Hint: it involves your pantry!
Stocking your home with pantry essentials prevents impulse buying and ordering-in, eating unbalanced meals and running out of ingredients for dinner. Keeping key items on hand, like spices, rice, beans and dried noodles, means you’re always only a few short steps away from a great vegan meal.
It can be difficult though for new vegans to know what an “essential” pantry item is. Remember for both money and spaces purposes, you don’t need a full pantry to have an efficient one. Choose some of the items listed below to stock your pantry with that can be used in a variety of ways. The important thing is not to buy things that you don’t need or might not use. For example, if there’s zero chance of you cooking and eating the item this winter, don’t buy it. Buy what you need and use it up for pantry efficiency and meal (and budget) satisfaction.
1. Dried Goods
Dried fruits are great to help you round out a variety of dishes, and they provide high amounts of potassium and other minerals. Here are some to use to make raw treats and snacks, granola bars, to top cereal, or mixed into trail mix:
2. Canned or Boxed Goods[caption id="attachment_1481123856" align="aligncenter" width="804"] John Herschell/Flickr[/caption]
Many boxed and canned goods may not seem like the healthiest choice, but many are actually organic and GMO-free, and some are also BPA-free and allergen-free. These will help you round out your meals and cost pennies per serving. Stock up on some of these:
–BPA free canned organic tomatoes to make soups, stews, and even sauces
–Nut or seed milk to use in cereal, smoothies, sauces, and a variety of non-dairy dishes
-Dried or BPA-free canned soups to use for quick meals, or additions to other entrees like stews, fajitas, entrees, etc.
–Dried cereals to use for quick morning meals, to add to vegan yogurt, mix into trail mix, or just use as a quick snack. Be sure to go for GMO-free and organic, lower sugar brands whenever possible to avoid dangerous ingredients like genetically modified corn and soy, pesticides, and chemicals.
Remember, for optimal health add something fresh into every meal you make this winter. Greens, veggies, nuts, seeds, all make excellent additions.
3. Grains, Pastas, etc.
Keep these complex carbohydrates in stock to make healthy, plant-based, filling meals in a pinch!
4. Beans and Legumes[caption id="attachment_148112" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Google Images/Flickr[/caption]
Beans and legumes are incredibly dense sources of potassium, protein, and fiber. They’ll help keep you full and give your meals a tasty, hearty texture. Use beans and legumes in your soups and stews too, or in entrees, wraps, ethnic dishes, or in vegan tacos. Here are some of my favorites:
5. Superfoods[caption id="attachment_148112" align="aligncenter" width="1066"] brownpau/Flickr[/caption]
Superfoods make life more interesting, healthy, and take your recipes to new levels. You can use them in smoothies, raw treats and snacks, or even everyday dishes. Here are some of the ones richest in vitamins and minerals that are easy to keep in your pantry:
Check out our guide to finding superfoods, even if you’re on a budget!
You can use spices in any way, shape, or form to create delicious meals of any kind. They make things tastier, and also bring extra nutrition since many are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. These are some of the most healthy and affordable ingredients to use in all your meals:
The list of awesome, nutritious spices goes on and on. Don’t limit yourself to this list exclusively – get creative and spice things up!
Nuts and seeds are packed with vitamins, minerals, protein, and antioxidants. They can be used to make nut butters, sauces, granola bars, or just use them as snacks and toppings. Buy these from the bulk bin to save money, and be sure to store them in the fridge so they don’t spoil:
It seems simple, right? Keep great vegan foods in your pantry and you’ll eat great vegan goods all winter long. Enjoy!
BONUS Recommendation: Download the Food Monster App
If you enjoy articles and recipes like these and want more, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App. For those that don’t have it, it’s a brilliant food app available for both Android and iPhone. It’s a great resource for anyone looking to cut out or reduce allergens like meat, dairy, soy, gluten, eggs, grains, and more find awesome recipes, cooking tips, articles, product recommendations and how-tos. The app shows you how having diet/health/food preferences can be full of delicious abundance rather than restrictions.
The Food Monster app has over 8k recipes and 500 are free. To access the rest, you have to pay a subscription fee but it’s totally worth it because not only do you get instant access to 8k+ recipes, you get 10 NEW recipes every day! You can also make meal plans, add bookmarks, read feature stories, and browse recipes across hundreds of categories like diet, cuisine, meal type, occasion, ingredient, popular, seasonal, and so much more!
Lead Image Source: How to Make Homemade Peanut Butter