, nutrients and flavors to keep you interested and craving the good stuff.
This is New Lifestyle kinda stuff.
The list I am outlining below is merely a guide. And you by no means have to go out and purchase everything right away. I know I sure didn’t; this collection took me over a year to amass.
And yes, I do have all of these items in my kitchen, and I do use all of them from time to time. They’re great to have on hand when the inspiration strikes, and I find it keeps me from getting bored with eating the same thing all the time.
With all of these items in my pantry and around my kitchen, I have the tools to make KILLER dishes at a moment’s notice or inspiration.
How to Not Break the Bank When Stocking Up
The best tip for how to get started is to pick 5 of these basics and purchase them on your very next shopping trip. Then on your next trip, get 5 more. Before you know it, you’ll have a perfectly stocked pantry ready to help you on your health journey.
I try to buy organic whenever my budget allows it, but it’s not a necessity. In other words, if the whole organic thing keeps you from stocking your pantry, then it’s not worth worrying about it. Buy what you can afford and can’t live without!
25 Must-Have Pantry Staples for Healthy Eating
- High quality, nutritious oils. Canola oil (great for high heat cooking), olive oil (great for salad dressings and flavor) and coconut oil (nutritious and good for medium heat cooking). Buy oil that says “expeller pressed”, if possible.
- Healthy dairy options or substitutions. I use calcium fortified almond milk, cans of coconut milk, and “ice cream” made from any of these.
- Freezer items like fruits and veggies. Get started with spinach, bananas, blueberries and peas, for example.
- I have tons of salt-free spice blends. They don’t have to be bland to be good. I tend to use lots of Indian spices such as curry, coriander, cumin. Also cinnamon, pepper (freshly ground), garlic and onion powder, etc.
- Extracts; I love them. They are a secret weapon in my recipes, especially for smoothies. I always keep on hand: vanilla, peppermint, coconut, lemon, orange and coffee. Just a tiny bit goes a LONG, delicious way!
- Healthy pasta choices. For instance: brown rice pasta and rice noodles, which are great for quick stirfrys and curries.
- Sauces are so important in my kitchen. They lend umami (“deliciousness”) to anything savory, so I try fermented, soy-based, and/or salty things. A tiny bit goes a long way in creating flavor. Get started with Asian flavors by stocking up on fish sauce, hot sauce (sriracha, cholula, tabasco), low sodium soy sauce, Bragg’s liquid aminos, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce and/or toasted sesame oil, salsa and sauerkraut as a topping for veggies or potatoes.
- Along the same lines as sauces, I often use vinegars. Stock up on distilled white (great for a million other household things, too), rice, apple cider and red wine vinegars.
- Beans are one of my favorite things to have on hand for adding simple, cheap, quick perfect protein and fiber to any dish. I even add them to smoothies! You will always find chickpeas, lentils, great northern, pinto, kidney beans, etc in my kitchen! If you’re intimidated, start with canned beans and switch to making your own when you’re ready. I mostly use canned beans myself currently.
- Low fat canned soups. These are great to have on hand in case of “I don’t feel like cooking” emergencies. Add a half a can of beans to any soup to instantly up the nutrition! Think minestrone, vegetable barley and tomato soup.
- Garlic and ginger. These two are pantry staples because of how long they can keep in your kitchen. [Ginger storage video coming soon] And they add massive amounts of amazing flavor to so many dishes.
- Whole wheat flour, and flour substitutes such as almond meal or chickpea flour. Great for baking or binding recipes together.
- Baking powder and baking soda. These are great to have on hand for baking in a pinch or many other uses.
- Yeast. Great to have on hand in case you want to make your own healthy bread at home.
- Corn starch. A must in my kitchen used for thickening sauces and helping marinades stick to shrimp, for example.
- Natural sweeteners in place of refined white sugar. Honey (raw, local and organic, if possible) and agave nectar (has a neutral flavor for use in baking, smoothies, etc).
- Dried fruits are always in my kitchen. I keep dried dates on hand and use them every day for sweetness in my smoothies. Raisins, cranberries and blueberries are great in salads too.
- Nuts and seeds, in limited quantites, are great sources of texture, flavor, protein and nutrients. You can add them to almost any meal like beans. Raw cashew, sunflower, pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, etc
- Nut butters. I can’t live without them. I add them to smoothies for a nutty protein kick and love topping fresh fruit like apples and bananas for a perfect snack. Almond, peanut, sunflower, etc.
- Healthy snacks. Having healthy snacks on hand can keep you from overeating. I love to keep fresh fruits and veggies on the counter easy to access, plus raw nuts and roasted chickpeas.
- Coconut milk and curry pastes and powders. Great to have on hand for an impromptu, super healthy vegetable (and lean protein, if desired) curry dish.
- Frozen lean meats like chicken or shrimp. Keep these in your freezer if you eat meat so that you will always have them on hand for quick, healthy meals like the aforementioned curry dish.
- Salad toppings to be used sparingly, like dressings and croutons. A little goes a long way towards being able to eat lots of salad every day.
- Keep corn tortillas, whole wheat tortillas and whole wheat pitas in the freezer for impromptu, healthy wraps or lower-carb alternatives to bread. Just thaw in the microwave or on the counter.
- Other condiments such as mustard, vegan mayonnaise, pesto, ketchup, etc.
Did you like this list? Here is a free PDF checklist of these items that you can take with you on your shopping trips!
Do you have any other pantry staples that you absolutely cannot live without that keep you motivated on your healthy journey? Recommend them to The Watering Mouth community below by adding a comment!
Share this article with your friends who are trying to get healthy, too!