stocking healthy foods

Spring Clean Your Pantry With FRESH Foods {FREE Printable!}

It’s that time of year again, isn’t it? Spring cleaning time for your kitchen! Cleaning, organizing and arranging our homes and habits to do away with the old and make room for the new! Let’s start with that dreaded corner of the kitchen that is SO vital to have in place for our FRESH family meal plan, but NOT always the most fun to clean out and organize - the PANTRY! Here's what my pantry looked like BEFORE I cleaned it up for the health coaching video you can watch below!

For myself, to have the BEST options for my family meals and snacks at our fingertips, a thorough spring cleaning of our pantry was in order! So I’m sharing with you what we stock on a regular basis—our family’s main stay healthy choice options so that I can put together the FRESHest dinners or snacks quickly and easily.

Watch the video below to see what I stock my pantry with every week!

Here’s what you will almost ALWAYS find in my kitchen pantry:

#1. Keep a bowl of FRESH fruit for the family on the counter.

Choose fruits that are on sale and in season to help you stay in budget. - These items stay fresh longer when they are left out in the open, on the counter

#2.  Breakfast items: cereal, ready-to-make oatmeal – try to use only the types that are low sugar

  • We do use low sugar instant oatmeal occasionally, but the best is old-fashioned oats. (Just cook with water, a bit of cinnamon and a bit of brown sugar for a delicious breakfast!)
  • Nature Valley protein bars—high in protein, low in sugar!
  • Low or NO sugar Greek Yogurt parfaits with FRESH fruit and homemade granola are another fave around here!

This is just a short sneak peek of our breakfast items. We do LOTS of smoothies and eggs are OFTEN on our go-to list for breakfast.

#3.  Dinner prep – canned beans and healthy whole grains

  • Black Beans
  • Cannellini Beans
  • Brown rice pasta (Though we usually only eat pasta once a week or so)
  • Quinoa (red and white!) and brown or wild rice mix

#4. Vinegars and cooking wine and sauces – to keep the flavor intact without commercial seasonings!

  • Rice vinegar
  • Apple cider vinegar (in homemade salad dressings, with sautéed greens)
  • Red wine vinegar (in crock pot meals and roasts)
  • Balsalmic vinegar (use with roasted veggies or over fresh tomato, mozzarella & basil salad)
  • Low sodium soy sauce OR Bragg's Liquid Aminos in place of soy sauce (use often in stir-fries!)

#5 Sweeteners

  • True, pure sugar or brown sugar (use VERY LITTLE!)
  • Light syrup or sugar-free syrup (Mrs. Butterworth’s Light for pancakes)
  • A bit of stevia for sugar-free lemonade and limeade and coffee or tea

These two are the ONLY pure and natural found-in-nature sweeteners (and MOST of what I use!):

  • Pure maple syrup
  • Honey

#6. Pantry FRESH veggies

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Potatoes

#7. Nut butters

Ideally, low-sugar varieties of almond butter, peanut butter or other nut butters

#8. Reduced sugar ketchup & other condiments

 #9. Raw nuts (though I often keep them in the freezer for BEST freshness)

#10. Oils I use:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Canola, Sunflower, Avocado & Other Plant Oils (SOME Coconut Oil, VERY little)

#11. Snacks

  • Seaweed Snacks
  • Drink Mix – Crystal Light Pure (has Truvia instead of aspartame)
  • Nesquick - 25% less sugar chocolate drink mix

Bottom Line for Spring Cleaning YOUR Pantry:

STICK with YOUR personal tastes and mainstays – you are the cook in your own kitchen, you know what works for you! Wean out super-processed and packaged snack foods…anything with “fake” food-like ingredients. Stick to whole, pure & FRESH foods as much as possible. (Good rule of thumb is to follow the 80/20 rule…80% FRESH and whole foods, 20% “other” or treat foods!)

To make keeping your pantry stocked with healthy items easier, we've put together a couple of free printables for you!

Click on the image{s} below to download and print these helpful sheets for your kitchen!

Coach Bess' Must-Have Pantry Staples Inventory Printable

We'd love to hear from YOU!

What are the top 5 must-have staples that can be found in your pantry? Share with us in the comments section below!