List of Whole Foods to Stock Your Kitchen

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Wellness Mama » Blog » Health » List of Whole Foods to Stock Your Kitchen

As moms, we set the tone in our house for our family, and that includes teaching our kids the importance of eating real foods. We want to create lifelong health habits for our kids and prevent things like heart disease, obesity, unhealthy cholesterol, and blood sugar problems. Making a list of whole foods to keep on hand has really helped me with this.

Two priorities for my family are avoiding processed foods with additives and added sugar and eating more whole foods. I do this by keeping my kitchen well stocked and meal planning. This keeps the not-so-great options out of the house, making it easier to choose healthy items. It also saves money on grocery shopping (which is huge right now!).

But what does a real food kitchen look like? There are so many options at the grocery store, and it can be overwhelming when you’re creating a shopping list. Here are the foods I focus on for my family on a regular basis. These products make it easy for us to choose a whole-food diet.

List of Whole Foods For Your Pantry

Pantry items are a great place to stock up on since they last longer. And if you can buy in bulk or find a sale, it’s a great way to save money! I cook with a lot of fresh and frozen ingredients, and I have limited pantry space. But I like to keep pantry items on hand for cooking and baking.

Here’s a list of the non-perishable foods on my grocery list. I use these products frequently in my clean-eating recipes.

Coconut Products

We use lots of different coconut products, from coconut oil and coconut milk and cream to shredded coconut and coconut flour. I love making chocolate coconut clusters for a treat and coconut granola for breakfast. We use a lot of coconut oil for roasting vegetables and baking, and my kids even eat it off the spoon!

I buy most of my coconut products from Tropical Traditions. You can also find these products reasonably priced online or in stores. Just look for unrefined, organic, cold-pressed versions.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a great source of monounsaturated fats. Make sure to buy extra virgin olive oil, which is the healthiest option. I use it for homemade salad dressings and mayo. There’s been some controversy over whether you use it in cooking. From my research, I’ve found that it’s safe to cook with. That said, it’s not the cheapest option of cooking oils.

Unfortunately, some less-than-ideal olive oils are marketed as extra virgin. I trust and recommend Kasandrinos because it’s the best quality I’ve found for the price.

Other Healthy Fats

I also like to use lard, tallow, and ghee in cooking and baking. When I have time, I make them to save money. But when I don’t have time, I purchase them from trusted sources. I make or buy them in large quantities to take advantage of cost savings and store them in 1- or 5-gallon buckets. US Wellness Meats has grass-fed, organic tallow (high in CLA) in bulk for a great price.


For cooking, I use balsamic, red wine, and apple cider vinegar. I mostly use these vinegars for salad dressings and marinades. When I feel like a cold is coming on, I drink a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in water.


For on-the-go snacks, I keep walnuts, cashews, almonds, macadamia nuts, etc. on hand. I like to soak and then dehydrate these before storing them to reduce the phytic acid. P.S. Macadamia nuts dipped in 90% dark chocolate and then cooled are one of my favorite treats.

I also use them to make homemade nut butter like almond butter and homemade nut milk like almond milk. Make sure to purchase organic ones, and if you want to dehydrate them, opt for raw over roasted.

Raw nuts last about 6-9 months, so keep that in mind when purchasing. You can freeze them if you want them to keep longer.

Canned Fish

Canned fish is an easy way to pack protein on the go or a fast meal in a pinch. I keep sardines, tuna, wild-caught salmon, etc., on hand to make tuna salads and salmon patties. Purchase wild-caught for the most sustainable, healthy option.

Self-Canned Veggies

We have a big garden with lots of tomatoes and other veggies. To save these veggies for future use (and to save money!), I’ve been canning most of my own veggies and sauces. It’s more time-consuming, but I can make ketchup, tomato sauce, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, hot sauce, tomato soup, etc. from the tomatoes in our garden.

There was concern about BPA in cans (and that’s what started me on my canning adventure), but now most canned foods are free of BPA. If canning your veggies isn’t an option, make sure the label says no BPA, or look for these foods in glass jars.


