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