By now, you probably know the drill: wash your hands thoroughly after touching anything, only leave your home for essentials, and stay well away from all other living beings except for the ones you live with.
Every time I need to leave the house to stock up the pantry, I plan like crazy. Starting from planning of what to eat for days ahead, budgeting, and then make a concise shopping list.
My husband is shaking his head whenever I went Momzilla on organizing and planning things, but we agreed on one thing.
Making a comprehensive list of groceries will cut down the number of trips you have to make to the grocery store.
So with that in mind, I made the must-have essential list to stock up the pantry. This list is also useful for a general kitchen stock up, when you just move to your new house, or when you are new to cooking at home and don’t have an idea of what to store in your pantry. Don’t worry, we have been there!
Before we start though, there is something that needed to be said first.
Being Prepared to Stock Up Your Pantry Does Not Mean Stockpiling or Hoarding
The US Department of Homeland Security is recommending two weeks worth of supplies.
Naturally, stocking shelf-stable cans and non-perishable foods will allow you to be prepared without the worry of your groceries going bad for a short amount of time. But sometimes we can go way overboard and ends up with more amount of food than we actually need.
So to avoid that, we need to remember two things:
1. Don’t go into a panic mode. Buy things that you know your family will eat. Make sure that it’s NOT something you and your family have never tried before, or don’t already enjoy, and might go to waste.
2. Instead, look at what you already keep in the house. Find out which items are your family’s favorite and replenish those things first.
Please remember that other people need food too, and not everyone can afford to load up their cart all at once.
Now onto the list! I categorized them based on food types, with some tips on what and how to store your groceries so they last longer.
|Grains, Starches, Beans, and Legumes|
Rice (white or brown rice)
Pasta (wheat based or bean based)
Bread (white, wheat, or whole grain)
Noodles (rice or egg noodles)
Beans (cannellini, white, navy, black, or chickpeas)
The dry grains are mostly nutritious, can last forever without refrigeration, relatively cheap and easy to cook. So if you usually cook with these grains, stock up plenty. For bread and butter, you can freeze them to extend their shelf life.
|Oils and Vinegars|
Cooking oil (grapeseed, corn, coconut or canola oil)
Butter or butter subtitute
Red wine vinegar
Apple cider vinegar
Tomato sauce or tomato puree
Broth or stock (vegetable, chicken, beef, or seafood)
Olives (black or green olives)
Chiles (chipotles or pickeld jalapenos)
Nuts (almonds, ground peanuts, walnut, etc)
Canned fruit (peaches, pears, pineapple, grapefruit, etc)
Canned pasta or pasta sauces
When it comes to canned foods, it’s always preferable to look for low-sodium one and be mindful of the fat content of cream based options (like canned soups). For the fruit ones, look for products that has no added sugar.
Kids' and your favorite cereals
Dried fruit and seeds (chia, flax, or hemp)
Peanut butter or almond butter
Flour (all purpose, whole wheat, or pastry)
Chocolate (chips or bars)
These ingredients are staples to make hundreds kinds of cookies, cakes, brownies, breads and other bake goods.
Other favorite cereal. Make sure to look for healthy options if you can.
Sport drinks, pre made protein shakes, and shelf stable juices can help to replenish electrolytes and energy if someone in your house become ill.
|Baby food and formula|
Refrigerator and Freezer Basics
Veggies (bell pepper, leeks, carrot, bell pepper, potatoes, salad mix, peas, broccoli, spinach)
Fruits (bananas, berries, avocado, watermelon, etc)
Long-lasting fresh fruit (apple, orange, pomegranate, lemon, lime)
You can freeze almost any fruit or vegetable, as long as they don’t have a high water content (like celery, lettuce, and cucumbers). For fresh produces, try to choose whole produce when possible instead of pre-cut, they will last longer.
Meat (beef, chicken, turkey, pork, seafood)
Frozen ready to eat meals (pasta, pizza, burrito, casserole)
Dough (pizza, pie, puff pastry)
Frozen trats (ice cream or ice pops)
Cheese (cheddar, mozarella, parmesan, etc)
Hard cheeses, such as permesan or pecorino, last the longest. Also look for shelf stable boxes of milk if you can.
Dried Herbs, Spices, and Condiments
|Dried Herbs and Spices|
Crushed red pepper
Toasted sesame oil
Hot sauce (tabasco, sriracha, or sambal)
Whew that was a long list! Remember, these are basic pantry staples for your kitchen needs. Make sure to see which one is needed to replenish and which one is enough so you don’t end up overstocking.
With the right ingredients on hand you can easily throw together last minute dinner when you are trying to limit takeouts during the social distancing period.
Stay healthy and be safe everyone!