How to Stock the Pantry With Raw Foods: Eat More Raw Ingredients Daily — Make this Olive Tapenade in Minutes

Stocking a raw food pantry takes some getting used to. Be sure to go slow while adding raw items to a menu each day. Don’t be afraid to try new things. This may be the beginning of changing an entire lifetime of habits that may be threatening your health.

According to The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Raw [Alpha Books; 2008], “The attraction to eating raw foods is the weight loss, improved health, and increased energy. Some want to cleanse or heal from any number of modern illnesses. Others simply want to include more fruits and vegetables in their diet.” Your reason to eat more raw foods may boil down to wanting to use what is growing in your vegetable garden.

When stocking up on nuts, make certain they are raw, not roasted. Store them in sealed containers in the refrigerator for up to three months or in a freezer for a year. Spices and dried fruits can be kept in a cool, dark cabinet for up to a year and organic coconut oil can last at room temperature for six months.

Raw Food Staples to Stock Up On

While this is not a complete list of raw food staples to store in the pantry, it is a great start in preparing to switch to a raw food diet.

  • agave nectar (a natural sweetener made from the agave plant’s juice)
  • almond milk (can store in pantry prior to opening), almond butter
  • almonds, cashews, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts
  • Flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds,
  • dried apricots, cherries, Medjool dates, cranberries, raisins, apples
  • cacao nibs (lightly crushed bittersweet cacao beans)
  • carob (tastes similar to cocoa powder, but has no caffeine)
  • cashew butter (can be found at most health food stores)
  • sun-dried tomatoes, olives, olive oil,
  • frozen organic raspberries, blueberries, mango
  • raw honey, coconut oil, vanilla extract
  • cinnamon, cayenne, curry powder, ginger, nutmeg, turmeric,
  • herbal tea

Appliances and Tools to Use in a Raw Kitchen

It’s good to have appliances at the ready for chopping, mincing, blending and grinding. The shortlist includes a blender, food processor, juicer, chef’s knife (7 to 10 inches long with a very sharp edge designed to chop, dice, mince and slice) and a variety of other tools most likely already available in an average kitchen.

Make a Simple Olive Tapenade

(This healthy snack will give you your daily allowance of essential fatty acids.)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Put olives in blender and chop finely. Add oil slowly while blender is running until a thick paste forms. Serve immediately on crackers.

To purchase raw foods online, check out Raw Revolution. Eating a balanced raw food diet means learning to look at food as nutrition, not just something that tastes good. This is not to say that a raw diet cannot be a delicious way to eat. It is a journey of learning how to treat the body with the blessings of a rich, diverse plant life.

Healthy Eating All Year Long: Seasonal Produce and Other Tips for Fall and Winter Cooking

Eat Your Greens

While it might not be time to start hanging “greens,” this is the time of year to start eating them. Greens (collard, turnip, mustard, and beet greens along with spinach, kale and Swiss chard) are cool season plants (spring and fall). They are good sources of vitamin A, vitamin K, Folic acid, fiber, iron, calcium, and many other nutrients. Try sautéing greens with olive oil, garlic, pepper flakes or toasted sesame seeds as a side dish or add them to soups, salads and sandwiches this fall.

As fall approaches, thoughts turn to the holidays and holiday eating. Now is the time to brush off those portion size rules and healthy eating habits. If you let things slide during the warmer months, get back on track. Starting healthy eating habits now will make it easier when the real tests – all those parties and family meals – come. Use a food diary to keep track of when, what and how much you are eating. Break out the measuring cups to help refocus your portion sizes.

Now that peaches, watermelon, strawberries and other summer fruits are out of season, turn to apples, pears, pomegranates, cranberries, kiwi, grapefruit, and oranges to satisfy that sweet tooth. Use fall and winter fruits to liven up desserts, salads, grain dishes, breakfast and snack time.

Reduce and Replace

Find ways to lighten your traditional cold weather and holiday comfort foods.

  • Use low-fat or fat-free versions of milk, cream cheese, sour cream, and other dairy ingredients.
  • Reduce sugar by 1/3 in recipes especially those recipes containing fruit.
  • Reduce or substitute a fruit puree for 1/3 of fat in recipes.
  • Use egg substitutes or egg whites instead of whole eggs to cut fat and calories.

One large egg = 49 calories, 3 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat

Equivalent of egg substitute = 28 calories, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated

Equivalent of egg whites = 17 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated

  • Leave out the salt. It is not needed in most recipes. Salt to taste upon serving.
  • Buy low sodium broths or make your own. To make your own, save the liquid used to boil vegetables or meat, freeze it in ice cube trays or freezer bags and use it later for soups and stews.
  • Increase the fruits and vegetables in recipes. Play with fruits and vegetables to add taste and texture to stews, soups, casseroles, and sides instead of ingredients with more fat and calories.

Winter Vegetables

A great winter produce choice is squash. There are a variety of winter squash available – acorn, spaghetti, butternut, pumpkin are just a few. Using winter squash is a low-calorie, low-fat way to add hearty texture and flavor to winter meals. Bake a spaghetti squash (375º for an hour) and top with pesto and pine nuts to create a tasty side dish or roast pumpkin seeds and toss with spices (cinnamon or cumin) to top desserts, salads or add to trail mix.

Fruits and Vegetables: Simple Ways to Add More of These Healthy Foods to Your Family Diet

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the average American needs to increase their fruit and vegetable intake by several servings per day. Although this may sound simple, it will take some creativity and discipline to incorporate more fruit and vegetables in your diet. Here are some simple and tasty suggestions to help in the transition.

  1. Add fruit and/or vegetables to beverages. Lemons aren’t the only fruit you can add to your drink. Try adding a couple of cucumbers and orange slices to your water, it really makes for a refreshing drink. Add peach slices or strawberries to your tea or lemonade. Eat the vegetables and/or fruit as you consume your beverage.
  2. Top off your cold cut sandwich or burger with more than just lettuce and tomato. Instead turn it into a gourmet (and healthy) sandwich by adding alfalfa sprouts, spinach, cucumbers, peppers and or red onions. Burgers or grilled chicken sandwiches are also delicious with a fresh slice of pineapple on top.
  3. Always serve a salad with each meal. You can serve a fruit cup, spring salad or even coleslaw for variety. Add fresh fruit like strawberries or tangerines to greens for a really tasty salad. In addition to increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables, you will probably eat less of the main course possibly resulting in weight loss as well.
  4. Do you have cold or hot cereal for breakfast? Add bananas and/or strawberries to cold cereal. Try raspberries, bananas and/or blueberries in hot cereal.
  5. Make up your own vegetable and/or fruit baggies for snacks. In small baggies place spears of broccoli, cauliflower, baby carrots and celery sticks. For a little flavor, use ranch dressing as a dip. Make up fruit bags by putting slices of apples, oranges and pears along with grapes, cherries, etc. in a baggie. Kids can dip fruit in strawberry yogurt as a special treat. Having the baggies will make it easy for you or your kids to grab a healthy snack. These also make great snacks for school and/or work.
  6. Get many servings of fruit by making fruit smoothies. These are great for breakfast, a snack or even a delicious dessert.
  7. Many restaurants are now more flexible and provide the customer with many more healthy alternatives. So instead of having french fries, order a salad or a vegetable for your side dish.

Be persistent and consistent, and before you know it you and your family will easily be consuming the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day.