How To Stock Your Kitchen With Real Food Ingredients

When your pantry, refrigerator and freezer are all stocked with key staple ingredients, pulling together last-minute Farm-to-Table quality meals is easy! This list of real foods will help you choose the highest quality nourishing ingredients for your meals and snacks.


This list of real foods is organized into categories: Best, Better, Good, and Avoid/Limit. The following guidelines are based off of years of research and info I’ve learned from health practitioners, Weston A. Price teachings and Real Food advocates such as Michael Pollan and Mark Hyman.

You can get my Pantry Makeover Checklist and be stocked with ingredients to easily make nourishing Farm-to-Table meals. It’s Free!

Remember that this is a journey and small steps over time lead to significant changes in health and longevity. Any improvement you make deserves a high five!


Best: organic dried beans, soaked in apple cider vinegar to minimize enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid
Better: conventional dried beans. organic canned beans (BPA free can if possible)
Good: conventional canned beans
Avoid/limit: canned baked beans or other similar products with more than 1-2 ingredients


Best: Pastured grass fed/grass finished
Better: Grass fed/organic if possible. Pastured animal but grain finished (very common)
Good: hormone free/antibiotic free
Avoid/limit: conventional beef (may say ‘all natural’)


Best: homemade bone broth made with bones from pastured animals
Better: organic bone broth in box
Good: organic broth in carton or can without additives
Avoid/limit: canned and dehydrated soups (watch for MSG), bullion cubes


Best: Pastured raised, organically fed to supplement without soy
Better: Organic
Good: No hormones/antibiotics
Avoid/limit: conventional chicken/turkey

Processed Meats

Best: Bacon, deli meats from pastured animals, organic if possible. Nitrate/Nitrite free.
Better: No hormones/antibiotics.
Avoid/limit: Most processed meats due to carcinogens.


Best: From pastured poultry, ideally fresh/local from farmer, CSA, Vital Farms brand)
Better: Organic/Soy Free
Good: Cage free/vegetarian fed
Avoid/limit: fake eggs, egg substitute

how to stock your kitchen with real food quality ingredients olives and olive oil


Best: Organic cold pressed and unrefined oils including coconut oil, raw butter, ghee, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil. Lard and tallow from pastured animals.
Better: Kerrygold butter from grass fed cows, organic pastured butter
Good: occasional use of organic cold pressed sesame oil. Cold pressed olive oil, coconut oil.
Avoid/limit: all vegetable oils including canola, sunflower, soybean. Margarine and fake butter spreads

Fruits and Vegetables

Best: Seasonal veggies. Organic and organically grown (local and in season when possible)
Better: Frozen organic fruits/vegetables. These were picked when ripe with optimal nutrition.
Good: Conventional fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables washed well. Often picked prior to being ripe.
Avoid/limit: Canned fruits/vegetables. (Exception canned tomatoes in BPA free can)


Best: Organic whole grain, sprouted. Especially Einkorn Wheat berries and other heirloom varieties
Better: Whole grain/whole wheat
Good: Granola with real food ingredients
Avoid/limit: white flour, cereals


Best: Raw cheese from grass fed animals
Better: Organic cheese from pasteurized whole milk or grass fed animals
Good: whole milk cheese (now low-fat)
Avoid/limit: Processed cheese, low fat cheese, fake cheese spreads


Best: Raw (unpasteurized), whole milk from grass fed cows https://www.realmilk.com/
Better: Whole milk, pasteurized, organic from grass fed animals, preferably not homogenized
Good: Whole milk, pasteurized, organic
Avoid/limit: low-fat/skim milk, most non-organic milk/dairy has presence of GMOs due to grain fed cows

how to stock your pantry photo of milk alternatives

Milk Alternatives

Best: Organic minimal ingredient almond milk, oat milk, coconut milk/cream. Homemade ideally. The Almond Cow can be used to make nut milks at home.
Better: Minimal ingredient/no preservatives almond/oat/coconut milk. MALK and Elmhurst are great brands for 2 ingredient, non-GMO, preservative-free milk alternatives.
Good: Almond, Oat, Coconut milk with preservatives such as guar gum (no sweeteners)
Avoid/limit: soy milk

Nut Butters

Best: Organic minimal ingredients (nuts & salt). Homemade ideal.
Better: Nut butters with minimal ingredients (nuts & salt)
Avoid/limit: nut butters with sugar or other added ingredients


Best: Organic, sprouted/raw, soaked/dried (dehydrated). Nuts.com is a great source. Blue Mountain Organics is a source for truly raw organic bulk almonds from Europe.
Better: Organic
Good: all nuts and seeds
Avoid/limit: added flavorings/sugar unless added at home


Best: Celtic Sea Salt, Himalayan salt (both a great addition to every meal). Redmond brand is excellent.
Avoid/limit: processed, iodized salt, refined salt, kosher salt

how to stock your kitchen with real food ingredients


Best: Wild-caught (fresh or frozen). Alaskan Salmon is best.
Better: canned wild salmon or tuna without additives, canned sardines/anchovies in olive oil
Avoid/limit: Farmed salmon and trout.


Best: Fermented soy including miso, tamari, soy sauce, natto, and tempeh
Avoid/limit: soy milk, unfermented soy sauce, soy lecithin

Sweeteners (use sparingly)

Best: Organic maple syrup (grade B if possible), local honey, molasses
Better: Rapadura, coconut palm sugar
Good: Organic cane sugar, non-organic maple sugar, organic jams with minimal ingredients and minimal sugar, agave, stevia
Avoid/limit: white sugar, corn syrup, artificial sweeteners

Packaged Foods

Best: Few ingredients (5 or less) and all real food ingredients. Become and expert Label Reader.
Avoid/Limit: Foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce.

how to stock your kitchen with real food quality ingredients

Create a Farm-to-table experience

The quality of real food you purchase makes a huge difference regarding flavor and nutrient content. Ideally, purchasing ingredients as unprocessed and closet to its source/nature is best. Finding a local farm to support and creating Farm-to-Table meals feeds the soul and your body. Cooking real food, especially the meal prep and chopping of vegetables, can be time consuming. Simple ingredients are often ideal. Therefore, if vegetables are in season and haven’t traveled across the country to get to your kitchen, you will find them packed with flavor.

Try to find a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) or local farmer’s market to frequent and you will taste the difference! Check this source to find a CSA near you, just plug in your zip code.

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