How To Stock a Healthy Pantry Print
Written by Dee McCaffrey, CDC   
Friday, May 08, 2009
Question to Dee: "Dee, you say the pantry needs to be filled with foods that are as close to nature as possible. Does this mean that there aren't any good foods in the canned, boxed, bagged or frozen-food aisles?"

Dee's Answer:

No, it just means they're few and far between. Things like frozen blueberries or canned black beans can still be good for you, as long as they don't contain a bunch of unhealthy and unnecessary ingredients. My nutritional philosophy is, "If it has a label, don't eat it."

That said, I realize that's not always realistic for all of us all of the time. We like to have convenience foods to help us deal with our time crunches, and that's OK. But I recommend that you read the labels. Choose packaged foods made with real-food ingredients over those with factory-created components.

Be a smart consumer and look for things that are going to help your body thrive. When you pick something up, ask yourself the question: "Is this something my great grandmother would have eaten?" If the answer is "no," you should probably put it back.


Now that you know what to avoid, go to your cabinets, refrigerator, and freezer and toss out any foods that contain the ingredients on the avoid list.

Here's a list of foods that you can replace in your pantry with healthier foods.

Refined White Sugar - replace with stevia, coconut nectar, honey, brown rice syrup, or  Whole Cane Organic Unrefined Sugar

Margarine - replace with organic real butter

Table Salt - replace with natural Celtic Sea Salt

 Skippy, Jif or other Peanut Butter - replace with natural peanut butter with only two ingredients: peanuts and salt.

Canned veggies/fruit - eat fresh fruits and veggies

Soft drinks - good clean water, sparkling water, herbal teas

Pasta - replace with brown rice pasta, quinoa pasta, or whole wheat pasta

White Flour - replace with 100% whole wheat flour, or whole wheat pastry flour

White Bread- replace with a good 100% whole grain bread.  The ingredient list should be short with only a few ingredients such as whole wheat flour, yeast, honey, salt.

Crackers - replace with whole grain crackers, try Ak-Mak, Mary's Gone Crackers, or Back to Nature Harvest Whole Wheats

Breakfast Cereals - Go with a whole grain one, look for short ingredient lists.