Building a natural foods pantry is the first step towards a healthy and energizing diet. With the right ingredients on-hand, you are always just minutes away from a tasty, nutritious meal.
Here are some of the “must-have” ingredients that we keep in our Natural Foods Pantry.
HEALTHY FATS & OILS
Everybody needs a certain amount of fats for normal body function. Here are a few essentials:
- Olive Oil - Great for lower to medium temperature cooking, salad dressings, and marinades. Go for the cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil, if you can.
- Clarified Butter & Ghee - Both are made when butter is melted and the milk solids removed. With ghee, the milk solids are left to cook a bit longer, resulting in a richer flavor than clarified butter. Both are great options for higher-temperature cooking like roasting and sautéeing.
- Coconut Oil – Tasty alternative to butter, coconut oil is extracted from the kernel or meat of a matured coconut. Able to withstand high temps, it is perfect for stir-frying or other dishes that work well with a coconut underbase flavor.
Simple foods that stand easily on their own or make a great foundation to any meal. Here are a few essentials:
- Nuts & Seeds – Look for raw, unsalted nuts and seeds – they retain their maximum nutrients. Be sure to store them in the fridge to keep them from going rancid.
- Dried Fruit – Conventional dried fruit can be loaded with additional sugars, oils and preservatives. Try unsweetened dried fruit and store them in the refrigerator for maximum freshness.
- Barley, Quinoa, and Brown Rice – A few whole grains and quinoa can be the cornerstone to your breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Store them in air-tight containers and label them with a purchase date so you know when it;s time to replace them.
A handful of fresh fundamentals can keep you on track. Here are a few essentials:
- Eggs – Great for a 5-minute breakfast, eggs are a great source of protein. Try buying pasture-raised eggs from a farmers’ market or CSA box. They are filled with more nutrients because the chicken’s eat grass and bugs instead of a dominant grain-fed diet.
- Garlic and Onions – A flavorful base for many soups, stir-fries, and sautées. They take an average steamed veggie to a whole other level. Store them on your counter away from moisture.
- Leafy Greens – Moving towards a produce-centric diet is key for optimal health. Always keep leafy greens in the refrigerator to add to your breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, or smoothie. Wash, dry, and prep them as soon as you get home for fast and ready use.
SPICES & SEASONING
You don’t need much to add flavor and WOW your taste buds. Here are a few essentials:
- Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper – Replace your regular table salt with sea or mineral salts. It tastes better AND the nutrient value is higher. And be sure to have fresh-ground pepper for optimal flavor.
- Your Favorites - You don’t need a whole cabinet of seasonings to make your meals delicious. Pick a few favorites and try them out. We like cumin and cinnamon.
- Honey, Maple Syrup, and Coconut Sugar - Delicious natural sweeteners to add to your next marinade, dressing, or dessert. Replace your white sugar with one of these less-processed alternatives.
- Apple Cider Vinegar, Ume Vinegar, Tamari, Miso, and Veggie Bouillon - Tasty options for adding a little zing to soups, dressings, and more.
You don’t need a huge fancy kitchen filled with expensive gadgets to keep you eating delicious and healthy food. You’ll need a few bowls of different sizes, at least one good knife, and big cutting board, a wooden spoon, a pot, a pan, and a colander. That’s it.
Store your food in containers that are affordable, effective, and non-toxic. Mason jars, parchment paper, and glass storage containers are a few essentials to any natural-foods pantry.
Set yourself up for success and you’ll never find yourself without a healthy meal on hand.