These 13 pantry essentials for everyday nutrition are always in stock in my kitchen.
When I was asked for a list of at least ten things to keep in the pantry, it was very easy to identify a list of 13 pantry essentials because I had all these items on hand.
I understand, eating a balance diet is not always easy or accessible, the way I get around that is by planning snacking foods which are nutrient rich. The more foods that are consumed in their natural state, the better. Seeds are especially great for snacking.
Why 13 pantry essentials? Simple, variety! There are those who can eat the same meal day in, day out and never get tired or bored. They see food as necessary fuel for the body. On the other hand there are those who experiment and sometimes they create mouth watering meals and sometimes it’s a hit and miss. Then, there are those who are rogue chefs, they cook without measuring anything, without tasting anything and still deliver a superbly tasteful meal. A raw type of talent that only comes from experience.
I am that rogue chef, who ventures into the world of the unknown and figures out how to add ingredients I barely heard of, into already favourite dishes. On a random Tuesday night, I received a message asking for the top 10 things someone should have in their pantry – citing that they are inspired by the meals I’ve been talking about on social media. Well, here’s the list of 13 pantry essentials I sent to that inquiring mind. These are not in any particular order.
2. Raw almonds
3. Ground flax seeds
4. Pumpkin Seeds
5. Raw Sunflower Seeds
6. Coconut MCT Oil
7. Chia Seeds
8. Ground Tumeric
9. Ground Ginger
10. Hemp Hearts
11. Teff Grains
12. Tigernut Slices
13. Fresh Garlic
Adding Seeds: Ground Flax, Pumpkin, Sunflower, Chia, Hemp
Ground Flax: It must be ground flax, not whole flax seeds because the body does not break down the whole seeds therefore there is no absorption of the nutrients. As you age, you tend to require more fiber in your diet. Adding ground flax to yogurt, salads, porridge, baked treats, soups, stews and anything else you can think of increases your fibre intake throughout the day. Eating enough fibre daily is necessary to keep your eliminating system flowing freely and easily. Otherwise, constipation is a continuous problem and is often the source of major illnesses in the body. Ground Flax is not just part of my pantry essentials, but a daily source of omega and fibre for me.
Pumpkin Seeds: A great source of magnesium and manganese. So many benefits but the top three I particularly like are: a) it helps to regulate mood and sleep, b) helps to balance blood sugar levels and c) contains beneficial fats.
Raw Sunflower Seeds: Again, a plethora of vitamins and nutrients. The two biggest benefits for me is anti-inflammatory and heart health.
Chia Seeds: This was a huge discovery. I tiny seed with mighty benefits. Today it’s also being used as a binding agent in vegan recipes instead of eggs. It’s many benefits and nutrients are best absorbed in the body if soaked or allowed to glutenize before eating. It’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, antioxidants, iro and calcium.
Hemp Hearts: Improves heart health, reduces inflammation, combats PMS and menopausal symptoms and reduces muscle cramps. This super food is great in smoothies, baked goods, in salads, or simply used as a topping in yogurt, and on fresh fruits. Alternatively, it makes great hemp milk.
No pantry essentials list is complete without nuts. The top two that I prefer are:
Pecans: these nuts are rich in minerals necessary for growth and metabolism. They also have the highest fat content – good fats. Pecans are said to contain vitamin E which may boost immunity and contributes to anti aging. This nut is associated with heart health and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Raw Almonds: If you could strengthen your teeth and bones, maintain electrolyte balance in your body and minimize brain fog wouldn’t you do it? These are only a few of the many, many benefits of eating raw almonds daily.
Adding Tuberous Roots: Ginger, Tumeric, Tigernuts
Of recent, Ginger and Tumeric has become top of mind for most people in North America. Meanwhile, they are staple ingredients for every meal in other parts of the world. Used as ingredients in curries, brewed as teas, used on wounds and aid in general health, including but not limited to things like nauseausness and allergies.
Ground Ginger: This is another age-old star when it comes to inflammation and also helps with nausea and digestion. Commonly used as an ingredient in stir fry’s but is also popular as a tea. The root itself can be used for teas and stir fry’s. Grated it can be added to baked treats. If you prefer to use the fresh root vs the ground version, then simply use a peeler and remove the thin layer of skin, grate and freeze for use later. As part of my 13 pantry essentials, I have fresh root, crystalized ginger and ginger powder. I love juicing the fresh root in the juicer, then add the ginger juice to my veggie juice for an instant burst of energy.
Ground Tumeric: A long forgotten gem, recently emerged has a hero once again. This makes for a great latte – but more importantly, when coupled with warm milk and black pepper it’s a super great natural treatment for chest congestion. Additionally, it’s a huge source of anti-inflammatory properties, improves thyroid and liver functioning and helps with cognitive health. Again you can preserve the fresh root by grating it and freeze, otherwise it stays in the fridge for up to 3 weeks if stored in a vacuum pack. This root also juices very well – watch out for the yellow stained hands – don’t worry it washes off after a couple of washes.
Tigernut Slices: Tigernut was a little late to the party since it’s now making its grand entrance into North America, however it is now a consistently part of my 13 pantry essentials. Tasty and oh so good as a milk. It can easily be substituted for cow’s milk. Tigernut slices are amazing in salads, and baked treats. Magnesium, potassium, iron, oils, fibre and a host of other nutritional benefits. This super food is truly a superb additional to our daily intake.
Teff Grains: The rising star! This versatile seed, called a grain but it’s not, is creeping its way into the North American diet. Use it as a topping, as an ingredient or as an additive – it has a neutral taste with a crunch. Naturally gluten free, high in resistant starch and high nutritional value.
Fresh Garlic: Saute in a little olive oil and then added to a jar with olive oil to cover the garlic, the potency stays and can be used in various dishes, teas, dips and salads. Garlic is known for its healing properties as an antibiotic, an anti-inflammatory and is used to treat a host of ailments from the common cold to cancers.
Coconut MCT oil: In short, this is a good fat. Easy to digest, quick energy source, provides brain power and gut health. As a child growing up in South America, my family used to make fresh coconut oil to use for cooking, used on the skin after a shower and in our hair. I had no idea at that time, how beneficial it is. Today there are several brands on the market, you want to buy one that’s 60-65% MCT or higher.
Ingredient list: Flour Blend (Teff flour, Gluten Free Oat flour, Arrowroot flour, Brown Rice flour, Buckwheat flour, Coconut flour), Raisins, Gluten Free Oat Flakes, Chia seeds, Teff Whole Grain, Ground Flax Seeds, Chocolate Flavour, Vanilla, Cocoa Powder, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt.
Ingredient list: Flour Blend (Teff flour, Gluten Free Oat flour, Arrowroot flour, Brown Rice flour, Buckwheat flour, Coconut flour), Gluten Free Oat Flakes, Apricot, Crystallized Ginger, Chia Seeds, Teff Whole Grain, Ground Flax Seeds, Vanilla, Ginger Powder, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt.
Ingredient list: Flour Blend (Teff flour, Gluten Free Oat flour, Arrowroot flour, Brown Rice flour, Buckwheat flour, Coconut flour), Gluten Free Oat Flakes, Glazed Citrus, Tigernut Slices, Raisins, Chia Seeds, Teff Whole Grain, Ground Flax Seeds, Vanilla, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt, Citric Acid.