When my husband and I moved to Dallas for our 3-month internships, we brought only what fit in our little sedan. That meant that by the time we got to our new little studio apartment, we needed to go purchase some food to restock our little food supply and get some healthy pantry essentials. Because our apartment had very little cabinet space and we didn’t want to have to throw away unused food at the end of our stay, we had to be very picky and particular about the things we chose to purchase.
This led me to wonder, what does go into a healthy pantry? There are plenty of things that are nice to have on hand, but what things are absolutely necessary and vital to keep for good, healthy cooking? Most of what my husband and I purchase at the grocery store is perishable. For the most part, we stick to the “only shop around the perimeter” rule. I did some research and experimenting and have compiled a list of what I think are some of the most important non-perishable items to have.
Now keep in mind, this is simply pantry essentials, so you won’t find fridge/freezer items or spices in this section. Those could be for a whole other blog post! This is simply pantry essentials.
Healthy Pantry Essentials
- Olive or coconut oil
- Vinegar like Balsamic or Apple Cider
- Rolled, Old-Fashioned, or Steel-Cut Oats
- Canned chicken, tuna, or salmon
- Canned black or kidney beans, no-salt-added or low sodium
- Canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, or tomato paste (no salt added)
- Dried beans or lentils
- Unsweetened plain almond milk
- Peanut and/or Almond Butter, no salt added
- Dried fruits like raisins, craisins, mango, apple, bananas, etc (no added sugar)
- Nuts like pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, or cashews
Cooking healthy food starts with having the right things on hand. If your pantry is full of processed or sugary foods, chances are, you will eat those processed or sugary foods! Keeping whole foods and healthy items around will ensure that you have the correct cooking essentials to provide yourself with healthy meals and snacks.
So all that being said, what are your healthy pantry essentials?