Having a pantry full of healthy, whole food ingredients is essential for maintaining a healthy diet. It is simply impossible to cook healthy without the ingredients on hand. A whole food pantry needs to be organized well to ensure nothing goes to waste. Yes, setting up your wholefood pantry can be time consuming and costly at first, but it will lead you to be much more creative and experimental with your food. It helps you to plan your meals for the week as you can concentrate on using up ingredients that you already have, therefore actually costing less in the long term. Some of my best meals come from a mismatch of what I can find at home. I don’t always use recipes, but enjoy throwing together what I can find at home. This means I also have huge variety in what I eat and am constantly trying new things. Some of my meals are a complete failure, but practice makes perfect!
The following lists the most useful pantry ingredients to keep at home. I use these as a base for many meals and it inspires creativity when you have these things on hand. At the end I have thrown in one of my favourite pantry based snack recipes- a healthy muesli slice.
Nuts and seeds:
– Almond meal- I use this as a base for healthy muffins, cakes, slices and banana bread
– Walnuts- I love walnuts! I throw them into salads often. I also crush them up in a mortar and pestle to add when baking or making muesli
– Mixed raw, unsalted nuts- A glass container full of these sits on the kitchen bench for quick snacks
– Pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds- I throw these into baking, muesli and add into salads or stir frys.
– Wholemeal spelt flour
– Wholemeal flour
– Brown rice
– Whole oats
– Puffed amaranth- So yum with yoghurt for breakfast, but also adds a great density to baking
– Flaked quinoa- Used in making your own muesli or muesli slice
– Rice crumbs- for fish or chicken
These combo of grains are low gluten, easily digestible and highly nutritious. There are endless types of grains and grain substitutes that you could use however I find these to be the most versatile.
Herbs and spices:
– Turmeric- Such a healthy spice for SO many reasons (anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, aids liver function + many, many more). Add it to marinades, curries, stir frys, salad dressings. It has a very mild flavour but turns everything yellow
– Cinnamon- Always added into my smoothies and into anything I bake
– Cumin- I use this a lot for meat marinades
– Chilli powder- Often easier than having to buy fresh chillies
– Artisse chicken spice rub- This tastes so yum, and is the easiest way to give grilled chicken some flavour
– Kidney beans
Organic tinned lentils and beans are ok, but rinse well to remove some of the salt. They are soaked in brine making them a little more convenient. However, if you have the time buying them dried and soaking overnight is a better option.
Fats and oils:
– Olive oil- for cooking at moderate temperatures (i.e. baking)
– Coconut oil- For high temperatures (grilling, pan frying, BBQing- you can get) and for baking
– Flaxseed oil- for salad dressings
Sauces, stocks , vinegars etc:
– Apple cider vinegar
– Tamari- wheat free soy sauce
– Low salt chicken and/or vegetable stocks- let’s face it, no one has time to make their own stock each week! Conventional stock is fine as long as you check for excessive salt and MSG
– Tinned tomatoes- Aim for organic and check salt content
– Tomato paste
– Organic pasta sauces- always keep a few on hand for last minute dishes!
Hayley’s muesli bar slice
This slice is super easy to make, tastes yum and is a great high protein snack to stabilize blood sugar levels. As you can see from the ingredients, it is hard to without the right ingredients on hand. Keep your pantry stocked and this is a great staple for you and the family.
– 2.5 cups of mixed cereal grains- I suggest 1.5 cups of whole oats alongside quinoa flakes and puffed amaranth
– ½ cup mixed seeds and nuts- pepitas, sunflower seeds, crushed walnuts are my pick
– ½ cup LSA
– ½ tsp vanilla extract
– 3 eggs
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– ¼ cup coconut oil
– ¼ cup honey or agave
– 2 mashed bananas
Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix well until eggs and banana are well separated. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Spoon the mixture into tray and flatten out. Bake for 25-30mins or until golden. Cut into aprox. 16 slices. Stores in the fridge for up for 5 days.