Some vegetables don’t need to be refrigerated and can be kept in the pantry for a long time. We keep sweet potatoes, onions, winter squash, garlic, etc. on hand in the pantry, and they always get eaten before they spoil.

Baking Ingredients

We love to bake! I keep a lot of different paleo and gluten-free ingredients on hand so whenever the mood strikes, we’re ready. We keep a few different types of flour on hand. Sometimes, we make our own, but often, we buy them in bulk 

For sweeteners, I keep raw honey (my parents have beehives so we get it from them!), organic maple syrup, dates, and coconut sugar on hand. We also keep: 

Dry Goods

We don’t eat many grains or legumes, so I don’t buy a lot of them. Now that I’m in remission for my Hashimoto’s, I’ve added in a small amount of organic jasmine rice. We’ll eat it once a week or less. I prefer white rice over brown rice (you can read why here).

I also keep dry black beans on hand for Mexican beef and rice bowls. These get soaked and cooked in the pressure cooker first to make them easier to digest. Because they’re legumes, I don’t eat them very often (along with lentils and chickpeas).

Herbs and Spices

I have a whole cabinet dedicated to herbs and spices. In my opinion, good spices can make the difference between a good meal and a great one. Some herbs also have medicinal properties, so they sometimes serve double duty.

Oregano is antimicrobial, and peppermint and ginger are great for nausea. Elderberries make great syrup and gummies. Some of these herbs and spices also help with appetite control and weight loss when used in cooking.

Culinary Herbs and Spices

I use a variety of herbs and spices in cooking:

Stocking A Real Food Fridge

With six kids, it’s harder to keep the fridge stocked! A full fridge never seems to last long. I sometimes have a hard time finding the space I need for all the fresh foods we eat. So, I purchased a stand-up deep freezer and an extra fridge.

These are the whole foods I keep stocked so we have healthy choices within reach.


For quick snacks the kids can grab, I keep sliced cucumbers, carrots, and celery in the fridge. I also keep lettuce and spinach for salads and cabbage to make sauerkraut (which is usually in some stage of fermentation on my counter). To add some variety, I also buy a wide range of healthy veggies for side dishes and recipes. I also keep some frozen veggies from last year’s garden in our freezer.


We buy fruit based on what’s in season. These include blueberries, strawberries, kiwis, mangos, tangerines, etc. I like to have apples and oranges for the kids all the time. I also buy lemons and limes when they’re in season to add to our water. If they aren’t in season, I use lemon and lime juice.

Alternative Milks

We don’t usually drink dairy products, but we’ll use other milk alternatives. There’s always at least a gallon of store-bought or homemade coconut milk in the fridge for smoothies and drinks for the kids. We sometimes have almond milk or even delicious homemade macadamia nut milk.


Although we don’t eat much yogurt, I buy the full-fat organic kind to separate and make whey for fermenting, and yogurt cheese for cooking and veggie dips. When I have time, I make my own (this is especially great if you have access to raw milk).

Meats and Seafood

Meat tends to get a bad rap, but it’s super important for our nutrition and health. I aim to eat 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight every day. (Listen to this podcast and this one to learn more about meat in our diet!) I buy chicken breasts and ground beef for batch cooking each week. 

It saves money to purchase meat, and even part of an animal, from a local farmer or online from regenerative farms or co-ops. I stock up on nitrite-free bacon, sausage, and hot dogs when they’re on sale.  I also like to keep frozen wild-caught shrimp and wild-caught salmon for seafood recipes.


We go through at least a dozen eggs a day, so keeping these around is tough. I buy 5-6 dozen a week, including the dozen I hard-boil for snacks. If you can afford them, buy pasture-raised organic eggs. Or better yet, find a farmer who sells them. We have ducks now, so we have fresh duck eggs that we really enjoy.


I started making most of my own condiments years ago because I don’t love the options at the stores. However, more clean eating options are becoming available at stores like Whole Foods Market or online at Primal Kitchen. I regularly have these condiments in my fridge: 

What are your best tips for stocking a real food kitchen? What are your favorite things to keep on hand for clean eating?

