Be prepared during uncertain times or when you’re short on time.
Having basic food items always available in your home is an important part of cooking, as being prepared offers flexibility when creating a meal.
I finally know what my mother meant by when she said that “one more stop on the way home would kill her.” When life gets so busy sometimes stopping at the grocery store just isn’t going to happen. So how can we prepare ahead of time for days like this, so we aren’t living off takeout? How can we stock our pantry, freezer, and fridge with foods that are better for us, made with fewer preservatives, and that have the least number of artificial ingredients?
My number one rule for stocking anything is that it’s only as useful as the items you have on hand. Take it from the girl who stocked her pantry with sweaters, her fridge with a box of baking soda, and her freezer with ice and tequila. Not very useful for making a healthy meal!
One of my most rewarding healthy lifestyle changes was making the decision to give my pantry, fridge, and freezer a full makeover. This makeover has saved me hundreds of dollars, unwanted inches on my waistline, and countless hours of wandering aimlessly around the grocery store.
To get started, give your pantry, fridge, and freezer a good deep cleaning. Take everything out and clean the shelves and drawers. Organize similar ingredients together, clean out bins, and toss anything that has expired. You can purchase an airtight glass or see-through containers to make grabbing ingredients super easy for yourself. Read the labels on certain products and if there’s something in good condition and unopened that you won’t or don’t want to use anymore, donate it to a local food pantry. (If you have no idea how to start or what to buy click here to inquire about doing a full pantry, fridge, and/ or freezer makeover in person or virtually.)
Healthy Staples to Keep on Hand
Most, if not all of the options I’ve listed below are common and can be found at your local grocery store. I do most of my shopping at local farm stands or markets or my local grocery store, Adams Fairacre Farms. I order all my pantry staples and other healthy options online from Thrive Market. I get them at a wholesale price and because I don’t have a lot of free time having everything being delivered to my door is super convenient. (Right now, Thrive Market is generously giving Body Be Well readers 25% off their first order. There’s no promo code needed, simply click the links in this post to start shopping.)
So, let’s spring to it! If you have dietary restrictions or allergies, just replace the suggestions below with a more appropriate alternative that’s suitable for your needs.
Oats (steel cut & old fashioned)
Quinoa Rice (brown, long-grain, wild)
Pasta (I like this gluten-free & veggie-based pasta by Cybele's)
Tortillas & Taco shells (I love anything blue corn.)
Crushed & Diced Tomatoes
Broths & Stocks
Shelf-stable non-dairy milk
Beans (black, kidney, cannellini, & garbanzo)
Mac & Cheese (Sometimes this is the best comfort food there is.)
Bars (My favorites are RXBARs & Nature’s Bakery Bars. All gluten-free & not loaded with fake ingredients.)
Seasonings & Spices
Water, Wine & Beer (Don’t forget to stay hydrated & sane people!)
Nuts, Seeds and Dried Fruit
Nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, etc.)
Dried fruit (dates, figs, raisins, cranberries, blueberries, etc.)
Nut/seed butter (almond, coconut, peanut, sunflower, etc.)
Oils, Vinegar & Sauces
Oil (coconut, avocado, olive)
Vinegar (balsamic, red, apple cider vinegar)
Hot Sauce (My favorite is Tesse Mae’s, available from Thrive Market) & Sriracha
Mustard (yellow, dijon)
Grain-Free Flours (almond, coconut, oat, etc.)
Coconut & Brown Sugar
Fridge & Freezer Staples
When determining what to stock in your fridge and freezer, almost any of your favorites will work. I tend to buy and stock a lot of more frozen fruits and veggies to reduce waste but also help keep everything stocked.
Plain Greek Yogurt
Cheese: Feta, goat, manchego & parmesan are my favorites.
Lemons & Limes
Meats/Fish (Salmon, ground turkey, roasted chicken & prosciutto. One of these is always ready in my fridge for me to grab and go.)
Fruit: I love peaches, blueberries, raspberries, banana, pineapple & mango.
Veggies: I love frozen avocado, edamame, spinach, broccoli, peas, green beans, cauliflower & carrots slices already prepped for soups.
Seafood: Shrimp & scallops are my go-to's. Salmon sometimes, but I prefer to buy it fresh if I can.
Veggie, Black Bean & Turkey Burgers
Veggie made pasta: These are great because they contain no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives & are ready to eat in a few minutes!