plant-based-pantry

The Plant Powered Pantry

We’d like to officially welcome Sara Howick of plantsformypeople.com who will be contributing some helpful and well rounded content to veganleeks on a monthly basis.   Sara’s first perspective piece Raising Vegan Kids” was very well received – not to mention invaluable to anyone raising vegan kids or thinking of transitioning their family to a plant-based diet… so we decided to invite her to contribute on the regular!

Today’s post by Sara features a practical starter guide to stocking your plant-powered pantry.  Enjoy!

A mostly whole-food plant-based diet consists of 6 main food groups: vegetables, fruits, whole grains + starches, legumes, nuts and seeds, spices + flavourings. Plus a bonus 7th: vegan processed foods and treats!
Clearing out the kitchen and starting fresh on a whole-food plant-based lifestyle can be intimidating, so here is a starter list of staples to make delicious, simple, plant-powered meals the whole family can enjoy. 
As you start to cook with these staples and gain more confidence, you can add in different items from the variety/seasonal sections.

 

CATEGORY OVERVIEW STAPLES VARIETY / SEASONAL
VEGETABLES The most important food group, with leafy greens at the top of the pack, veggies have varying amounts pf protein, vitamins, minerals, fibre, water, low calorie density, and flavour. Here are my staples, and seasonal favourites. Baby spinach
Frozen spinach
Kale
Romaine lettuce  Spring mix
Cucumbers
Grape tomatoes
Bell peppers
Broccoli
Carrots
Celery
Yellow onions
Garlic
Swiss chard
Arugula / Watercress
Cauliflower
Butternut or Acorn squash
Beets
Sprouts
Green onions
Red cabbage
Green beans
Sugar snap peas
Fresh parsley, Dill, Mint, Basil
FRUITS It is vital to eat a lot of fruit. Fruit does everything veggies do, plus has the bonus of providing the body with sugar for energy, packaged with water and fibre to ensure slow release. Nature’s candy! Bananas
Medjool DatesRaisins
Apples
Grapes
Frozen mixed berries Blueberries
Oranges
Clementines
Lemons
Avocado
Melon
Pineapple
Pears
Grapefruit
Fresh berries (summer only)
Nectarines (summer only)
Ataulfo Mangoes
WHOLE GRAINS + STARCHES Starches satisfy. They are cheap, moderate in protein, rich in nutrients, and versatile. I use a lot of different ones. Brown rice
Quinoa
Whole wheat pasta
Brown rice pasta (gluten-free)
Oats
Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
100% Whole wheat bread
Frozen Corn
Black rice
Sushi Rice
Millet
Corn on the cob (summer only)
LEGUMES “Where do you get your protein?” The answer is “Everywhere!”
But mostly from legumes. A few servings daily are easy to achieve with all this variety, in chilis, curries, salads, burritos. And they are way cheaper, healthier, and sustainable than animal flesh or eggs. Always purchase no-salt-added canned beans, and make sure to rinse well.
Lentils, dried
Lentils, canned
Black beans, canned
Chickpeas, canned
Tofu, extra firm
Tofu, silken firm
Soymilk, Original and Unsweetened
Red lentils, dried
Kidney beans, canned
Black-eyed peas, canned
Frozen edamame
Smoked tofu
NUTS + SEEDS Because this food group is very high in fat, we keep intake to a minimum, but there are a couple of daily musts, as well as some things sprinkled in for variety. Flaxseeds, ground
Brazil nuts
Pumpkin seeds
Chiaseeds
Hempseeds
Walnuts, raw
Almonds, roasted no-salt (for almond butter)
Coconut, dried and unsweetened
Tahini
Sesame seeds, black or white
SPICES + FLAVOURINGS Choose your favourites to make your food delicious! Spices are super-high in antioxidants, so use liberally. Here are my go-tos. Parsley
Mint
Oregano
Rosemary
Chili powder
Cumin
Curry
Turmeric
Granulated garlic
Bay leaf
Black pepper
Vanilla extract
Unsweetened cocoa powder
Iodized sea salt
Teas (green, earl gray, peppermint)
Powdered peanut butter
VEGAN PROCESSED FOODS + TREATS Use sparingly to add flavour, as a treat, or in a pinch. Jam
Maple syrup
Cheerios, plain
Vegan protein powder, such as Vega
Hummus, store-bought
Condiments (ketchup, Dijon, vegan mayo…
sauerkraut, Thai sweet chili sauce, tamari)
Coconut milk, canned
Gardein brand mock chicken nuggets + meatballs
Daiya brand shredded mozzarella + cheddar
Chao Original Slices
Tortilla Chips
Fig Bars
GoGo Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies
Dark chocolate mini-chips (Enjoy Life brand)
About the author:
Sara Howick is a Montreal-based mum of two, wife of a triathlete, provider of vegan fuel, and certified in PLANT BASED NUTRITION (Cornell).  Visit her blog plantsformypeople.com for some of her family’s favourite plant-based recipes.

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