Ever wonder what’s inside a primal girl’s pantry/cupboard? My new video will show you just that! The cupboard is generally a very tricky area where unhealthy junk foods (such as chips, cookies, crackers, candies, etc.) like to hide. But they don’t have to!
I’m going to share with you my favourite healthy snacks and everything else I use for creating amazing Paleo meals every single day. It’s just what I, as a simple primal girl, eat on a daily basis.
If you don’t feel like watching the video, keep reading for a complete list of Paleo cupboard essentials.
As always, I don’t go for exotic, expensive, difficult to find products. Affordability is very much a priority for me, and, when someone says, “But it’s expensive to eat healthily!“, I encourage them to try and track their weekly expenditure on unhealthy snacks. Would you be surprised to know that for the same amount they could have bought a lot of nuts, fruit, chocolate or any other healthy snack that they fancy?
Also, try to get into the habit of bringing some healthy snacks with you during the day – your blood sugar will remain more stable, and you won’t have to go and hunt for something quick and unhealthy in the middle of a busy (and stressful) day.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce my essential cupboard items:
Tea/Coffee Related Cupboard Essentials:
- Tea – personally, I prefer herbal teas (especially camomile and mint), but green tea is also an awesome choice that is full of antioxidants. However, don’t overdo! One or two cups of tea per day is fine, but don’t replace fresh water with tea – boiled water isn’t alive anymore and will not bring as many benefits to your body as fresh water. I know, bottled or tap water isn’t exactly fresh but, hey, it’s still fresher than boiled. If you live in the countryside and have a spring near you, go for it, lucky person!
- Coffee – I wouldn’t consider it a necessity in my cupboard as I don’t drink it, but I know it is for most people. Coffee is allowed on the Paleo diet but I wouldn’t advise drinking more than a couple of cups per day. Tip: if you feel that you have no energy without coffee, that’s already a sign of addiction. Learn to appreciate it for its taste rather than for its stimulating capabilities.
- Raw honey to sweeten your coffee. If you still drink tea with sugar, try to go without – you’ll see that in a couple of weeks your taste buds will change and your unsweetened tea will taste better than ever.
My Favourite Snacks in the Cupboard:
- Nuts – especially almonds (high in phosphorus), walnuts (high in Omega-3) and hazelnuts (jhigh in magnesium) are great to have in the cupboard. Don’t eat more than a handful per day; otherwise, it’s easy to overdose on the Omega-6. Avoid peanuts and peanut butter – they are actually legumes and, therefore, according to the Paleo authors, promote inflamation in the body.
- Nut butter – make yourself some at home or, if you are lucky, and it is sold in your country, buy some in a store. It shouldn’t contain anything else but nuts.
- Seeds – I go for sunflower, pumpkin, chia and sesame seeds. They are a great replacement for nuts sometimes and a perfect addition to any salad. Add a couple of tablespoons for that perfect touch of crunchiness. Chia seeds are a real superfood with a lot of protein and calcium – they need to be soaked, so use them in smoothies.
- Fresh fruit – preferably whatever is in season. My personal favourites are bananas, mangoes, plums, peaches and papayas. Tip: grab some almonds and eat them together with a slice of banana.
- Extra dark chocolate – go for one that’s at least 70% cocoa (I personally eat 85%). If you are used to milk chocolate or conventional chocolate bars, dark chocolate will taste bitter at first, but give it a few weeks, and it will become the most delicious thing ever. Your Toblerone, Mars, Bounty, etc. will never taste the same, I swear!
- Dates – I’m on the fence about them. I find them a little irritating for my teeth as they are so sweet. If you are trying to lose weight or are insulin resistant, you should also avoid it. But, if you exercise a lot and want to maintain your weight, one or two fresh dates won’t do any harm but could be a nice finish to your dinner when you feel like you need something else to feel complete or when you need some extra energy for a gruelling workout. Tip: go for the natural fresh dates that are kept in the fridge (so technically dates should have gone in my fridge post, but I know from experience that a lot of us aren’t aware of the difference between fresh and dried dates). Don’t grab the ones from the shelf – they are preserved with glucose syrup! They are already sweet enough on their own.
Useful Canned Food for Your Cupboard:
- Canned tuna, sardines, mackerel, bonito – I’m not a big advocate of using canned products but sometimes real life is demanding, and they are simply handy to have in the cupboard. Canned tuna is brilliant for salads when you need some extra protein, and all the others are great for breakfast once in a while. By the way, sardines/mackerels are a great sauce of calcium and Omega-3.
- Canned olives and chopped tomatoes – if you are able to buy fresh olives in your country, good for you! In Spain, we are only able to find them canned. Go for the natural ones without additives and preservatives. They make the taste of salads so much richer. Chopped tomatoes are a quick alternative for fresh tomatoes on those days when you need to create a meal super fast but don’t rely on them every time.
Condiments, Spices and Oils
- A spicy chilli sauce or Tabasco can enhance the flavour of any dish if you like spicy things.
- Apple cider and balsamic vinegars – great for salads and other recipes. Apple cider vinegar is also awesome for cleaning, natural remedies and as a rinse for the no-poo method.
- Favourite herbs and spices will customise any dish – my favourites are parsley, basil, tarragon, oregano, curry and garlic powder.
- Salt and pepper of course!
- Extra virgin coconut and olive oils are always available in my cupboard. I mostly cook with extra virgin olive oil (or unsalted butter), but I’ve noticed that coconut oil is great for pancakes or pork dishes. I also take a tablespoon of coconut oil with my fish oil every single day – it contains healthy saturated fat, and can even prevent (or cure) Alzheimer’s. It tastes delicious, too!
So now that I’ve shared with you my Paleo/Primal fridge and cupboard essentials, I promise to follow up with some delicious recipes soon. Cooking can be so simple, yet so incredibly satisfying if you know how to combine those basic ingredients.
What are your essential pantry items? Did you find this post helpful? Please comment and let me know – you would make my day!