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How to Stock a Healthy Pantry in 2021

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Learn how to stock a healthy pantry to make eating healthy easy! Here’s a peek of my real food pantry staples, complete with a healthy pantry checklist you can take with you to the grocery store. 

Women standing in front of her organized pantry shelves.

When it comes to food and what we should eat, I’m the first to admit it’s confusing as hell.

Is it organic? Does it have dairy? Does it have fat, because I eat low fat… oh wait, I eat allll the fats now! I eat 5 small meals per day. Oh just kidding, now I eat only within the hours of 5:30 and 6pm.

Ahhh! Sometimes it all just feels like madness, right?!

After getting caught up over the years about what to eat and what to avoid, about what’s ‘real food’ and anti-inflammatory vs. what’s refined or too refined or processed, what has the exact perfect balance of carbs, protein, fat and fiber, etc… I’m now taking a new approach to food where things aren’t so black and white and food is neither good nor bad. It’s just food. 

I’m trusting my body more with intuitive eating, because I know how I feel when I eat or don’t eat certain foods–and that’s MY choice, not some outsider or expert telling me what I should and shouldn’t be eating or following particular rules and dogma around food.

And I invite you to do the same: to really tune in to your body and get to know it on a deeper level. What foods feel nourishing when you eat them? What does your body really want in this moment? What energizes you, and what depletes you? What gives you a bellyache, and what comfortably satisfies you? This is an ongoing process and one that takes time and practice… but I’m right here with you, learning with you, experimenting with you, cheering you on. 

In the meantime, we have to eat every day and I know we’re all super busy and you’re probably here because you simply want to know some shortcuts for healthy recipe ideas and how to satisfy your hunger with foods that will make you feel good and not like you need an afternoon nap.

You want to know how to stock your pantry with foods that are closer to nature, made with less preservatives and artificial ingredients. I hear ya! And that’s exactly what this post is about! 

So without further ado, here are some of my favorite essentials to help you stock a healthy pantry. Remember: what is healthy for me may not be what is healthy for you and THAT IS OKAY! Use this list as inspiration, a jumping off point, not a hard-and-fast enumeration you must live and die by. 

But before we get into the best healthy pantry foods, let’s start at the beginning.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Organized pantry essentials displayed on open concept shelving.

Where to Shop for Healthy Food

I do almost all of my perishable grocery shopping at Whole Foods and Sprouts, but when it comes to stocking a healthy pantry, I rely on Thrive Market and Amazon Subscribe & Save for most of my needs.

In fact, I’ve shared with y’all before my favorite finds from Thrive Market, and you know the reason I do most of my shopping there is because it’s SO MUCH CHEAPER.

I was skeptical at first, too–being the deal queen that I am, I figured the prices were probably not that much less. But over many months, I compared the prices at Thrive to mainstream grocery stores and retailers, Amazon and even Instacart and I’ve found that overall, most items are several dollars less at Thrive. Which may not sound like much, but adds up to A LOT OF SAVINGS!

Think of it like Costco (wholesale prices) meets Whole Foods (organic, natural products) meets Amazon (the convenience of shopping online). And because I love you so much,

And because I love you so much, here’s even more savings for you! When you sign up for a Thrive Membership with this link, you’ll save an extra 25% off your first order, plus get a 30-day free trial and free shipping on orders over $49!

OK, I’m getting off my Thrive soapbox. When I’m not shopping there, I’m usually buying my healthy pantry staples from Amazon Subscribe & Save, where I always save at least 15% off the list price, which is usually cheaper than most stores already.

So, on that note… let’s get into it.

pantry organization with real food

Pantry Organization

Though stocking healthy foods is the key to healthy eating, I must admit that pantry organization is another critical component. If bags and jars and cans are just shoved willy nilly into a black hole and you can’t even see what you have, you can kiss healthy eating goodbye.

So, here’s my quick tips:

  • Make Space: Create a pantry that’s large enough to display all of your foods. If you have a pantry closet or cabinet or shelves, awesome! If, like me, you live in a home that’s lacking in built-in pantry space, create your own. I bought this beautiful baker’s rack pantry from Restoration Hardware and it’s quickly become my favorite piece in our home.
  • Smart Storage: Use clear food storage containers to display dry goods, from flours and sugar to nuts, rice and pasta. I use OXO’s Good Grips Pop Containers, which are BPA-free, and glass storage containers from Crate & Barrel.
  • Group like items together: This will help you find what you need quickly and easily tell when you’re running low on certain foods. Here’s my system:
    • Top Shelf: Bulk Dry Goods, Nuts + Seeds
    • 2nd Shelf: Baking Goods (Flours), Teas, Snacks + Chips
    • 3rd Shelf: Oils, Vinegars, Condiments + Crackers
    • 4th Shelf: Grains, Pastas, Rice + Cereals
    • 5th Shelf: Canned Goods, Nut Butters + Sauces
    • Bottom Shelf: Superfoods, Sweeteners + Sweet Treats

**Note: This is just how my pantry is organized, but I encourage you to come up with a personalized organization method that works for you.

