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Pantry Staples

  • Quinoa
  • Sweet Potatoes

Everyday Essentials

  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • Himalayan Sea Salt
  • Bone Broth
  • Cinnamon

Snack Essentials

  • Almonds
  • Nut Butters
  • Dark Chocolate

Canned Essentials

  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Chickpeas
  • Tomato Paste

Pantry Staples

Two of my go-to pantry staples are quinoa and sweet potatoes. They are always in my pantry and are typically made at least once a week because they are versatile to many dishes and provide immense health benefits. 


Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that is a complete source of protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids. In addition to protein, quinoa is also a rich source of fiber which increases satiety and can help reduce calorie intake, resulting in weight loss. Fiber also can reduce blood pressure to prevent heart disease in addition to lowering cholesterol and glucose levels. Fiber is also beneficial for gut health because it promotes good bacteria.

Quinoa is rich in vitamin C, iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, potassium, copper, riboflavin and the antioxidant manganese. In addition to being a complete source of protein, quinoa also contains lysine which is essential to grow and repair tissue.

Quinoa does contain saponins which is a natural coating around quinoa that can make it have a bitter or soapy taste. Some packages pre-rinse quinoa however, not all quinoa has the saponins removed, so rinsing quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer for 2 minutes can improve taste. 

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes offer a wide variety of health benefits because they are rich in antioxidants which protect your cells from free radical causing damage, they are rich in essential vitamins and minerals and because they are rich in fiber, they promote weight loss.

All varieties of sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants including vitamins A and C, but purple sweet potatoes have the highest levels of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Eating a diet high in antioxidants will protect your cells from free radical damage, promoting cellular health and longevity in addition to reducing your risk of heart disease or cancer. Purple sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants known as anthocyanins which have been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth. Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, which is a potent antioxidant that helps to combat illness.

Since Vitamin C is an essential cofactor in the biosynthesis of collagen, it helps to maintain youthful skin and prevent premature skin aging. 

Sweet potatoes are also high in fiber which increases satiety, reduces hunger, and they additionally may support weight loss due to their resistant starch component. One study showed that substituting 5.4% of total carbohydrate consumption with resistant starch increased fat burning after eating. These results suggest that eating foods containing more resistant starch will reduce weight gain because over time your body will store less fat. 

Everyday Essentials 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Many studies have demonstrated that diets full of monounsaturated fatty acids – primarily derived from olive oil – provide many benefits. 

The benefits begin with beauty and youthfulness. Extra virgin olive oil is packed full of monounsaturated fat which has been shown to increase tightness of the skin. Olive oil has even been shown to be an effective weight management tool. One study showed that an olive oil rich diet promoted weight loss more than a low-fat diet.

The main monounsaturated fatty acid found in olive oil is oleic acid which provides protective effects against breast cancer. It’s also rich in phytochemicals which can combat cancer and many studies have shown that consuming more EVOO reduces the risk of heart disease. The antioxidants found in EVOO can also reduce inflammation and combat free radicals to maintain healthy cells. 

Always choose extra virgin when it comes to olive oil because it is the least processed and contains more nutrients than refined or virgin olive oil. Olive oil is a much healthier choice to replace other fatty foods such as butter and you can smother it on salads and vegetables.

Himalayan Sea Salt

Table salt, otherwise known as sodium chloride, is refined and has other minerals removed that are not sodium chloride. Compared to other salts, table salt does not contain a wide variety of about 60 trace minerals that are beneficial to your health. Pink Himalayan sea salt is much more natural because it is hand-extracted unrefined salt that does not usually contain additives and is mined in the Himalayas. Similarly to table salt, Himalayan sea salt is mostly made up of sodium chloride however it also contains many minerals and trace elements that are not present in table salt. Pink Himalayan salt contains more iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.  

Himalayan sea salt gets sprinkled on just about everything (minus the smoothies) and some people even wake up with some in a cup of water to boost their mineral intake. 


Cinnamon offers a wide variety of both beauty and health benefits. It helps to maintain youthful-looking skin and improve the appearance of aging skin because cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde which promotes collagen production. It also inhibits the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) which reduces damage to the skin. In addition, cinnamon is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, and anticancer and it even lowers blood sugar and cholesterol.

Cinnamon treats arthritis and other inflammatory diseases such as intestinal gas and nausea. The contents of cinnamon have also been shown to have neuroprotective effects for Alzheimer’s disease. 

It is recommended to consume Ceylon cinnamon because it is less toxic than Cassia cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon contains coumarin which is a cytotoxic compound that can cause more damage to the liver or kidneys than benefits cinnamon provides.

Since this sweet spice contains all these benefits, it is an everyday essential for me. I add it to my coffee in the morning, top my popcorn with it and use it in a variety of recipes.

Bone Broth 

Bone broth is an everyday essential because it is full of collagen which reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and cellulite. It also provides significant health benefits including helping to improve sleep, and it improves your gut health.

