One of the toughest things about dealing with food allergies is knowing what kinds of nut-free pantry staples you need. As you cut out the nut products, you may wonder what kind of flour, baking mixes and pastas are safe.
When you go nut-free, it’s not as simple as tossing out the jar of peanuts. Many common pantry staples and snack foods may contain nut products. If you have multiple food and peanut allergies, stocking your kitchen pantry can be challenging – but not impossible.
Whether you’re hoping to cut back on your grocery spending or just want to make sure you have ingredients on hand to get dinner on the table each night, having a well-stocked pantry can be a lifesaver.
Having the right items in your pantry can ensure your family has food available during an emergency (pandemic, anyone?) and can help you save money on your weekly grocery trip.
But it can be difficult to know which grocery store items are the best to keep on hand. These food allergy pantry staples have served me well over the years and are a must for a well-stocked kitchen.
Clear some space in your kitchen and get ready to become prepared and super organized. The following will help you build a perfect pantry with enough food and ingredients to whip up everything from a delicious breakfast donut to a yummy dessert cupcake.
Make a Pantry Staples Grocery List
When I first organized our kitchen and had to rethink our pantry staples, I’d spend hours at the grocery store. And I never went out without some sort of prepared shopping list. Now I pretty much have it down to a routine as long as I go to the grocery store around the corner from our house. I can even visualize our weekly list of must-haves aisle by aisle in my mind.
First ask what you and your family like to eat – there are no rules here (except to avoid your allergy triggers!). Stocking up on shredded wheat cereal that tastes like cardboard to half your household won’t help anyone. Skip it.
If you prefer frozen pasta meals over prepping your own, look for options that are food allergy friendly. Can’t stand the thought of eating canned green beans? Head to the produce side for fresh choices. It doesn’t do any good to stock up on 8 cans of veggies that no one intends to eat.
Organize Your Pantry Staples Space
Think about your dedicated pantry space – you don’t want to overstock your kitchen area with food you won’t eat a lot of. Don’t feel compelled to buy pantry foods you “might” eat. In North Carolina, where it feels like we’re 6,732 days into a stay-at-home mandate, store shelves are still sparse. I can only imagine what their pantries must look like!
Also think about how you want to organize your space – especially if you have multiple food allergies or dietary needs. In our house, where the boy is peanut and nut-free, I tend to eat Keto style while the hubs steers clear from beef and eats mostly salads and healthy appetizers.
Cooking and Baking Ingredients
It’s always a good idea to keep a fresh stash of flour, baking soda and powder, cocoa powder and sugar on hand for cooking and baking. All of these ingredients last well when they are stored unopened or in airtight containers.
· Flour Blends
The first pantry staple any kitchen needs starts with flour. There are a variety of flours available and depending on your dietary needs, you can try a few options before you settle on one that works well in your recipes.
· Baking Soda and Powder
If you do a lot of baking, these two ingredients are a must. To ensure you’re always ready to make your favorite dessert, make sure to have baking soda and baking powder in your pantry. When it comes to sugar, I personally prefer to have Pyure Stevia powdered sugar sweetener blend and Stevia in the Raw Baker’s Bag on hand.
· Cocoa Powder
Every baker’s pantry should include cocoa powder for sweet treats. I use unsweetened cocoa powder for most of my recipes and pure cocoa powder has just one ingredient listed: cocoa.
· Chocolate Chips
It can be difficult to find allergy-friendly chocolate chips that don’t include an allergen statement about possibly containing tree nuts, nuts or peanuts. Fortunately Enjoy Life makes rich, delicious chocolate chips and baking mixes that are perfect for making yummy treats.
Food Allergy Safe Cooking Oils, Vinegar and Spices
All pantry staples mentioned are great to have for various meals, it’s also a good idea to keep essentials like oils, vinegar and spices stocked up. Don’t forget to read labels! I’ve caught a few oils recently that included warnings about containing or being processed around different allergens.
· Cooking Oils
Olive oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil are all great options for your pantry. When deciding which types of oils to stock in your pantry, think about the dishes you cook most often. If you do a lot of baking and frying, vegetable oil may be your best bet. But if you sauté your dinners, having olive oil on hand is probably a good idea. Our family’s favorite is Avocado Oil, which is high in monounsaturated fats and low in saturated fats and helps lower blood pressure.
· Essential Spices
Make sure your family enjoys flavorful meals each night by keeping a well-stocked spice rack in your pantry. In addition to common spices, like salt and pepper, keeping a few dried herbs and basic spices in your pantry is a must.
My most-used spices include minced garlic, parsley, basil, oregano and for an added kick in my meals, I love chili flakes. And one of my all-time favorite spices that I trust and LOVE is the Garli Garni All-Purpose Garlic Seasoning. It goes great on meats, garlic butter and bread and even popcorn!
In addition to adding acid to dishes, white vinegar, balsamic and apple cider are also great for creating homemade salad dressings, sauces, and marinades. You can even use some of these pantry foods for cleaning!
Nut-Free Pasta, Rice and Beans
No pantry is complete without a healthy dose of carbs. Pasta and rice go a long way and provide enormous energy. Pasta is easy to stock up on, and the variety of noodles – spaghetti, rigatoni, lasagna – make easy and delicious meals. Rice is a great substance that keeps meals interesting and gives it variety.
With so many delicious recipes that use rice as a base, this pantry staple is a must have. In addition to being shelf-stable for an extended period of time, rice is a versatile ingredient that works well in a variety of meals. A healthy dish that is easy and cheap to make includes rice, diced chicken, veggies of your choice (bell peppers, broccoli) topped with parmesan cheese.
Whether your family loves traditional pasta, gluten-free noodles, or whole wheat pasta, having a few boxes on hand is always a good idea. In addition to being a family-favorite, pasta is also a budget-friendly option for stocking your pantry.
Another economical pantry ingredient, beans can provide your family with tons of protein. Purchasing either dried or canned beans is a great way to stock your pantry with a healthy ingredient that will fill up your family.
Fruits and Vegetables
If you have kids at home, you probably know the importance of having canned foods as part of your pantry staples that are easy to break out for snacks, meals and for use in dishes. One example is applesauce. It’s more than just a kid-friendly side dish. It’s also a great substitute for oil or eggs when baking!
· Canned Fruits and Vegetables
If you’re stocking up for an emergency, adding canned fruits and veggies to your pantry is always a good idea. You never know when the store’s stock of fresh produce will be depleted. But having cans of fruit and vegetables in your pantry ensures your family eats a healthy meal each day.
I would love to hear what your must-have pantry food items are. What is on every grocery list when you shop? Feel free to comment below or connect with me on my Facebook page.