Woman holding healthy packaged snacks in front of organized pantry shelving.

Healthy Pantry Staples

Alright, now that we’ve got laid the groundwork, let’s talk FOOD! Below are the healthy pantry staples that I stock my pantry with–and while I try to not be too dogmatic about what I eat, when I’m at home and can control the ingredients more easily, I do try to eat mostly organic and non-GMO when possible, and whole foods with short and recognizable ingredient lists.

So let’s start at the top and work our way down.

Click here to download R+R's healthy pantry checklist

healthy snacks

Healthy Pantry Snacks: Chips, Crackers + Treats

I love crunchy snacks! Here are my favorites:

  • Raw, Organic Nuts + Seeds: Snacking on nuts is a great way to get healthy fats and protein in, without harmful additives. I usually buy these in bulk or from trustworthy brands like Go Raw and Thrive Market’s private label. I also recently started buying Living Intentions Activated Nut Blends and love their flavor-packed spices and superfood twist.
  • Jackson’s Honest Chips: I am addicted to their organic blue corn tortilla chips, which are made with coconut oil, and their potato chips, which are super crunchy and delicious. I always buy a few bags when I’m shopping at Thrive.
  • Sprouts Organic Brown Rice Cakes: I love keeping a few stacks of these rice cakes on hand and topping them with nutrient-dense foods like avocado, butternut squash and yogurt or hummus and veggies. Get some recipe ideas here.
  • SeaSnax Roasted SeaweedI absolutely love snacking on roasted seaweed sheets–they’re crunchy, low-calorie and full of that addicting umami flavor. A lot of brands use inflammatory oils, but SeaSnax roasts theirs in olive oil. I buy the big family packs and cut the large sheets into smaller sections with scissors.
  • Crackers: Whenever we’re having people over and I need to put on some crackers, I always turn to Mary’s Gone Crackers. They’re super crunchy, full of nutritious seeds and gluten-free grains and always a crowd pleaser (and their gluten-free graham crackers are also ridiculously delicious!). I also love Simple Mills crackers (their Farmhouse Cheddar is so delicious, like a cross between Cheez-Its and Wheat Thins) and Jilz Crackerz. I do also enjoy NutThins from time to time.
  • Meat Bars + Jerky: When it comes to protein bars, I’m not a huge fan of most. But I do love the dried organic, grass-fed meat protein bars from brands like Epic. My favorite flavor is Chicken Sriracha (sometimes I buy these on Amazon because it’s cheaper there), but they’re all delicious. And, I know it sounds weird, but I also like snacking on their beef liver bites–they’re super high in Vitamin A + B, iron, zinc, and essential fatty acids, which are great for skin and thyroid.
Health Warrior Chia Seed Bars strewn across a counter with an apple, banana, and dish towel.
  • Real Food Snack Bars: When I am in the mood for something a little sweeter, Health Warrior’s Chia Bars and Pumpkin Seed Protein Bars really hit the spot! As I said, I’m not a fan of overly sugary bars, which is why I love these bars so much. First, they’re made predominantly with superfoods (chia seeds, pumpkin seeds) and are plant-based, gluten-, dairy-, GMO- and soy free. The Pumpkin Seed Protein Bars are organic with eight grams of protein and simple ingredients like pumpkin seeds, honey and the spices for the flavor–it’s like a healthy candy bar! The Chia Bars have even less sugar with just three grams, making them a really healthy snack. You can buy Health Warrior’s Bars direct through their website (where they have a ‘best price guarantee’ AND you can get 20% off your order with the code rootandrevel20, whoop!), on Amazon or at Thrive Market.
  • Dessert: For healthy sweet treats and desserts, I usually eat a piece of dark chocolate (if you haven’t tried Eating Evolved’s coconut butter cups, you need to go buy some RIGHT NOW!). I also have recently fallen in love with Simple Mills cinnamon cookies (they’re gluten-free too), and often reach for dried fruit when I’m craving something sweet. I’m obsessed with Mavuno Harvest’s dried organic mango.
  • Tea: I also love to stock up on organic teas. Pique Tea is one of my go-tos–I love the way their crystals dissolve in cold and hot water, no tea bags or steeping required (Get 5% off your sitewide order with the code ROOT5)Numi Organics is another one of my favorite brands of tea because of their commitment to quality using all organic, fair-trade and full leaf teas (meaning the resulting flavor is more smooth and even). And Traditional Medicinals is an amazing line of wellness teas formulated by trained herbalists who use combinations that have been helping people for centuries.
Pantry essentials on shelving like nut butters, grains, sweeteners, and crackers.

