How to Build a Paleo Pantry

One of the hardest aspects of following a paleo diet (especially in the beginning) is dealing with temptation.  The easiest way to overcome your cravings is to eliminate the bad choices from your pantry and replace them with foods that will truly nourish and fuel your body.

If you are going to dip your toe into paleo baking, breading, or frying you’ll need to have several paleo flours on hand to choose from. All of them have their own strengths and weaknesses so be sure to choose the right flour for the job.

Cassava Flour – The paleo flour that mimics all purpose flour the most, but harder to find than others. Cassava is great for making tortillas, breading various meats, making bread, and more!
Almond Flour – Great for baked goods, or as a bread crumb replacement in meatloaf, meatballs, etc.  Check the bulk section in grocery stores for the best deals.
Coconut Flour – This original paleo flour is a great alternative for those with nut allergies, although it can be a little tricky to bake with since it absorbs liquid at an alarming rate. If you’re not familiar with coconut flour, be sure to follow a recipe.
Tapioca Flour – Acts like cornstarch and makes a great thickener or light “breading”.
Arrowroot Flour – Similar to tapioca in almost every way.

Canned Goods
Having these staple ingredients on hand at all times is a must.  Just make sure the cans are not lined with BPA.

Coconut Milk – Makes a great smoothie base or non-dairy milk substitute. The canned varieties typically have a cleaner ingredient list compared to their refrigerated counterparts.
Canned Tomatoes – You should never be without ingredients to throw together a quick, easy, and delicious pasta sauce. Think you can’t have pasta? Try making your own with cassava flour or even use a pile of zucchini noodles!
Tuna – Canned fish are often inexpensive and nutrient dense. If you feeling a little more adventurous try canned salmon, sardines, or oysters. They’re a great source of omega 3’s, iron, and zinc.

Snacks are important to have on hand because let’s face it, if you don’t have some sort of paleo snack in the house you’ll end up with a can of Pringles and a guilty conscience. Here are some of our favorites:

Nuts – Consume in moderation.  Eat them by the handful or as a delicious salad topper.
Seeds – Same as nuts, check the bulk section at your local grocer for the best deals.
Nut Butter – The quintessential post workout snack.  A spoonful (or two) by itself or blended into a smoothie will keep you satiated.
Dried Fruit – Another snack to enjoy in moderation, but a great way to curb your sweet tooth.
Beef Jerky – What was once the unofficial snack of Boy Scouts and frat guys has come a long way.  There are a ton of delicious variations of this classic snack in today’s market.
Pork Rinds/Cracklings – Some of us crave sweet things, some of us crave salty things.  If you’re part of the latter group, you’ll definitely want to keep some pork rinds on hand.
PaleoKrunch and Paleobars – Sometimes you just need something prepackaged and ready to go.  Steve’s PaleoGoods has got you covered with these minimally processed treats free from added sugar and preservatives.

Oils and Fats
Different oils have different specialties so it is always a good idea to have a few of the healthiest and most versatile on hand.

Coconut Oil – Great for sauteing, but it can also be used in baking, light frying, or any other medium to high temperature cooking application.
Olive Oil  – Makes a great salad dressing or can be drizzled over raw dishes to provide a deeper element of flavor.
Avocado Oil – An excellent option for frying and roasting.  It has a great flavor so feel free to use it in salad dressings or to drizzle over dishes from time to time.
Nut Oil – You’ll most likely come across almond oil, walnut oil, and macadamia oil on a supermarket shelf and they should be used the same way as olive oil.
Animal Fat –  The most paleolithic option for cooking, and arguably the most tasty.  They can be used as a delicious choice for frying or other high heat cooking options. Duck fat roasted potatoes are what dreams are made of.
Ghee –  A delicious alternative anywhere a recipe calls for butter, the rich nutty flavor is hard to beat.

These really come down to personal preference according to the flavor profile you most enjoy but you should have at least one from each of the categories below.

Salad Dressing – The good thing about a salad is the fact that you can have the same combination of vegetables day in and day out, but by switching the dressing you can completely change the way it tastes.
Dipping Sauces – Sometimes it can be hard to find a sauce with clean ingredients, but when you do it can really spice up an otherwise boring dish.
Condiments – Mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup are staples in most of our diets so be sure to opt for a clean brand.

There you have it, while this is by no means an all inclusive list of what your pantry should contain it can give you a good idea of how to get started.  The paleo diet focuses on eating a lot of fresh foods, so be sure when you are stocking your pantry you are buying the cleanest options free from preservatives, refined sugar, and artificial flavors and colors so you can really reap the benefits of this amazing lifestyle.

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