The Well Stocked Pantry: 15 Staples to Stock, Toss, Swap Or Keep

Great eating habits start with having the right materials on hand. With that in mind, we enlisted the help of holistic health counselor, Pamela Salzman to get our kitchen pantries in order. From how and where to store ingredients to what you should definitely be throwing out, here’s Pamela with fifteen things to consider for the ultimate pantry detox! 

It’s a new year and you’ve likely vowed to clean up your act once and for all. Maybe you’ve already done a detox or cleanse or just gotten back on track to a healthier way of eating. You probably feel fantastic! The best way to stay on track is to have a well-stocked pantry that supports a clean way of eating. Don’t waste another minute – it’s time for a pantry detox!

To cook and eat nutritiously, you must have high-quality options at your fingertips. This involves saying goodbye to the junk, and anything else that doesn’t serve your higher purpose – like old, rancid food, chemicals like BPA in cans, and plastic. Read your labels! Ditch anything with artificial colors or flavors, preservatives, MSG , white flour and white sugar and bring in the good stuff.

The Well Stocked Pantry: 15 Staples to Stock, Toss, Swap Or Keep


Toss: Nut butters stored in glass jars, or that have been opened in your pantry for a while. The fats can go rancid once exposed to air.

Keep: Nut butters in glass jars, stored in the fridge, if not used up quickly.


Toss: Highly perishable nuts such as walnuts, pine nuts, and hazelnuts that could have gone rancid (give them the sniff test,) and that are stored in plastic containers and bags.

Keep: Fresh nuts stored in airtight glass jars, highly perishable ones stored in the freezer. Nuts I like to keep on hand include raw almonds, pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, hazelnuts, cashews and pistachios.


Toss: Old legumes that have been sitting in your pantry for over a year. These beans and lentils have lost some of their nutritional value and will take much longer to cook than fresh.

Keep: Fresh legumes such as lentils, split peas, chick peas, kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans.


Toss: Anything in aluminum cans that can leach chemicals (BPA, BPB, or aluminum) into your food.

Keep: Tomatoes and tomato paste in glass jars. Beans, coconut milk, and pumpkin in tetra paks.


Toss: Whole grain flours that have been sitting in your pantry for more than a year.

Keep: Fresh whole grain and nut flours in all varieties, stored in the refrigerator. Some of my favorites include whole wheat pastry, whole spelt, almond flour, coconut flour and oat flour.


Toss: Oils that are refined, stored in plastic or clear bottles. Some of the ones to ditch include canola oil, vegetable oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and grapeseed oil.

Keep: Healthy, unrefined oils that come in dark glass bottles. My favorites to have on hand and use daily include unrefined olive oil and unrefined coconut oil, as well as ghee.


Toss: Any dried herbs/ground spices that you have had for more than a year. They do not stay fresh and loose their potency.

Keep: A fresh stock of dried herbs and spices, preferably in glass jars. Some that I like to keep on hand include cumin, oregano, coriander, chili powder, paprika, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric and cayenne. For baking I always have cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Save some of the less common spices for when you need it for a specific recipe, that way they won’t be hanging around your pantry for too long!


Toss: Old baking powder; baking soda and baking powder that is not aluminum free. These leavening agents can lose potency after sitting in the pantry for a year.

Keep: Fresh baking soda and aluminum-free baking powder.


Toss: Refined, processed and iodized salt

Keep: Unrefined, unprocessed salts without any additives. Sea salts such as Celtic gray, pink Himalayan. Additive-free kosher salts are good to have on hand for marinades or seasoning pasta water.


Toss: Refined sweeteners like white sugar, corn syrup and artificial maple syrup.

Keep: Less-offensive, unrefined sweeteners such as brown-rice syrup, pure maple syrup, maple sugar, coconut sugar and raw honey.


Toss: Low-quality toppings such as sprinkles, marshmallows.

Keep: Superfood toppings: unsweetened coconut, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds.


Toss: Bottled dressings that contain highly refined oils, tons of sugar and preservatives.

Keep: A selection of vinegars for making your own dressing. My favorites include apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, good quality balsamic and champagne vinegar mixed with unrefined olive oil.


Toss: Dried fruits with added sulphur dioxide, sugars and oils.

Keep: Unsulphured fruits without any added sugars or oils. I like to keep dried raisins, currants, blueberries and dates on hand.


Toss: Sugary cereals, especially ones labeled “heart healthy,” which may be loaded with sugar and refined grains. Read your labels!

Keep: Homemade granola, steel-cut oatmeal, old-fashioned rolled oats, raw buckwheat groats, quinoa, millet and creamy buckwheat for making porridge. High-quality sweeteners, superfood toppings, dried fruits and nuts for toppings.


Toss: Microwave popcorn.

Keep: Variety of non-GMO corn kernels for making stovetop popcorn.

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  1. This is great simple step guide for a pantry clear out and make over!
    Also, I was just wondering do you mean throw out nut butter is “plastic containers”? The article says “Toss: Nut butters stored in glass jars, then Keep: Nut butters in glass jars”. Just a little confused 🙂

    Jess @ Nourished by Nutrition | 01.25.2016 | Reply
  2. Yes, it should be throw out nut butter in plastic!

    Pamela Salzman | 09.14.2017 | Reply

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