If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I am a big proprietor of meal prep and clean eating. I often post short videos of my latest grocery hauls in which I will briefly mention the items I purchased as well as give a little description of what I may be using them for throughout the week. I follow up with these videos by posting pictures of meals I made for the week and reviewing new recipes I try.
While filming one of these short clips last week, I realized there are a lot of items I frequently purchase at the grocery store for my meal prep that I consider “staples.”
It came to my attention that these items must hold some importance in my diet or I would not keep them at the front of my pantry shelves. These pantry staples are items that contain great nutritional value, add good sustenance to a meal, or are a great base for cooking.
So here are some of my favorite pantry foods I always have on hand, as well as some examples of what I use them for. Enjoy!
*Note: I am not a registered dietitian or nutrition specialist. All statements made in this article are based on information gained from personal experience/research. Individuals should review personal dietary needs when using these suggestions.
Oils, vinegars & sauces
Olive oil – great for doing any kind of sauteeing and for making your own dressings
Coconut oil – a great substitute for traditional butter/margarine in baking recipes
Sesame oil – use in any stir fry dish to add more traditional Asian flavor
Apple cider vinegar – truly a super hero for gut health; can be used added to water, in salad dressings, and when cooking
Dijon mustard – a simple sauce with basic, clean ingredients that adds plenty of healthy flavor to sandwiches and dressings
Liquid aminos – great substitute for soy sauce, with much cleaner ingredients
Seeds, nuts & nut butters
Almonds – grind them up into a clean, healthy flour for baking or have them raw for an energy boosting snack
Walnuts – perfect crushed to add some protein and texture to salads and homemade banana bread
Chia seeds – full of omega-3 fatty acids and a great aid in digestion, these are great in smoothies, muffins, or mixed with a plant-based milk to create a homemade pudding
Almond butter – perfect paired with sliced apples
Peanut butter – spread a bit on a chunk of dark chocolate for an indulgent (yet not too sinful) treat
Tahini – drizzle over veggies before baking to add a great crisp finish or use with lemon juice for a tasty, creamy salad dressing
Oats – can be used for many variations of traditional oatmeal including overnight oats, egg white oats, and also ground into oat flour which is great for a flour substitute
Oat flour – can be made by blending oats in a food processor or high powered blender until a powder-like consistency is reached
Almond flour – see above for instructions on this too
Honey – a great natural sweetener for teas, coffee and baked goods
Maple syrup – make sure its 100% natural and enjoy it on homemade protein pancakes and as a substitute for refined sugar in many recipes
Coconut sugar – a great alternative to brown sugar, plus low-glycemic
Dates – add one or two to smoothie ingredients and blend for an easy boost of sweetness
Beans & legumes
Black beans – perfect for adding to burrito bowls and even making brownies
Garbanzo beans – aka, chickpeas, these are a perfect protein add-on to meals, as well as the perfect base for homemade hummus
Lentils – they make a hearty, fiber-rich soup
Plant-based protein powder – can be used in many baked goods (cookies, muffins, pancakes) for added protein
Ground flaxseed – full of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, this is great added to muffins and yogurt
Collagen – full of protein and good-for-you collagen which claims to help strengthen hair, skin and nails, this flavorless one from Vital Proteins is great for adding to coffee and smoothies
Stevia – a mild-tasting naturally-derived sweetener perfect for adding to drinks
“Superfood” boost – use ones that fit your needs which may include energy, focus, digestion, etc. I like these from Navitas
Snacks & stuff
Popcorn – I love those from Late July and Boom Chicka Pop for a light, after-dinner snack
Bars – ones that have simple, clean ingredients like Larabar are satisfying and tasty
Crackers – almond flour-based cheddar crackers (like these from Simple Mills) are my favorite
Extras (aka, stuff I put on smoothie bowls, oatmeal, yogurt, etc.)
Coconut flakes – adds a tropical-tasting crunch to your favorite snacks
Hemp seeds – full of good-for-you fats and a great way to add on a few calories for post-workouts
Cacao nibs – for the chocolate lover, these add a satisfying crunch to smoothie bowls and chia pudding
Which of these pantry staples will you be interested in trying on your next grocery haul? What are some of your favorite uses for the ones I mentioned? Have any in your pantry that I should give a try?
I would love to hear your comments and feedback!