Stocking a Real Food Pantry
I promised that I would help you stock your real food kitchen, and I'm here to deliver on that promise! Let's start with stocking your fridge and freezer, and then we will tackle the pantry.
When it comes to stocking your fridge, it will vary based on what you and your family like to eat, but generally, foods that should be included are:
Vegetables of all kinds (carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, kale, spinach, lettuce, green beans, brussel sprouts, mushrooms, snap peas, cabbage, cucumber, eggplant, bell peppers, herbs, etc)
Fruits of all kinds (apples, oranges, limes, lemons, grapes, grapefruit, melons, pears, berries, etc)
Meat and Seafood (make sure to read your labels, go for organic, non-GMO fed when possible or wild caught seafood)
Eggs (opt for pasture-raised, organic if possible)
Raw sauerkraut (for the probiotics)
Leftovers (of course! Did you see my post on meal prepping??!)
Basically, your fridge is the prime location for most of your real, whole foods.
Notice anything in your fridge that's missing from the list? Maybe milk, orange juice, or yogurt? When it comes to these foods, I choose to keep them out of my fridge. But, if high-quality sources of these foods work for your body, then keep them. If not, and you feel like you aren't your healthiest when you eat these foods, eliminate them. I promise you won't go hungry!
You'll also notice that there are no condiments on that list. My fridge is free from condiments. I let real food flavors speak for themselves. Most of the common condiments we use (salad dressing, mayo, ketchup, BBQ, etc) are loaded with salt, sugar, and rancid vegetable oils. Not real food to me!
However, now there are a ton of different organic, real food-friendly options out there for your favorite condiments. Check out Amazon, Thrive Market, Whole Foods, or any other natural foods store in your neighborhood to see what options there are. And remember - always read your labels!! Organic sugar is still sugar.
Frozen vegetables (broccoli, kale, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, etc)
Bone broth or stock (make it yourself with this recipe here and freeze it in individual containers)
Salmon and other fish like tilapia, flounder, tuna, shrimp, or perch (wild caught, individually wrapped)
My freezer is pretty simple - meat, a few veggies, some homemade spaghetti sauce, and broth. I can't keep more in there for two reasons: 1) my freezer is way too small, and 2) I prefer to use fresh food when cooking.
Before you begin to stock your real food pantry, remember to remove all of the junk first! That includes anything with gluten, soy, sugar, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, vegetable oils, and other food chemicals (I'm looking at you Red Dye #40!). When in doubt, always check your labels - would your great-grandmother recognize that packaged product as food?? Probably not...
Once your pantry and shelves are cleared out of the junk, it's time to replace it with the good stuff! Now, this doesn't have to happen overnight - you can buy a few items at a time each week at the grocery store and slowly build your pantry up. Smaller, baby steps are better than none at all!
Canned fish (wild caught tuna, salmon, etc - make sure there are only a couple of ingredients: fish, salt, and water - no vegetable oils or broth!!)
Canned vegetables (in water only)
Coconut oil (for high heat cooking and pretty much everything else!)
Almond butter (make sure there are no other ingredients besides almonds and maybe salt!)
Raw nuts (not roasted with vegetable oils - my favorites are walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, and pecans)
Potatoes (sweet, red, russet, yukon gold, etc)
Onions and garlic
Avocados (this is a crossover food - I keep mine in the fridge until about 2 days before I need it and then I put it out on the counter)
Bananas (if they start to get too ripe before you get to them, put them in the fridge - they'll turn brown, but will last a few more days)
Extra-virgin olive oil, macadamia oil, and walnut oil for non-cooking purposes (salad dressings)
Ghee and avocado oil (for high heat cooking)
Spices and herbs of all kinds (again, read your labels - we don't want any other ingredients besides the spice or herb itself!)
Coconut water and milk (again, free from additives - this one may be hard to find!)
Almond and coconut flours (I never use these, but for those of you who enjoy baking, these are better options)
Again, did you notice anything that is in your pantry that seems to be missing from my list? I left a few common items out, like sugar, regular flour (yes, even whole wheat!), and most canned products. Honestly, once your taste buds switch over to real food, I promise that you won't miss those foods anymore.
Plus, there are so many other amazing options and recipes out on the web and in beautiful cookbooks that you really won't even need those products anymore!
Now, of course this is not an exhaustive list - it is merely just a starting point to help you get started. Cleaning out your fridge, freezer, and pantry is a huge step towards adopting a real food lifestyle, so take it as slowly as you need to!
Coming up in less than a month, I will officially be able to start seeing clients as a health coach. If you are interested in having me help you clear out your pantry and restock it (grocery store tour anyone?!), I would be more than happy to as part of my health coaching services for you! Just shoot me an email or leave a comment on the blog, and we will get everything set up and ready to go!