When you’re shopping for items to stock your pantry, try to keep the healthiest, most nutritious items in mind. Be sure to read labels and avoid foods high in fat, calories and sodium. Purchase items that are free of corn syrup, fructose and partially hydrogenated oils. “Sugar” should not be one of the first three ingredients! Overall? Look for fresh and organic items, and remember to pack in the natural whole grains and lean protein!
Include hot cereal options such as steel cut oatmeal, whole grain cereals loaded with fiber (not sugar), such as shredded wheat or granola. Breakfast bars are quick and easy
to store; just be sure to get natural, sugar-free options (Kashi bars and cereals are always a great bet). Include whole grain pancake batters and low-fat/low-sugar muffin mixes made with all natural
ingredients – and don’t forget to stop by the produce section for fruits to throw in the mix!
The pantry is also a great place to store your stock of decaffeinated coffee and herbal teas. Choose organic when possible; there’s a vast assortment of herbal teas on the market. They’re great choices
because they are very low in calories and have great health benefits. You can also make iced teas out of herbal teas. You’ll be ahead of the game because they’re naturally sugar free and either low in or free of calories.
Other items easily
stored in the pantry include water packed canned tuna and salmon (water packed, not oil packed), natural peanut or almond butter (where the ingredient is just “peanuts” or “almonds”, without salt or sugar added), sodium-free canned beans, packaged dry beans, low-sodium broth or vegetable based soups, multigrain crisp bread, and olives and pickles to snack on.
Dinner items to store in the pantry include whole grain or vegetable pasta, brown rice, quinoa, potatoes and sweet potatoes, low-sodium
canned vegetables, and low-sodium or low sugar tomato sauce. You can also include dried lentils and peas, whole wheat couscous, barley, and bulgur.
Snack items in the pantry can include sugar-free gelatin, canned fruit (with no added sugar, packed in water), dried fruits, unsalted nuts and seeds, homemade trail mix, unsalted rice cakes, tuna or beef jerky, unsweetened applesauce, and whole grain crackers, to name a few. If you have a sweet tooth, you may want to consider keeping a stash of dark chocolate on hand in your pantry.
You should stock vinegar (balsamic, wine, rice or apple cider), virgin olive oil, natural honey, bouillon cubes, and organic maple syrup. It’s also wise to keep unsweetened cocoa powder on hand for those chocolate cravings – it’s much healthier than processed chocolate. Whole wheat flour is a must for baking!
Spices to consider stocking include garlic powder, salt or salt substitutes, black pepper, crushed red pepper, oregano, Italian seasoning, onion powder, cumin, rosemary, thyme, coriander, chili powder, cinnamon, ground ginger, and various other seasonings!