Healthy Pantry Essentials: Grains + Baking

Moving down the line, the next area is where I keep my cereals, granolas, grains and baking goods.

Pantry essentials like canned goods, superfoods, oils, and grains displayed on shelving.

Healthy Pantry Foods: Condiments + Sauces

And, of course, no pantry would be complete with oil, vinegar and condiments.

Pantry essentials like canned goods, superfoods, oils, and grains displayed on shelving.

Healthy Pantry Staples: Canned Goods

Then it’s down to my canned and jarred goods.

  • Beans: I always keep plenty of organic, no-salt-added beans on hand. The only ingredient I want here is the beans themselves, and I look for BPA-free cans. I usually buy Whole Foods 365 brand, but Jovial makes some beautiful beans in glass bottles, too. Other brands, like Eden Foods, are too expensive, in my opinion.
  • Tomatoes: I always, always have at least a few cans of organic, no-salt-added diced tomatoes on hand (Whole Foods 365 brand or Jovial’s), plus tomato paste and some clean jarred tomato sauce (Yellow Barn and Thrive Market’s private label are my favorites).
  • Coconut Milk: I often cook with coconut milk. Native Forest’s Organic Simple label is my go-to–it’s only got one ingredient (organic coconut), unlike other brands which are full of added gums. I buy them in bulk on Amazon because it’s the cheapest.
  • Nut Butter: I put nut butter on just about everything, so I always keep a few different kinds on hand. Some of my favorite brands include Georgia Grinders, Yumbutter, Wild Friends (their Peanut Cashew Butter is life changing!) and Thrive Market.
  • Bone Broth: My favorite brand of shelf-stable, grass-fed, organic bone broth is Kettle & Fire and I always stock up! Get 20% off when you use my link 🙂 (And be sure to read about all the incredible benefits of bone broth here, including awesome free recipes!)
Click here to download R+R's healthy pantry checklist
A woman holding a container of Nutiva hemp protein.

Healthy Pantry Essentials: Superfoods

On the bottom shelf, you’ll find all my superfoods, which go into smoothies and coffee drinks.

A woman holding a container of Amazing Grass' Green Superfood powder.
A woman in front of open concept pantry shelves holding a box of packaged snacks.

Pantry Staples List

Alright, so there you have it. These foods are how I keep my pantry stocked so that healthy snacks and meals are always quick and easy to make.

How do I stock a pantry?

To help you stock your own healthy pantry full of nourishing foods, I’ve created a healthy pantry checklist you can take with you to the grocery store. Just click here to download the list!

Click here to download R+R's healthy pantry checklist

What’s in your pantry? Share in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

How to stock a healthy pantry to make eating healthy easy.

Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I've linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.

Kate Kordsmeier

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11 comments on “How to Stock a Healthy Pantry in 2021”

  1. I love how organized your pantry is! #goals Some of my faves are in here too! Thrive Market for the win 🙂

  2. Hi! I am trying to download the pantry checklist, but I am having some problems. I put my information in the box, but then it asks for a password before I can see it. What is the password?
    Thanks!

    • So, I have the password now and I will enter it, but then my screen just turn white and won’t load. What am I doing wrong? Haha, thanks!

  3. Help – I’ve filled out the info to download the pantry checklist but when I follow it back, I can go to the resource page but when I click on the pantry checklist, it opens the real food sheet next to it.

  4. Hi: Love this list and resources. However, the Thrive marketplace 25% discount seems to be having some trouble, and just hangs when I try to join. Could you help out with that? Thanks!

  5. This lady! What a blog, look at all of these resources. Holy helpful! I’m a new blogger, currently writing my own pantry staples post and I went searching for some examples to make sure I had a decent idea. I aspire to someday be this helpful!
    I can’t wait to try Thrive market now! Thanks so much for all of these links and resources. Staying on track is so difficult in society as it is today. I’ve lost about 119 lbs, I’ve just a go few more to reach my goal and I’m always on the lookout for ways to keep me thoroughly entrenched in the good fight. Thank you again!