Ten Steps to An Unprocessed Pantry

The foundation of unprocessed eating is a healthy pantry. I have a tried and true list of ingredients that come to my rescue over and over again. With the pantry basics I can create almost any dish my family requests. I promise these items will make your kitchen happier!

Clean out the junk and invest in a few items that will aid in the construction of nutritious meals. Stocking your pantry is one of the most important factors to successful kitchen organizing.

I’ve gathered ten simple rules to stocking your pantry for unprocessed success!

  1. No artificial ingredients. It’s time to remove all of the items like chips, dips, dressings, etc. that do not contribute to a whole foods diets.
  2. Get rid of everything that contains high fructose corn syrup and any trans fats.
  3. Avoid any “instant” mixes, boxed meals and processed chips.
  4. Examine your energy bar. Read the label. If it has any ingredients you do not recognize, switch brands.
  5. Get rid of any pre-made sauces with added sugars or other additives. For example, replace jarred sauces with organic, low-sodium tomato paste. It still gives you the convenience of a quick sauce but provides a single ingredient pantry item as the starter.
  6. Steer clear of canned fruits or vegetables. Frozen varieties offer more nutrition if fresh produce is not an option.
  7. Eliminate microwave popcorn bags. Part of going unprocessed means incorporating as many whole food, single ingredient items as possible into your pantry. Buy kernels in bulk and pop the old-fashioned way.
  8. Replace sugars with honey or maple syrup, which fall under the whole food category, unlike processed sugars.
  9. Purchase 100% fruit juice and unsweetened applesauce.
  10. Use only whole grain foods like brown rice and whole wheat pasta.

And some suggestions to help you stay the course!

Increase on hand amounts of bulgar and quinoa. These are high-nutrition grains that are easy to combine with fresh vegetables to create a quick, balanced meal.

Make your own granola from organic rolled oats, honey, slivered almonds with add-ins like shredded coconut, cranberries and dark chocolate.

Have the spices in your pantry been on the shelf for over a year? Time to replace! Invest in quality spices from local farmers markets. Using dried herbs in place of salt can lower your blood pressure without sacrificing flavor.

Switch to wholesome snacks in small quantities, like almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, dried fruits and fresh fruit. Keeping a small snack with you during the day will provide an alternative to chips and high sugar snacks when cravings arise.

DIY Pantry Dressing: Buttermilk Ranch

After cleaning out your pantry you might like to know how fun it is to make your own dressing.

Here is one of our favorite recipes.

  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 chives, finely chopped
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk until well blended. Chill until ready to use. Store in fridge for up to a week.

Published on: July 10, 2014
About the Author
Photo of Melissa Lanz

Melissa is the founder of The Fresh 20 an award winning meal planning service, the creator of the Family Food Summit, an online conversation with food industry leaders, about feeding our families and the author of The Fresh 20 Cookbook.

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