• PLANT-BASED SHOPPING •
"What should I buy?" - Stocking your kitchen with the best plant-based groceries can feel overwhelming. So we’ve put together this curated guide to help you stock up, one tasty step at a time.
Tips to practice mindful cooking & eating >
- Pantry Essentials
- Spices & Sweeteners
- Snacks & Treats
- Grains & Beans
- Condiments & Pickles
- Dried Fruits & Nuts
- Baking Essentials
You know when you find a recipe you can’t wait to make, and realize that you actually have everything it calls for in your pantry? And even if you still need the protein and veggies, your grocery shop will be short ‘n sweet and not call for 17 different ingredients from 17 different aisles.
Well, that magical experience can be the rule rather than the exception. All it takes is a solid stock of plant-based staples – the ones that SO many of the best plant-based recipes call for.
Having those go-to ingredients on hand will not only save you a ton of time, effort, and planning, but will make way for that happy, special ease of just cooking. You know? So get ready - from in-depth recipes to simple sautéing and all the deliciousness in between, you’ll have everything you need to get cooking.
- Coconut Milk/Cream
- Extra-virgin Olive Oil
- Vinegars: Apple Cider Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar, Specialty Vinegars
- Canned Tomatoes, Tomato Paste, Pasta Sauces
- Flours: Farro Flour, Pizza Flour, Pastry Flour, Rye Flour, Semolina Flour
- Nut Butters: Almond Butter, Cashew Butter, Peanut Butter, Sesame Butter
- Jams & Preserves
- Coffee & Tea
Herbs, Spices, & Sweeteners
From the “it needs… something” moments, to the times you just want to throw caution to the wind and embrace your fearless, flavor-forward chef within, we’ve got the spice collection to make it happen. So you can give your dishes that unique depth and breadth of flavor you’ve been craving. And beyond the amazing flavors, aromas, and colors that herbs and spices bring to your meals, research suggests that they have anti-inflammatory, antitumorigenic (anti-tumor), and anticarcinogenic properties. And they’re loaded with antioxidants!
- Salt & Pepper
- Dried Herbs and Spices: Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika, Cumin, Italian Herbs, Curry Powder, Garam Masala, Cinnamon
- Nutritional Yeast
- Maple Syrup
Snacks & Treats
Sometimes the most amazing thing a pantry can offer you is reclaimed time. (Not like a pantry time machine, but someone should write that screenplay?) We’re talking about the ready-to-go, satisfying snacks that will give your busy days some quick and tasty relief.
Whether you’re between Zoom meetings, zipping out the door, or just in need of a pick-me-up, having effortless fuel at the ready is a key part of a well-stocked pantry.
To take full advantage of all the best benefits of snacking – like nourishing your brain and body, and actually feeling re-energized – it’s important to choose your plant-based snacks wisely. Steer clear of those highly processed, highly refined ones that taste good but really don’t feel good. And instead, try to seek out snacks that are packed with macronutrients - protein, good carbs, and good fats. We’ve picked out some densely nutritious options below to help you get started! (Of course, there are times when you just want CHOCOLATE, and your plantry should be there for you on those days, too.)
- Energy Bars
- Cookies & Baked Goods
- Pretzels, Chips & Crackers
- Chocolate: We’ve listed it here, but really? It belongs under “essentials”!"
Whole Grains, Beans, & Starches
Carbohydrates - despite what fad diets would have you believe - provide essential nutrients and are our bodies’ preferred source of energy. Carbs not only feed our brain and muscles, but they’re also high in dietary fiber and good for digestion.
But all carbs are definitely not created equal - when it comes to your health, wholegrain and wholemeal options are your best friends. They’ve got a lower glycemic index (so you can keep those blood sugar levels in check) and offer longer-lasting energy to fuel you all day.
Beans and pulses are not only full of nutrients like protein, fiber, and antioxidants, but they’re also very versatile little ingredients. Use them to add heft to chili or smoosh for a base in a taquito (soft tortilla filled with refried-beans, zesty pico de gallo, avocado crema and your favorite vegan cheese shreds).
Whatever form you prefer them in - dried or canned - beans and pulses are a must-have for dishes that need a little hearty, wholesome protein boost. A couple words to the wise: if you’re buying canned, watch out for sneaky high sodium content. And if you’re going for dry, note that you’ll need to plan ahead to give those beans a good, long soak and be prepared for a longer cooking time.
- Pasta & Noodles
- Assorted Beans: Kidney Beans, Black Beans, White Beans
- Chickpeas: Whip into a creamy hummus or cook up a curry
- Lentils: Brown Lentils, Red Split Lentils
Condiments, Sauces, & Pickles
Condiments are to meals as cherries-on-top are to sundaes – those little bottles have the power to bring a meal from pretty tasty to explosively delicious. And armed with a collection of classic condiments, you can bring your sandwiches, veggie burgers, and wraps to life in a matter of seconds. Try to seek out condiments made with high quality ingredients, because many of the mainstream brands contain not-so-great things like high fructose corn syrup.
Certain simple cooking ingredients also have a profound effect on the end flavor of your dish. Is your Thai peanut sauce tasting bland, despite all the sweet and savory inputs? The acidity from a tablespoon of rice wine vinegar will make the flavor unfold and explode. Or, if your sauce or soup needs an instant umami boost, add a scoop of miso paste… you won’t believe the effect! Carefully chosen sauces and condiments are a key component of a kitchen that’s bursting with flavor.
