Pantry Essentials

With so many healthy food options on the market, it can be quite overwhelming when trying to figure out which foods you should line your kitchen cabinets with.  Chia seeds or flax seeds? Almond milk or soy milk?

image credit:
image credit:

The truth is, it’s very easy to spend a lot of money on all of these items, but many of these healthy staples last awhile – like protein powders.  I’ve made a quick bullet list of items that I always have at any given time.  Of course, I tend to go crazy and have some wacky ingredients roaming the shelves of my kitchen, but for the sake of keeping it simple, well…I’ll keep it simple.

love yourself quote

Protein Powders for Smoothies

Many conventional protein powders that can be bought in “health food/vitamin stores” contain some crazy fillers.  Stick with the natural powders.  I order most of these online.  I like:

  • Organic Hemp Protein (Ingredients: Organic hemp protein – catch my drift?)
  • Spirulina – This rich-green colored algae has more protein pound for pound packed into it than any other food, including meat!

Other powders I have that I add to my smoothies are:

  • Acai Powder
  • Cacao Powder (And if this list was in order of taste preference – this would be number 1. I use it a lot – smoothies, desserts, oatmeal, hot chocolate, you name it….But it also has unbelievable health benefits and contains high amounts of antioxidants and magnesium)
  • Maca Powder

*When possible, buy these powders raw and organic.

quote - if you wait to do everything

Beans and other Legumes

  • Chickpeas/garbanzo beans – My personal favorite.  Besides hummus, I add these to rice, salads, desserts, and my special chickpea “tuna” sandwich which I will share soon, too.
  • Black beans, white beans, kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Split peas
  • Tempeh

quote - feel like quitting

Nuts, Grains & Seeds

  • Almonds
  • Almond meal (flour) – replaces typical flour and is made from just ground up almonds
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Steel cut oats
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa – A seed, not a grain, is a complete protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids.  For this reason, quinoa is an important food source for those who do not eat meat.
  • Chia seeds – Of all the foods listed on this page, this is the one I use the most.  Chia seeds are extremely versatile; I put them on rice, oatmeal, smoothies, toast, and use them to make pudding and as a substitute for eggs when baking.  These little guys are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, antioxidants, and more. Chia seeds can hold up to 10-12 times their weight in liquid.  Because of this reason and other health reasons, I prefer chia seeds to flax seeds. And if we’re comparing chia seeds to dairy, these seeds contain 5 times more calcium than milk.  They deserve their own post because there is an endless amount of information on them.
  • Ezekiel Bread – Speaking of toast, this is the type of bread I buy.  It’s flourless, is made from sprouted whole grains, and is absolutely delicious.  There are a few good brands of this type of bread, just as long as it contains sprouted whole grains.  They’re usually all together in the bakery aisle.


 Fruits & Vegetables*

  • Avocado – Includes just about every health benefit under the sun; I eat at least one a day – I’m addicted
  • Bananas – Goes into almost every smoothie and many desserts I make
  • Beets – A blood purifier
  • Blueberries – Loaded with antioxidants (I buy frozen when they’re not in season)
  • Carrots – Loaded with vitamins and anti-aging benefits
  • Garlic – Helps fight against infections within the body.  When a recipe calls for one garlic clove, I use close to the entire bulb.  Blame my mother.
  • Ginger – Contains anti-inflammatory properties
  • Lemons/Limes – Cleanses the body from the inside
  • Onions – I use these on a daily basis in sauces, soups, and rice
  • Spinach and Kale – Goes into everything from salads to smoothies to sautes
  • Sweet Potatoes – Loaded with vitamins, fiber, and potassium to name a few

*It really is important to buy certified organic fruits and vegetables; however, it can also be quite expensive.  Though this is not a rule of thumb, many fruits and vegetables that have thin skins are more susceptible to pesticides.

foods and body parts 2


  • Turmeric – Contains anti-inflammatory properties
  • Cinnamon
  • Curry – A combination of spices, I add curry to a lot of soups and rice bowls
  • Red Pepper – Helps boost metabolism

quote - enjoy the little things


  • Almond Milk (Unsweetened) – I tend to stay away from soy products, like soy milk, unless they’re fermented (like tempeh and miso) and/or do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
  • Coconut Milk Yogurt – contains live active cultures which helps digestion
  • Dairy-free chocolate chips – great when baking (I use Enjoy Life brand)
  • Earth Balance – replaces butter when you don’t eat dairy (and tastes better)
  • Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Maple Syrup
  • Turbinado Sugar










Author: Balanced Bella

Hi, I'm Jaime and I am the recipe tester, photographer, and writer at balanced bella! All my recipes are vegan, gluten free, and 100% delicious!

2 thoughts on “Pantry Essentials”

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s