Pantry Basics

Pantry Basics

Three reasons why having a well-stocked pantry is necessary

1) You can save money by never having to go out to lunch again. Pressure cook a a pot of beans and rice on Sunday night and you can make 5 days of easy lunch combinations all week. Or, a pot of cooked quinoa is very versatile and lasts several days: just add vegetables or grilled chicken and get creative!

2) You inevitably eat healthier when you make your own food. No additives, no mysterious ingredients. Just whole foods with simple and delicious ingredients. Portion control is more effective as well.

3) It’s pretty to look at. Quite possible I waste time gazing at my cupboard with all the colorful mason jars and rearranging them. Don’t tell anyone.

Grains and beans

  • brown rice, quinoa, whole oats, wild rice, polenta
  • buckwheat groats (kasha)
  • soba noodles, brown rice noodles
  • garbanzo beans, black beans, lentils, adzuki beans, split peas
  • popcorn kernels

The bulk aisle in most grocery stores is one of my favorite places to go. It allows you to experiment with these different ingredients and buy small portions. Not sure what some of the ingredients are? Play around with some of them by adding different vegetables, spices, and herbs, as well as cooking them differently, and you’ll expand your cooking skills (and your palette!)

Oils/vinegars

  • sesame oil
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • coconut oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • brown rice vinegar
  • apple cider vinegar

These are the staples that I always have on hand. Along with a decent spice and dried herb collection you can make almost anything without having to go to the store.

Nuts, Seeds, & dried fruit

  • raisins
  • dried apricots
  • dates
  • walnuts
  • raw almonds
  • pumpkin seeds
  • flax seeds
  • black sesame seeds
  • coconut flakes
  • nut butters (no added sugars or oils)
  • tahini
  • candied ginger

Dried fruit and nuts are perfect for a healthier on-the-go snack, plus I add combinations of these to basic foods like salads, oatmeal, or yogurt for an extra kick of protein and sweetness.

Other/condiments

  • nutritional yeast
  • gomasio
  • dried seaweed
  • tamari/soy sauce
  • liquid aminos
  • powedered vegetable stock or bullion cubes
  • coconut milk (comes in cans or blocks)

Sweeteners

  • honey
  • agave syrup
  • brown rice syrup
  • molasses
  • apple sauce

No sugar, as you can see. If I have some of these on hand I am less likely to eat sugary foods or add sugar to things like coffee or oatmeal (e.g I use molasses in my smoothies for the taste plus the calcium; I use applesauce when baking so I can cut the oil and sugar content). Plus, these are more subtle sweeteners that don’t give you the same sugar highs and lows that regular sugar does.

 Do you have anything to add? Let me know!

Ingredients Demystified
Term defined: Whole Food

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