Keeping healthy food stocked in our pantry supports us to cook better. I like to use Jeff Novick’s five healthy diet guidelines when I am purchasing food staples. I enjoy having simple systems that can guide my decision making. The more I recall these guidelines when I shop, the easier it is for me to purchase food staples that support my health and the the health of my family.
1) Plant-Centered – Center your plate and your diet predominately with plant foods (fruits, vegetables, starchy vegetables, roots/tubers, intact whole grains, and legumes such as beans, peas and lentils).
2) Minimally Processed – Enjoy foods as close to “as grown in nature” with minimal processing that does not detract from the nutritional value and/or add any harmful components.
3) Calorie Dilute – Follow the principles of calorie density, choosing foods that are calorie adequate, satiating, and nutrient sufficient.
4) Low S-O-S – Avoid/minimize the use of added salts/sodium, oils/fats, and sugars/sweeteners.
5) Variety – Consume a variety of foods in each of the recommended food groups
Keeping those principles in mind, here are some healthy vegan and kosher items for your spring pantry:
Spices and Seasonings
This wonderful 24-pack of spices is the perfect addition to your pantry. Great if you’re moving, starting fresh or well overdue for replacing old spices. These spices are organic, certified Kosher, and gluten free!
This is a soy free seasoning sauce that you can use instead of soy sauce. It might even taste better than soy sauce. It is slightly sweeter (even though there is no added sugar) and can be used as a seasoning when sauteing vegetables, added to salad dressings and eaten with vegan sushi.
One of my favorites for an easy addition to any meal or great to eat on its own in a hurry with a blend of seasonings. This is an heirloom short grain brown rice made from 100% whole grain. No GMOs, gluten free, and vegan!
Sweet breakfasts can be wonderful but most of our convenience store pancake mixes have a lot of additives we don’t need. This pancake mix is an organic recipe with minimal ingredients.
I may be a little biased but everyone should have couscous in their pantry. Perfect on its own, with seasonings or add fruits and nuts to make a wonderful side dish with your meals. This couscous is certified Kosher parve.
Another staple grain to keep handy in your pantry. I enjoy this tri-color for adding a little color and variety.
Bob’s Red Mill Oats are a classic. Once discovered, it’s difficult to go back to other oats again. The flavor from the kiln-toasted process makes them significantly more flavorful than other rolled oats I’ve tried.
Keep 1-5 of these in your pantry at all times. Vegan vegetable broth is one of the simplest replacements in soups, sauces, and other instances where a recipe may call for an animal based broth.
Another base ingredient to always keep on hand if you enjoy curries, baking or inventing fruit smoothies. There’s so many uses for coconut milk, I don’t like to ever be short in case I need it for something I’m making in the week.
Along with Bob’s Red Mill rolled oats, these red lentils are wonderful. Lentils are rich in fiber, minerals, and protein. Red lentils are fast cooking and very easy for most people to digest.
One of my favorites to add to cold salads, on top of a grain dish, or from which to make an oil free hummus. Chickpeas have a great texture and are also high in fiber. You can enjoy these right out of the can, no prep involved.
Chocolate, Nuts and Seeds
Cocoa Powder (for smoothies and baking)
Bake healthy and without all the added sugars! I love having natural hot chocolate and cold refreshing chocolate “milk” and feel so much better about my sweet treat when I make it myself.
If you keep Vegan or are interested to try some of your favorite home recipes with Vegan chips instead, try these! Made in a dedicated nut free facility, if you have loved ones with nut allergies. They taste yummy in this vegan nutty chocolate chip cookie recipe.
This flax seed is fresh, finely ground and has a nutty taste. This organic flax seed is perfect to add 1 tsp to your a bowl of oatmeal, to a smoothie, in baking or on top of vegan yogurt.
Great for breakfast on toast, mixing into hummus instead of tahini for a little change of taste or working into baking for a subtle and aromatic flavor. This almond butter is also dairy and soy free for those looking for alternatives.
Lastly, although they are not food, to enjoy cooking it is helpful to have good tools.
Here are some basic tools for our kitchens.
Such a simple tool that makes meal prep easier and safer for your fingers! This is a great three-pack of peelers that I found while I was living in Switzerland.
Sometimes these age old adages can be tough for us to accept or we want to deny them. Do not let investing in a good knife be one of them. This really does make all the difference in enjoying putting meals together.
Great for so many reasons. Easy meal prep, works great for those with busy lives, simple use, and the recipes available are endless. The perfect kitchen assistant.
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Your turn: What healthy vegan and kosher staple should be added to this list? Tell us in the comments below.