One of my hall time healthy living tips is stocking your kitchen well. If you buy crap, you’ll be much more likely to eat crap!
If you are just getting started with a whole foods diet, the range of ingredients you can use can seem overwhelming. Where do you start? What the hell is maca?
Well worry not, I’m here to give you a list of some ideal ingredients for your stock cupboard! Having these on hand means that a healthy meal will be much easier to prepare. Most of these ingredients are cheap and easy to find, a few are a little more expensive and unusual, but make nice additions. Here we go!
Cheap(ish) and cheerful
- Tins or cartons of beans such as chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans etc with no added salt or sugar (bonus points for organic)
- Dried beans and lentils
- Tins or cartons of chopped tomatoes
- Jar of passata (sieved tomato sauce)
- Tinned fish – salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines
- Coconut milk
- Jarred or foil packed olives
- Oats – jumbo and Scottish varieties
- Brown or wild rice
- Nut butters – peanut, almond, cashew etc, no added sugar (these are often best kept in the fridge once opened, however I have zero room in my little fridge so they go in the cupboard)
- Raw nuts – almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamias etc (ditto the fridge situation)
- Raw seeds – sunflower, pumpkin, sesame etc
- Dried fruit – dates, raisins, cranberries (look for no added sugar and free from sulphates)
- Maple syrup
- Rice or corn cakes
- Plain popcorn kernals for popping yourself
- 70% or higher dark chocolate
- Dark chocolate chips
- Plain wholegrain or spelt flour
- Baking powder
- Bicarbonate of soda
- Cocoa powder
- Flaky sea salt
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Soy sauce
- Carton of non diary milk – unsweetened almond or coconut beverage (I get koko brand)
- Dried herbs – to start with I’d get Italian seasoning, sage, thyme, rosemary
- Spices – to start I’d get cinnamon, ginger, cumin, coriander
- Other seasonings – curry powder, Chinese 5 spice
- Apple sauce – I just get cartons of apple and pear baby food (this is for baking!)
- Green tea – I love Clipper!
- Herbal teas
- Chai tea
- Coffee – I get water decaffeinated. My fave is from decadent decaf
- Coconut oil – ok this is a little more expensive, however I really believe it’s such a great ingredient that for me it counts as an essential. I use coconut oil at least twice a day in cooking and more for self care too. See my post on uses of coconut oil for more info!
Extras – more expensive, but add a little extra sparkle!
- Raw apple cider vinegar – the raw has the ‘mother’ containing good bacteria. I get this from Amazon.
- Maca powder – an adaptogenic superfood powder. Good if you suffer from stress / hormonal imbalance
- Raw cacao powder – a less processed version of cocoa powder, great for raw chocolate making and adding to smoothies
- Cacao butter – for raw chocolate making, although coconut oil can also be used
- Matcha powder – a pure form of green tea. Full of antioxidants and metabolism boosting properties. Add to smoothies, porridge or make a matcha latte
- A green powder – for added boost in smoothies, you can get wheatgrass, clhorella, barley grass or a blend. Have a look in health food shops.
- Coconut sugar – a great natural sweetener
- Chia seeds – packed with omega 3 fats, chia seeds can be added to various recipes as well as mixing with liquid to create a gel or pudding
- Goji berries / goldenberries – dried fruits with extra antioxidants and health benefits
- Cacao nibs – the pure form of chocolate! Bitter and crunchy, great for sprinkling on top of things
- Buckwheat flour – good for gluten free baking
- Coconut flour – also good for gluten free baking
- Ground almonds – another one good for gluten free baking!
- Pink Himalayan salt – a mineral packed version of regular salt with a pretty colour
- Tamari – wheat free version of soy sauce
- Protein powder – For adding to smoothies, baked goods or making your own protein snacks (keep an eye out for my post coming later this week!)
- Coconut water – hydrating drink pull of electrolytes
- Gelatin – their are two types, one which dissolves in water, the other one creates a jelly. Both contain decent amounts of protein and good fats and can be excellent for gut health.
- Liquid stevia – I order my stevia drops from iHerb and love the plain and the vanilla. They are great for adding sweetness to smoothies or porridge for zero calories (use code AGA105 to get $5 off your first order! Just make sure you keep the order total under £15 to avoid charges)
For some of the more unusual items, Amazon, Holland and Barrett, Goodness Direct and iHerb are good places to find them, as well as independent health food shops.
What do you think of this list? Have I missed anything? What are your most important store cupboard ingredients?
Awesome list lady! Ditto pretty much everything on there, although I still have not tried matcha powder!
