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4 healthy staples that Alison Wu believes every pantry starter kit needs


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Photo: Instagram/@alison_wu

Occasionally something on Instagram will send me down a digital rabbit hole: crystal nail art, a hilarious face-mask reviewing account, and, most recently, a well-stocked pantry. Earlier this week, smoothie aficionado, wellness blogger, and stylist Alison Wu shared an Instagram post of her 18(!) pantry essentials. Aside from being straight-up organization porn, Wu’s pantry left me wondering what exactly I should keep in mine.

Since an 18-product conglomeration seems like an intense goal to reach for my admittedly nonexistent pantry (not to mention it being Kondo-questionable), I asked Wu which four essentials she recommends for newbies. And, since her picks are staples that lend themselves to oh-so many recipes, Wu employs a Noah’s Ark–esque principle so no meal-prep plans are derailed: “I like to keep two of each item on hand, if possible. For instance, two cans of beans or two boxes of chickpea pasta. This way, if I use one for a last-minute meal, I’ll still have a back up for the next time,” she said.

But, before you fill your shopping cart, save the environment and your wallet with Wu’s suggestion to bring your own jars for bulk purchases and refills. It’ll allow you to avoid using plastic bags and containers, but make sure to have the jars weighed before you fill them with your pantry goodies so you’re not paying for the weight of the glass.

See? You’re already on your way to pantry expert-hood. Now, here’s what to fill the space with.

See Wu’s 4 pantry essentials below.

1. High-quality extra-virgin olive oil

“A great olive oil can make a meal. Drizzle on steamed veggies and cooked meats, or mix with lemon juice, salt, and pepper for the perfect simple salad dressing.”

 2. Salts

“Salt brings flavors to life. I love keeping a variety of different salts on hand, like kosher sea salt, Maldon finishing salt, and Himalayan pink salt.”

3. Nut butter

“Essential for snacking. I love smearing some on dried apricots or a banana for a quick snack.”

4.  Dried or canned beans

“Canned beans are my favorite ‘I’m lazy and didn’t plan dinner’ item to have on hand. Dried beans are great if you want to make a big batch of beans for the week or if you’re making homemade hummus.”

Now that you’ve started your healthy pantry, here are some expert tips on how to keep it organized and the general hacks you should know

Originally published February 16, 2018; updated May 22, 2018.

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