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Keto Pantry Makeover

If you're planning a September health reset, a well stocked and beautifully organized pantry may be just the thing to help you succeed. This weekend, keto'ers across the Senza community are turning their kitchens into low-carb zones that support this way of eating.

spices on shelf for keto cooking

To participate in the Keto Pantry Makeover virtual event, follow the steps below, and be sure to document your progress. We've got prizes to send for the best before and after photos! 

The Senza team will be going through this process together with you over the weekend. It's been a while since we last redid the pantry at Senza HQ, and for sure we'll have our own stories to tell. 

Well, where should we begin?

1. Out with the old

First, clear the counters and put on some music. You're going to remove everything edible from your pantry, food cabinets, and drawers, in order to see what's really there. This might take a while.

Next, decide what stays and which foods must go. Collect all the obviously high-carb foods and give them away or toss. Don't overthink this. You're not wasting food, you are investing in your health. If others in the household must have access, place these items out of sight in a different place from your go-to keto foods.

If you are unsure whether to keep some items, log a serving to your Senza Food Journal to check the nutrition. If the net carbs are very low, it's probably a good choice. Remember that your goal is to stay under 25 grams of net carbs per day.

Take this opportunity to consolidate and throw away items that are expired, stale or no longer needed. Spices that are more than a year old should be replaced with fresh jars, too. 

2. In with the new

Eating at home is the best way to stay on track with keto. And low-carb cooking is much easier when you have most of the ingredients already on hand. Make a list of ldry goods you expect to use and low-carb snacks you will enjoy. Below are some of the most important items to include. For a more comprehensive list of keto-friendly foods, see our Keto Food Shopping List or select "Top100" in the Recipe Box of your Senza Feed. 

Keto Pantry Essentials

  • Cooking oil: Start with animal fats such as ghee, lard, schmalz, tallow. Also consider avocado oil, coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, and olive oil.
  • Sea salt: You'll need to replenish sodium as you transition to ketosis. Get the highest quality you can find with all the trace minerals intact. 
  • Black peppercorns: Freshly ground makes a big difference in most recipes.
  • Tamari-style soy sauce (gluten free), Asian fish sauce, coconut aminos
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Spices: Cinnamon, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, turmeric
  • Almond flour (blanched, not almond meal)
  • Coconut flour
  • Cacao powder (unsweetened)
  • Coffee, tea, sparkling water
  • Mayo with 100% avocado oil or olive oil, no soybean or canola!
  • Canned foods: artichoke hearts, olives, peppers, tuna, sardines
  • Nuts: almonds, pecans, walnuts, macadamias
  • Seeds: chia, flaxseed, hemp hearts, pumpkin seed kernels, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
  • Tomato paste (for thickening sauces)
  • Alternative sweetener (erythritol, liquid stevia, or monkfruit extract)
  • Coconut milk (full fat, unsweetened and free of gums)
  • Electrolyte powder or pills (sodium, magnesium, potassium)
  • Collagen and/or gelatin (for boosting coffee, smoothies, and homemade gummies)
  • Vanilla extract

Keto Snacks for the Pantry

  • Beef jerky or biltong
  • Macadamias
  • Olives
  • Dark chocolate (85% cacao or higher)
  • Pork rinds (chicharrones)
  • Coconut chips or flakes (unsweetened)
  • Cheese crisps
  • Nut & seed butters, unsweetened and without added oil
  • Keto-friendly bars (for example, Kiss My Keto, Dang, Keto Bar)

With your wish list finalized, treat yourself to a keto-only grocery shopping trip, or order what you'd like online to avoid the temptation of old habits at your usual supermarket. Buy in bulk if this option is available near you, and allergens are not a concern. Also, the Planet Keto online store has many of these items available to purchase (U.S. only at this time), and shipping is free with your first order.

3. Containers are your new best friend

Long before discovering keto, Senza's cofounders had the idea to create a brand-free kitchen. At that time, we wanted to shield our small children from the influence of aggressive food advertising. We started to store everything in plain, clear containers. This quickly became an obsession. We were still buying processed grains and other problematic foods, but at least there were no more colorful boxes with games on the back or merchandising with popular characters and toys. It was our way of fighting back against a Big Food system that did not care for the health of our family, and it helped to shape our approach to family meals, from toddlerhood all the way through pre-teen years.

Turns out, this same strategy works quite well for keto, or any major household nutrition shift. Food is more inviting when it comes from a simple unbranded jar instead of a half-empty package held closed with a bag clip. Your containers don't have to be expensive, but they should be airtight. Try to standardize on one style that comes in several sizes, so individual containers can be arranged and stacked neatly on shelves to maximize available storage. 

A labeler comes in handy here. Despite your best intentions, many ingredients look alike and chances are, you will forget what exactly went into which containers! 

4. Putting the pieces together

With your newly acquired stockpile of keto foods, empty shelves, and new containers, you're ready to take the final step of organizing the space you have for food storage. Try not to overcrowd shelves and drawers, so you can find what you need quickly when it's time to cook.

When the last jar is placed (for now), take a moment to appreciate your newly designed keto-friendly kitchen. It's a tangible sign of your commitment to eat differently and regain your health. It will take some upkeep, and every so often, you may want to do the process all over again, but you'll have a great foundation for a healthier lifestyle and an aesthetically pleasing environment in which to cook.

If you're inspired to share your efforts with the Senza community, send your before and after photos to planetketo@senza.us or tag us on Instagram @senza_app with hashtag #ketopantry2020

Most importantly, have fun with your Keto Pantry Makeover!