A Nutritionist's Guide: The 7 Must-Have Pantry Staple Essentials

Stock up on the right stuff

Pantry staples
Photo by @ashleyrandallphoto

When looking to stock up your pantry, fill up on nourishing foods that you can get creative with later to make nutritious meals and snacks easy. Remedy Nutritionist Jacqueline Alwill shares her cost-effective ingredients and products that will keep your family’s health in check. 

The pantry essential staples

1. Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are incredibly diverse and can be used for both sweet and savoury. Whether it’s sprinkled on a salad, your morning porridge or just consumed as a snack, having nuts on hand will help avoid reaching for processed snacks. Almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts, pecans, macadamias, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, linseeds (brown or golden), pinenuts, coconut (shredded, flaked and desiccated) are all great to have on hand. These are better consumed raw where possible. If you’re ever running low on eggs when baking, try making a chia egg! 1 tablespoon of chia seeds + 3 tablespoons of water, stir and allow to gel for 10 minutes. Voila! You have an egg to use in your next lot of muffins, banana bread or cookies. Run out of milk? Why not try making your own nut milk by blending 1 cup of raw nuts with 1L of milk. Remove pulp through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth and enjoy (it’s always way more delicious when made at home!) 

2. Grains and pseudo-grains

Buying your grains in bulk in 1kg packs (or larger if you can) will help you save money based on the frequency of use. Grains are a wonderful source of B vitamins, fibre and carbohydrates for sustained energy and to help our brains function at their absolute best. Best to have on hand are basmati or brown rice, buckwheat and pure buckwheat soba noodles, teff, quinoa and quinoa flakes, oats and barley. These are wonderful staples for any individual, family or otherwise to keep their energy levels in good check and should not be feared! If you have leftover rice from dinner, why not try a simple porridge in the morning! Just add milk to your cooked rice with a dash of cinnamon and heat over the stove. Serve with yoghurt, fruit, nuts and seeds as desired.

3. Flours

Experimenting with different flours for baking up something delicious is a great way to expand your creativity with cooking or baking for that matter. You don’t need tonnes of it, just a few different types will see you through. Spelt, coconut, buckwheat, almond, brown rice and teff flour are the most commonly used as their flavours are fairly neutral. Quinoa, lentil and chickpea flours are other great options but it depends on how many jars you want to fill and what recipes you’re cooking! Teff is a wonderful source of calcium, iron and protein and is gluten-free. It’s a nutritional powerhouse for such a tiny grain. As the weather gets cooler mix teff grain with your quinoa for a wholesome morning porridge or includes some teff flour to make a great pizza base if you want to amp up your pizza game. 

4. Fruits and sweeteners: 

Natural sweeteners are great for raw food and baking without feeling the (glycaemic) highs and lows of refined sugar. Maple syrup, brown rice syrup, stevia, coconut sugar, coconut nectar and raw honey are what I choose to have on hand. Substitute refined white sugar with one of these in baking, not only will you add a new depth of flavour, you’ll avoid the inevitable sugar crash too!
Dried fruits like medjool dates, goji berries, Turkish apricots and currant are all wonderful for a quick snack and a great addition to your next breakfast or salad. If you’re in need of a little sweet treat but don’t want to put too much load onto your blood glucose, mix a source of good fats such as nuts or seeds with your dried fruit which will lower the glycaemic load. If you haven’t tried it yet, pop in a teaspoon of almond or cashew butter into a date before eating. It’s like natures caramel

5. Legumes and beans: 


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A post shared by Jacqueline Alwill (@brownpapernutrition) on Apr 19, 2020 at 12:56am PDT

Let’s face it; there is not much the humble legume can’t do. Legumes and beans will satiate your appetite and fuel your body with plant-based proteins. Whilst they’re not everyone’s thing, they provide essential amino acids our bodies need to synthesise proteins and for growth, development and repair. They’re not just for the plant-based among us! If dry legumes are going to be too tricky to start with, consider buying a few tins to have on hand in the pantry instead. Rinse well before cooking and add into your next lasagne, Bolognese or curry. My favourite beans to stock up on are brown lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, butter beans or if buying dry puy lentils (French, lovely and delicate), red lentils or split peas (great for making dhal).

6. Fermented foods and drinks: 


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A post shared by Jacqueline Alwill (@brownpapernutrition) on Jan 26, 2020 at 10:58pm PST

Fermented foods are trending for a reason! Fermented goods are some of the most delicious ingredients you can stock up on and store for later. Use them as a simple addition to amply up the nutrition on your plate or as the focal flavour of your dish. Fermented foods can improve and support gut health and immunity. These foods can do so as through the fermentation process they produce beautiful bacteria best known to us as probiotics – which feed the gut flora so it can flourish and absorb the nutrients in our foods! Fermented foods to keep on hand are kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, yoghurt or if you need something fizzy, refreshing, jam packed with flavour and good nutrition then a fermented drink such as Remedy Kombucha Ginger Lemon. It ticks all the boxes with it’s immune boosting ingredients such as live cultures, organic acids, ginger, lemon and green tea. The best thing is, it can be kept out of the fridge as every Remedy Kombucha contains no sugar, naturally (pantry WIN). 

7. Oils, vinegar, condiments and spreads: 

If there is one thing all good pantry needs, it’s some good condiments! Including high quality oils not only add flavour to dishes, they can also be a source of high quality fats! Extra virgin olive oil, unrefined coconut oil, macadamia oil, sesame oil and ghee are all great to have on hand. Macadamia oil is great in baking or as a dressing! Balsamic vinegar and apple cider vinegar will transform any salad whilst providing helping curb sugar spikes and aiding digestion. Tamari, fish sauce are great for stir fries and Asian cuisines whilst tahini, almond butter, peanut butter or cashew butter can be added into baking, add another source of protein into a simple salad dressing or just eaten by the spoon (I won’t tell!). 

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