- Rice Wine Vinegar
- Soy Sauce, Tamari, Miso
- Ketchup & Mustard
- Hot Sauce & Marinades
- Your Favorite Pickles
Dried Fruit, Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds, beyond being great standalone snacks, are perfect toppers to add crunch, flavor, and nutrients to sweet or savory dishes. From salads to curries, and overnight oats to yogurt bowls, these li’l plant-based powerhouses pack a tasty, crunchy punch. (Insider tip: raw cashews make for a mind-blowingly thick, creamy base for plant-based cheeses, dressings, dips, soups, smoothies, and so much more. Just make sure you soak them in warm water before you blend them to get the full, creamy effect.) Dried fruits are great, healthier alternatives to more processed sweet treats. Look for unsweetened or fruit-sweetened dried fruits when you can — the sugar adds up quickly otherwise. (Plus, in our humble opinion, you get a lot more of the delicious, fruity flavors in the naturally sweet varieties.)
- Assorted Nuts: Cashews, Walnuts, Almonds
- Assorted Seeds: Hemp seeds, Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin seeds. Chia seeds will magically thicken dairy-free sauces, smoothie bowls, puddings, beverages, and baked goods.
- Ground Flax: For a quick and easy plant-based egg substitute for baking, whisk together 1 tablespoon of ground flax with 3 tablespoons of water and allow to thicken for a few minutes, until it reaches the consistency of an egg.
- Tahini: A Middle Eastern condiment made from toasted ground hulled sesame. It is served by itself (as a dip) or as a major ingredient in hummus, baba ganoush (roasted eggplant heaven), and halva. We also love it swirled into our favorite vegan brownie recipe.
- Dried Fruits: Apricots, Dried Fruit Jerky, Dates - one of nature's sweetest gifts. Use dates to make refined-sugar-free desserts and homemade energy bars and bites
Whether you’re a seasoned baker or just happy if the dough blob comes out looking vaguely loaf-like, baking essentials are great to have on hand. And we’re big fans of incorporating wholesome ingredients into all your baked goods — because when bready, carb-rich goodness meets nutrient-dense nourishment, it’s really something to write home about.
And there’s lots of room for nourishification (to coin a word) when it comes to traditional baking. Did you know that the white flour you see in so many recipes has been stripped of the fiber and nutrients originally found in wheat? So opting for alternatives like wholemeal, spelt, and buckwheat flours will mean you can enjoy a lot more fiber, vitamins, and protein in your favorite baked goods. The sweet side of things is a similar story. The cane sugar that most baking recipes call for is highly refined and lacks the nutrients that existed in the original sugar plant. Instead, using an unrefined sweetener (like coconut sugar, maple syrup, Agave syrup, or dates) will offer the same lip-smacking sweetness, but with more to show for it in the nutrient department. Plus those unrefined sweeteners are easier for our bodies to process.
So with the best healthy baking essentials in hand, the help of some amazing recipes that celebrate those ingredients, and a pinch o’ plant magic, these best-of-all-worlds baked goods are just a few degrees away.
- Flour: Wholemeal Flour, Spelt Flour, Buckwheat Flour, Pastry Flour
- Natural Sweeteners: Coconut Sugar, Maple Syrup, Agave syrup, or Rice Malt Syrup, Dried Dates
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda
- Egg Replacer
Ways to Practice Mindful Cooking & Eating ——
Having a well-stocked kitchen is an amazing foundation for eating in a way that makes you feel happy and nourished. And as you approach cooking and eating the wonderful meals you’re now prepared to make, you can add another level of deep joy to the process by going through each step mindfully.
Not sure how to start? We’ve got some helpful steps to take on your delicious, feel-good, plantiful journey.
Engage Your Senses
This begins at the farmers market or grocery store! Getting up close and personal with the fruits and veggies will let your senses do what they do best - guide you towards the good stuff that your body wants, and away from the bad. Take in the smells, the colors, and the textures as you shop, just like chefs do. You’ll end up with a joyfully curated basket and, odds are, a sense of calmness and connectedness to your surroundings.
Once you’ve turned those hand-picked fruits and veggies plus your favorite PlantBelly products into a delicious dish, take just a little time to style the food a bit, even if it's only you at the table. You’ll be amazed at how much you appreciate the whole process - shopping and selecting, cooking, plating, and eating - when you take the time to do each step mindfully.
LISTEN TO YOUR BELLY
Between stress and distractions, and the many other things we lose our attention to each day, it can be hard to know if your hunger is genuine or if it’s some other emotion masquerading. Try to take a beat and listen to your body to see if you’re truly hungry or if you’re just stressed, anxious, or bored. This can help you slow down and eat only when your body truly wants the fuel.
The same is true when you’re eating. Did you know that it can take your brain up to 20 minutes to register that you’re full? That’s a long time! So if you’re eating quickly and distractedly, it’s likely that you’ll end up eating more than your body strictly wants or needs. Slow down a bit, and savor the wonderful flavors and textures.
That text from your friend, email from a colleague, or Instagram notification can wait 15 minutes. So put your phone away while you eat! (Thanks, mom.) But truly, you'll be surprised at how different your food tastes when all your senses are engaged and you’re fully focused on the experience.
Another big upside of unplugging while you eat is that you’ll get to connect with others at the table. And those conversations are sure to enrich your day and give you a boost of happy social energy. Maybe you can even chat about how amazing the mindfully chosen and prepared food you’re eating is ;)
Partake in the joy of eating
Great health comes from so many things, but what we choose to eat is the one of the most important and powerful factors. (Let food be thy medicine!) At PlantBelly, we’re committed to offering products that not only taste good but are good, with the intention of sparking joy in your everyday food routine. Because at the heart of it, we believe that joy is a fundamental ingredient to health and vivacity - and it’s a joy to share this with you.