If you wanna eat healthy, you gotta stock healthy: keep whole foods in your pantry for a healthier you!
Keeping good, whole foods in your kitchen indicate you are much more likely to eat good, whole foods. So, one of the main, key steps to improving your eating habits and overall health means to nail down the essential steps of stocking a healthy pantry. There are some staples to a whole foods pantry that should always be on hand for an array of various recipes and dishes to support vitality and wellness!
Simple swaps can make a big impact on your health at the cellular level. Because of this, the specific brand and source of your food choices is key. Because throwing out everything at once and stocking everything in your new pantry all at one time can be expensive, start by replacing things individually as you run out.
When stocking a whole foods pantry, it is important to first address the source and quality of the food you’re buying. All foods should ideally be:
- Fresh, Whole & Real
- Unprocessed (or un-naturally processed)
Shopping at local farmers markets, co-ops, or by having your own garden can be some great ways of getting some amazing deals on your organic, fresh foods. The more foods you can make yourself at home the better, as they are likely to be more fresh and nutritious.
In addition to swapping out fresh, whole foods for the processed, less-healthy counterparts, it’s important to store your foods properly and ideally. First, keep bulk foods such as dry beans, lentils, rice, and other such foods in glass containers, rather than bags or plastics. This will keep food fresher for longer and without being exposed to un-natural and toxic chemicals such as is found in plastics. For fresh foods, such as produce, keep most of them in the fridge; ideally, store them loosely in the produce bins. Keeping healthy, fresh foods easily within reach and sight is a good trick to help you and your family be more likely to reach for these choices.
So, what are some of the top important items to keep stocked in a whole foods pantry?
Fresh, Organic Produce:
Fresh, organic, and ideally local and seasonal produce should be the foundation of our diet. The more we eat of these foods over others, the healthier we will be. Aim to have an abundance of these foods in our kitchen, and try to consume them with every meal or snack.
Fresh herbs not only provide some great nutritional benefits for our bodies, but they also are a great way of naturally and nutritiously boosting flavor to your dishes. Some top favorite fresh herbs include thyme, cilantro, basil, rosemary, and oregano.
Condiments, Sauces & Dips:
Having fresh, whole foods sources of these condiments and sauces can be a great way of adding simple and delicious additions to meals and snacks. These can be store-bought (remember quality should be fresh, organic, and naturally processed) or homemade. Some top favorites include (fermented) pickles and olives, mustard, avocado oil based mayo, fresh salsa or guacamole, hummus, fresh or homemade salad dressing, full-fat sour cream or cream fraiche, sauerkraut, and coconut aminos.
Organic, Grass-fed, Full-Fat Dairy (for those vegetarians):
When dairy foods come from the right source and undergo proper processing, they can actually be nourishing and health promoting. Some staples from the proper sourced dairy include: butter, yogurt, kefir, (raw or unpasteurized) milk, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, and cream. All dairy products, such as cheese, should be organic and come from cows not treated with rGBH.
Organic, Unsweetened Nut Milks:
For those who can’t handle dairy or simply choose not to consume them, organic and unsweetened nut milks (especially when homemade from quality, raw nuts) can be a nutritious substitution.
Eggs are a great staple to have on hand. Ideally, eggs from the local farmers are best. When buying eggs, always aim for organic and pastured.
Coconut Oil & Extra Virgin Olive Oil:
Keeping organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, and other natural vinegars on hand make a great addition to homemade salad dressings, sauces, marinades, and other dishes.
Dried Pantry Staples:
Foods I always keep in my pantry include dried beans, lentils, rice, quinoa, 100% whole flours (buckwheat, wheat, coconut, or garbanzo bean are some top favorites), raw sundried cane juice crystals, and oats are some of my top dried pantry staples. Because these foods stay fresh for long periods of time, they don’t need to be constantly replenished, which makes them easier to keep on hand.
While I do keep intake of canned foods to a minimum, I have my pantry stocked with a few canned food staples to use when necessary. Always purchase organic canned foods, from sources not lined with BPA. Some top canned pantry staples include beans, coconut milk (full-fat), coconut cream, pumpkin, and olives.
Bonus Tip: Keep some kombucha on hand! GT’s Synergy brand is a great choice as it’s easily found and contains no added sugars and is organic. Kombucha is a great alternative to soda, juices, and other less-ideal beverages. In addition, kombucha is a great fermented drink that provides a lot of digestive health and boosts immunity.