Bone broth has been used for thousands of years as a traditional remedy to combat colds and the flu. It’s made from simmering the bones of animals and can be made from beef, pork, chicken and fish. Bone broth was traditionally used to prevent disease and promote wellness; however, it’s now recognized as a natural beauty elixir and a phenomenal healing remedy among high-performing athletes. Due to its simmering process of up to 24 hours, collagen is released from the bones which helps to provide beauty benefits and promote youthful-looking skin. In addition, the amino acid profile from the collagen provides benefits to promote sleep, reduces joint pain, heals inflammation and the gut and improves athletic performance. It is also full of calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and other trace minerals. 

Snack Essentials 


Almonds are a significant source of monounsaturated fatty acids while providing a protein punch. As a great source of fiber, they make you feel full. Almonds are very nutrient-dense, they contain  45% of your daily value of vitamin E, in addition to manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorus and riboflavin.

Since they are rich in protein and fiber, they will increase satiety, which could be the reason they have been shown to promote weight loss. One study compared the difference between consuming almonds on a low-calorie diet versus a carbohydrate-based low-calorie diet and found that consistent intake of almond does not cause weight gain. They found that including almonds on a low-calorie diet promotes weight loss compared with the carbohydrate-based low-calorie diet. 

Nut Butters

Sometimes, I like to snack on nut butters because it feels like I’m having a treat yet I’m actually getting a protein kick with beneficial nutrients.

My go-to nut butters are almond butter and peanut butter, they are both similar in terms of calories and have great heart health benefits. Yet, there are some differences between the two.

Peanut Butter

Compared to almond butter, peanut butter does have more protein and is more affordable. With peanut butter, always choose natural without sugar (make sure the only ingredient is peanuts).

Almond Butter 

In comparison, almond butter is slightly more nutritious, it has 25% more unsaturated fats, 7 times more calcium and is a better source of fiber. In addition, it is higher in magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, iron and is a more significant source of vitamin E. 

Dark Chocolate 

Sometimes you need to fulfil that sweet tooth craving, and what better way than to grab a square of dark chocolate. Compared to the sugar filled content of milk chocolate, dark chocolate is nutrient and mineral rich, full of fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.

Dark chocolate provides many health benefits which come from the flavanol epicatechin found in cacao. Since cocoa and dark chocolate are quite rich in flavanols (which is a type of polyphenol), they possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The plant phenols (cocoa phenols) in dark chocolate have been shown to reduce blood pressure, reduce inflammation, reduce fasting blood glucose, and total cholesterol. Since dark chocolate provides these benefits, habitual consumption has high potential to prevent cardiovascular disease. The flavonoid content in dark chocolate has also been shown to improve cognitive function.

When purchasing your dark chocolate, begin with 85% cocoa and consider even higher because higher cocoa percentage contains more flavanol, which is the component of dark chocolate that provides all the benefits. Additionally, the higher the percentage of cocoa, the darker the chocolate, the less sugar it will contain. 

Canned Essentials

Having canned fish stocked in your pantry is perfect for those days you forgot to unfreeze protein for lunch or dinner. I’m a big fan of canned fish in particular because it is rich in fatty acids and protein. 


Tuna is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, magnesium, vitamin B-6 and B-12 and is an excellent source of protein. Tuna also contains elastin which helps to keep skin tight and smooth.

When you eat tuna you don’t need to worry about the risk of mercury content because tuna contains more selenium than mercury which means that selenium acts as an antidote and counteracts any mercury. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration stated “selenium is the key to understanding mercury exposure risks. Scientists discovered that if a body has sufficient selenium to maintain proper function, the risks from mercury are mitigated.” 


Sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, iron, selenium, magnesium, zinc and are a great source of protein.

Choose the canned sardines in olive oil so you can reap the added benefits of monounsaturated fat rich olive oil. 


Salmon is one of the best canned fish you can have – for both taste and for nutritional content. 

Salmon is low in saturated fat, high in protein and is full of vitamins and minerals, yet it’s most beneficial component for health is omega-3s. Salmon packs a punch of vitamin B12 (200% daily value), potassium, iron and vitamin D. 

As with all animal products, you want to choose products that were naturally raised. Choose wild-caught salmon. 


Chickpeas are a great source of vitamins and minerals including folate, iron, phosphorus, copper and manganese. In addition, they provide protein and fiber which increase satiety, making you feel full. Eating chickpeas in comparison to white bread before a meal has been shown to reduce appetite and food consumption. They are almost a complete source of protein, providing all essential amino acids except for methionine. 

Chickpeas are incredibly versatile and can be used as a source of protein as a base of a salad, added to soups and sandwiches, roasted on their own as a snack, or they can substitute flour in muffins and desserts. 

Tomato Paste 

Tomato paste is great especially if you are following a FODMAP diet, it doesn’t contain any additional garlic or onion which can cause digestive upset for some people. In comparison to crushed tomatoes, tomato paste doesn’t dilute food and is a great base for dishes that require a tomato sauce. The best part is that you can add the flavours and spices that you wish to it. 

When buying canned food items, look for cans that are BPA free – it will state on the label!