Healthy Eating Series: Stocking a Healthy Pantry
As a holistic nutritionist, I firmly believe that the foundation of a healthy lifestyle lies in the foods we choose to nourish our bodies. An integral part of this journey is creating a well-stocked and wholesome pantry. By thoughtfully selecting ingredients, we empower ourselves to make nutritious and delicious meals, fostering overall well-being and vitality. This article will explore the essential elements of a healthy pantry designed to support your health goals.
Embrace Whole Grains and Legumes
Whole grains and legumes are the backbone of a nutritious pantry. Opt for whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, oats, and whole wheat pasta. They are rich in fiber and essential nutrients and offer sustained energy release. When choosing legumes, include an assortment of dried beans, lentils, and chickpeas. These plant-based powerhouses are high in protein, low in fat, and provide a plethora of vitamins and minerals.
Nourishing Fats and Oils
Healthy fats are a crucial component of a balanced diet and should be carefully selected for our pantry. Extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil are excellent choices for cooking and drizzling over salads. Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds also provide healthy fats and add a delightful crunch to various dishes.
Abundant Array of Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are nutritional powerhouses packed with essential nutrients, healthy fats, and protein. Almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are fantastic options to keep on hand. They can be used in smoothies, salads, trail mixes, or simply enjoyed as a nourishing snack.
Delight in Dried Fruits
Dried fruits are nature's candy, offering a naturally sweet touch to your pantry. Choose unsweetened options like raisins, apricots, dates, and cranberries. They can be used as natural sweeteners in baking, blended into smoothies, or tossed into oatmeal.
Flavorful Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices elevate our meals' taste and nutritional profile without adding unnecessary calories or sodium. Keep a diverse collection such as turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, oregano, basil, and rosemary. Not only do they add exciting flavors, but many also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Plant-Based Protein Sources
Plant-based protein sources are essential for those who follow a plant-based diet or simply want to reduce their meat consumption. Stock up on tofu, tempeh, and plant-based protein powders like pea or hemp. These options offer an array of amino acids necessary for muscle repair and overall health.
Rather than relying on refined sugars, opt for natural sweeteners to satisfy your occasional sweet cravings. Honey, maple syrup, and coconut sugar are great alternatives that contain trace minerals and antioxidants.
Canned Goods with Caution
While fresh is always best, canned goods can still be part of a healthy pantry. Look for low-sodium and no-added-sugar versions of canned vegetables, beans, and tomatoes. These can be convenient during times when fresh produce is not readily available.
Hydration Station: Herbal Teas and Infusions
Stay hydrated and support your overall well-being by including a variety of herbal teas and infusions. Green tea, chamomile, peppermint, and hibiscus teas are excellent choices, packed with antioxidants and soothing properties.
One excellent place to source the essential ingredients listed above and create a well-stocked, healthy pantry is the Mighty Bin. Emphasizing whole grains and legumes, the store offers a wide selection of nutrient-rich options like quinoa, brown rice, oats, and various dried beans and lentils. For those seeking nourishing fats and oils, the Mighty Bin showcases a range of choices, such as extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil, as well as a variety of nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds. Moreover, the store takes pride in offering unsweetened dried fruits like raisins, apricots, dates, and cranberries, providing natural sweeteners that can be used in cooking and baking, such as honey, maple syrup, and coconut sugar. Additionally, the Mighty Bin offers quite a large selection of organic spices and dried herbs, which not only add flavor to your dish but also contain a variety of positive medicinal benefits! To top it off, the store offers a delightful range of herbal teas and kombucha, promoting hydration and overall well-being. We have also provided a grocery list below to get you started on stocking your healthy pantry!
Stocking a healthy pantry is the first step towards embracing a wholesome and balanced approach to nutrition. By filling our shelves with whole grains, legumes, nourishing fats, and a rainbow of natural ingredients, we equip ourselves to create nourishing meals that support our overall health and well-being. Remember, a well-stocked pantry encourages mindful eating and fosters a sense of culinary creativity, making the journey to good health a fulfilling and enjoyable one.
Pantry Staple Shopping List
Below, we added a pantry staple list for you to browse! Note this is just a shopping list for the pantry; an entire grocery list would include meats, fruits, and vegetables- everything in this list has some element of shelf stability to it. This grocery list is a great starting place when you want to evolve your pantry into a healthier version. Start by going through your pantry and throwing out anything that might be out of date or stale. From there, check in if you already own some of the materials on the list below (chances are you just might!). Then begin adding in 1-2 items from each category.
- Rolled Oats
- Rice (brown or wild)
- Black beans
- Tomato Sauce
- Vegetable Broth
- Wild-caught (canned) salmon and tuna
- Coconut milk
- Protein Powder (whey or plant-based)
- Apple cider vinegar
- Balsamic vinegar
- Brown Rice Pasta
- Avocado Oil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Maple syrup
Nuts and Seeds
- Peanut Butter
- Nut butter
- Nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios)
- Seeds (chia, flax, hemp, pumpkin)
- Sea Salt
- Black Pepper
- Bay leaves
- Cayenne pepper
- Chili powder
- Crushed red pepper
- Curry powder
- Garlic powder
- Ground ginger
- Nutritional Yeast
- Grain-free crackers
- Plantain chips
- Dried Fruits
- Tortilla chips
- Coconut sugar
- Maple syrup
- Vanilla extract
- Almond flour
- Coconut flour
- Gluten-free all-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Cacao powder
- Chocolate chips
About Our Guest Blogger
Madison Steele is a San Diego-based holistic nutritionist, private chef, and yoga instructor. Her philosophy is rooted in extensive nutrition/wellness education and personal health journey. In Madison's practice, she embraces a holistic, individualized, and integrative approach to health, recognizing how all aspects of life are interconnected and affect well-being.
Specializing in: Hormonal Health, Digestive Health & Autoimmune Disease