How to keep your pantry stocked – Staples and Goodies

A “my pantry” post is a staple of every food blogger’s blog, so I figure this post has been a long time coming. I have two pantries at the moment, one at home with my boyfriend, and the other in the city I work in. It was quite difficult to “divide” up my cupboard, particularly the superfood section, as I only have one blender, and haven’t really wanted to drive it around in my car every time I visit home.

There is, obviously, no real guideline as to which foods you absolutely need to keep around in your pantry, but I have a few staples that I’d like to share with you, as well as a few goodies I like to have around in case I need a quick snack and don’t want to whip up a batch of cookies (which, you know, rarely happens, but just in case).

I find that I manage healthy eating much better if I have enough healthy options around – and preferably next to no “unhealthy” food. At home, my boyfriend always keeps a few pizzas in the freezer, for example, but I’m not tempted to eat them at all as they contain both wheat and dairy and God knows what, and so I know that if I eat one of them, I’ll react due to my allergies. Concerning sweets, there was a time when I was still at university, when I didn’t have any sweet treats around whatsoever. At first, it actually kept me from indulging, but in the long run, I think it is “safer” to have some dark chocolate or some sort of treat around, as when the mood strikes, you won’t be happy until you’ve got what you want.

But, let’s start with things I need for my main meals, so breakfast, lunch and dinner. I am not a huge snacker, anyways, so goodies I buy as snacks are either dessert or end up lying in my pantry for a very long time.

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I always have some packed rye bread at home – I think that’s one of the staples everybody should have. If you have a piece of bread, you’re always good to go, as you can make yourself a sandwich, or make a quick omelette and enjoy it with some toasted rye to make a well-rounded meal. Maybe that’s the German in me talking, but there’s really nothing better than bread. Granted, it’s even better if it isn’t covered in plastic but fresh from the bakery or my own oven, but, like I said, it’s something that I always have in my pantry, so it needs to be sealed in plastic to keep longer.

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The next thing I always keep stocked in my pantry is some sort of plant milk. I have recently noticed that if I consume too much soy-rice milk, which always used to be my favorite for coffee or oatmeal or smoothies (basically everything), I get really bloated and itchy. So I’ve started looking for alternatives…and the coconut water from alpro is perfect in smoothies, while the oat milk works for oatmeal (kind of a no-brainer). I love making my own cashew milk as a coffee creamer, or have recently discovered a new favorite: hemp milk.

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Now, this may be a no-brainer, but I always keep frozen fruit in my freezer, as well as some frozen beans or rice or fresh spinach if I ever made too much and have left-overs. The berries I usually buy, but I always have frozen bananas in there as well, as well as peaches/oranges/mango, depending on what’s on sale at the supermarket or which fruit is about to be overripe in my kitchen. I need less of the frozen fruit in winter, as I’m not as big on smoothies during that time, but in summer, it seems I can’t freeze enough bananas for the life of me.

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My kitchen shelf is always too full, and every time I take something out, I fear the entire shelf is going to collapse on me. What you can see in this picture is actually medium-filled, as I took a lot of my superfoods to the city I work in, simply because I usually have my blender there. I will list all the things I always have around for you:

  • granola (homemade or bought)
  • protein powder (hemp protein or sweet lupins)
  • nutbutter/seedbutter (I ALWAYS have tahini and peanutbutter, but usually also sunbutter and cashewbutter, as well as coconutbutter)
  • nuts, seeds and berries (I can’t live without cashews – I make cashew milk at least once a week, and cranberries are the perfect addition to oatmeal or smoothie bowls or cookies or on top of peanutbutter toast)
  • shredded coconut/coconut chips (perfect for oatmeal, baking, smoothies)
  • canned coconut cream (I have some in the shelf for making curries, and always one in my fridge for whipped coconut cream)
  • spelt flour
  • canned tomatoes/tomato purée
  • canned white beans/chickpeas
  • coconut oil
  • olive oil
  • apple vinegar
  • balsamic vinegar

This list is by far not complete, I have so much more in my kitchen, but I am sure that with this list, as well as the frozen goods above and (plant)milk and bread, you’d be able to survive for a very long time. Of course, I also have a whole shelf stacked with spices, oils (like ginger-infused oil, tomato-infused oil, date-vinegar, fig-vinegar, lime-vinegar, macadamia oil, peanut oil…), but you really only need salt, (freshly ground) pepper, paprika, thyme/oregano, vanilla and cinnamon to make yummy dishes for breakfast or lunch/dinner.

Once you get into cooking, your pantry will automatically fill up pretty quickly, usually with things that have a long shelf-life. My superfood collection, for example, usually lasts several months, depending on how much “healthy” baking and smoothies I make. The “superfoods” I always have around are:

  • chia seeds
  • goji berries
  • hemp seeds
  • bee pollen

I bought some baobab powder and barley grass powder last summer, and recently tested matcha, and as those three are only used in small amounts and I usually only use them in smoothies, they have lasted a very long time. I personally love bee pollen, and sprinkle them on honey toast or add them to smoothies/baked goods frequently, as they are also extremely healthy for allergy-ridden people. But I personally think you only really need one of those four superfoods, and that’s chia seeds. At least if you’re eating a vegan diet, you should really invest in buying them, as your overnight oats and oatmeal will just be taken to another level.

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Finally, what I always have around but what isn’t really necessary, is some clif bars or energy bars. I love clif bars as they always feel like an indulgent chocolate bar to me while really filling me up, so they are a staple in my pantry. They are quite expensive, though, so I always try to have homemade options around as well, like a batch of one of me energy blissballs or some banana bread or something like that.

Alright, I think that’s enough – I won’t tell you what I have in my fridge, as that usually varies and has nothing to do with my pantry.  I hope I could help some of you out, especially if you’re only just starting to live by yourself I know it can be difficult. Personally, the first time I lived alone, these are the things I found I needed the most often,

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