Pantry Essentials; Building a Healthy Kitchen

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mason jars

Having a well stocked kitchen pantry is essential. It gives you flexibility in the kitchen and helps you to be more creative. For those who love to follow a recipe, it becomes much easier when your kitchen pantry is well stocked. You are also much more likely to eat a healthy diet on a regular basis if your kitchen is filled with the right foods.

Today I share the contents of my pantry. I don’t always have all these ingredients on hand, and this is by no means a complete list. However, I have included quite a wide variety of foods.

Run through the list and see what you already have, and don’t have. Then, make a list of which items you think will get the most use, and make those the first new additions to your healthy pantry. You may want to switch some of what you do have for healthier versions/options. The transition will be gradual and eventually your new healthy whole foods will crowd out the processed/refined foods.

If you are lucky enough to live in the United States you can buy many of these foods on They have quite a large selection and most of the time great prices. If the quantity is too much for you, think about sharing (goods and cost) with some friends.

For those of you who live in Canada, check out Upaya Naturals for online ordering. I also buy a lot of great food at Costco at unbelievable prices. They carry new healthy products regularly.




-Use air tight containers such as mason jars to keep your food fresh and organized

-Be aware of which foods should be kept in a fridge. eg. nuts and seeds

-Keep a list of the foods you have run out of so always stay well stocked.

-Make a list of 2-3 new pantry items each week. You will have a well stocked whole foods pantry in no time.

-Visit a few different stores in your area to see which ones offer the best prices and keep a note. Different stores may have better prices on different items, as well as different brands and qualities.

Beans, Peas, & Lentils

I keep a wide variety of dried legumes and pulses on hand at all times. Try storing them in mason jars and keeping them in the cupboard. Having a few different cans on hand is incredibly useful for those times when you did not soak the beans ahead of time. Lentils are great because they don’t require any soaking.

Red Kidney Beans
White Kidney Beans (cannellini beans)
Black Beans
Black-Eyed peas
Adzuki Beans
Lima Beans
Mung Beans
Green & Yellow Split Peas
Pinto Beans
Green Lentils
Brown Lentils
Beluga Lentils
Red Lentils
Split yellow mung beans

Grains & Pseudo-Grains

Spelt berries
Kamut berries
Wheat berries
Pot barley
Brown basmati rice
Red rice
Black rice
Wild rice
Rolled oats, steel cut oats, whole oat groats



Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Sesame Oil
Flaxseed Oil (not to be used for cooking, keep in the fridge)
Hemp Seed Oil (not to be used for cooking, keep in the fridge)


Apple cider vinegar
Balsamic vinegar
Red wine vinegar
White wine vinegar
Brown rice vinegar

spices in mason jars

Spices & Dried Herbs

There are so many spices available. Don’t try to buy them all at once. Maybe one or 2 new ones a week. Buy them in small quantities so that they stay fresh. Freshness and quality are key if you want amazing flavour from your spices. I love buying whole spices and grinding them myself for ultimate flavour.

A variety of dried herbs (basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano etc)
Cumin (seeds & ground)
Coriander (seeds & ground)
Nutmeg (whole)
Cardamom (pods & ground)
Ground allspice
Ground ginger
Cinnamon (sticks & ground)
Cayenne pepper
Ground chipotle pepper
Various kinds of paprika
Chili powder
Star anise
Fenugreek seeds
Mustard seeds
Caraway seeds
Good quality store bought curry powder
Whole Dried Chilis (various kinds)
Fennel seed
Bay leaves
Whole black pepper
Sea salt
Pink Himalayan salt
Fleur de sel
Fresh ginger
Fresh garlic


Be sure to keep your nuts in the fridge to prevent them from going rancid. I store them in mason jars. Buy raw nuts, not roasted or salted.

Pine Nuts
Coconut (unsweetened)


Keep these in the fridge.

Hemp Seeds
Sunflower Seeds
Pumpkin Seeds (pepitas)
Flax Seeds
Chia Seeds
Sesame Seeds

Cans, Jars & Other Packaged Goods

I keep a variety of jars and cans on hand at all times.

Various canned beans (chickpeas, red kidney beans, black beans)
Marinated artichokes
Roasted red peppers
Medjool Dates
Canned coconut milk
Non-dairy milk (almond, hemp, rice)
Tomato Passata
Canned Tomatoes (whole and/or diced)
Tomato Paste
Almond butter (or other nut butters)
Vegetable Broth (liquid and/or bouillon cubes)
Whole wheat pasta and/or gluten-free pasta (rice or quinoa)
Soba noodles
Rice noodles
Rice cakes
Miso paste(keep in fridge)
Soy sauce or tamari
Variety of hot sauces


I keep a variety of different flours on hand at all times. Choose the ones that you like best. Although I am guilty of not doing this, it is good to store flour in the fridge or freezer to keep it fresh, especially if you don’t use it too often. I always choose organic and stoned-milled flours when they are available.

Whole wheat flour
Spelt flour
Kamut Flour
Buckwheat flour
Chickpea flour
Quinoa flour
Almond flour
Coconut flour


Maple syrup
Agave syrup
Blackstrap molasses
Coconut sugar
Unpasteurized honey


Baking soda
Baking powder
Dark chocolate chips (dairy-free)
Vanilla extract


These are by no means essential. They are next level foods that you may want to keep on hand.

Raw cacao nibs &/or powder
Maca powder
Lucuma powder
Goji berries

Organic vs. Non Organic

Buy organic when possible. If you can afford organic then do it. Organic has become a term used for marketing purposes. While I am a advocate for natural/organic farming, buyer beware. Just because something is organic doesn’t mean that it is healthy.

In order to sell more products food companies have jumped on the oragnic bandwagon and are offering a wide assortment of organic processed foods. This is why I put the focus on filling your pantry with whole-unprocessed ingredients as opposed to getting too wrapped up with whether everything you are eating is organic or not.

Be sure to shop around at different health food stores because prices can vary greatly. For some products and produce there isn’t a big difference in price between organic and non-organic, and for others the price difference can be quite significant. Choose which foods are most important for you to be organic and start with those. Persoanlly, almost all the leafy greens I buy are organic. This is because I think it’s imporant to buy organic greens, and they are generally pretty close in price.

Farmer’s markets are great places to buy organic produce at good prices. Just because a farmer isn’t certified organic doesn’t mean his produce isn’t grown with organic farming methods. Be sure to ask questions in order to find out more about the food you are eating. If a farmer is proud of how he grows his food he will be happy to share with you.


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5 Responses to Pantry Essentials; Building a Healthy Kitchen

  1. Great list! I have a very similar looking pantry. I’d probably add tofu, tamarind and pomegranate molasses to my list. :)

    • Health is Happiness

      I usually have tofu and tamarind. Haven’t bought pomegranate molasses yet. I have thought about it though.

  2. Pingback: Le défi… quoi manger pour manger mieux? | Cathcophonie

  3. Sadie

    This is an awesome list for a well stocked vegan pantry. I ALWAYS keep nutritional yeast in the cabinet since I adore the cheezy flavor. Btw, what brand of chili powder do you use? All the brands I’ve seen use silicon dioxide as an anti-caking agent and I would like to find one without it.

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