When was the last time you cleaned out your pantry? I don’t mean just tossing a few expired items or rearranging food to make room for new purchases. I mean really examining what’s in there, getting rid of the unhealthy stuff and stocking up on smarter options for your family. Keeping those shelves lined with accessible, nutritious options is a great way to set yourself up for clean-eating success on a consistent basis! Here’s a simple guide that will help you get organized for healthier meals in a snap.
First, know that most pantry staples will last about a year in a cool/dry place. Liquid oils, like olive oil or grapeseed oil, should always be stored in a dark cabinet, away from heat and light. Don’t keep them above your oven if the cabinet gets warm—they will go bad more quickly.
Glass jars are the perfect way to store dried beans and grains in your pantry, keeping them fresh and protected. Use a permanent marker or stick-on label to add the date of purchase to each jar, so you know exactly how long items have been on the shelves.
Amaranth, red quinoa and wild rice are a few of my favorite healthy whole grains. Whole grains are great cooked up in big batches and eaten for breakfast with cinnamon, coconut milk and fresh fruit, or enjoy them for lunch topped with beans and avocado. If you have them on hand and ready to use, you’re much more likely to use them!
Beans and lentils are a cheap source of high-quality protein. Not only are they high in fiber, beans and lentils also boast B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and iron. Keep them on hand to toss into salads or soups, or puree them to make creamy bean dips and hummus.
Nuts and seeds should be stored in the fridge or freezer to protect their natural oils. Stock your fridge with nuts like almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts and seeds such as pumpkin, hemp and chia for making decadent, yet healthy desserts and snacks. I love making brownie bites or protein balls for quick, yummy snacks. It’s always a good idea to keep sweeteners such as raw honey, lucuma powder and maple syrup on hand for baking healthy treats.
A good store of spices lets you easily add tons of flavor without having to use unhealthy ingredients like cream, butter and salt in your dishes. Some of my favorite spices include cumin, turmeric, oregano and cinnamon, which can be used to season a wide variety of healthy meals.
Another healthy item that’s great to have readily available in your pantry is herbal tea. Stock a good selection of classic favorites such as chamomile, dandelion and fenugreek as go-to options instead of coffee or sugary juices.
If tackling this task feels overwhelming, remember, it doesn’t have to be done all at once! Choose one area at a time to makeover, and keep this advice handy for healthy shopping throughout the year.