By now, you guys may have noticed that I love baking; whether it’s muffins, cookies, blondies, brownies, energy bites, fudge, you name it, I am all about it. I strive to make healthier versions of my favorite treats, so that I don’t feel terrible after eating them. Again, I do not mean terrible in the sense of any foods being “bad” or “good” per se, but the reality is, eating refined sugars (white sugar, corn syrup) can leave you with a MAD sugar crash, not to mention hangry, cranky, bloated, and sometimes even sick. And being totally honest here, eating refined sugars does something in my brain – it makes me want to binge – and there’s no way in hell I’m going back to those days! So where possible, I like to avoid them all together, cooking and baking with more natural sugars because they don’t have that same effect on my body. I also avoid hydrogenated oils, canola oil, and palm oil, for reasons I will get into another day, but I’m just putting that out there.
One of the things you guys have been requesting for a long time, is a master list of all the things that I have in my pantry to make healthier versions of my favorite treats. I know that making changes is daunting, so I’m here to break it all down for you. I’ll do that by sharing my favorite DRY INGREDIENTS, SWEETENERS, OILS & FATS, SPICES & SEASONINGS, and of course CHOCOLATES, because what’s life without chocolate.
Sure, I’ve laid it out a lot of items here. But please know that 1) you don’t need them all (this is just a GUIDE), and 2) although this can get costly, there are ways to get around that.
In terms of the cost issue, my advice is to shop in bulk (hello, Costco) and Trader Joe’s, especially for things like the flours, coconut oil, sugars (coconut sugar and maple syrup), and spices. These don’t need to be replaced that often, so make the investment once and get more bang for your buck. One brand that I like to order online in bulk is Anthony’s Goods. Their pricing on coconut sugar, almond flour, and collagen peptides is fantastic, and I like that I can get it on Amazon Prime. It’s definitely a brand worth checking out.
Before we get into the list, let’s talk about pantry food storage. One of the things I like to do is to store my flours and dry goods in glass jars. This helps me see what I have, it’s pretty, and good for the environment (especially if you buy in bulk and just need to refill the containers from time to time. You can handwrite labels or get a cheap label maker on Amazon. The other thing I recommend is baskets. See photo for inspiration. These baskets are from the Container Store, but Target has a great selection too.
I keep all my oils in a cool area, out of the light, to prevent them from going rancid. Most of the time I store nuts and nut butters in the refrigerator, especially those I know we won’t be consuming quickly. Otherwise I keep them in the pantry, and typically consume them within a few weeks of opening.
Before we dive into it, I am fully aware that we each have different dietary restrictions. So while almond flour might be my top choice for my own baking, if you are nut free, it won’t work for you. Remember, I am sharing MY own baking essentials for the things that work in my household. They are the ingredients that I use in almost all of the recipes you will find here on my website.
So let’s get right to it, shall we?
Almond Flour (Almond Meal) (this is my favorite brand almond flour)
Gluten Free Baking Flour
Whole Wheat Baking Flour (avoid if gluten free)
Ground flaxseed meal
Collagen Peptides (great source of protein! I add a scoop to most of my recipes)
Pasture-Raised Butter, preferably raw butter
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Coconut Milk (full fat)
Tahini (hands down my favorite brand is Soom Foods, both their chocolate tahini and plain tahini, the consistency and taste is perfect for all my recipes, click here to purchase on Amazon)
Enjoy Life Foods semi sweet morsels
Enjoy Life Foods mini morsels
Enjoy Life Foods baking chunks
Hu Kitchen Paleo Chocolate Bars
Eating Evolved Signature Chocolate
I hope you guys have found this list helpful! Print this out and take it with you to the grocery store and start building a healthier pantry!