March Makeover: Day 4
Today spring clean your food supplies and thoroughly revamp your pantry. Try to eliminate or reduce all processed foods and read the ingredients on your packaged foods. Make sure they’re REAL foods and don’t include chemicals (you should be able to pronounce and recognize each ingredient — if you can’t, it’s probably not a real food!)
Below, we’ve added our top pantry items as well as resources to help you get started. Remember, it’s much easier to cook healthfully and snack in a beneficial way if you load up on the right ingredients!
Whole Food Staples
1.) Stock up on healthy grains. Grains are easy to store and make the perfect base for delicious salads, entrees and snacks. Take a look at our guide to cooking great grains and this recipe for inspiration!
2.) Basic condiments, such as tahini, miso, mustard and soy sauce, can be kept in your refrigerator and used in a variety of sauces and dressings. Making your own dressings and sauces is a fun and easy way to avoid excess oil and preservatives.
3.) Make beans a staple. Beans are full of protein and fiber, and can be bought in dried or canned form. Dried beans can be soaked, cooked, and eaten whole or pureed (hello hummus!)
4.) Dried spices and herbs are essential in a clean pantry. We love fresh herbs, but having dried herbs and spices readily available at all times ensures that your dishes will be packed with flavor and added nutrients, even when that fresh herb you love may be locally out of season. Check out Martha Stewart’s spice checklist for the basics. Also, for maximum freshness and flavor, we recommend grinding whole seeds yourself, so treat yourself and invest in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle.
5.) Nuts and seeds add flavor, texture, and numerous health benefits to any dish. Some of our favorites include walnuts, almonds, and pumpkin seeds. They can be pureed into sauces such as pesto, tossed in salads or pasta, or eaten alone as a snack (make sure to read the labels and avoid any nuts with added vegetable oils).
For more tips and inspiration take a look at Heidi Swanson’s guide to building a natural foods pantry from 101 cookbooks, or Springer and Steph’s whole foods essentials from their blog, eat life whole.