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


30 responses to “List of Whole Foods to Stock Your Kitchen”

  1. Sandy Avatar

    Wowsers! This is a lot of work (initially) to clean the pantry and fridge of all the unhealthy and move towards the healthier options. It’s encouraging to see. I would really love to learn more about fermenting as I like fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchee. Thanks for sharing this very informative post!

  2. April Avatar

    There are a great many tomato products available in bpa-free cans. Most labeled as organic are also labeled bpa-free, and all Costco’s Kirkland brand tomato products are in bpa-free cans.

  3. Mandy Avatar

    Looks a lot like my kitchen! We canned tons of things out of this year’s garden. We also go to a local farmer’s market and buy local organic veggies in bulk while they’re in season then I can them to use throughout the off season. I also have herbs from our garden in various stages of drying hung all over my pantry. I wasn’t aware of the BPA lining in most cans, I thought that was just a concern in plastic. Thank you for that insight! I’m glad we can our own in mason jars the majority of the time!

  4. Kendal Avatar

    Hello! I was wondering if you have a recipe for hot sauce you could share? I’ve tried one made with jalepenos in vinegar, but I didn’t quite like it. You mention you use tomatoes for yours, and I’m very curious!

    Thank you!

  5. hillary Avatar

    these are great tips!

    please, please, please be careful about storing meats above raw produce and other ready-to-eat foods. you dont want raw meat juices dripping and causing contamination… that can cause salmonella, e.coli, and other sicknesses.

    be well!

  6. Becky Avatar

    Although I don’t know the ages of your children, it sounds like most of them have started life in your real food setting. Do you have suggestions for me with two kids, ages 7 and 9, who have had grains for most of their lives and really don’t like giving them up? I am transitioning to less grains, but breakfast is really tough. And they are really into crackers/pretzels, etc. snacks. My 9 yr old has ADHD and ODD, so I believe cutting grains will help her, but I am getting a lot more ODD behaviors with not having her favorite foods available as they were.
    I know we have to retrain them to eat differently, I could just use some suggestions for how to go about it. Don’t know if you have already posted about this. Thanks.

    1. Alice Avatar

      Becky, you may want to read Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride’s information about GAPS. She used nutrition to cure her son’s autism as well as heal clients of OCD, ADHD/ADD, depression – it’s quite amazing. I’m starting down the recovery road as well – which is why I found this site! Thanks, Wellness Mama, for practical advice in going grain-free.

  7. Lee Ann LaFiore Mauldin Avatar
    Lee Ann LaFiore Mauldin

    Hi Katie -I read in a post that you dont like to use agave –I thought it was natural and from a plan –Would you explain?? Thank you Lee

    1. Jenny Avatar

      Agave is plant based, but it can contain more fructose (70-94%) than high fructose corn syrup (something like 40 or 50% fructose). If I’m remembering correctly, agave syrup also has a tendency to interfere with hormones, and cause blood sugar issues. Someone please correct me if I got this wrong.

  8. laura mcannally Avatar
    laura mcannally

    Why do you go through more than a dozen eggs a day? Very interesting! It takes us a week with two adults and a baby. How do you make your own coconut milk? I love all things coconut!

  9. Becky Hellhound Avatar
    Becky Hellhound

    hello! I love your website and found this article very inspirational. just a thought – have you considered making your own almond milk? I used the same brand in your fridge for many years until learning of the potential dangers of carageenan, which can cause inflammation. carageenan can be found in this and most brands of non-dairy milk and is used to thicken and bind products so they don’t need to be shaken as much and retain their texture. homemade almond milk is easy and just as delicious as long as you don’t mind the natural separation. =)

    – soak 1 1/2 cup almonds in a mason jar of water overnight (or at least 6 hours) and rinse well
    – combine almonds in blender with 4c filtered water, and blend well
    – line a colander with a t-shirt or a few layers of cheesecloth, then strain almond mixture to get the meal out
    – lift the t-shirt out of the colander and squeeze it reeeeal good, for maximum milkage
    – stir in (to taste) ~2t sea salt, ~2T agave nectar (or sugar), and a little (~1/4t) vanilla extract (if you wanna)

    homemade almond milk keeps 4-7 days in the fridge in a mason jar – use a tight lid so you can shake it well before you use it as it will most definitely separate.

