Pantry+Fridge Must-Haves and organization / by lee tilghman

Healthy eating can seem really overwhelming, expensive, and timely. The truth is, not all of these statements are false.

Healthy eating IS a commitment, but it's one that is so worth it. It's one of the best decisions you can make for yourself. Once you start to eat healthy, you will begin to see so many positive changes in your life, and you feel so good, you will never want to go back.

I know it can be very overwhelming with all the newest superfood trends on where to begin, which is why today I'm sharing with you guys my top favorite food and pantry staples that I always have on hand. These items are very versatile with multiple ways to prepare them. All my other purchases vary with the seasons and such. 

FRIDGE

  1. Organic Heritage Chicken: Chicken is high in protein and one of my favorite meats to use. It's easy to cook and can be the star of the dish or pulled apart to be used in soups, tacos, or as a topping on a pizza. If possible, make sure the chicken is organic and/or pastured so that you can avoid any additives or hormones. I get my chicken from Belcampo Meat Co. 
  2. Leafy Greens: All leafy greens are extremely nutrient dense, whether it be spinach, arugula, romaine, or Swiss chard. They are high in vitamin K and calcium, which helps with strong bones. They are also high in vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant and helps fight free radicals in the body. Greens are good as a base to a salad, sautéed as a side, or added into your sandwiches. I normally pick my greens by my cycle or by what's in season/available. I always be sure to buy organic greens since they are sprayed the most. 
  3. Eggs: Oh man, what would my life be without eggs? Eggs dress up any old salad or bowl and make it fancy and tasty. They are a great source of protein and Omega-3's. Eggs are extremely versatile - you can eat them scrambled, poached, sunny-side up, and they are the perfect addition to go on top of avocado toast. I get my eggs free range from the farmer's market or Belcampo Meat Co. 
  4. Hemp Milk: I haven't purchased packaged nut milk at the store in 5 months. Nope, now I just make my own hemp milk. You don't need a strainer or a cheesecloth. You can find the directions on how to make it below. Hemp is a great source of plant-based protein and the milk can be used as a replacement for regular milk, whether it be in your smoothies or used as base to a latte. See below for recipe!
  5. Avocado: My love for avocados goes far and wide. I eat 1/2 an avocado a day. Loaded with healthy fats and fiber, these babies are also high in potassium, which can help with healthy blood sugar levels. Avocados can be smashed onto a piece of toast, sliced as an addition to a sandwich, or made into guacamole. I normally buy organic avocados but I am not too strict about it. 
  6. Frozen Cauliflower: Full of vitamins and minerals, fiber, and anti-inflammtory properties. Frozen cauliflower can be kept on hand to be steamed or roasted, or they can even be added to smoothies to add creaminess and extra nutrients without the sugar. Check out my favorite cauliflower smoothie recipe here
  7. Almond Butter: AKA CRACK! Am I right?! The monounsaturated fat in almond butter helps control blood sugar, which is great because I eat a lot of it. Almonds are also high in vitamin E, which nourishes the skin. Whether it's in a smoothie, spread on top of toast, or drizzled on top of yogurt, I can't get enough! My favorite brand is Once Again Nut Butter or Woodstock Foods. I always buy organic almond butter (and nut butter in general)
  8. Bulk Items: Cashews, ground flax, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut shreds, and flax seeds are my go-to bulk item purchases. They last a long time when kept in the fridge. I like to store them in Weck jars to keep them looking pretty. They go on top of smoothies, yogurt bowls, in nut milks, or by themselves for a quick snack. 
  9. Black Bean Dip: Another quick and easy recipe, which is filled with protein and is a great to have on hand to eat with veggies or used as a spread on a sandwich.  It's so easy to make and perfect for parties or meal prep. You can literally use it for anything! Baked eggs, sandwiches, tacos, or macro bowls. Go crazy!
  10. Grain Free Granola: Perfect atop a yogurt bowl or smoothie, grain free granola is my favorite little treat. Make sure you to measure this stuff out- 1 serving is only 1/3 cup. It's all too easy to eat this stuff by handful but be mindful as it is a bit higher in sugar. Favorite brand is Paleonola
  11. Coconut Fat Balls: I can't go the day without a snack- whether it's the 3pm slump or right before bed, snacks keep my metabolism going and my blood sugar from crashing! My coconut fat balls are a great alternative to packaged protein bars. They are a filling snack to take on the go. They are filled with healthy fats and proteins to keep you satiated and are also low in sugar. Below you can find the ingredients and how to make them. See photo below for recipe. 

