Pantry: Stocking Your WFPB Shelves

The Essentials

“… hindsight is not a strategy.”  Jane Bryant Quinn.

Eating a WFPB diet can be challenging (link), but it’s not impossible. If you are going to succeed in fueling your body, you need more than a bag of organic kale and a sorry assortment of cukes, carrots and celery sticks.

Don’t get me wrong, you can start to change your diet on that. It will take you through day one. But I suspect you’ll be going on a pajama-clad field trip to the nearest gas mart by the time bedtime rolls around. And while you may tell yourself, as you are getting in the car, that you’re going for an apple and a Pellegrino, how much you wanna bet that you’ll leave with a rolling hot dog or a peanut butter cup? I say that like I’ve been there.

Because I have. Once.

Or twice.

And just imagine running into your boss or skinny co-worker when you slide up to the cash register in your ratty pajamas. And don’t think they won’t be checking out your purchases and making a big deal out of them.

Been there, too.

Wasn’t pretty.

Real Life Staples

You need WFPB staples in the house for the times the grit runs low.

Spend a few minutes pondering the food you’ll miss. Is it salty, like potato chips? Sweet, like Ding Dongs? Sugary soda drinks? Milk in your cereal? Grilled cheese sandwiches? Tacos?

(Shoot, I’ve made myself hungry.)

Whatever that “thing” is that you’ll miss, plan for missing it! It’s all good and well to be motivated. And if you have the fortitude and persistence to stay with a WFPB diet without looking back, go for it!

But if you know you don’t have that iron-clad discipline, don’t expect a miracle with this plan. It takes effort. And it take planning. I can help you with both, but the work is in your hands.

So start with what you’ll miss the most, and plan for a reasonable substitute (link to some ideas here). Here’s a strategy I like (link insert blog post on if/then statements).

And make sure those substitutes make their way on to your initial WFPB shopping list!

Basic WFPB Diet Staples

Keep in mind that your diet consists of plant-based whole foods, so you need lots of vegetables and fruits! It will seem like overkill when you walk out of the grocery store, but better to freeze what’s left than not have it in the house (my rule!).

Your standard staples include selections from the following:

  • Beans, dried, canned or fresh
  • Berries, fresh or frozen
  • Other fruit, fresh, frozen or dried
  • Cruciferous veggies
  • Greens
  • Other veggies (the more colors the better)
  • Flaxseed
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Lots of herbs and spices
  • Clean drinking water

Specifics That Have Saved Me

These ingredients helped me when I transitioned to WFPB eating. If you are a planner, you will appreciate having these on the list most weeks. If you haven’t nailed down the meal-planning part yet, I think this will help you as you explore stocking the shelves:

  • Vinegars (apple, white wine, balsamic is a good start)
  • Dried dates (your sweetener of choice)
  • Maple syrup (sweetener of second choice)
  • Mustards (any whole mustard without sugar or oil)
  • Whole grain pastas (whole wheat, brown rice, lentil)
  • Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, teff, wild rice, oats)
  • Nuts and seeds (almond, cashews, sesame, sunflower)
  • Fresh or frozen greens (spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, kale, arugula)
  • Fresh or frozen cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, arugula)
  • Other veggies (onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, mushrooms)
  • Canned no-salt tomatos
  • Bottled no-oil, no sugar, little salt jarred pasta sauces
  • Frozen berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries)
  • No- or low-salt salsa
  • No-salt spice mixes (Italian, curry, pumpkin pie)
  • Flaxseed, milled (whole seeds need to be milled or ground first)
  • Canned or dried beans (garbanzos, black, cannellini, kidney)
  • Fresh fruit (whatever is in season, but always bananas!)
  • Ground no-salt, no sugar nut butters (peanut, almond, cashew, tahini)
  • Plant milk (any unsweetened — oat, almond, soy, pea)
  • Oil-free, salt-free tortillas, flatbreads
  • Oil-free, sugar-free whole grain bread
  • Seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower)
  • Nutritional yeast (ground or flaked)
  • An assortment of herbs and spices (Mexican, Indian, warm, Italian)