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I find that having a well stocked pantry is essential to a “real food” kitchen.  It helps keep the grocery budget down, helps with meal planning, and makes quick fix meals much easier since you already have essential items on hand.  It can take a while to build up your well stocked pantry, but once you do, you will love it!

To build your inventory, without having to spend a fortune, I recommend buying a few items every week especially when they are on sale.  If spices are on sale, load up!  You find a great deal on some wild caught salmon?  Buy a few and put them in the freezer for upcoming weeks.

Also this is what I include in my pantry because these are the items that I use the most. Yours may look different than mine depending on what you and your family like as well as your dietary needs.  We’re all different, so please don’t get hung up on the details.

Here’s what I keep stocked in my house.

Spice cabinet

  • cumin
  • oregano
  • basil
  • chili powder
  • unrefined sea salt
  • pepper:  black, white, cayenne
  • garlic powder
  • nutmeg
  • ginger
  • thyme
  • rosemary
  • dried mustard
  • cinnamon
  • parsley
  • paprika
  • bay leaf
  • sage
  • tumeric
  • coriander
  • cloves
  • fennel
  • fresh onions
  • fresh garlic


Baking goods


Oils and vinegars

  • coconut oil:  expeller pressed and virgin unrefined
  • olive oil
  • avocado oil
  • Vinegars:  balsamic, white, apple cider, red wine


Canned and jarred food

  • tomato products:  puree, diced, paste
  • coconut milk
  • canned tuna
  • canned salmon
  • dried fruit


Grains, Beans, Legumes, Nuts

  • rice
  • oats
  • quinoa
  • dry beans- white, navy, black, red, pinto, garbanzo
  • lentils
  • natural nut butter- peanut, almond or sunflower seed butter
  • pasta
  • popcorn
  • nuts-almonds, macadamia, brazil, peanuts, walnuts, pecans (keep in the freezer for maximum freshness)
  • bread


In the Freezer

  • frozen fruit
  • frozen veggies:  organic corn, peas, spinach, greens, green beans, cauliflower rice, etc
  • meat:  grass-fed beef, whole chicken, chicken breast, shrimp, various fish
  • Homemade chicken and beef stock


Always have on hand in fridge

  • eggs
  • cheese:  raw cheddar and mozzarella
  • breakfast meat (nitrate free from pastured animals is best)
  • whole milk or milk alternative
  • butter or ghee
  • soy sauce/tamari or coconut aminos
  • fish sauce
  • yogurt 
  • kefir (homemade)
  • ketchup
  • salsa
  • mustard


Buy weekly

  • fresh produce
  • any of the above that needs restocking
  • fill in the cracks for meals that you have planned


Now it’s your turn!  What do you always keep on hand?  Anything very different than mine above?  Leave your thoughts in the comments.