We share heaps of healthy information on Nutritious Life’s blog every day, but “In the Kitchen with Keri” is your chance to spend some quality time with the wonder woman behind it all, Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN. It’s where she invites you into her space to share the ingredients she’s currently obsessed with, recipes she can’t get enough of, and other tips and tricks learned over many years of life as an always-ahead-of-the-curve nutritionist and wellness expert.
This month, I’m not only letting you in my kitchen, I’m opening up the cabinets and drawers to give you an insider look at my pantry organization principles.
And yeah, they’re pretty serious. I’m one of those people that loves to be meticulously organized. Messiness makes me anxious, to be honest, and we all know stress is just as bad as fries when it comes to sabotaging your health. I just feel calmer and healthier when things are organized, so I keep most things neat, pantry included. (I’m talking most the time, and I know, I sound like a dork. For the record, I’m most meticulous about the kitchen. You’d definitely find clothes on the floor of the closet once in awhile.)
I even label the shelves, as you can see. The organized person in me just loves to label, and this way, everyone in the family knows how to put things back in the right place. (Better—and easier—than nagging, right?)
Plus, knowing where things are makes healthy cooking easier and less stressful. We’re all pressed for time and wasting valuable minutes rummaging around for cumin is annoying when you’re trying to get dinner on the table by 6:30, right?
Now, on to what’s in my pantry, AKA the really important stuff.
Pantry Organization: What Goes Where
Nuts and Seeds
Walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds. These are all key for adding protein and fats to salads and grain bowls and are perfect for fast snacking, too.
You can see walnut oil and coconut oil and the top of an avocado oil spray. I usually have a variety and will reach for different ones depending on what I’m cooking. It’s all based on temperature and flavor. I’ve also got ghee in there, which I often use in place of butter, on toast, a baked potato, vegetables, etc. I really just love the flavor, but it also has higher levels of some vitamins and beneficial fatty acids.
Spices and Salt
When it comes to spices, I always use a variety. They add so much flavor (often in place of extra salt) and have so many health benefits, like antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. And speaking of salt, I’ve got three different kinds here. Sometimes something just ends up in the cabinet because someone else went shopping, but I also do use different kinds. I like the texture and size of the big crystals of coarse sea salt on something like avocado toast, for example, but regular kosher salt makes more sense for pasta water.
Crushed, diced, sauced—different kinds of pantry tomatoes are so key to fast meals.
Sauces and Sweeteners
I don’t eat a lot of sugar, but it’s good to have options like honey, maple syrup, and agave on hand for when you need to add a hint of sweetness to a dish. You’ll see my tendency to have it all, again, with sauces like tamari, liquid aminos, and soy sauce—they’re so similar but it’s nice to have options. I also have lots of vinegars that don’t fit in this part of the kitchen. Which brings me to…
The Stuff You Can’t See!
You’re looking at one small part of my pantry, here, and you can’t see some of the bigger items I really rely on, like all kinds of beans, grains like farro, quinoa, and brown rice, canned tuna, salmon, and sardines, and soups.
All of these things (seen and unseen!) add up to components that make it easy to throw together a meal based around whatever fresh ingredients you have in the fridge.
If my pantry had a theme, I’d call it “organized variety.” Keep a little bit of everything so you can approach cooking your veggies and protein from lots of different angles, and keep it organized so that you can access things quickly and easily.