When your kitchen is prepared and organized, so is your cooking and your head space.
Pantry Essential List
I recommend you reference this list when you are ready too stock your pantry.
Having a stocked pantry will help you to reach for healthy options when its time for a snack or a meals.
Below, are what I have in my kitchen, as staples, all the time.
Nuts & Seeds
These are superfood powerhouses. They are one of the best ways to get your daily dose of vitamins, healthy fat and fibre.
I ALWAYS have:
Flax Meal (ground flax seed)
Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Notes: I use these for snacking, on top of salads, in wraps, on top of stir fries, and always add them on top of my nut butters.
Also keep the nuts/seeds in the freezer to prevent going rancid, and keep 1/3 of the amount in a jar in your pantry for every day use.
These are packed with fiber and help to keep us fuller, longer. Using whole grains, ensures that the nutrients are still intact. I have most of these in my pantry at all times.
I ALWAYS have:
Sprouted Grain Bread
Whole Grain / Spinach Wraps
Whole wheat Flour
Chickpea or Coconut Flour
Oatmeal (quick and steel cut)
Panko Bread Crumbs
Breakfast Cereal (we Love Jordan’s Brand)
Rice pad thai noodles
Notes: When using whole grains, the best way to cut down on cook time is by soaking them. Try soaking the barley, or rice before you go to work. When you come home drain the water and the cook time will be half as long!
These are a go-to quick snack or lunch, always. They are a true favorite among the littles. My daughter is obsessed with almond btter and hemp seeds on sprouted toast with coconut oil.
I ALWAYS have:
Tahini (sesame seed paste)
Maple Syrup ( I know, not a nut butter, BUT it is a tree syrup and its phenomenal added to any butter and lemon for a sauce, or as salad dressing)
Note: When buying peanut butter, aim to get 100% pure peanuts with nothing added. It tastes sooo much better, and is far healthier then the regular peanut butter with added sugars, preservatives and salts.
Tahini is used in hummus, or as a salad dressing.
Try scooping 2/3 of your peanut butter into a mason jar and adding in a variety of seeds(from list above). Stir it up, and then you have ready to go, intensely nourishing, seed/nut butter.
Beans & Lentils
These are my favorite, weekly go-to for meals!! Lentils take 15 minutes to cook, and beans 30 (if you presoak). They take on the flavor you give to them and they are jam packed with fiber, antioxidants and nutrients that our bodies crave!
I ALWAYS have:
Red lentils (dry & no soaking needed)
Green Lentils (dry)
Brown Lentils (dry)
Chickpeas (dry and canned)
Black Beans (dry and canned)
Pinto Bean (dry)
Notes: Buy your lentils and beans in bags/dry. You can soak them which cuts down the cooking time by half. I wrote an entire blog on how to “Rise, Soak & Sprout” Legumes!
Although I love and prefer fresh fruit, having dried fruit on hand is helpful for added sweetness and deliciousness in the meals you make.
I ALWAYS have:
Note: You can throw them on top of any salad, as part of snacks or lunches. You can also add them to cereal, inside wraps or granolas or museli mixes. I also love them in my baked goods.
Herbs & Spices
Herbs & Spices are the fastest way to get both flavor and nourishment into a meal. The biggest difficulty is knowing what to do with them, but once you know, spices and herbs are the best addition to a meal ever!!!
I ALWAYS have:
Note: Buy in bulk, from an ethnic store if possible. They often have cheaper prices and stronger flavors that are more authentic. Also store in glass jars. I use a “lazy susan” to spin my spices and to always have access to them.
Vinegars (& oils)
I find vinegar add the acidity that you need for any meal to really “pop” with flavor. A little bit, goes a long way. Oils are also great for roasting vegetables and for salad dressings or stirfrys etc.
I ALWAYS have:
Apple Cider Vinegar (excellent for every day use and if you have a cold coming on)
Red wine vinegar (for sauces)
Balsamic Vinegar (for salad dressings)
Lemon (not a vinegar, but an acid! and my fav for salad dressings)
White Vinegar (for pickling)
Coconut Oil (for cooking)
Avocado or Grapeseed Oil (For salad Dressings)
Butter or Vegan Butter (for bread & baking)
Notes: Oil is used sparingly. When I can, I use broth or water to cook my vegetables in. Vinegars, are also used sparingly because they are so potent. But together, they are delectibleness!
