This is the time of year that we think of ways to improve our lives. When you resolve to purchase healthy foods, it will impact your entire family. My intention was to do a “10 Best Foods List” to counter my 2-part post “10 Worst Foods List.” My list began with sprouts, because they are one of the most complete and nutritional of all foods. Sprouts are rich with vitamins, minerals, proteins, and enzymes. I thought I’d add super foods like pumpkin, broccoli, and tomatoes.
Eggs are packaged sunshine, full of vitamin D. Seeds are the “eggs” which contain the nutrients needed to nourish the growth of a new plant. So their high nutrient content would put them on any top ten list. Nuts are one of the best plant sources of protein. They’re rich in fiber, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. That’s seven or the ten right off the top of my head and I didn’t know where to stop.
The more I thought about it, every food God designed is a super food in it’s own right. It’s only when we process it that it can become a problem. So I ditched the idea and decided to write “Whole Pantry.” The least amount of processing the healthier the food will be.
Yester-year people grew their own food and then stored it until the next growing season. Long-term whole food storage used to contain whole grains, beans, seeds, nuts, some produce (apples, potatoes, onions, garlic, etc.), dried fruit (raisins, apples, apricots, dates, etc.). Moms would “can” what couldn’t be kept fresh, so the family would have a balanced diet during the winter months. Unless you grind your flour and bake your own bread you probably don’t store bags of wheat berries. Most people don’t have barrels of apples in their basements, either.
Katy is helping her mom stock their pantry.
Do you purchase rice and oatmeal in 25 pound bags? Probably not. Even though we all have a pantry in our kitchen, most of us can’t make it three days without stopping at the grocers.
We moved to the country over 30 years ago when we had four active children. The nearest grocery store was almost 30 miles away. Weaning from perpetual shopping wasn’t always easy. You’d see a family move in and then out again. Some couldn’t take being away from the mall or grocery store for more than a day. I purchased a chest type freezer for the garage and I went shopping (grocery and other) once a week.
We still live in the same house, but convenience has move toward us. We have half a dozen grocery stores in our vicinity and the closest is only three miles away. Still, there are ten pantry items I wouldn’t want to be without. Using these items, I can come up with numerous healthy meals in minutes.
Unexpected company for dinner isn’t a problem. Blizzards don’t upset me. Don’t need a freezer full of prepared food, either. What if I didn’t plan ahead for dinner…I just pull stuff from my pantry shelf and presto a meal is ready in minutes. I know that canned food is not the most healthful, but in a pinch it’s a lifesaver. A well-stocked pantry is not only a practical goal, but a healthy one. It’s faster to pull something together from your pantry, than making a run to get fast food.
My must-have list is in addition to staples (salt, pepper, dried herbs, yeast, honey, baking powder, etc.) Fresh or frozen vegetables and a little dairy are a plus and I always have some on hand. My husband loves casseroles and our girls do, too. These ten items are the backbone for many easy healthy recipes. If you shop at warehouse stores (like Costco or Sam’s Club), you can easily stock your pantry at discount prices. When an often-used item goes on sale, purchase enough to last a few months. You’ll not only save, but you’ll be prepared for anything!
1. Canned Organic Tomatoes
2. Organic Chicken Broth
3. Canned Meats (Tuna, Salmon and Chicken)
4. Applesauce and Canned Pumpkin
5. Beans, Lentils and Whole Grain Pasta
7. Brown Rice
8. Whole Wheat Flour and Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (for those of us who grind our flour: wheat berries)
9. Onions and Garlic
10. Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Coconut Oil
You’ll want to check out my Recipe Section. Look to the right of this page. Locate “Nonna’s Kitchen” under Browse Categories and then find “Recipes.”
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