Keep Nutritious Foods Ready in the Kitchen

You want to keep your meals fresh and healthy, and the best way to do that is make them yourself at home.

But that takes a little time and patience, and when you don’t have a lot of either it’s easy to backslide into eating out or grabbing some ultra- processed “ food” so you don’t have to think about it anymore.

Keeping a reliable stash of longer- lasting pantry and fridge staples to serve as the base or the accent to your recipes gives you a foundation rich in protein, fiber and other nutrients to keep your meals nutrient- dense and satisfying. They’re ideally paired with ultra-fresh produce but can stand on their own in a pinch.

Here are some should- haves grouped by where they’re most often stored (there are exceptions).


  • Beans (low sodium canned or dry)
  • Nuts, nut butters and seeds (i.e., peanuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews, chia seeds)
  • Whole grains (barley, quinoa, buckwheat, 100% whole-grain pasta)
  • Canned or jarred low sodium tomato products (whole or diced, sauce, paste)
  • Cooking oils (olive, avocado, canola, sesame) and vinegar
  • Less-perishable vegetables (onions, potatoes, squash)
  • Sweeteners (stevia, honey, maple syrup, vanilla extract)
  • Low or no- sodium canned vegetables/fruit
  • Spices and herbs
  • Shelf-stable plant milks
  • Canned tuna and salmon


  • Yogurt (dairy or plant- based, low-sugar or unsweetened)
  • Fermented foods (pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir)
  • Condiments and spreads (hummus, mustard, salsa, hot sauce, soy sauce)
  • Eggs or egg whites
  • Tofu or tempeh
  • Feta, mozzarella or other light cheeses
  • Frozen vegetables/fruit
  • Frozen poultry/seafood