The cooler season is underway and as we shift into cooking-at-home mode, it’s time to start thinking about stocking our shelves with items that are natural and eco-friendly

NO-FUSS RULES FOR YOUR HEALTHY AND NATURAL FOOD PANTRY

  1. Start making a list of foods you and your family eat on a regular basis.
  2. Have a list of non-negotiable staples that will make healthy eating easier.
  3. Fill your cabinets with easy to prepare, but natural, nutrient-dense foods.
  4. Purchase foods from the natural section of the store, and make sure they’re grown with people and planet in mind.
  5. Purchase seasonally as much as possible.
  6. Stock up on basic, versatile, natural ingredients.
  7. Store your natural food pantry items in reusable packaging for a zero-waste option.
  8. Fill your containers at your local bulk food store.
  9. Make sure your natural food pantry is a cool, dark place for long-term storage.
  10. Work with your own space and make your natural food pantry is functional.
  11. Don’t overwhelm yourself! Stock up on natural food pantry basics over time.

 NATURAL FOODS TO STOCK YOUR PANTRY WITH

  1. Whole grains: They’re more bioavailable for your body to absorb and having your favourite grain on hand will limit purchasing overly processed and sugar-filled breads and restore your gut health. Find a local grain farm in your province or The Flourist is a great Canadian option that ships.
    Natural grains + flours for your pantry: quinoa, barley, couscous, oats, rye flour, whole wheat flour, and durum flour (for pastas), or ready-made pastas.
  2. Dried goods: If you’re a baker, you’ll want to keep some of these natural baking swaps on hand. Sure, you’ll still make a tasty treat, but one that’s a little closer to nature. Online Organics has bulk options for all things natural for your baking pantry.
    Natural substitutes for your pantry: arrowroot powder, baking powder, baking soda, dark chocolate chips, cane sugar and coconut sugar.
  3. Legumes: They make for a great protein source to have on hand, are incredibly versatile, and buying them in bulk for containers eliminates the need for wasteful cans (plus, they store for long periods of time in a sealed container).
    Legumes for your natural food pantry: lentils, chickpeas, navy beans, pinto beans, and black beans.
  4. Nuts, seeds, and healthy fats/proteins: These will keep digestive systems working well and do wonders for brain function (especially for kiddos in school).
    Bulk nuts and seeds for your natural pantry: hemp hearts, flax seeds, chia seeds, nut butters (almond and peanut), cashews, walnuts, almonds, pistachio, pecans, canned fish.
  5. Canned fruits and veggies: The most natural option for canned produce is to go to your local farmer’s market or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and stock up on local, in-season and organically grown fruits and veggies that you eat most... then get to preserving!
    Versatile produce to can for your pantry: peas, beans, tomatoes, peppers, corn, carrots, beets, pickles, soup stock/soups, pasta sauce, apples, pears, peaches.
  6. Shelf-stable vegetables: There are veggies that will last in a food pantry without the need for preservation or refrigeration. All you need is the right amount of humidity and temperature, and these fresh (mostly root) veggies will store in your natural food pantry for months!
    Shelf-stable veggies for your pantry: cabbage, potatoes, onions, carrots, beets, squash, garlic.
  7. Oils, vinegar, sauces: Whether you stock up on oils and sauces from the natural food section, or make condiments yourself, you’ll want to keep your shelves filled with these low-preservative options.
    Condiments to have in your pantry: coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, infused vinegars from shops or homemade, mustard, ketchup, honey.
  8. Herbs and spices: Not only do they help turn up the flavour in our foods, but herbs and spices also add a nutrient boost to our meals, especially when dried properly from our gardens or from local farms.

Spices to stock our pantries with: Basil, oregano, thyme, sage, parsley, cayenne pepper, cumin, turmeric, rosemary, ginger, curry powder, chili powder, peppercorns, salt, smoked paprika, cinnamon, dill, onion and garlic powder, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, dried soup stock.

Keeping a well-stocked natural food pantry will make food preparation a breeze. With these shelf-stable and versatile foods on hand, you’ll always feel prepared for mealtime.