If you have a hectic schedule, whether it be because of work, kids, relationships, social obligations, or any number of things that can fill up your day, you might find it a struggle to stick to a regular habit of healthy eating. When you're on the go, it's all too tempting to pull over for some less than nutritious options simply out of convenience. But the availability of takeout isn't the only thing sabotaging your goals — the real culprit might just be what's stashed in your kitchen cupboard. The good news: Learning how to stock a healthy pantry can make it much easier to whip up wholesome meals at home or grab healthy snacks when you're on-the-go.
Regardless of what wellness trends you're following or eating plans you've put into place, you'll find that the key to success is planning — and that starts in your pantry. Besides having a ton of fresh, whole foods (like fruits and veggies) on hand, it helps to have a few specific items on your shelves that will make creating healthy meals so much easier. And as a busy mother of three, health and wellness expert and Philosophie founder, Sophie Jaffe knows just how important that is. In addition to her regular trips to the farmer's market, she relies on a handful of products from favorites like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods to get her and her family fed with dishes she can feel good about. Ahead, find five staples she suggests keeping in your cupboard year-round.
Nut butters have come a long way since the giant tubs of JIF your mom used to buy. In addition to the standard peanut variety, try almond, cashew, or hazelnut butter on toast, when baking, with fruit, or a whole host of different ways. "I use nut butter in so many different recipes and it makes a great snack by the spoonful," Jaffe says. "I use it in smoothies, oat dishes, and my coffee." And if you have a nut allergy, try sunflower butter instead.
"My life is always moving and I depend on dinner essentials like a delicious gluten-free pasta for a quick dinner for my kiddos," Jaffe explains. "Gluten-free pasta is a great way to maintain a well-rounded diet while still enjoying a good ol’ spaghetti night." Even if you're not avoiding gluten, pastas made with quinoa, lentil, or chickpea are loaded with protein as an added benefit.
"Superfoods are foods that have incredible nutrient profiles — above and beyond that of normal foods," Jaffe offers. "They are generally high in vitamins and nutrients." And her brand Philosophie offers a few different varieties to stash in your pantry for smoothies and more, including this beautifying berry blend with organic acai, maca, mangosteen, and more.
Full-Fat Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is more versatile than you think, as it gives depth and creaminess to both sweet and savory dishes — minus the dairy. "For a long time I used coconut milk in curries, but recently found it indispensable at breakfast in smoothies, as a creamy addition to coffee, oatmeal or cereal," says Jaffe.
Raw Dark Chocolate
Just because you want to eat healthy doesn't mean you have to skip chocolate. "Your body craves a sweet treat and you shouldn’t restrict it, but be healthy with it instead," Jaffe suggests. "I have a big sweet tooth and always have delicious raw, dark chocolate in my home."