Essential Items for Every Pantry
Ever wanted to take a sneak peek into an RDN’s (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist’s) pantry?
Well don’t get too excited, if you were to check out my pantry on any given day it likely won’t blow you away. Why? Because my walk in closet is the one that will forever grow to accommodate my shopping habits. My pantry fits my goals; so, it is lean, not overloaded, and comprised of the necessary ESSENTIALS.
It's filled with foods that will support my nutritional goals.
Your pantry should be functional on having staples... of course you might buy extra things here or there, but remember WHAT YOU HAVE IN YOUR KITCHEN, IS WHAT YOU WILL EAT.
If you stock healthy foods, you will eat more healthfully.
If you stock garbage... Well, you will likely eat unhealthy foods.
That is why Nutella is not allowed in my pantry, because intellectually I have no desire to consume Nutella and if it’s in the pantry I probably will. Yes, I know the nutritional content but it’s delicious and I know myself. I am a dietitian not a robot!
You need to KNOW yourself and your habits. When it comes to purchasing extras, know which foods you can’t resist and if they will cause trouble OR set you up for success.
So, let’s set your pantry up for success with shelf stable items, that will take you the long haul.
1. Nut Butters: natural almond butter and peanut butter. Typically, you will find several jars of this in my home. If peanut butter is problematic for you (than you can opt for a powdered peanut butter until you feel you can bring peanut butter into the house).
2. Nuts and seeds: having nuts and seeds on hand is a quick and easy option to pair with a healthy carbohydrate to keep a snack balanced (ex: fresh blueberries with walnuts as a snack). They are also a great back up plan when the fridge is running low.
3. Wild Salmon Pouches: I know, but here me out. Having protein in your pantry is important for a quick grab and go option when things are busy. Drizzle some olive oil over the flaked wild salmon, and fresh black pepper, maybe some lemon... Throw it over a salad and bring it to work. This is a wise pantry staple. (If you enjoy sardines, another win in the pantry)
4. Olive oil... Extra virgin olive oil. Did I say olive oil?
5. Balsamic vinegar (or another type of your choice, if you prefer). This is ideal over salad dressings that are processed and high in calories and sugar. You can create your own with olive oil, a vinegar and some spices from #8 below.
6. Alternative flour: like alternative facts. Fairly important these days. I like to keep almond flour or coconut flour on hand for last minute recipes.
7. High quality Whey Protein Powder; my house is of course stocked with JMN Protein Powder. Ultra-filtered whey protein, that is so carefully made to retain its immune supportive components (immunoglobulins and lactoferrins), Hormone free (r BGH free), gluten free, NON-GMO, no preservatives, and from grass fed cows. I do stock plant based protein powder, as well! You can use protein powders to mix into nut butters, into oatmeal, smoothies and protein pancakes. The options are endless!
8. Spices: Stocking spices that are either no or low sodium is ideal. Spices shouldn’t have added salt. The idea here is increasing flavor and antioxidants in your meals. I always have these basics; turmeric, ginger, garlic powder, curry, paprika, oregano, cumin, black pepper, and basil. Pick your favorites!
9. Canned legumes no salt added (or dried). I suggest keeping canned on hand, dried beans are outstanding but they do take a long time to prep. Having canned beans requires a nice rinse in the sink and then you can add them into recipes, top salads, or make hummus or bean dips.
10. A basic whole grain or seed based cracker is good to have on hand.
11. 100% whole wheat pasta or quinoa; shelf stable and easy to prep. Mix these with mostly veggies to up the volume and control the carbohydrate intake.
12. Chia Seeds- Fiber, protein, and omegas... Soak these yummy seeds in your smoothie or oatmeal for at least 10 minutes.
13. On the go bars; they can be fruit and nut based, a chewier date base, or a protein packed option. Either way, they prove to be an essential part of a healthy pantry.
Take a moment to check out your pantry, does it need a little spring cleaning?
Ditch or donate the things that are not serving your healthy ways.
There is always more you can add to the pantry, but it is about having essentials you can use to compliment your healthy lifestyle!