If I had a nickel for each time someone asked me about how we eat, and how I get my children to eat in a similar fashion, I’d be set for life. Today I’m going to show you how to stock a healthy pantry.
There are few places in our house that I love more than the pantry. When we moved into this house (a little over a year ago), the pantry was one “room” I was most excited about. Before now, I had never had an entirely separate place, door and all, for just pantry items.
During this past year, I have refined my pantry skills, and let me tell you, this is a commendable skill!
The word “pantry” comes from the Old French word “paneterie” meaning from “pain”, the French word for bread. In medieval times food and supplies were stored in specific rooms: meats were stored in a larder, alcohol stored in the buttery and bread was stored in the pantry. (Source)
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Tips for Stocking a Healthy Pantry
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- Be basic. The pantry is the place where we keep the food and other supplies we use most often, and if you have a separate room for your pantry, it’s also the place for “overfill.” No matter the size of your pantry, you want to be sure you can fit everything necessary, and one of the best ways to do this is to keep it basic. I keep lists of the things I use most often and then create a pantry around that.
- Buy in bulk. I buy a ton of items from the bulk bins at various stores, and then place them in jars in the pantry. This helps cut costs and it also allows me to get a variety of things I might not otherwise purchase.
- Be practical. This kind of goes along with #1, but if you want to have a healthy pantry, just keep it basic and practical. Yes, you will find snacks and treats in our pantry, but 90% of the items are basic and practical.
- Know which grocery stores will give you the best deal. You can stock the best and healthiest pantry just by doing a little research on local (or online) grocery stores and other food sources. I go to several different places for the items in our pantry because I know which place has the best deal for the highest quality.
- Keep a notepad. If you can keep a notepad (big or small) inside (or next to) your pantry to jot things down as you are getting low on them, it will help ensure that your healthy pantry is never barren. I used to have many nights when I thought we were going to have Aidells Chicken Apple Sausage with Organic White Rice but then walked in the pantry to find just 1/4 c. or less of white rice left. Not pleasant.
- Buy organic whenever possible. Of course, this is something that is very important to me, but you can stock a healthy pantry without it. The reason I am able to do it so often is because most of the Organic items I buy are in bulk which helps save a lot of money. (For the record, almost all of the items below that have been purchased in bulk below are Organic.)
- Organize. Type A over here, but I’m telling you that if you organize your pantry in a way that makes sense for how you cook and bake on a daily basis, it will help you keep track of things much better. You won’t buy unnecessary things, and you won’t have 5 of the same thing. You’ll also be armed and ready to quickly grab and go as soon as you need an item.
How to Stock a Healthy Pantry
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As I mentioned above, I separate all my pantry items into “categories,” but you should know that mine might not be “normal” for you and your family. The point is that organizing will help you easily find things, so if you can figure out your own categories and organizational pantry methods, this will be much easier!
In any case, here is a snapshot of what our pantry looks like, but also know that it changes from time-to-time.
- La Croix Sparkling Water (current favorites include Coconut, Apricot, and Passion Fruit)
- Coco Libre Coconut Water
- Organic Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
- Coconut Milk (Aroy-D, Golden Star)
People might be surprised that this category exists in our pantry. But yes, yes, yes, of course, it does! Most of these snacks I keep in one basket, and we don’t eat them every day for every meal, but I do not believe in shaming snack foods. Besides, yum!
- Unreal Candy Coated Milk Chocolates (we have been making Monster Cookies almost weekly with these)
- Various Made in Nature snacks
- Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn
- Chimes Ginger Chews
- Back to Nature Organic Cookies
- Kirkland Organic Tortilla Chips
- coconut chips
Oils and Vinegars
- Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil (yes, we really keep a gallon of it in our house at all times)
- Nutiva Organic Red Palm Oil
- Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
- olive oil
- Nutiva Organic Hemp Oil
- avocado oil
- Nutiva Organic Buttery Coconut Oil
- red wine vinegar
- white balsamic vinegar
- white wine vinegar
- dry sherry
- water chestnuts
- kidney beans
- lima beans
- garbanzo beans
- black beans
- butter beans
- Season Brand Wild Caught Sardines
- wild tuna albacore tuna
- tomato paste
- Annie’s Organic Tomato Soup
- Nutiva Organic Plant Protein Superfood 30 Shakes (Chocolate and Vanilla)
- Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein 15g
- raw almond meal
- pure cane sugar (Ceci loves this in her coffee)
- Fleur de Sel
- Nutiva Organic Shortening (this never has to be refrigerated, even after opening + it’s Vegan and super awesome!)
- Nutiva Organic Coconut Flour
- Wholesome Organic Powdered Sugar
- Nutiva Organic Coconut Sugar
- Bob’s Red Mill Arrowroot
- Anthony’s Organic Ginger
- Baking Soda
- King Arthur 100% Organic All-Purpose Flour
- shredded coconut
- baking powder
- cacao nibs
- cacao powder
Nuts and Seeds
- raw pecans
- raw almonds
- raw cashews
- Nutiva Organic Hempseeds
- raw walnuts
- raw pumpkin seeds
- raw filberts
- Nutiva Organic Superseed Blend
- raw brazil nuts
- raw sunflower seeds
- Nutiva Organic Chia Seeds
You’re wondering why I have so many nuts and seeds? The reason is simple. Because I use many of them when I make my homemade trail mix for kids.
- Nutiva Organic Coconut Manna
- A Loving Spoon nut butters (yes, I still have a small supply!)
- Nikki’s Coconut Butter (We typically have at least 1-3 flavors on hand at any given moment. My current favorite is their seasonal, “Pumpkin Spiced Donut.” It is unreal, and I really love using the flavor as a topping for these 3-ingredient pancakes.)
Grains and Beans
- gluten free rolled oats (I also like Trader Joe’s brand)
- white rice
- brown rice
- orange lentils
The amount of white rice we eat in our house is ridiculous. It’s always a staple item because it’s so versatile!
- Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin
- Great Lakes Gelatin
- NOW Foods L-Glutamine
- Wedderspoon Organic Manuka Honey Drops
- nutritional yeast
For the record, I have an entire different cupboard where most of my nutritional support items are kept.
Bulk and Overages and Misc. Edible
- Classico Organic Pasta Sauce
- Happy Pho Vietnamese Brown Rice Noodle Soup (p.s. I have a homemade recipe for this coming soon, too!)
- Gimme Organic Sushi Nori
- rice paper
- Kirkland Organic Salsa
- many of my recommended kitchen items are stored here
- mason jars
- paper towels
- kid’s art supplies
You will have noticed that I don’t leave out entire food groups, except for dairy (which I don’t think is a good pantry item anyways). The reason is because I don’t believe that a normal, healthy lifestyle should ban entire food groups. I have to due to my illnesses, but I would never make my family live this same exact way.
So there you have it….my pantry, and how to stock a healthy pantry.
Looking for a recipe that uses several pantry items? I have a brand new one for you today. It’s my Seven Layer Casserole. Click HERE to grab it.
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