Stocking your Kitchen: Tips to help you Stock your Pantry

By Dr. Laurie Teitelman, ND

Start your year off right! Now that the stocking stuffers are behind you, why not stuff your kitchen with all the best goodies? Use this list to help keep you and your family one step ahead of the game when it comes to eating wisely and keeping healthy this year.


olive oil

Extra virgin or pure, olive oil is the oil of choice because it contains monounsaturated rather than saturated fats. Plus, it tastes great. Use it raw on salads, in dressings, or on lightly sautéed vegetables.

vinegar: balsamic, apple cider, red wine and white wine vinegars

Why buy expensive vinaigrettes when they are usually packed with additives, preservatives and chemicals? Simply mix your favorite vinegar with olive oil, salt and pepper and maybe a little Dijon mustard and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

low-sodium soy sauce

Good to have on hand for a stir-fry or to make a fast marinade for veggies, steak or chicken.

toasted sesame oil

Not to be used as a cooking oil; drizzle this aromatic condiment into anything with Asian influences like cold noodle salads with peanuts, cucumbers and cilantro.

low-sodium chicken broth

Add a few fresh vegetables, some herbs and fresh lemon juice for soup in no time flat.

canned whole peeled tomatoes in juice

Picked and canned late in the season at their peak of ripeness, canned tomatoes are often more flavorful than fresh and are jam-packed with antioxidant lycopene.

jarred marinara sauce

Always a lifesaver. Check to make sure the first ingredient isn’t sugar or hydrogenated oils.

tomato paste in a tube

You never use a whole can and usually end up wasting the remains.

all-natural peanut, almond or nut butter

Look for nut butters without additional additives.


Keep it on hand to add a touch of sweetness to your vinaigrettes, sauces and marinades; raw honey is a tasty addition to tea and is a great alternative to sugar.

pasta: whole-wheat, quinoa, brown-rice pasta

Spaghetti and penne shapes—keep a mix of short and long pasta on hand.

rice: long-grain brown, wild rice

The ultimate staple either on its own or served in soups, curries or transformed into fantastic leftovers the next day.


Quick to cook (just like rice) and good for you as a protein source! Try for breakfast as you would oatmeal, or alongside your favorite dishes to replace starchy rice or pasta.

whole grains: barley, bulgur, gluten-free grains (amaranth, buckwheat, millet, etc.)

A really good habit to get into, they make you feel fuller longer and are good sources of fiber and important nutrients such as selenium, potassium and magnesium.

canned beans

Chickpeas, black beans, cannellini beans: Convenient and great to have on hand for fiber and protein.

dried beans and lentils

Economical, delicious, and space saving—they just take a little forethought.

dried, unsulphured fruit

Raisins, cherries, cranberries, mangoes, pineapples, apricots – let your imagination go wild! Try sprinkling in some raisins to spinach sautéed in garlic and olive oil, or toss some dried (or fresh!) cherries into a green salad with fresh dill toasted almonds.

basic spices

Spices can transform almost any dish: Chili powder, ground cumin, ground cinnamon, crushed red pepper, curry powder, dried thyme, oregano, tarragon and dill, etc.

canned sardines

One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids and packed with vitamin D. Eat them on a crostini or add to a delicious salad or dressing.

kosher salt, Himalayan salt, Celtic sea salt and black peppercorns

These salts, with their large irregular granules, are easy to pinch when seasoning, are packed with minerals and are free of preservatives. The pre-ground peppery stuff from the store just doesn’t compete with the taste of freshly ground pepper.

onions: yellow, sweet, red

Not to be overlooked, onions are the foundation to flavor and are a really powerful health food. Keep them stored in a cool, dark place.


Nothing beats fresh garlic. Skip the jarred kind as it pales in comparison.

potatoes: russet, new, sweet

Mashed, roasted, boiled and baked. So versatile and delicious.

winter squash: butternut, acorn, spaghetti squash

Store in a cool, dry place and your squash will last well into the winter. Try roasting, then slice and toss with olive oil and grated Parmesan, and squash will take on a whole new meaning.


Try to include some in your diet, as it is a great source of fiber and healthy fats which help balance hormones and keep your digestion regular. Sprinkle freshly ground flax seed over cereal, into dressings or mix into smoothies. Flax is known to help lower bad cholesterol. Once ground, store in fridge in a glass container.


Oats are high in soluble fiber and are known to lower cholesterol, particularly the large flakes. It’s as easy as enjoying a bowl of oatmeal a day; smother with your favorite fruits and nuts, add a few dashes of cinnamon and a splash of vanilla.


Anchovies are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and are quite abundant. Try mashing anchovies with chopped garlic, olive oil and some fresh lemon juice for an amazing salad dressing.


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