28 Healthy Pantry Staples to Keep in Your Kitchen

The first step toward healthy eating is a fully stocked pantry. This list of healthy pantry staples will make weeknight cooking quick and easy, too.

When your pantry is stocked with delicious, nutritious foods, it’s much easier (and more fun) to stick to a healthy eating plan. Start with the foods you already love and then build from there. Keep a variety of grains, canned foods and condiments on hand for quick recipes and easy meals any night of the week. And while you’re at it, put these easy pantry organization tips to use.

28 Healthy Pantry Staples To Keep In Your Kitchensydney watson/taste of home

Grains

  • Oats help you start the day with filling, heart-healthy fiber. Add some berries, cinnamon and nut butter for a truly drool-worthy breakfast.

  • Whole grain bread is more filling than white bread and boasts more nutrients. Look for sprouted grain bread or try making your own whole wheat bread.

  • Rice is an inexpensive and easy base for healthy veggies and proteins. Look for brown or whole grain rice for more fiber and nutrients.

  • Quinoa has the comforting texture of rice while packing some serious protein and fiber. Make a big batch each week for salads, side dishes and even breakfast.

  • Whole wheat pasta is an energizing base for roasted vegetables, lean proteins and hearty beans. Try these healthy pasta recipes.

Canned Goods

  • Canned fruits can be a sweet snack on their own or a light base for dessert recipes—or a key ingredient in any of these healthy canned fruit recipes.  Look for fruits packed in 100% juice or water to cut back on extra sugar.

  • Canned veggies make healthy eating quick and simple. Some of our favorite canned vegetable recipes are Miso-Buttered Succotash and Fiery Stuffed Poblanos.

  • Canned tuna has healthy omega-3 fatty acids in every tasty bite. Keep a few cans handy for easy lunch salads and our favorite tuna salad sandwiches.

  • Canned tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. Try making a simple pasta sauce with crushed canned tomatoes.

  • Soups in the pantry are a lifesaver on busy weeknights with no time to cook. Look for low-sodium soups with ingredients you can pronounce.

  • Stock is an easy base for homemade soup, as well as a flavor enhancer for cooking meat and poultry in the slow cooker. Here’s the difference between stock and broth.

  • Coconut milk is rich and creamy and adds an interesting flavor to savory dishes like Thai Coconut Beef and sweet treats like Toasted Coconut Milk Shakes.

  • Canned beans pack serious protein, fiber and iron in each bite. Try blending them up into a creamy bean dip for a satisfying snack.

Nuts, Beans and Legumes

  • Nuts and seeds are rich in healthy fats and fiber. Mix up your own trail mix recipe or add them to your favorite salad.

  • Nut milks—some varieties—can be kept in the pantry until opened. Add a splash to your morning smoothie for added calcium and protein.

  • Nut butters are loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats to fill you up and satisfy serious hunger pangs.

  • Lentils are packed with plant-based protein and fiber and make a hearty base for these cozy lentil soup recipes.

  • Dried beans are easy to prepare (but never eat them raw!) and can be added to salads, pasta, soups and more.

Oils, Vinegars, Sauces and Condiments

  • Apple cider vinegar adds a light, tart flavor to homemade salad dressings, marinades and wellness shots.

  • Coconut oil is a great healthy oil for sauteing meat and vegetables as it has a high smoke point. Try using it to pop popcorn for a slightly sweet bite.

  • Olive oil can be used for sauteing vegetables (just don’t turn the heat up too high), as well as homemade salad dressings and marinades.

  • Pasta sauce is always delicious over whole-grain pasta or homemade pizza. Look for sauces without added sugar to get the flavor without the extra calories.
  • Salsa is packed with flavor and low in calories, so it makes a tasty topper for salads, baked potatoes and kale chips.

  • Nutritional yeast adds a savory, cheesy flavor to everything from popcorn to veggies and is a favorite among vegans.

  • Healthy salad dressings and some greens in the fridge are all you need for a fast, light lunch. Look for dressings without added sugar and other artificial additives.

Snacks

  • Granola bars are an easy, on-the-go snack that you can grab anytime. Skip the overly sugary varieties and look for protein-packed snacks.

  • Crackers are now often made with a variety of healthy ingredients like almond flour, rice flour and whole wheat flour. Keep a box for dipping in hummus or salsa when you crave a crunch.

  • Chips are a pantry staple. Healthify your chip selection with a bag of sweet potato or kale chips.

Recipes to Make with Healthy Pantry Staples

There are endless recipes you can make once your kitchen is stocked with healthy pantry staples! To start, try a breakfast of these Hearty Multigrain Pancakes. For lunch or dinner, make Black Bean & Corn Quinoa or these easy Chorizo Burrito Bowls.

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Carrie Madormo, RN
Now a freelance health and food writer, Carrie worked as a nurse for over a decade. When she isn't hunched over her laptop with a baby in hand, you will find her cooking her grandmother’s recipes, lacing up her running shoes or sipping coffee in the bathroom to hide from her three young children.