This past weekend I taught a class on toddler nutrition (since it sits so close to home with me right now) and I was asked if I could compile a list of pantry “must haves” so that anyone who wants to have a healthy, healing pantry, has all the tools at their fingertips in order to make virtually any recipe they may come across.

Here’s my healing pantry checklist:

The Healthy Refrigerator:
Buy these items weekly, rotating out a few of your favorites. Make mealtime colorful and creative!

  • Avocados (non-organic is fine)
  • Bananas (non-organic is fine)
  • Seasonal Fruit (organic when possible)
  • Lots of Leafy Greens (it’s best to buy organic greens due to pesticide content
    – Kale
    – Spinach
    – Rainbow chard
    – Romaine lettuce
    – Mixed Greens
  • Red bell peppers (organic when possible)
  • Broccoli (non-organic is fine)
  • Winter Squash (butternut, kabocha, acorn or spaghetti)
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic (buy the pre-pealed cloves and store in your freezer)
  • Lemons
  • Onions
  • Zucchini (great for spiraling and making zucchini pasta!)
  • Cabbage
  • Fresh Ginger Root
  • Light Miso
  • Non-Dairy Milk (Carrageenan-Free)


Shelf-Stable Must Haves:
The key to these items is to buy as you use them and use within a year. One way to save on these items is to buy them in bulk and store extras in an airtight container or go in monthly or bi-monthly “bulk share” with a group of friends.

Nuts & Seeds:

  • Raw Almonds, Raw Walnuts, Raw Cashews
  • Raw Pumpkin Seeds, Raw Sunflower Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Flax Seed Meal
  • Nut Butters (tahini, almond butter, unsweetened natural peanut butter)

Whole Grains:

  • Rolled Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Brown Rice
  • Millet
  • Cornmeal
  • Brown Rice Pasta or whole wheat pasta
  • Cracked whole wheat flour

Dried Beans & Legumes:

  • Chickpeas
  • White Beans
  • Black Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Lentils


  • Medjool Dates
  • Coconut Palm Sugar
  • Pure maple syrup

Oils & Vinegars:

  • Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Braggs Liquid Aminos
  • Sesame Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  • Salt-free organic vegetable boulin
  • Bay leaves (place 2-3 leaves in when cooking dried beans)
  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin
  • Turmeric
  • Sea Salt
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Vanilla Extract

Misc Essentials:

  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Probiotic Powder (check for expiration date)
  • Aluminum-free baking soda (helps pancakes, muffins, breads, etc rise)


What’s on your pantry ‘must haves’ list?