This list is brilliant – I am slowly slowly starting to use some of the ingredients in the ‘extras’ list but not sure where to buy some things for best value and quality i.e. cacao powder – any recommendations on brands? Also, do you use Kambucha and find it helpful? Thanks :)
I really like the creative nature or the raw chocolate company cacao. I think you can get some reasonable deals on Amazon these days also check out healthysupplies.com x I don’t use kombucha as there’s no where I can buy it locally, I have made my own water kefir which is similar, I did a post on it here: https://wholeheartedlylaura.com/2014/06/nourish-gut-make-water-kefir.html xx
Thank you :)
Love this list! Sounds like my cupboard :) I think as well once you start using these ingredients then they become less alien and do become essential! x
Haha I know, I couldn’t imagine life without chia seeds!
Ace list – I agree with them all – although I have yet to find a good natural protein powder – you get yours from herb don’t you? Also not tried matcha powder yet I am super sensitive to caffeine but the idea of a match latte sounds amazing:) Only thing I would add would be some fermented food sauerkeraut, kombocha, kefir etc :)
Yep they do a couple of good grass fed whey proteins, you can also get Dr Mercola grass fed via Red23 online. I need to get brewing up more Kefir!
Thank you for this list!!
For me, the most important store cupboard ingredients are: dried legumes, whole grains (oats, quinoa, and rice), natural peanut and almond butter, tahini, medjool dates, raisins, dark chocolate, olive oil, coconut oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, miso paste, Italian and Mexican seasoning, cinnamon, ginger, paprika and curry powder, peppermint tea and chai tea. I live in Switzerland so most of the fancier items are not available. Sometimes I manage to find some chia seeds, stevia and Sun Warrior and I’m a happy girl!
Great stuff in your cupboard! It must be frustrating to not be able to find certain items, I bet you are happy when you get Sun Warrior!
We always make sure we have tinned beans and tomatoes in our cupboard. With my epic spice collection, we can always make a meal out of them.
You forgot lots of dark chocolate ;)
I need to get more spices and experiment with them more, I think they’d make a big difference to my cooking.
Great list! Tinned food is such a lifesaver. For me staples are always chopped tomatoes, chickpeas, tuna (sometimes salmon) and usually either a jar of salsa or simple tomato pasta sauce so if I’m in a squeeze I can make a sauce quickly.
What do you use your raw apple cider vinegar for? I hear it a lot over blogs but I can’t think what to use it for?
I used to add a bit to a glass of water in the mornings, it’s basically a health tonic in that it supports your digestion. It’s also nice in salad dressings :-)
Fab list! My big weakness when it comes to eating crap is soft, white bread. I tend not to buy any during the week but keep the ingredients in my cupboard to make it. If I bought it, I would eat ALL of it! If I really, really want it and we haven’t planned to have it as part of a meal I will make myself a few small rolls to pick at, but using healthier ingredients.
I’ve slowly started to add items similar to those on this list into my regular shop to encourage healthier meals on a regular basis, so it’s great to have them all together here. Thanks!
I’m the same with white bread baguette! Good way to enjoy without getting a full loaf :-)
So many years have passed and I am yet to pluck up the courage to try Chia seeds …. maybe I should put that on my list of things to do in 2015 ;-)
What would be the BEST way for me to try them?
Yes do it! I would add them to porridge or, if you are feeling brave make a pudding with them. Just google chia chocolate pudding and you should get some nice recipes :-)
Brilliant list and made me realise how much I need to try gelatin, I keep putting it off because of the price!
I was putting it off for ages but I finally used it at the weekend to make some gummies and I love it!
I am book-marking this list for when I am at a loss for what to buy! x
What a great list. I love seeing new things to try- I really like chia seeds in porridge. But I still can’t get on with protein powder!
I also love peppermint tea- I like that in the mornings but it is good after dinner too :)
Peppermint tea after dinner is always a nice sweet treat I think :-)
I’d add: hemp seeds, flax seeds, & kelp noodles.
Ooh great choices, I haven’t had kelp noodles in far too long!
Such a great list! Did I see tahini on there? If not then I’d add that!
I’m currently trying to find somewhere that sells big bags of ground almonds – it drives me mad only being able to buy tiny ones and so often too!
That’s a good point, someone should get on that, those little bags are annoying when you use them often!
Great list! My essentials would be dried chickpeas, red lentils, buckwheat groats, steel cut oats, seaweed, nuts, seeds, nut butters :P, coconut oil, green powder, maca, protein powder, cinnamon, nutritional yeast, dried fruit. Although I keep a lot of this stuff in my fridge not my cupboard :P
This is it, I really need a huge fridge when we get a new place!
Everything looks so great! I’m missing a few of these items that I’ll definitely have to add to my pantry!
Thanks Tamara, hope you enjoy them!
Pretty much own everything on that list so I’m doing ok! ha x
Now I want to go shopping! There are quite a few things there I’ve had on my wishlist for a while – looking forward to your protein powder post (I’m looking to ditch whey for a plant-based one asap – now just to decide which to go for!)
Hi Laura, Love your blog and loved this post! I’d like to start eating maca to help with hormone balance… How much would you recommend consuming each day? Is it best to build up gradually? Thanks! x