How to Stock a Healthy, Real Food Pantry

How to Stock a Healthy Real Food Pantry

If we’re not careful about the pantry items we buy, our pantries can quickly become one of the biggest reasons we get off track with our nutrition. We might as well be stocking our pantries with items that support our health goals!

Here are 6 simple ways to stock a healthy, real food pantry

1. Stock it with real ingredients, limiting the processed food-like products as much as possible.

The pantry is often where we keep the majority of processed ‘food-like products’ since they do not have to be refrigerated due to large amounts of preservatives. So, the first step in creating a healthy pantry is to stock it with real ingredients.

Here are several real food pantry staples to start with:

2. When you do choose processed foods, look for as few ingredients as possible on the nutrition label.

If you look at the label and aren’t sure what the ingredients are, put it back. Your body won’t recognize them either!

10 culprits that should always be avoided in these fake food products:

  • Hydrogenated Oils
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
  • Corn & Wheat Based Byproducts
  • Processed Flours & Sugars
  • Preservatives
  • Natural Flavors
  • Trans Fats
  • Artificial Sweeteners and Flavors
  • Processed Soy and Soy Ingredients

For example, instead of choosing a pasta with 20+ unknown ingredients, choose one with simple ingredients, like Jovial or Ancient Harvest.

 

How to Stock a Healthy Real Food Pantry 1
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3. Reduce the amount of canned pantry items you buy.

This is an important one! Did you know that even BPA-free cans are lined with plastic alternatives to preserve the can and food? These chemicals have been proven to be harmful to our health. While it may not be possible to avoid all canned foods, opt for glass instead – whenever you can!

Example: Buy tomato sauce in a glass jar (I buy this brand to save money!) rather than canned tomato sauce!

*Canned coconut milk is pretty much the only canned item I buy. I like this one because it does not contain any thickening gums, which cause digestive issues for some people.

 

4. Buy from the bulk section.

This not only saves a lot of money, but most of the items from the bulk section of the store have very few, if any, additives or unnecessary ingredients. You can even buy organic herbs, spices, and seasonings from the bulk section for a fraction of the price!

Related: How to Eat Healthfully on a Budget (+ free grocery guide!)

I use these reusable, plastic-free, zippered bulk bags for shopping in the bulk section (Code healthfullyhannah saves you 15%!)


5. Shop online from a trustworthy, like-minded, health-conscious source. 

This is the fun one! Buying pantry staples online (I buy mine here) saves me time (that I would be spending at the store), money (they’re 25-50% off online!), and stress (because I can plan ahead and always make sure I have what I need)!            

My Top 5 Must-Have Snack Foods (they’re clean!)

Siete Chips & Jackson’s Honest Chips

Purely Elizabeth Granola

Simple Mills Baking Mixes (my favorite is pumpkin!)

Simple Mills Crackers (they have several flavors too!)

RX Bars (my favorite flavors are Peanut Butter and Coconut Chocolate)

Related: Save Money On These 50 Items Online

6. Don’t forget to include a treat!

Eating healthfully doesn’t mean depriving ourselves, it just means that when we choose these treats, they aren’t full of harmful chemicals & synthetic ingredients. Here are my favorite store-bought sweets:

For a complete list of healthy pantry items, be sure to download my free Real Food Grocery Guide below! It includes items I buy in-store and online.

  Download My Real Food Grocery Guide For Free

After implementing these 6 steps, you’ll be well on your way to having a healthy, real food pantry! What are your favorite tips for stocking a healthy pantry? Share below!


Hannah Smith

Hannah is the founder of Healthfully Hannah and is a nutrition professional empowering women to live healthfully through science-based, step-by-step guidance. Read Hannah’s health journey that led her to discover the power of Functional Medicine and Nutrition. Get in touch with Hannah right here.


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  1. Love this! We’ve been trying to eat healthier and mostly organic and these tips are great. The stores I go to don’t have a huge variety of organic unless I go like 40 mins away to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. I don’t always have time for that. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Shiraya! Buying real food essentials online sounds like a great option for you if you don’t have many healthy options nearby. Local farmers markets are another option, if you have any in your area. There are so many small steps we can take to set ourselves up for success and they really do add up. It’s surprising at first how our pantries influence our everyday choices. Happy to hear you and your family have been eating healthfully 🙂