My Favorite Healthy Pantry Essentials

8 years ago I stopped eating meat and fish. With the time, and after trying and exploring new tastes, I stayed with the choice of eating 90% plant-based and about 10% animal-based products.

For me personally the plant-based cooking brings abundance of benefits and it tastes great. I have learned few tricks and one of them was to stock my pantry with key ingredients which I always have on hand.

Rice – wild, brown, black, or white basmati – I stock of all them. The darker rice will be reach in fiber folate and magnesium, the white basmati rice will be very light to digest and a good option for everybody wanting to switch to healthier diet.

Oats – I prefer the gluten free option , but either are a great source of plant protein, as well as important minerals, fiber and antioxidants. I love them as a porridge, as a base for pancakes and many other baked goodies.

Ghee and coconut oil – both are very easy to digest and boost our immunity. Will perfectly replace the butter/oil in the kitchen and skincare product in the bathroom. They are very good fats for cooking at high temperature and for backing. I will use the coconut oil during summer time and as soon as it gets firm I switch to Ghee. The reason for that is an ayurvedic approach saying that coconut oil, when firm, will block the body fluids circulation channels.

Hemp seeds – I add them to my porridge or smoothies. They are rich in essential amino acids and have very well balanced ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. With they mild and nutty flavor they make a perfect ingredient in raw snacks. Rich in vitamin E and minerals.

Beans and legumes – excellent source of potassium, protein, fiber and antioxidants. They will stabilize blood glucose level and control your apatite for few hours. I buy them only dry and never canned or in jar. Important is to always soak them as indicated on the label and cook in high pressure-cooker. For people having digestive problems it is better to start with small portions and with lentils, which always need to be prepared with spices like cumin, fenchel or cardamom.

Nutritional yeast – this is definitely a pantry essential that not only tastes good but also have many health benefits. Great source of protein, B vitamins and trace minerals. It is naturally low in sodium and calories, as well as fat-free, sugar-free, gluten-free and vegan. The cheesy flavor is perfect addition for any pasta dish but not only that.

Dates – these dry fruits have amazing benefits for digestive system , hearth and adrenals health. I am almost never out out dates and use them for raw cakes, smoothies and as snack between the meals.

Ginger – my hero in the kitchen. I drink ginger water, use when cooking my lunch or dinner, add to baked goods and put in my coffee creations. Ginger increases digestibility of the food, expels mucus from the body, helps to fight infections. Ginger is great when you feel cold, or you have cold feet and/or hands, it will warm you up from the inside.

Honey - if organic, unfiltered, natural, unheated and raw – will contain minerals, trace minerals, vitamin, enzymes, antioxidants, probiotics. Honey fights bacteria, viruses, fungus. It is a true antibiotic created by nature. Do not buy Honey at the regular supermarket but from your local beekeeper. One tip - do not put it in a hot water. Anything more than 42 degrees will deactivate its enzymes and destroy most of the vitamins.

Wild blueberries – very high in antioxidants, protective against cancer and a fantastic brain food. The wild blueberries will be smaller from the ones you find at a supermarket and superior in their health benefits. I buy them frozen to have them available all year long.

Look at everything you put in your body as a type of fuel and ask yourself, what and how I am feeling with this? Important, you go after your taste and enjoy it.


If you would like to talk more about nutrition and health with our health coach Ewa Velija,