How to Stock a Healthy Pantry
We’re getting back to basics for today’s post and focusing on how to stock a healthy pantry. If you don’t have a pantry, don’t worry! Neither do I.
Some of you guys might remember me showing you our kitchen when we first moved into the condo that we’re currently renting. There are a few cabinets that I use to store most of my items but as you can see, the space is somewhat limited and the second shelf is starting to bow from all of the weight…
Not exactly ideal but I’ve found the shelves and the magnetic racks that I bought from Ikea to be super helpful in making extra room.
I use them to hold most of my bulk pantry items in Ball Jars and the spices and herbs in magnetic spice tins with corresponding labels. This set up has made it so easy for me to access things while I’m cooking. I absolutely LOVE it!
So I’ve made a list of the things that I personally use the most in my everyday cooking along with a printable PDF that you can find at the end of this post. Of course the items listed will vary from person to person, depending on your preferences, but you can use this as a guideline and then add or leave out whatever you desire.
If you are able to buy in bulk this will help to save a lot of money and time since it is relatively inexpensive and will last you a while. Then all you have to worry about is buying fresh produce on a weekly basis.
Here are a few extra tips that I like to follow when I shop and cook at home:
- Replace unused spices and herbs every 6-8 months
- Buy local and organic produce when possible (especially the dirty dozen)
- Read labels to make sure they say 100% whole grain (no enriched flour!); Sprouted grains and those that are organic or non-GMO are best for digestion
- Check for unnecessary added sugars or preservatives. If you can’t recognize the ingredient then you probably don’t want to eat it
- Avoid canned goods with BPA liners (Eden Organics and Muir Glen are two brands that I like that sell BPA-free canned goods)
- Only reheat leftovers in glass containers, not plastic (I love my Pyrex glass containers)
I choose to do some of these things for health reasons and some because I believe that my dollar counts as my vote, but that doesn’t mean that I think that everyone should do the same thing as me. It’s important for you to do your own research and decide what works best for you and your lifestyle.
If you have any items or tips that you love that I’ve left out, please let me know! I’m always open to trying new things.
Disclaimer: I created this post as a guide for what to have on hand for healthy cooking, not for storage recommendations. Some of these products (mostly the condiments) should be stored in the refrigerator (rather than the pantry) after opening. Please refer to the back of the packaging for instructions on how they should be stored.
- Brown Rice
- Rolled Oats
- Steel Cut Oats
- Black Rice
- Spelt or Wheat Berries
- 100% Whole Grain Pasta
- Chickpeas (or Garbanzo Beans)
- Split Peas
- Black Eyed Peas
- Black Beans
- Aduki Beans
- Pinto Beans
- Cannelini Beans
- Navy Beans
- Great Northern Beans
- Mung Beans
- Raw Cashews
- Roasted Peanuts
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Hemp Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- Ground Flax Seed
- Unrefined Coconut Oil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- High Heat Oil (with a neutral flavor such as Sunflower, Avocado or Grapeseed Oil)
- Sesame Oil
- Applesauce (to replace oils when baking)
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Rice Wine Vinegar
- Balsamic Vinegar
- White Balsamic Vinegar
- White Wine Vinegar
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Sherry Vinegar
- Fine Sea Salt
- Black Pepper
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Chili Powder
- Smoked Paprika
- Curry Powder
- Crushed Red Pepper
- Organic Reduced-Sodium Tamari (or Soy Sauce)
- Vegan Worcestershire
- Sriracha (or Hot Sauce)
- Liquid Smoke
- Plant-Based Mayo
- Organic Ketchup
- Organic Diced Tomatoes
- Organic Crushed Tomatoes
- Organic Tomato Sauce
- Organic Tomato Paste
- Vegetable Bouillon
- Organic Salsa
- Sundried Tomatoes
- Coconut Milk
I always buy tomato products that are organic since they are a part of the dirty dozen!
- Peanut Butter
- Almond Butter
- Cashew Butter
- Sunflower Seed Butter
- Tahini (Sesame Seed Paste)
Nut butters deserve their own section, obviously. ;)
- Pure Maple Syrup
- Brown Rice Syrup
- Raw Honey
- Coconut Nectar
- Coconut Palm Sugar
- Medjool Dates
- Dried Cranberries/Raisins
- Dark Chocolate Chips
- Brown Rice Flour
- Quinoa Flour
- Oat Flour
- Almond Flour
- Garbanzo Bean Flour
- Nutritional Yeast
- Corn Meal
- Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
- Spelt Flour
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
I store any opened flours in my refrigerator and keep my baking soda in a Ball Jar to help maintain freshness!
CLICK HERE to print the Healthy Pantry Staples Shopping List
Looks like a really good list! I’d try to remove the canola oil from the pantry completely. I did it a couple years ago. You should try avocado oil, it’s a good high heat cooking oil. I’ve never seen the tomato paste in a jar. I have to get me some of that!
I agree, Kelli. I got rid of it a couple of years ago and never miss it! I will admit that I do consume it via packaged chips like Lundberg rice chips and Late July tortilla chips, though. Crunchy chips, gotta have ’em ;)
I quit buying canola oil a while ago (I mainly use sunflower oil) but I thought it was okay as long as it’s organic? I’ll remove it anyways to prevent confusion. And I’ll keep an eye out for avocado oil too, thanks for the suggestion! :)
Canola oil is processed from rapeseed oil which is very unhealthy. I think regardless of if its organic. =/ Happy to hear you’ve removed it from your pantry! :)
Good to know! Thanks Kelli! :)
I love this! I’ve never actually broken down my pantry this way, but I think it’s an awesome way to take stock of what you’re actually buying.
