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While many of us moms are conscious about the foods we use to fuel our bodies, navigating the latest nutritional news can become overwhelming. Should we go Paleo or gluten free? Cut carbs completely or jump into a juice cleanse? The variance of information and options for maintaining a healthy lifestyle can leave us unsure of how to proceed. I’m sure many moms want to keep healthy foods on hand, but have no idea what to actually put in a clean eating pantry.
Luckily, taking care of ourselves doesn’t have to be confusing. Committing to clean eating is as simple as filling your kitchen with fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies, lean meats and dairy (if you choose to eat them), and a well-stocked pantry of minimally processed staples. If you keep these twenty items on hand, then you’ll be on your way to creating clean and tasty meals quickly and simply!
Most agree that the good fats from oils should be sparingly consumed. Opt for unrefined coconut oil, which is minimally processed, and organic, cold-pressed avocado oil for optimum health.
This tiny wonder packs a punch. Sprinkle into smoothies or mix directly into cold, filtered water for a hydrating energy boost. For a sweet treat, try homemade chia pudding!
Natural Nut Butters
There are so many delicious options! From almond to peanut to macadamia, just be sure to choose a jar without added sugar or hydrogenated oils. Spread onto apple slices with a sprinkle of raw, shredded coconut for a delectable afternoon treat. We even put nut butter in our smoothies!
Variety of Vinegars
Add palate-pleasing flavor with a splash of vinegar. Try balsamic in your salad dressings; rice wine in your Asian dishes; and, if you are feeling gutsy, try unfiltered apple cider vinegar mixed with a glass of water each morning to improve overall health.
This quick-cooking legume can be tossed into stews, or be the star of ‘Meatless Monday’ in place of ground beef in spaghetti and taco dinners.
Whole grains are an affordable pantry staple that keeps bellies full and happy. Pre-cook at the start of your week to make daily meal prep a cinch.
Ditch breakfast cereals high in sugar and go for oatmeal instead. Rolled oats cook quickly, and can be dressed up differently for enjoyment without becoming boring.
A great, soy-free alternative to high sodium soy sauces. With a complex flavor, coconut aminos are a wonderful addition to marinades and sauces, and equally as tasty on sushi and stir-fry.
Veggie Stock/Chicken Stock
Choose a low-sodium variety, or make your own and keep frozen. Along with soups, skillets and one-pot pasta dishes, you may also use a few tablespoons of stock instead of oil to sauté onions and fresh vegetables.
Canned Diced Tomatoes/Tomato Paste
Perfect for adding rich flavor to a variety of dishes, from zucchini noodle bowls to stews and chili. You can even use tomato paste to whip up your own spaghetti sauces and ketchup, without all the added sugars found in most bottled versions.
A powerful antibacterial and antifungal ingredient, there is a reason people have been cooking with garlic for centuries. While many tout the benefits of eating raw garlic, using it to flavor your meals also helps to keep those pesky viruses at bay.
A perfectly clean indulgence. Skip microwavable varieties and opt for air popping on the stove. Toss with cinnamon and a bit of local honey for a sweet treat!
Canned, No-Salt Added Beans
Keeping these readily available saves you from falling into a protein pinch. Beans are also a great source of iron. Sauté with garlic and spices. Serve over brown rice topped with fresh spinach and salsa for a quick dinner.
Dried Fruits and Nuts
Choose a handful of dried raisins, currants and cranberries to add natural sweetness to your morning oatmeal. Opt for a handful of unsalted nuts for an afternoon snack.
Jazz up your fresh veggie dishes with stone ground/whole grain mustards, pesto, tahini and low-sodium tamari.
Supplies B12 vitamins while adding a cheesy, umami flavor when stirred into pastas and stews. Also tastes great on your air-popped popcorn!
Great source of clean protein that can top a salad, blend into hummus, or act as the hearty, main attraction in a quinoa and veggie dish.
Jarred Salsa/Hot Sauce
Look for those that are low in sodium and made with the fewest ingredients. Or, make your own fresh salsa and liberally top salads, baked potatoes and more.
Fermented foods are fantastic for a healthy gut. Filled with probiotics to bolster your immune system, use these to top everything from wraps and tacos, to quinoa and veggie stir-fry bowls.
Well-Stocked Spice Cabinet
Great flavor doesn’t have to come from salt or sugar laden foods. Keep the following on hand and get creative: cayenne, cumin, turmeric, ginger root, cinnamon, chili and curry powders, and pink Himalayan sea salt. (Tip: Trying a spice for the first time? Purchase a small amount from the grocer’s bulk section, rather than buying a whole bottle.)
What do you keep in your clean eating pantry? Tell me in the comments!