Canned or Jar Goods
Black beans (canned)
White Beans (canned)
Tomato sauce (plain / crushed tomatoes – jar)
Diced tomatoes (canned)
Coconut milk (canned)
Refriend Beans (canned)
Yeast (for making bread or pizza dough – jar)
Braggs Amino Acids (jar) or Tamari Soya Sauce (jar)
- Coconut Sugar
- Brown Sugar
- Icing Sugar – Organic
- All Purpose Flour – Organic
- Chickpea Flour
- Coconut Flour / gluten free flour
- Raisins / dried fruit
- Shredded Coconut
- Chocolate Chips
- Flax meal (for eggs)
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
- Corn starch
- Vanilla, Mint, Orange flavoring
Vegetables & Herbs
My vegetables and fruits and frozen foods change all the time depending on what I am making that week. So I do not always have all these on hand, but I do have a good variety each week. And aim to include all of them at some point over the course of a few weeks:
- Sweet potato
- Mixed Greens Lettuce or Romain
- Greens: Kale, Spinach, Swiss Chard
- Butternut Squash
- Cabbage (red or white)
- Tomatoes (big and cherry size)
- Green Beans
- Brussel Sprouts
- Bell Peppers: Green, Red, Orange, Yellow
- Sprouts: alfalfa, broccoli
- Fresh Herbs: parsley, cilantro, green onions, basil, mint, thyme, rosemary
Fridge & Protein Essentials
I always have these in our fridge!
- Cashew Milk (Or Almond Milk)
- Maple Syrup
- Dijon Mustard
- Yellow Mustard
- BBQ sauce
- Apple Sauce
- Eggs (organic)
- Greek Yogurt
- Protein Powder – natural + greens
- Cheese (Boulderdash)
Fruits, Berries, Citrus
My fruits and berries change all the time depending on what I am making that week and depending on the season. So I do not always have all these on hand, but I do have a good variety each week. But I do ALWAYS have lemon, bananas and apples on hand:
- Mixed Berries
Super Foods & Aeromatics
I always have my super-foods and aromatics on hand. One boosts our immunity, the other makes our meals taste delicious!
- Moringa Powder
- Raw Honey
- Chlorophyl- mint
- Maca Powder
- Nutritional Yeast
Farm Raised Chicken (whole, breast, legs, ground)
Wild Salmon or Tilapia
Final Thoughts on Building your Kitchen:
Notice that these ingredients are not over the top and unheard of. Sure, there are some holistic nutrition choices here that may cost a bit extra, but the amount you save by eating healthy, also saves you sickness, stress and overeating. Spending the few extra bucks in the onset is truly truly worth it!!!! So start small. Begin with a few things on each list, and when you have a bit of extra cash start getting things off the bulk list. Bit by bit you will build you kitchen. If I could do this for my family on a bootstrapped budget, I know anyone can eat this way!!! Honestly buy one-thing-at-a-time, buy on sale and before you know it you will have the kitchen you have always dreamed of.
I often buy my produce based on the seasons. When produce is in season its fresh, there is plenty of it, it does not have to travel far and it is scrumdiddlyumptious. When fruit (and some veg) starts to go bad, cut it up, place it on a flat baking pan and put in freezer. Once frozen stick in a bag. You can make ice cream and smoothies galore.
Important Notes on Kitchen TOOLS:
The tools I have used in my kitchen are supremely basic. A high powered blender (most important!), a hand mixer, vegetable peeler, apple corer, a toaster oven, High Quality cutting board, sharp Knife’s, big bowls, tiny bowls, baking pans, 2 large soup pots, a steamer, 2 medium fry pans, a small fry pan, a wok and a few loaf baking pans, cupcake pans, cake pans and lasagna pan. That’s basically it. Some might say I am old school as I do not yet have a vitamix blender or instapot, or dehydrater or crockpot or high quality kitchen cooking gear. I would say I am blessed, as I have had the chance to work with my hands and truly learn to make high-quality food for any one on any budget with any supplies. I gathered all of mine as time went on, too. So you dont have to have it all at the same time. Bit by bit you build a kitchen. And bit by bit you will build your confidence.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you need anything but an open mind, willing heart and an able pair of hands to make exceptional whole & healthy meals.