Ashley Cummins, RN, INHC
10 Tips To Give Your Pantry a #facelift
1. Slide out storage – This was one of the first things we did when we moved into our new home. If your pantry is dark, cramped, and/or has deep shelves I highly recommend you invest in some slide out storage. It will help you visualize what you have in your pantry and make it easily accessible. Cooking is difficult enough without having to hunt for ingredients!
2. Clear glass storage container – I LOVE MASON JARS!! I now put my rice, lentils, sugar, flour, baking soda, etc. in glass mason jars. I use glass because it helps maintain food quality. Nothing can get in…or out. Plastic containers don’t protect food from your outer environment as well and sometimes your food may absorb odors. Glass containers also give you a clear picture of what’s inside the container.
3. Seasonings – Seasonings (spices) are such a must have in the pantry! You can spice just about anything up with a little seasoning! Please be cautious when purchasing pre-made spice blends. These may contain MSG or other additives you don’t want.
4. Canned Vegetables & Beans – Keep lots of veggies in your pantry to add to meals. Try and get the ones with reduced sodium or no sodium. You can add your own later. Just read your label to avoid anything other than the vegetable itself, water, and salt.
Beans are an all around great food source! Beans have protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and carbohydrates. They are the complete food! Add beans to eggs, salads, soups, or mix with meat for added health benefits.
5. Canned Sardines and Tuna – Look for wild caught. Loaded with omegas and protein. These are great to keep on hand for a quick meal. Eat out of the can or use to make a “tuna salad”.
6. Broth / Stocks – I keep chicken, beef, bone, and vegetable broths on hand. These are great for sautéing veggies and making soups. I use broth to make mashed potatoes instead of milk to cut the calories while adding flavor.
7. Whole grains – Such a great staple to have on hand! Steel cut oats, rolled oats, brown rice, quinoa (seed). These can be used to make healthy meals on the fly.
8. Oils & Vinegar– Olive, avocado, coconut, and sesame oils are my staples. I keep apple cider, red wine, and rice wine vinegar on hand. These oils have their own distinct flavors and add great depth to any meal! I would recommend when purchasing oils, you try and purchase them in glass containers. This keeps the oil from oxidizing and going rancid. It also keeps the oil from absorbing unwanted flavors.
9. Shelf stable milk – I love keeping milk in the pantry! I personally don’t drink dairy so we keep cans of coconut milk on hand. There are shelf stable milks available in dairy and non-dairy form depending on your preference. Keeping these on hand eliminates the need to rush to the store if you run out of milk for a recipe or want to make a quick bowl of oatmeal in the morning.
10. Nuts and Seeds– Almonds, pistachios, pumpkin, sunflower, pine, chia seeds, etc. The list is long! Nuts contain fat, protein, minerals, and antioxidants. Try and purchase them raw or roasted and forego the salt. Nuts are great healthy snacks to keep around especially if you are hungry and don’t have a meal ready. It doesn’t take many to curb your hunger so you can make it to dinner. I like chia seeds to add to any meal but also I can make a quick sweet treat using chia seeds to make pudding!