I had “clean out pantry” on my Christmas break to-do list, but, like several other things, it got booted off the list due to excessive Netflix watching…
Haha! At least you had a good excuse. ;)
I’m so jealous of your set-up! Those shelves are fantastic!
Thanks Hannah! I kind of love them! :)
Happy New Year! These are some amazing tips. I love your shelves on the wall with spices. I have a triple patio door across from my kitchen so wall space is limited, but it sure does make for good lighting!
Thanks Megan! I think I rather have good light than the shelves. That’s priceless! :)
I wish I had the space to do this, my tiny NYC kitchen couldn’t take it. One day when I have a house…
Thank you soooo much! This is going to be so helpful! Love it!
Thank you so much for the idea, mama! xoxo
I loooooove this and am actually running out of room on my spice cabinets and one of Miguel’s projects for this week is to hang them up on the wall. I’m going to show him this…. :D So organized! ..which I’m in constant need of.
I love your ball jar + spice display — practical and cute! Also digging the cute, pinnable graphic :) Great post for January!
What an awesome post! Reminded me that I really need to buy farro, hemp seeds, and za’atar- I keep saying I’ll buy those, but never got around to it!!
I really love your mason jars and magnetic spice rack! I feel like I’m constantly fighting with my kitchen organization system, and things get so much more complicated when we start bringing in all the special ingredients we use for blogging :lol: Remember back in the day when we didn’t need 12 different types of grains, 8 different types of flours, or 4 different types of sweeteners? ;)
Funny story, my mom was requesting the same exact sort of post a few months ago, and I’m honestly too ashamed of my lack of organizational skills to photograph what’s going on behind pantry doors. I’m sooooo jelly of your jar and spice setup! I love how open and light it all looks…definitely a project I should follow through on as well! I’ll share this post with my momma – she’ll be thanking you, for sure!
This literally is the most helpful list I’ve come across and is absolutely going on my Pinterest! Ever since moving into my house (rather than my city apartment, AKA close to all and every restaurant) I’ve been trying to figure out what all I need in my cupboards. Although the panicked Target trips for missing ingredients are becoming less and less of an occurance, I’d be lying if I said they didn’t still happen over a year later. ;)
Thanks Kiara! Target is a dangerous place to go to frequently so I can understand wanting to avoid it, lol!
Thanks, Sarah for the great list. I’ve been slowly moving to getting most/all of these items. It’s nice to have a list. I really love the Ikea shelves (and Ikea!). I don’t have a lot of storage either and I’m always trying to think of ways to maximize what I do have or add something nice.
You’ve given me some good ideas.
Have a great day!
P.S. I’ve started keeping a list of what I have on hand so I don’t end up with 4 jars of something I only use occasionally! It’s helped when I’m meal planning and making my list. Or if I have no idea what to make I can get some inspiration from the list.
That’s a great idea, Nancy! I need to start doing that too because I end up buying multiples of things I already have and then I have to store them on my counter because my cabinets are too full. Thanks for the tip! :)
Over the holidays I cleaned out all our cupboards (and tossed items that expired like 5 years ago…ack!) and it feels so good to start the new year all organized. Well, the cupboards at least.
Happy New Year!
Oh yes, I threw away a few things from years ago too. It feels so nice to have the extra space! Happy New Year, Jill! :)
Great info in this post! I have a bit of a space issue in my kitchen too – I keep trying to eat through some of my grains so that I can create more space, but then I just go out and buy another new whole grain lol!
I hear you, girl! I have the same problem! :)
This is a great post! I love Ball jars. Sarah do you ever shop online at Vitacost? I know you like Whole Foods, and have noticed that Vitacost has alot of what Whole Foods has for lower prices. I have been watching Vitacost food and beauty hauls on YouTube and it’s amazing how much cheaper they are. :)
I have bought a few hygiene products from Vitacost but never food. I will have to start looking into that because I’m sure it saves a ton of money. Thanks for the tip, Tracey! :)
Hi, thanks for your post and your very complete list. One question, where do you store your apple cider vinegar and your rice wine vinegar? I never know if I should refrigerate them or just store them in my cupboard, thanks!
I store them in my cupboard and they seem to do okay like that. I also just checked the website for the Bragg’s ACV and it says refrigeration is not required. :)
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A few “pantry” items here belong in the fridge or a COOL, DARK cellar! Do your research before blindly following a blog, people!
Hi Karla, I feel like your comment is coming from a negative place rather than one that is meant to benefit others but I will refrain from deleting it anyway.
Some of the items listed are purchased in the dry goods section which I classify as pantry items (mostly the condiments). I am not suggesting storage for this post, simply trying to provide a list of what to have on hand for cooking healthy meals. The products have directions on how they should be stored on the back of the package. I figured that part was common sense but I will add clarification in the post to prevent confusion. Hopefully you can find a way to word your comments in a helpful rather than negative way next time.
Oh my goodness! You have so much great information on here. I wish my ‘pantry’ was as exciting as yours haha. I’m glad I stumbled accross this post – it’s so straight forward. Soo helpful. I love heading down to my local bulkfood store and filling my jars straight up!
Great post, love, love, love it !
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