How can you guarantee healthy eating and cooking at home? By stocking your pantry for success! (We will discuss your freezer and refrigerator in future posts.) When we think of meal planning for the week or whipping up a quick meal, it is so important to make sure you have the right ingredients on hand. Initially, it will feel like quite an investment, but once you get on the path to cooking, you will appreciate the convenience and cost savings (from not eating out).

Here is our list for success:

  • Spices & Dried Herbs
    • Why? Flavor and health! Branch out and explore new spices and herbs, and in doing so, reap the nutritional benefits. Explore turmeric for anti-inflammatory benefits or ginger for your digestion.
  • Salt
    • We prefer kosher and sea salt. With kosher salt, you can really see how much you are using, and sea salt often has a stronger flavor where you can get away with using less.
  • Beans, Dried or Canned (low or no sodium) or Both!
    • Canned are convenient, but dried are cheaper. Both provide the same health benefits. Remember you can freeze dried beans once cooked.
  • Canned Tomatoes
    • Why? Canned tomatoes are actually higher in lycopene than their fresh counterparts. One of the exceptions to the rule that fresh or frozen are better than canned. Also, tomatoes are a great ingredient to always have on hand for a variety of recipes.
  • An Assortment of Oils
    • Extra Virgin Olive as your go to
    • Canola or Avocado for high heat cooking and baking
    • Coconut (as a butter sub)
    • Sesame if you enjoy Asian flavors
  • Vinegars
    • A splash of acid is often the missing element from a recipe when you feel like something is missing. Also, vinegars are essential to be able to make your own dressings! Balsamic, Apple Cider, and Red Wine are our favorites.
  • Grains
    • Focus on whole grains, but there is still room for some refined 😉
      • Whole Grain Pasta
      • White Pasta
      • Oats
      • Brown Rice
      • Ancient Grains, such as Farro and Quinoa
      • You might also consider some of the fun new pastas made from lentils or beans!
  • Nuts & Seeds
    • For salads, snacking, baking, and other recipes
  • Dried Fruit
    • Same info as nuts and seeds! Consider combining your dried fruit with your nuts/seeds for a healthy trail mix
  • Baking Essentials (if you like to bake)
    • Flour (Whole White Wheat and White)
    • Baking Powder & Baking Soda
    • Sugar (white, brown, raw, or if you want the more natural coconut)
  • Condiments (or flavor enhancers!)
    • Honey
    • Maple Syrup
    • Soy Sauce-we like reduced sodium Tamari
    • Dijon Mustard
  • Dark Chocolate
    • We need a healthier treat on hand! We like to buy dark chocolate chips since they can be added to trail mix or baked goods easily.
  • Vegetables
    • Some should be stored in your pantry or on the counter. We consider these essential:
      • Onion
      • Garlic
      • Potatoes (white and sweet)

This list is simply a suggestion, but hopefully you have found it helpful! You have to decide what works best for you.

To YOUR Taste!

Chef V