Healthy Pantry Staples: A Blueprint for Vitality
To commit to healthier cooking, all you need are the right ingredients on hand.
BY VICKI MARTINEZ
Food. Not only is it a primal need for survival, but it’s also the main driver behind achieving (and maintaining) wellness and vitality. That’s why it’s so important to surround ourselves with foods that reinforce healthy eating choices. It begins with a kitchen well-stocked with healthy pantry staples.
“What you eat is the foundation of how you feel,” says Lindsay Taylor Ph.D., senior writer and educator with Primal Kitchen, “and food can become the blueprint for living optimally.”
How Do You Choose Healthy Pantry Staples?
There’s no one-size-fits-all for eating healthy. For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, steering clear of grain-based products is part of a healthy diet. Others may need to avoid dairy or choose a vegetarian route. Taylor says the philosophy at Primal Kitchen is that healthy pantry picks should be based on an individual’s goals, preferences and comfort level.
“We don’t tell people how to eat or which diet will be best,” she says. “What we want to do is empower people to choose the foods that allow them to feel their best and to provide them with the tools to help achieve their goals.”
If your goal is to develop healthy eating habits by adopting a low-carb style of eating, here’s a list of pantry essentials to get you started.
Cooking with Healthy Pantry Essentials
There’s no question that healthier eating starts with home cooking. “When people make diet changes, one of the big barriers is that they don’t feel confident in the kitchen,” says Taylor. “Learn a few basic cooking techniques—how to use your broiler, how to roast vegetables, how to sauté, how to cook a whole chicken—start with the basics,” she encourages.
To easily execute basic cooking techniques, it helps to have the following pantry essentials on hand:
Olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, butter (great for the keto pantry), kosher salt, black pepper (preferably whole peppercorns with a grinder) and ghee.
Choosing Pantry Spices
Variety is the spice of life. This also holds true in the kitchen. With just a handful of spices, you’ll bring bold, delicious flavors to every meal. Start with:
Turmeric, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, cayenne and red pepper flakes and garlic (fresh and powdered).
As you develop cooking confidence and try new recipes, you’ll find other spice flavors you really enjoy. Add those to your list of kitchen staples.
Baking Pantry Essentials
Baking soda, baking powder, coconut flour, vanilla and almond extract.
For sweeteners, turn to organic honey, molasses or maple syrup.
Healthy Pantry Canned Goods
Tomato paste, coconut milk and tuna.
Depending on your palette, it’s great to have canned salmon, sardines and oysters on hand for nutrient-rich protein sources.
Eating shouldn’t be an exercise in bland and boring. Taylor agrees that condiments can be healthy pantry picks as long as they’re made with “real, simple, exceptional ingredients.”
Mayonnaise (try Primal Kitchen Mayo with Avocado Oil), hot sauces like Cholula and sriracha, salad dressing (try Primal Kitchen Caesar Dressing) and organic marinades (try Primal Kitchen Greek Vinaigrette & Marinade).
Of course, the meat and potatoes of a Primal/paleo and keto-friendly pantry is just that … meat and vegetables. Pick a protein, choose a vegetable and build from this blueprint. You’ll realize how easy it is to cook simple, delicious meals, bursting with flavor.
Need some inspiration?
Try these Primal Kitchen recipes, using many of the healthy pantry staples we’ve mentioned.