Pantry

my new pantry organized with the help of Life In Jeneral!

my new pantry organized with the help of Life In Jeneral!

  1. Ghee: This stuff tastes amazing and you can use it for everything Ghee is also known as clarified butter and is a clean source of healthy fats. It is lactose and casein free, which means that it is safe for those sensitive to dairy. Ghee has a high smoke point, which makes it ideal for cooking. It can also be added into your morning bulletproof latte to add a dose of healthy fats that will give you sustained energy for your day. My favorite brand is Fourth & Heart. 
  2. Coconut Oil: Full of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that improves brain function. The MCTs are sent to your liver which then get converted into energy, which makes it a great addition to your morning latte or oatmeal. Not only is this oil great for cooking, baking, and adding into your smoothies or lattes, but it is great as a topical moisturizer for your skin and hair. My favorite brand is Carrington Farms. I always buy organic coconut oil since I use it for just about everything.  
  3. Matcha: My drug of choice! Matcha is a more concentrated form of green tea, where the tea leaves have been ground into a fine powder. Since I don't drink coffee anymore, I am a matcha queen. Matcha is extremely high in antioxidants, specifically catechins, which is known for its cancer fighting properties. It contains L-theanine which is an amino acid that induces relaxation so even though it is high in caffeine, it gives you energy without the crash, making it a great alternative to coffee. It is great for concentration and focus. Matcha can be made the traditional way, using a bamboo whisk and ceramic bowl, or blended with hemp milk to make a matcha latte. My favorite brand is Ippodo Tea.
  4. Vanilla Protein Powder: I usually try to get my protein from a food source, but I like to add protein powder into my smoothies to get an extra filling protein boost. Protein is good for building muscle and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. My favorite brand is Clean Program Vanilla. I like vanilla since it is way more versatile in flavor than chocolate, but you can have both around if you please. 
  5. Organic Cinnamon: Often overlooked, this widely-available spice is the secret to stable blood sugar. Cinnamon is one of the best ways to spice up your smoothie, latte, yogurt bowl or pancake recipe. Make sure you buy organic as this is one of the most commonly sprayed spices.
  6. Ashwagandha: My favorite go-to adaptogen. This herb also helps your body adapt to internal and environmental stress. It can boost brain function, lower blood sugar levels, and lower your stress hormone (aka cortisol). If you are going to get one adaptogen, get Ashwagandha. My favorite brand is Sun Potion.
  7. Collagen Peptides: this stuff goes into my matcha on the daily. I love the brand Vital Proteins. Collagen is good for hair, skin, nails, and leaky gut. Plus, it makes your drinks foamy. Could you ask for anything better?
  8. Herbal tea: I drink anywhere from 1-4 cups of herbal tea per day. I usually almost always end my meal with a cup of peppermint or licorice tea to aid in digestion. It usually helps stave off any sugar cravings I may experience.  My favorites are Kava Stress Relief from Yogi Tea, Happy Tummy by Mountain Rose Herbs, and Sleep by Aloha

Organization

Fridge Organization Tips:

  • Switch to glass tupperware NOW. Throw out all your plastic containers- they're worth the investment, last longer, and are better for us + the earth. I like Glasslock.
  • I keep all my nuts + seeds in the fridge so they don't spoil. This includes coconut, hemp, chia, flax, and ALL nut butters.
  • Avocados last longer if you refrigerate them.
  • Always use a nontoxic cleaner when cleaning out your fridge as you'll be putting that cleaner into your body as it will inevitably touch your foods. i use a DIY nontoxic cleaner: 1/3 lemon peel concentrate with 1 cup distilled white vinegar and 2 cups water. •in an effort to use less plastic, i've been experimenting with  @theswagusa to keep my produce crisp so i don't have to keep my veggies in plastic.
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Pantry Organization Tips:

  • Keep everything in labeled bins. Containment is key to organization!

  • Make sure everything is visible. If something’s not visible, that’s when the rummaging around and messes get bad.

  • Keep whatever you use the most at eye level. This can change, so be sure once a month to check in and make sure everything is easily accessible. 

  • Organize by type of food. I keep all my baking stuff in a separate container than my nuts/seeds.  

Before my pantry renovation

Before my pantry renovation

After my pantry renovation!

After my pantry renovation!