peak in my pantry
Here you will find the staples, and brands I love that make up the vast majority of the dry goods I use for meals, and baking. You will also find a little information on how I use them for cooking or gluten free baking, and their nutritional benefits.
// grains and legumes //
- Quinoa: This protein rich grain is a vegetarian's dream. With a mild, almost nutty flavor one cup cooked provides us with 8 grams of protein, and all nine essential amino acids our bodies are incapable of producing themselves.
- Brown Rice: We never use white rice in our house anymore and always opt for brown rice due to its higher protein and fiber content. Brown rice is considered to be a whole grain, versus white rice which is basically the refined version of brown rice.
- Lentils: Lentils are considered to be pulses, and are an excellent source of protein and other essential vitamins and minerals, especially for vegetarians/vegans. A 1 cup serving of lentils has 18g of protein, and only 230 calories. However, lentils are not a complete protein source so they will need to be consumed with other foods, such as grains to make up the missing amino-acids.
// gluten free flours //
- Sorghum Flour: Used in many varieties of gluten free flour mixes.
- Potato Starch/Flour: Also used in many varieties of gluten free flour mixes. Also can be used in place of corn starch.
- Almond Meal/Flour: Dense and nutty flavor that it great for using in many baked good recipes that don't require a light and fluffy texture. Personally I recommend using it in protein balls, gluten free breads, and muffins.
- Gluten Free Oats/Flour: Great for using as a 1:1 substitute for all-purpose wheat flour. Best used in pancakes, muffins, breads, denser cookies.
- Tapioca Starch: Essential component to many gluten free baking flour blends.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: Excellent substitution for flour in many dessert recipes. For instance can be used as the "flour" portion when making decadent gluten free brownies.
- Coconut Flour: Another excellent substitution for all-purpose wheat flour. Has a slight coconut flavor. Best used for muffins, pancakes/waffles, cakes.
- Teff Flour: High protein flour excellent for baking breads and other denser baked goods.
- Corn Flour: Naturally gluten free and perfect for making things like cornbread, thickening soups, using as a breading for meat/vegetables.
// Herbs and spices //
- Turmeric: Everywhere you look turmeric seems to be the hot nutritional topic out there today being added to almost anything. However, turmeric has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin the main active ingredient in turmeric is most readily available by the body when consumed with a small amount of black pepper.
- Ginger: This slightly spicy root has been used for generations as a remedy for an upset stomach, and way to naturally combat inflammation.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a spice that most are familiar with, but many would not assume to be as healthy as it is. High in antioxidants, cinnamon helps combat harmful oxygen free radicals, and has been shown to help balance blood sugar levels in the body.
// sweeteners //
- Turbinado Sugar: An unrefined alternative to brown sugar or cane sugar. While it is not nutritionally difference in terms of cabohydrates and calories, it is less processed.
- 100% Raw/Organic Maple Syrup/Honey: Whenever possible I use one of these natural sugar alternatives in small quantities for sweetening my recipes. Many times I find I can entirely replace the sugar in a recipe with roughly 1/2 the amount of one of these natural varieties.
- Medjool Dates: Dates contain high levels of naturally produced fructose and are an excellent way to sweetener a recipe, without the use of refined sugars. They also work great as a binding agent for crusts, crumbles, and protein balls/bars. While the sugar present in these dates may be unrefined, fructose still is sugar, and they should be used sparingly. A little goes a long way.
// supplements //
- Vegetarian/Vegan Protein Powder: While I definitely recommend consuming most of your protein needs from real whole foods, a high quality protein powder can sometimes be beneficial to increase your totally daily protein on the go. Always looks for brands that meet high-quality standards, and are independently certified. I also like to aim for brands who use the least amount of ingredients as possible. Aim for a brand that provides a complete protein source (aka contains all essential amino acids) and contains roughly 15-25 grams of protein per serving.
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