    for chocolate almond milk: add 4T cocoa, 4T agave, and 1/2t vanilla extract to your strained almond milk

    coconut almond milk: add 1/2 c dried shredded coconut at the blending stage. don’t soak the coconut, it gets bitter.

    the leftover almond meal is a great source of protein – throw a little in a smoothie, stir into
    yr yogurt, or use as a base for raw cookies. ok to freeze and use later.

    thanks again for sharing your research through these wonderful and informative posts!

  10. Rachel Avatar

    I’ve been wanting to try to make sauerkraut, but I don’t want to make a big batch for a couple reasons (One – my husband tried before and it didn’t turn out well and Two – there’s only two of us to eat it). How much cabbage do you use for your little batches?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      1 head will make about a quart and will last months in the fridge if stored correctly…

  11. Karen Avatar

    I’m yet to start to learn of what to stock the kitchen with. I just have to learn what to buy and not buy in order to do this. At this time i am so dumb in the process and i’m learning little by little of what it is to stock and keep the kitchen stocked at all times.

  12. Lamar j Avatar

    Wow. You rock! I decided that in 12 months I will never set foot in a grocery store again. This post just saved me 6 months of research. Thanks!

  13. Bea Avatar

    My kitchen looks a lot like yours but also has more dried than canned veggies and fruits and a crock of working kombucha (with bottled K in the fridge).  I can’t seem to find any almond flour recipes anywhere.  Does coconut flour work much better (I am new to the optional flour world)?  Thanks for all you do, I really enjoy your site.  

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I need to get better about drying fruits and veggies… and about
      making Kombucha. I prefer coconut flour because it has less phytic
      acid, and is cheaper. Almond flour tastes more like wheat flour, so
      some people prefer it. has some great almond flour
      recipes, though I don’t like her use of Agave and she does use a lot
      of sweeteners. Thanks for reading!

      1. Bea Avatar

        I like to dry foods because some last almost forever.  I hate trying to keep track of what needs to be used up with the canned.  Drying retains many more vitamins and minerals to and it still essentially raw. 
        I have more almond flour only because I have a hard time finding the coconut flour in my area.  I don’t like using to many sweeteners either.  Thank you for the web site, I will go check it out now.  
        I have a continuous brew K-tea system on my counter so it is easy to keep up with.  

      2. Aliona Avatar

        Hi there! I live in Belgium and coconut flour is extremely expensive around here… how about using corn or chestnut flour as an alternative? It is much easier to find and is cheaper…. What I have seen around are as well buckweed and soy flour.
        Thanks, Aliona

      3. LaraS Avatar

        And fish! Dried salted fish (rubbed with olive oil and two or three sorts of pepper) is absolutely marvellous. Makes your kitchen smell nice, too. We have a sailboat in our garden (my husband is in the process of repairing it) and the other day I hung some mackerel to dry from the propeller shaft. The chickens wouldn’t go near it, nor would any flies at all!

  14. Anne Avatar

    Such a helpful post! I love the pictures. And I’m happy to say I have a whole box of jars next to my computer here on my kitchen table. I’m working on a kitchen like yours! 🙂

  15. Becky D Avatar

    Do you use Diatomateous (sp?) Earth in your cooking? I used it for smoothies for my son when we were dealing with some health issues and healing his gut (prescribed by our Health Practitioner for parasites, yeast infection…) but I’ve never thought to use it for anything else. I’m curious as to how you use it!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I don’t use it in cooking, though I’ve heard of people adding it to
      baking recipes. I keep it on hand for intestinal issues and for
      killing ants and other pests I find inside.

  16. Tarah Locke Avatar
    Tarah Locke

    I’m trying to keep a up-to-date list of available snacks, leftovers, frozen foods, and weekly dinner menu on the fridge to remind ourselves of what there is and what dinner will supposedly be. I cook 7 days a week to avoid un-nutritious food. Your site is AWESOME! Do you have any ideas on packing kids lunch for school(my oldest is starting all-day Kindergarten in August)?

