If one of your 2024 goals is cooking more at home, can I let you in on a little secret?
One of the EASIEST ways to simplify cooking at home is making sure your pantry (and fridge) is stocked and ready. That means having a spread of simple ingredients you can mix and match and throw together no matter how little time you have— things that are shelf-stable or have far-off expiration dates, so you can pick up a few and keep them on hand for times when you’re in a pinch and need a quick but healthy meal.
When I started being more mindful about our pantry staying stocked, making homecooked meals became so much easier and less stressful. Just like anything with pursuing a more healthy, vibrant lifestyle, it does take some planning and thought— but you will be so thankful in the end when you can easily whip up some simple meals any day of the week.
And, most of the work is on the front end: getting your pantry stocked. Once you have your staples set & ready, it’s just a matter of replenishing what you run out of things over time. (You can even print this post to keep a visual list handy and make your life even easier!)
In the end, it saves time, money and the hassle of *not having anything to eat* at the end of a long day, and turning to takeout when you don’t necessarily want to.
My approach to stocking my pantry is this:
I do a big restock of these mainstay staples every month or two, and order plenty of back supply to keep us covered for a longer period of time. Usually I’ll order from ThriveMarket (save 25% on your first order here!) or I’ll do a Costco order on Instacart— both places help to save on cost. Then for my weekly grocery shopping, I don’t have to worry about most pantry items as I already have them on hand, and can just focus on replenishing fresh veggies and produce, organic proteins and dairy products, and and other fresh items as necessary.
SIDE NOTE: If you want help putting together your meals in a simple, quick way for the week, don’t miss my cooking class coming up on January 17th at 11am PST! I’ll share exactly how I prepare 3 meals for the week, all in 30 minutes. Yes, 3 meals in a half-hour and done. You can do it, too— join me to learn how! AND, it’s totally free.
Sign up for the class right HERE.(A replay will be sent out if you can’t make it live, along with all 3 recipes and their corresponding grocery lists!)
My go-to pantry staples for easy & healthy home cooking:
If you can keep most of these in rotation, you have endless opportunities to make easy meals and snacks at home from breakfast through dinner.
- Beans/lentils: I buy and keep dried beans and lentils of all color and varieties to throw into the instantpot or crockpot with some chopped veggies and broth or curry for an easy soup!
- Brown or wild rice
- Mixed nuts (although, I keep mine in the fridge after opening!)
- GF granola (I like the Purely Elizabeth brand)
- Chickpea and red lentil pastas
- Organic rolled oats
- Organic rice cakes
- Smoothie adders: hemp hearts, mulberries, cacao nibs— all the fun things to add to smoothies or baking
- GF crackers (I like Mary’s Gone Crackers)
- Dried fruit
- Organic nut butters (look for ones with just one ingredient, whatever kind of nut it is)
- Salmon bites
- Broccoli bites (from Trader Joe’s)
Condiments (check ingredients on these to ensure no added sugar and the simplest ingredients you can find!):
- Organic pasta sauce
- Fancy mustard
- Organic salsa
- Clean mayo (Primal Kitchen is my go-to brand)
- Apple cider vinegar
- Organic extra virgin olive oil
- A great curry paste (I use a big scoop of this SO often in easy soups, stews, etc)
- Almond flour, garbanzo bean flour & other GF flours you like
- Coconut oil
- High-quality dark chocolate (Hu Kitchen brand is excellent!)
- Organic bone broth
- A great protein powder (to add some oomph to your smoothies)
- Canned/jarred veggies (black olives, pepperoncinis, quartered artichoke hearts, beans, green salsa, basically anything easy I can throw in the crock pot or add to a soup for more flavor)
- Wild caught canned tuna: such a quick and easy meal smashed up with Primal Kitchen mayo!
- Canned organic whole fat coconut milk (great for adding to soups, curry, baking etc)
- Canned organic pumpkin or butternut squash (great for throwing into baking recipes, soups, smoothies, etc!)
- A great caffeine-free tea (Traditional Medicinals is a brand I love)
- Frozen berries (to throw into muffins/scones or smoothies)
- A clean nut milk
- Frozen grass-fed organic ground beef/turkey or chicken breast
- Grass-fed butter
- Pasture-raised eggs
Tell me, what else would you add to this list? Any other pantry staples you can’t live without?! Tell me them in a comment below!
Join me for a free & fun (virtual) cooking class on January 17th at 11am!
I’ll be sharing a cooking demo walking you through how I prep 3 meals in 30 minutes— and I promise it will help simplify your mealtimes this year! Sign up for free and catch the replay in your email inbox if you can’t make it live. We will also send you the 3 recipes and shopping list! See you there!