55 Pantry Essentials for a Healthy Lifestyle

Sandra Slawinski 18th January 2018 1 comment

When you google search pantry essentials you get 300 000 hits!

Every Food network, magazine and TV Chef has a checklist they swear by.  I don’t know about you but I really rely on my pantry to feed me when I get back from a long trip or just have not been able to make it to the store. My pantry essentials have evolved over the years, it reflects more realistically  my needs versus satisfying the recommended kilo of sugar and flour you SHOULD have in the cupboard. Let me give you some tips on how to find your perfect match in pantry essentials. I am doing a pantry Make Over with new storage canisters.

I am not quite OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) when it comes to being neat, I won’t be beating anyone cause the towels are not aligned, however I am a planner and time is precious so I do hate wasting time looking for something so I force myself to stay on top of things. A pantry neatly stocked with beautiful matching containers is a total dream scenario, one I have  not yet achieved. But I am soo ready to tackle my tiny pantry cupboard ( 60cm deep and 1m high, 3 shelves) and share my findings with you.


  • Depending on your climate you are more or less prone to bugs in the cupboard, regardless it is good practice to use glass or plastic containers to guarantee being total bug free. Containers should close tightly with a rubber seal.
  • I recommend using square canisters when like me you only have a small pantry cupboard to maximize the space. Stackable containers in different volumes but same style will help optimizing the space as well. Round containers I use for items like granola and muesli as they go direct cupboard to table. I used 3 volumes: 2.5L, 1.6L and 0.7L.
  • I always struggle with labelling, all I need  is the expiration date really, so in my quest I found it easier to just use washi tape on the back of the container marking the expiration date. Or alternatively tear of the box or packet info and add to the canister I don’t need to say what’s in the jar, I can see that. Exception for types of flour, i rather just label them to be sure.
  • Place in the back of the cupboard or high up, the items you do not use frequently such flour and sugar in my case. Keep up front items you use daily such as spices and stock. Not to forget my candy and cookie canister!
  • Check expiration dates and replace herbs and spices every 6 months to keep your pantry up to date. Something fun to do on a rainy afternoon while baking and you have to stay near the oven anyway.

IN MY PANTRY – I seem to have mastered the content I need and I noticed it saves me a heck of a lot of time to have everything right there. I divide my pantry essentials in 3 categories:

NOTE: I excluded from this list everything to store in the fridge and freezer. Also excluded tea and coffee and any cookies and sweets, all that is stored in a different cupboard in my house 🙂

20 Flavour goods: spices, condiments, seasonings and stock

  • Black peppercorns
  • Salt flakes
  • Ground cumin
  • Whole nutmeg
  • Bay leave
  • Fennel seeds
  • Chili powder
  • Star anis
  • Ground and whole cardamon
  • Ground ginger
  • Ground and whole cinnamon
  • Rose water
  • Olive oil
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • White vinegar
  • Honey
  • Chicken stock
  • Beef stock
  • Vegetable stock

20 Dried goods: pasta, rice, seeds, nuts, grains, granola and pulses & flour, sugar

  • Spaghetti
  • Rice noodles
  • Risotto rice
  • Polenta
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pine nuts
  • Ground, shaved and whole almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Grains (quinoa, freekeh, bulgur, buckwheat, couscous, millet or spelt)
  • Granola
  • Lentils
  • Dried corn
  • Dried cannelli beans
  • Cornstarch
  • Flour
  • Baking powder
  • Granulated sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Crackers

15 Wet goods: cans, jars and packs  

  • Chickpeas cooked and canned
  • Coconut milk and cream
  • Diced canned tomatoes
  • Tomato passata
  • Tomato puree
  • Dried apricots
  • Dried dates
  • Apple sauce
  • Chestnut paste
  • Tahini
  • Anjovis
  • Tuna
  • Pesto sauce
  • Pickles
  • Jam

Written and photographed by Sandra Slawinski without commercial deals. Bought the Brabantia canisters on collishop.be.