Kitchen essentials: Cupboards/Pantry

By Optimum Strength on September 10, 2016 - Category: Kitchen , Meal Prep , Nutrition

As with having the right equipment on hand in your kitchen, having a well stocked and organised cupboard or pantry can make running your kitchen, and being able to confidently and quickly prepare healthful tasty meals much easier.

Filling your cupboards with good, basic ingredients gives you options when preparing meals, you can add flavour in many forms, and of course there are wonderful health benefits from using herbs, spices, vinegars, etc. Another benefit of having these items stocked up at home is that it makes grocery shopping easier, knowing you already have flavours to use in you cooking.

Here is a list of some common items that are good to keep stocked up on, this is where having a good supply of tupperware, glass jars, and storage containers of various sizes can come in handy. Most of the things on this list have long shelf lives and keep well, but it is a good idea to give your cupboards a clean out once every few months, cleaning up, getting rid of anything too old, and re-organising as needed.

Dried Herbs & Spices

Smoked paprika
Chilli flakes
Chilli powder
Fennel seeds
Coriander seeds
Garam Masala
Chinese five-spice
Bay leaves
Curry powder
Sea salt
Black pepper

Beans & Lentils

You can buy these in tins or in bags. If you get the bags, you will need to prepare them before cooking.

Kidney beans
Black beans
Pinto beans
Cannellini beans
Red lentils

Nuts & Seeds

Brazil nuts
Sesame seeds
Chia seeds


Whole rolled oats
White or brown rice


Extra virgin olive oil
Coconut oil
Sesame oil

Miscellaneous items

Note that with some of these items you will need to store them in the fridge after they’ve been opened, and if they come from a tin put them into another storage container before putting them in the fridge.

Balsamic vinegar
Red wine vinegar
Apple cider vinegar
Soy sauce
Miso paste
Tabasco sauce
Chicken, beef, or vegetable broth or stock cubes
Canned tomatoes
Tomato paste/passata
Wholegrain mustard
Hot English mustard
Dijon mustard
Curry paste
Coconut milk
Assorted teas (Green, black, chai, herbal)

This is just a list of the items I generally use. To take more control of your own nutrition journey, you can experiment with flavours and ingredients yourself, use as many herbs and spices as you can, they are great for flavour and health.

If you want to maintain a diet of nourishing, flavoursome, real food then one of the best things you can do is stock your kitchen with quality ingredients. You’ll be inspired to cook more, try new recipes, and expand your culinary skills, and you will reap the rewards with your health, performance, and aesthetics.