When I started out eating a meatless lifestyle I was mostly eating instant vegetarian foods. This was working for me as a younger meat-free eater but as I have gotten older, I have learned how to expand my pantry from just eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or frozen vegetarian entrees. Although you should know that when you go vegan you don’t have to go out and buy all the meatless items in the frozen section or pour out all your savings into the natural and organic section at the grocery. You can stock your pantry effectively and affordably following these steps.
So typically I like to keep a nice full stash of legumes, fruits, and veggies.
So for legumes, I keep a good stock of beans in my pantry. My favorite kinds of beans are black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, and cannellini. These are great because they are easy to make burgers with. You can also use these to add filling into tacos. As well as making a chili for when it gets cold.
I also keep cashews in my pantry. Cashews are honestly the best, they are filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are great for turning things into “cheese” with a little help from nutritional yeast at times. Cashews are also good to just snack on alone, you will be doing more good for your body by choosing to have the cashews or any other nuts rather than chips or another vegan treat.
I also keep a stash of fruits in my fridge, or in my fruit bowl. For me, I typically keep bananas, oranges, and grapes. I tend to also have strawberries and frozen fruits in my fridge to make smoothies, it works well when we overestimate our shopping and have too many bananas left over. In the summer, I love to have pineapples in my home since I don't live in a tropical area. I do wait for the summer to buy pineapples, just because prices are a lot better. The fruits are also great to add to dairy-free yogurt as well or to just eat plain.
I always have rice in my pantry. I’ll admit I used to be a white rice junkie but I have switched over to brown rice. Though brown rice and white rice are essentially the same, brown rice has so many more benefits. For starters, brown rice has more protein than white rice, it also has more fiber and it will help drop the risk of diabetes. White rice eaten five times a week could contribute to a higher risk of diabetes due to being a high glycemic product. I love having brown rice in the house because it’s so easy to add to any meal. It's wonderful with beans, great on wraps, as a stir-fry with vegetables and the list goes on.
For vegetables, tend to keep a mixture. For instance, I love spinach it’s full of iron and vitamin K, I normally have that on hand. I also keep sweet potatoes which are great to make any meal savory. I also love having celery and carrots to dip in hummus. I have homemade and store-bought hummus in fridge. Carrots and celery are a great alternative to have instead of chips or reaching for crackers to pair with your dips. you could also add other veggies like edamame, kale, and peppers to help spice up your meals and add a bit of color.
When I’m in a pinch I tend to keep frozen foods in my freezer. I like to have prepared meatless vegan foods. I have a few products from Gardien like the chick’n or beefless tips. These foods are great if I want to make something quick with beans and rice or to warm up and add to a salad. I don’t try to rely on these products though just because they can have a lot of sodium in them, which can be harmful over time. So to avoid this I strive to cook more plant-based foods.
And there you have it, that is a sample of what my fridge looks like! I spend about $50-$60 a week on groceries for two people, which cuts what we used to spend when my husband ate meat. I hope this gives you an idea on what to put in your fridge. A good rule of thumb is to try to plan out your meals and start your shopping in the produce isles. After picking up my veggies, I then move into the isles that hold my legumes, nuts, rice and frozen items.
Until next time,