Last week on the blog, we talked about how to put together the perfect vegan meal. Having the perfect vegan pantry staples on hand at all times makes this incredibly easy.
The following tips will help you stock up on vegan pantry staples, and learn how to store them for best flavor, quality and freshness.
Whether you’re just beginning your plant based journey or have been at it a while. I have no doubt that you’ll enjoy these tips and that they will help you on the journey to optimal wellness, because having the right ingredients handy makes this journey so much easier, more fun and more delicious.
I decided to focus on both practical tips and little-known tips that I use around my plant-based kitchen to help you stock the healthiest and most delicious vegan pantry staples right! I am sure some of these will surprise you, and they will all definitely support your journey to optimal wellness.
Save time and money by shopping for vegan pantry staples in bulk online
Avoiding buying pantry items at the grocery store will help you save lots of time. Instead, order items like dry beans and grains, condiments, spices, and more online, and in large quantitative. This will help you save a lot of time and money, and avoid extra packaging – because of the large quantities.
My two favorite places to shop for a majority of my bulk items are Vitacost and Amazon. I only purchase pantry items at the store when I need them urgently, and don’t have a long enough list to shop online and snag free shipping.
Spice it up
Spices will take your food to a whole new level! Incorporating spices in your meals is not only delicious and exciting, it’s also incredibly healthy, because they contain massive amounts of antioxidants. These are some of my favorite spices.
Store high-fat items, whole grains and beans in the fridge and freezer
These foods are prone to oxidation, and oxidation can actually cause stress to your body. Plus, keeping your legumes, grains and fats in the freezer or fridge will definitely prolong their shelf life. Fats like tahini, almond butter, nuts and seeds do much better in the cold. The only exception is avocado and coconut.
Keep bananas on top of the fridge
A little known trick that helps ripen bananas very quickly is to keep them on top of the fridge. This will help them ripen twice as fast due to the warmth emanating from your fridge. Once they are ripe, you can peel and freeze them for smoothies and ice creams.
Keep tomatoes out of the fridge, always
Tomatoes lose their flavor when they are refrigerated, making your meals a lot less exciting. Store them in a container that has air flow, outside of the fridge, and purchase just enough to use in one week.
Freeze whatever is about to go bad, and batch cook everything else
A lot of people complain that they buy a bunch of produce that goes bad, wasting time and money. A great way to avoid this is to immediately cook up most of the vegetables that you purchase, and to freeze things like sauces, dips, dressings, and even cooked whole grains and legumes. These foods freeze extremely well, and when you want to use them, simply place them in the fridge the morning of the day they are to be used to safely defrost.
Don’t forget to freeze one serving sizes to avoid food safety hazards when moving frozen foods in and out of the freezer multiple times.
Create a weekly grocery list focused mostly on fresh produce
70% of your shopping cart (at least) should come from the produce section! The rest can be purchased in store or online, as suggested in the first tip.
When you enter the grocery store, head straight to the produce section, and load up on 1-ingredient foods. There is no going wrong there! You’re getting the healthiest, most delicious, and most price-savvy items this way.
Organize your pantry so that the most frequently used items are at the front
This will help you navigate your pantry, especially if you have a crazy, overloaded pantry like I have. If your pantry is dispersed between several locations in your kitchen, place the items you use most in a location where they are easiest to reach.
If you buy in bulk, decide on an area of your kitchen where to store bulk bags of spices, for instance, and a more accessible area where you can store small jars for immediate use.
Keep a pad of paper in the kitchen and write down when you run out of your vegan pantry staples
Truth: I don’t do this. I try to keep a running tab in my brain. But my mother in law does, and I’ve always thought it to be the most brilliant idea!
If you promise to try it in the comments, I will too!
I have no doubt this will be so helpful when you go to the store, and when you prepare to make an online vegan pantry staples purchase.
Explore new options to keep it fun and fresh
I get really excited when I find new vegan products, and always keep an open mind to try new ones! I highly recommend you do, too. This will help you keep a creative kitchen going, especially when it comes to seasonings (mixes of unique spices together) and condiments. Next week, you’ll learn how to distinguish which products are healthy and which aren’t, so stay tuned for that!
What was your favorite tip that you will try out next week?