I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what basics I keep in my pantry and where I get them from, so I wanted to go ahead and do this post for you guys! I am fortunate to have a LOT of grocery stores in my local vicinity, so I go to different stores for different items to save money. I also highly recommend signing up for Thrive Market which I can best describe as an online Costco for health foods. It is where I purchase most of my oils, specialty items like Primal Kitchen Mayo and coconut aminos, and my cleaning supplies and beauty products. If you use my link above you can get $25 off your first order! Full disclosure: I’ll get $25 as well, but I’ve been using Thrive for 4 months now and love it.
Olive Oil – I usually buy mine at Trader Joe’s, make sure you are buying an extra virgin olive oil in a dark glass jar for best quality
Coconut Oil – Look for virgin, unrefined coconut oil. Brands I use are Spectrum, Nutiva, and Trader Joe’s. I normally buy it on Thrive or from Sprouts.
Ghee – I have found Thrive’s brand to be the best quality and price ghee by far. 4th & Heart, Tin Star Foods, and Pure Indian foods are all great but more expensive. Trader Joe’s has ghee for a good price but it isn’t very good.
Butter – My favorite. Always make sure you are buying grass fed butter, I like Kerrygold, which can be found almost anywhere, and I buy Vital Farms as well when I can find it. Vital Farms has the traditional butter sticks which I love!
Animal Fats – I like Epic Foods animal fats. I have a jar of their duck fat right now and a little goes a long way. It is really an amazing way to elevate roasted vegetables (or potatoes!). I buy this on Thrive, but you can find it at Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, and Sprouts.
Honey – Can be found anywhere
Maple Syrup – Make sure you are buying pure maple syrup, no Aunt Jemima here 🙂 Trader Joe’s and Thrive are the cheapest source here too
Coconut Sugar – Can be found at Sprouts, Whole Foods, and even my local HEB now
Stevia – I use SweetLeaf brand liquid stevia. I find it is also cheaper on Thrive!
I buy all my spices in the bulk aisle at Whole Foods or HEB. It is MUCH cheaper this way so you can stock your spice cabinet with high quality spices!
Here is what I use frequently: Herbs de Provence, Italian Seasoning, Curry Powder, Sage, Thyme, Oregano, Basil, Bay Leaf, Garlic Powder, Powdered Ginger, Paprika, Chili Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Turmeric, and Cinnamon.
Salt – I use Kosher Sea Salt to cook with because I prefer cooking with Kosher Salt. I use Himalayan pink sea salt for further seasoning my meals. It is important to try to use sea salt where you can because it contains so many trace minerals that aren’t present in regular table salt, plus table salt contains aluminum.
Other Pantry Basics
Coconut Milk – Making smoothies every morning and homemade coffee creamer we go through a LOT of coconut milk. My favorite brand is Thai Kitchen, the ingredients are pretty clean, and I’ve tried many brands without any gums or thickeners and I just don’t like them as much.
Nuts – I buy all my nuts from Trader Joe’s because I’ve found them to be the cheapest source. I typically have pecans, walnuts, and macadamia nuts on hand.
Nut Butters – I make most of my nut butters on my own because it is much cheaper, but you can find almond butter, sun butter, and natural peanut butter at most grocery stores now. Just make sure there are no
Grain free flours – Tapioca or Arrowroot starch, coconut flour, and almond flour can all be found at Sprouts, Whole Foods, or online
Vinegar – I love using vinegars to make my own dressings and to add just a touch of acidity to my vegetables. I always keep rice wine vinegar on hand for Asian dishes, apple cider vinegar, and red wine, white wine, and balsamic vinegars for making vinaigrettes. The more types of vinegar you have, the more versatile you can be with your dressings.
Chia Seeds – These are not a must but I love to use them in smoothies and to make chia pudding. I’ve found Trader Joe’s has the best prices on these.
Protein Powder – We use whey protein isolate as our protein powder. It can be hard to find a clean protein powder, you want to look for one without artificial sweeteners and flavorings. I’ve found that Amazon is typically the cheapest source for protein powders. Currently we are using this one but we’ve also used Natural Factors unflavored in the past, and I’ve seen it on great sales at Sprouts!
Coconut Aminos – These are a replacement for soy sauce. I usually just use gluten free soy sauce though because I tolerate it fine and it is much cheaper!
I try to buy the best quality meat that I can afford, which means I don’t always have grass fed or pasture raised meats. I’ve found the best way to save money here is to shop the sales flyers, and buy meat from your local farmers market because it tends to be cheaper than what you can get at Whole Foods. Natural Grocers also has pretty good prices on high quality meats.
Lunch Meats – Lunch meats are great to keep on hand for snacks. I like Applegate lunch meats because their ingredients are pretty clean, and they can be found in most grocery stores. I also usually have prosciutto on hand, I like Trader Joe’s brand because it is cheap and the only ingredients are pork and salt.
Bacon – I change around my brands a lot but lately I’ve been buying Applegate Sunday bacon. It is nitrate/nitrite free and the ingredients are clean. I don’t worry too much about the trace amount of sugar in most bacon.
Eggs – My favorite! I do buy pastured eggs, because the benefits of pastured eggs are huge and they are only a few dollars more than conventional eggs. I usually buy Vital Farms brand or The Happy Egg Co.
Natural Grocers is far and away the cheapest place to buy organic vegetables, if you don’t have one near you I would also recommend checking out the vegetable prices at your local farmer’s market. Also, you don’t have to buy ALL of your vegetables organic, I try to stick to the “Clean Fifteen” and “Dirty Dozen” lists as a guide for deciding whether or not to buy organic produce.
Trader Joe’s is a great place to get pre-prepped veggies. You can find things there like pre-cut butternut squash and diced onions for relatively cheap, and it is a great way to save time in the kitchen.
I also keep frozen fruit on hand for smoothies and frozen vegetables for when I’m in a pinch and need a quick side dish.
I hope this was helpful, please let me know in the comments if there is anything I’m missing!