Food Items to Have on Hand - Cooking Blog

Photo by Jamie V Photography

Photo by Jamie V Photography

What foods should you have on hand all the time? That depends on what you like to eat, your finances, and food availability. I like to keep my kitchen stocked with the items I use on a regular basis so I can easily make a meal without having to do a lot of planning and shopping beforehand. Of course, it’s never perfect and I do end up having to make last minute runs to the store, or re-plan a recipe because I ran out of something. But having the essentials in the kitchen is very helpful and makes cooking a lot less time consuming and stressful. Whenever possible, I like to get my foods organic and in as natural of a state as I can. This means that I look for organic produce, grains, and legumes. Cold pressed and unrefined oils. Wild caught fish. Dairy, meat, and eggs from free-range and grass-fed animals. This is just a basic list - at any time I have many other options for variety.

Here is a list of my “Must Have's” in the kitchen:

- Oils for cooking, salad dressings, and baking.

  • Extra Virgin Olive oil (cold pressed)

  • Coconut oil (unrefined)

  • Sesame oil

  • Butter (organic)

  • Flax seed oil

  • Grapeseed oil

  • Avocado oil

-Dried spices for added flavor.

  • Cinnamon

  • Ginger

  • Thyme

  • Oregano

  • Basil

  • Rosemary

  • Turmeric

  • Cumin

  • Cloves

  • Nutmeg

  • Salt

  • Pepper

-Baking and other cooking essentials.

  • Vanilla extract

  • Cocoa powder

  • 80% cacao bar

  • Coconut flakes

  • Apple sauce (home-made)

  • Honey

  • Maple syrup (pure)

  • Dates

  • Raisins

  • Cane sugar

  • Coconut sugar

  • Nuts (Brazil, cashew, pecan, almond, walnut, hazelnut, pistachio)

  • Nut butters (almond, sesame - also called Tahini, etc)

  • Seeds (sesame, pumpkin, sunflower)

  • Olives

  • Apple cider vinegar

  • Red wine vinegar

  • Balsamic vinegar

  • Molasses

  • Tamari sauce

  • Baking powder

  • Baking soda

  • Spelt flour

  • Rice flour

  • Barley flour

  • Whole grain wheat flour

  • Buckwheat flour

-Grains and legumes.

  • Brown rice

  • Wild rice

  • Quinoa

  • Lentils

  • Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

  • Black beans

  • Kidney beans

  • Steel cut oats

  • Sprouted whole grain and seed breads and tortillas (organic)

  • Pasta (whole grain, rice, spelt, etc)

-Milks.

  • Almond milk

  • Coconut milk

  • Soy milk

  • 2% or whole cow’s milk (organic)

-Animal products.

  • (Milk and butter as listed above)

  • Yoghurt (whole fat and organic)

  • Cheese (many different varieties)

  • Grass fed beef (ground or steak)

  • Chicken (free-range)

  • Eggs (cage-free and free-range)

  • Salmon (wild)

  • Cod (wild)

-Fruits and vegetables (I try to get these fresh and in season, but frozen is the next best option). Note: This is a long list, so use it as a guide. I typically do not have all of these on hand at once.

  • Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)

  • Mangos

  • Pineapple

  • Apples

  • Pears

  • Oranges and tangerines

  • Peaches and nectarines

  • Watermelon

  • Cantaloupe and melon

  • Pomegranate

  • Figs

  • Grapes

  • Plums

  • Apricots

  • Lemons

  • Limes

  • Grapefruit

  • Cherries

  • Kiwi

  • Papaya

  • Avocado

  • Tomatoes

  • Lettuce

  • Arugula

  • Spinach

  • Green beans

  • Cabbage

  • Bananas

  • Carrots

  • Celery

  • Zucchini and other squash

  • Cucumber

  • Bell peppers

  • Leeks

  • Onions (red, yellow, white, and green)

  • Beets

  • Garlic

  • Kale

  • Broccoli

  • Cauliflower

  • Artichoke

  • Asparagus

  • Radishes

  • Eggplant

  • Mushrooms

  • Cilantro

  • Parsley

  • Fresh herbs and spices (rosemary, basil, thyme, chives, oregano, ginger root, etc)

  • Sweet potatoes and yams

  • Potatoes (red, yellow, etc)

-Condiments, sauces, and dips for easy use. I do like to make some of these myself and will post recipes as well. Sometimes it’s nice to have them pre-made and ready to use to save time.

  • Ketchup

  • Tomato and pasta sauce (organic and without a lot of added sweetener)

  • Mayonnaise (with avocado oil is my favorite)

  • Mustard

  • Pickles

  • Jams (organic and with as little sweetener as possible)

  • Salsa

  • Guacamole

  • Salad dressings (Italian, balsamic, etc)

  • Broth (free-range beef and chicken bone broth)

  • Vegetable broth

These are my personal favorites. Improvise to make it your own. If you don’t like certain foods, or if you avoid them because of a dietary restriction or lifestyle preference then subtract the items you don’t use and add other alternatives. My list sometimes changes as well depending on the time of year it is, finances, availability, and my own need to try new things. So stay flexible!