Before you switch to a plant based diet, you should stock up your pantry with these items. (Photo: by Getty Images)
The foundation of my diet is whole fruits and vegetables, bought from farmers markets and stored on my counter or in my fridge. Nutrient-dense, high-net-gain fruits and vegetables are the foundation of every healthy diet.
But there are many other supporting, wholesome ingredients that don’t need to be bought weekly and can be stored in your pantry for convenience. By stocking your cupboards with nutrient-dense essentials, whole-food meals will come together more quickly.
While beans aren’t the only protein-rich foods that you’ll be including in your plant-based diet (grains and vegetables contain protein too), they are a pantry staple. I recommend buying dry beans in bulk, soaking them overnight (to improve digestibility) and cooking them in large batches. Try adzuki, garbanzo, fava, kidney and navy beans as well as lentils and split peas.
If you’re already eating plenty of land vegetables, it’s time to head to the sea. Sea vegetables like arame, wakame, nori, kombu, dulse and kelp are nutrient-dense additions to your diet. They are rich in calcium, iron, iodine and electrolytes, easily digestible, chlorophyll-rich and alkaline-forming.
3. Coconut Oil
Unrefined coconut oil is my favorite cooking oil. Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are digested in the body like carbohydrates. The liver easily converts them into energy, rather than storing them as visceral fat. Use coconut oil in your next stir-fry since it’s stable at high heats.
Don’t be fooled by the name — buckwheat is actually a gluten-free grain. It’s actually more closely related to rhubarb than to whole wheat. This whole grain is high in vitamins B and E, calcium and fiber. You can sprout unroasted buckwheat, or cook roasted buckwheat (sometimes called kasha), as a side dish. You can also make porridge (similar to oatmeal) for breakfast.
One of the most easily digested grains, gluten-free millet makes a creamy breakfast base. Cook like rice, with a 1-to-3 millet-to-water ratio, for 35 minutes and top with unsweetened nondairy milk, hemp seeds and fresh fruit.
Related: 10 Convenient Low-Carb Snacks
6. Nutritional Yeast
A complete protein and a rich source of all B vitamins (including the elusive vitamin B12), nutritional yeast adds a savory flavor to any plant-based meal. You can sprinkle it on salads, cooked or raw entrees or even on non-GMO popcorn whenever you crave cheese.
Spices add flavor and antioxidants to all meals, without salt or calories. I always have black pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, nutmeg and turmeric on my shelf.
By Brendan Brazier
The original article “Top 10 Pantry Essentials for a Plant-Based Diet" appeared on LIVESTRONG.COM.
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