** This is the second installment in a series where I’ve teamed up with Whole Foods Market to help you through your healthy eating journey. If you missed my first in the series, be sure to check out Stocking A Healthy Refrigerator.**
Today I’m offering tips, suggestions and a list of basic necessities for stocking your pantry healthy with dry goods, canned goods and condiments. Having a well-stocked pantry can make the difference between being able to cook a leisurely meal at home or making a mad dash to the grocery store (We’ve all been there).
It’s important to have a stock of ingredients that you use on a regular basis at all times, but be sure to round out these items with others that you love to use as well. Also keep in mind recommended storage times for specific items and be sure to regularly “clean out” the pantry so you don’t get stuck with an expired key ingredient right at recipe time.
Here are a few tips before we get started with that list:
Be a Smart Shopper-
Keep a running list of items you use on a very regular basis. Post it somewhere in the kitchen, inside the pantry door is a handy spot, and write down items as they run low.
Watch your store ads and if you’re a coupon-clipper, look for sales and deals to save money when you’re stocking up.
It’s important to keep your pantry stocked with healthy choices for your family. Read nutrition labels when shopping for pantry goods just like when you shop for anything else. With this in mind, plan to shop for pantry-stocking when you’re not rushed so you can make your best choices.
Purchase in small quantities so your food is always fresh unless you’re stocking something that you use A LOT (like canned tomatoes and tomato sauces for me).
Tips for storing your dry goods-
Don’t leave items such as flour or brown sugar in their original packaging. Storing these items in see-through containers helps keep them fresh longer.
Place similar ingredients together, such as all dry goods together, canned goods, pastas, etc.
Keep in mind things like temperature, humidity and pest prevention when stocking your pantry, depending on where you live.
Here is a good, exhaustive list for your pantry.
Dried Goods and Baking necessities-
dried beans, such as kidney, black, white, chickpeas and lentils
unbleached, all-purpose flour
whole wheat flour
gluten-free flour options like almond and coconut flour
cake flour and bread flour if used frequently
brown sugar, light and dark
cocoa powder, regular and Dutch Pressed
pure extracts, such as vanilla, almond, lemon, etc.
vanilla beans (optional)
chicken broth, vegetable broth, beef broth, etc.(canned or box variety)
canned beans like black, red, pinto, kidney, white, garbanzo (custom to your needs)
olives, black and green
canned meats like salmon, tuna and sardines
Diced, crushed, and whole varieties (Look for BP free cans or try boxed tomatoes)
tomato varieties like diced with green chiles or jalapenos, etc.
jarred pasta sauce and pizza sauce
white rice varieties like basmati, jasmine, long grain
rice mixes, liked wild, Spanish and yellow (carefully read labels here)
Having regular and instant rice variety is helpful
Oils-(People have specific thoughts about what are the best oils to use, so below are most common, depending on what you prefer)
olive oil, light and extra virgin oil
Canola and/or vegetable oil*
walnut and sesame oil
non-stick cooking spray
*Why not experiment with healthy nut and seed oils to replace vegetable or canola, if that is something you currently use
shell pasta – large and small
couscous and orzo
quick, healthy variety
apple cider vinegar
white wine vinegar
flavored vinegar, like raspberry
red wine vinegar
mustard (regular and spicy and or Dijon)
mayonnaise or vegannaise
nut butters like peanut and almond
salsa, a couple of varieties
I’m adding nuts to this list but beware that nuts are quickly spoiled if you don’t use them regularly. Storing varieties that you don’t use frequently might well be stored in the freezer.
This list should be very specific to items that you frequently like to cook
I have purposely left off spices and dried herbs at this time because that is a post in and of itself for next time. Stay tuned for that, it’s one of my favorite areas in the kitchen.
Several items on this list are considered my suggestions for pantry essentials and so there might be items I haven’t listed that you can’t live without (I’d love to hear what those items are), and I’m sure I’ve listed ingredients you never put on your list, but maybe you’ll give a few lesser-known items from here a try the next time you’re stocking up.
This post is part of an ongoing paid series with Whole Foods Market but the opinions are my own.