  17. Peggy Avatar

    Wow that’s impressive! A great bunch of healthy foods and what a variety! I should show you a picture of my kitchen for contrast. I have a single shelf of dried food and tea. I don’t remember what’s in there because I never actually open that cabinet. I prefer to eat fresh. My counter top has a bunch of fruit on it, plus a crock pot with some hot beef stew. And my fridge; that’s the really funny part. There is uncured bacon in the meat drawer (don’t eat cold cuts). The shelf has some fresh grass-fed beef, some chicken I’m going to cook later today, some pastured eggs I pick up at the CSA dropoff, and there is a bag of sprouted corn tortillas that I let my daughter eat every few days, and there’s a bottle of keifer. The veggie drawer has a few carrots, some green chard, cilantro, and an onion. In the freezer I have about 6lbs of pemmican (like beef jerky but with waaay more fat) and some frozen tuna. That’s it. And that’s how it’s been for many years. I don’t eat much and I practice intermittent fasting. I absolutely don’t allow junk food into the house. If I don’t have enough food, I go to the store. If I can’t make it to the store, I make due with what I have. I eat some pemmican and a teaspoon of honey or something. For me personally, I am better disciplined keeping food as a low priority.

  18. Sarah Avatar

    Do you have any suggestions for someone living alone? Buying things in bulk isn’t really an option because it would take so long to go through it and/or it goes bad before it’s all used up. Especially without an extra freezer/fridge or a whole lot of pantry space it can also be difficult to store a lot of extras. I am enjoying your posts…thanks for sharing!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I’d just try to structure your meals each week around a single meat
      or two. You can save money buying the whole chicken and roasting it
      and then using to make chicken salad, stir fry and casseroles later
      in the week. Also, if I didn’t have toddlers who got tired of it, I’d
      eat salads with protein for most of my meals. In college, that is
      basically all I ate, and it seemed to be an easy way to get the
      nutrition in on a budget. If you have some freezer space, you could
      make slightly larger amounts of meals you like and freeze individual
      serving sizes to have healthy food on hand when you’re in a hurry.

      1. Lorraine Avatar

        Hi and thank you for asking and answering. I took time to work everything out. Being single person too I mamanged to work something around what i can do and manage. Of course being from the UK i have a lot to learn on the way of where to access the same quality food. Learning that Britain only ever sells grass fed meat i don’t know what to look out for for high quality safe dairy and meat. But i learnt our local store doesn’t inject anything into their animals and only does herbal therapeutic treatment when they ever get ill. I wonder if they are best to buy from why weren’t they labeled in the top list from a website i was looking at. Buying from tropical traditions seems more expensive due to the delivery cost but that’s the only other option I’ve found. I don’t yet live in the country but i do plan to and do plan to start growing my own and later in country life i plan to have my own ducks for eggs so thank you for the information and time you take to post everything. They’ve been a fantastic help. I’m learning how to keep up and manage my own and fit in a budget. And now i know when i grow my own i can freeze quite a lot of it. I thought i needed a massive freezer before when i was eating grains but now i learnt eating more fat saves the 2 Co part meets for just meat and veg. So you can try that two Sarah. Soon as i decide and buy my bulk I’ll be buying 2 source of meat. Two source of fish like shell fish and wild caught and I was planning to prepare one whole meat into a fortnight or months worth of meals. Like small chicken cut up for salads and medium meat or minces meat for burgers. And I was planing to buy a week bulk or fortnight of greens and store them. 😉 I have a budget too and this only works out 40 more a f than my normal shopping order only difference is its better and healthier. 😉

        1. LaraS Avatar

          If you have friends who have a family near by, perhaps you might be able to buy things from them. I have a family and also friend who lives by herself, and we’d go to the market together. Sometimes we’d find things like a 5-kilo sack of carrots for 2.50 euros, then I’d buy it, she’d pay me for the carrots she needed, and I’d cart the rest off home to roast or pickle for my own family.

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