Zion Nat'l Park, Columbine

New Pantry, Evansville

Eat Well In Your Busy Life — Evansville New Pantry!

During a recent presentation at the Evansville Bar Association, I was asked whether I provide grocery shopping tours to better explain label interpretation as well as which brands of basic pantry staples are the “best” choice; while yes, I do take folks into grocery stores as a learning opportunity, I also have this New Pantry list that I have used often in the cooking classes that I teach. Until I coordinate a grocery tour, I have embellished the New Pantry list with the brand names and/or details that I consider in my shopping.

I am a dedicated food activist, with strong feelings and opinions about supporting small companies that provide clean, healthy and nourishing foods–and have done so from their initial foray into the food market. This commitment is to be supported, as opposed to many of the corporate food giants who are only now looking at the ingredients in their products, be it GMO, organic, processed, etc. because it’s what is being asked for by consumers. By that I mean that small, organic companies have provided healthy and nourishing food because it was the right thing to do–for our health and for the health of the planet, whereas the corporate food companies care not for our health or the environment, but only for their bottom line and profits. They’ve slowly adapted to what is being asked for not out of concern for us, but because they want a piece of the profits from organic and low-processed foods.

While this list says Evansville on it, across the country, all natural foods and Co-op markets will have these products and brand names. The choices are fewer here in EVV than they were when I lived in NorCal, hence the lack of true variety in the brands that I mention.

As always, I’ll start with the suggestion of shopping at small natural foods and Co-op markets to support local commerce and local farmers. I also suggest organic whenever possible and using/buying glass containers for food whenever possible.

Grains, Breads, Starches

  • Pasta: whole grain products; Bionaturae organic
  • Rice: brown, wild, basmati; choose whole grain, avoid instant and quick-cook rice; buy in bulk, not in plastic sacs; Lundberg Farms
  • Beans & lentils: all kinds; dried or canned, low or no sodium, no added fat; buy in bulk or cans; look for BPA-free cans; Field Day organics
  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Bulghar
  • Polenta (cornmeal): coarse texture for dinner, ground texture for cornbread
  • Rolled oats: whole oats, not instant; Bob’s Red Mill
  • Couscous
  • Barley
  • Bread; whole grain; Ezekiel, Alvarado Street Bakery, Dave’s, Rudi’s
  • Crackers: whole grains of any type; avoid white and/or enriched flour products; Mary’s Gone Crackers or Doctor Kracker, Late July PB or cheese crackers
  • Chips: Luke’s, Late July, Lundberg’s
  • Cereal: 100% whole grain; note what type and amount of sweetener and oil; Ezekiel, Nature’s Path, Bob’s Red Mill
  • Yams instead of potatoes

Oils & Fats

  • Olive oil; Spectrum
  • Coconut oil; Nutiva
  • Ghee (clarified butter); Purity Farms, Organic Valley
  • Mayonnaise; Spectrum
  • Salad dressings: Homemade: olive oil, balsamic vinegar or lemon, and spices; plain yogurt/dill dressings; Bottled: check sodium, sweetener, and preservative content; Bragg’s


  • All types! 1 – 2 ounces Everyday! sunflower, almonds, cashews, flax, sesame, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin, brazil, and peanuts; avoid salted types or those roasted in oil


  • Cumin, black pepper, cayenne, salt, curry, dill, thyme, cardamom, nutmeg …


  • All types of wild meat
  • Store bought; consider organic, sustainably farmed and raised; Mumford Farms, Fischer Farms, Stonewall Farms

Dairy Products: organic whole milk products recommended

  • Milk; Trader’s Point, Organic Valley (highly pasteurized)
  • Yogurt without artificial sweetener or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS); Trader’s Point; Stonyfield Farms,
  • Cream cheese (Organic Valley)
  • Ricotta cheese (Organic Valley)
  • Yogurt drinks (smoothies) without artificial sweetener or HFCS
  • Butter (Organic Valley)
  • Sour cream (Organic Valley)
  • Crème fraiche
  • Oat, goat, almond, soy, or rice milk in place of cow milk

Instead of the Meat Counter, Consider…

  • Beans or lentils mixed with grains (contains all the amino acids of a complete protein)
  • Fish: avoid farm-raised (http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/conservation/research/seafood-watch)
  • Albacore tuna, canned: packed in water, sustainably caught
  • Salmon, canned: packed in water, sustainably caught
  • Eggs: Local, free-range eggs from happy chickens, no antibiotics, avoid GMO feed
  • Cheese: all types used as a condiment; Steckler for local source; Organic Valley
  • Nut butters: grind your own type; or from a jar—without added fat or sweetener, try almond or cashew
  • Soy: non GMO, fermented tempeh and miso


  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Tamari (soy sauce)
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Garlic-infused olive oil
  • Salsa
  • Nuts: walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, peanuts, in that order… 1 ounce per day!
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup (without HFCS)
  • Pesto (home-made—it’s so easy!)
  • Chutneys
  • Red pepper/cashew sauce
  • Jams or jellies (without HFCS)
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Sweet chili sauce
  • Raisins and other dried fruit without sulfur

 Packaged/convenience foods

  • Frozen, packaged, or canned: avoid sodium over 300 mg per serving and syrup; fruit, veggies, beans
  • Check for ingredients that you cannot pronounce!
  • Leave it in the store: partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oil laden foods, as well as those with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), corn syrup solids, and artificial sweeteners, food dyes, and the multitude of other ingredients that are too difficult to pronounce; avoid caramel coloring!


Robin Mallery

Robin Mallery

Robin Mallery is passionate about food! Starting from where and how it's grown, to how far that food travels to the dinner table, to how it is prepared and savored...Robin blends shopping, cooking, and eating tips with her unique Kitchen Zen and mindful meals approach to enjoying real food.

While you are waiting for her to finish the upcoming book, "Kitchen Zen: The Journey to Nourish Body and Soul in Our Changing World", you can find Robin's sporadic blog posts here or on FaceBook.
Robin Mallery

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“Robin brings dedication, focus, passion, and intellect to whatever endeavor she is pursuing. She does not just talk about good health, she practices it thoroughly every day of her life. When she talks to clients about healthy lifestyle choices, they are able to see the effects of healthy choices by observing the woman in front of them!”
Arthur S., Client

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