I originally compiled this Top 10 Healthy Pantry Items list back in February of 2017, but I feel like relying on pantry staples has definitely become more important during this pandemic. Trying to cut back on grocery store visits and working with what we have has been essential for our family this year and will probably continue through the winter. Most of the panty items that I buy, I tend to order online from Target or Thrive Market so I don’t have to worry about picking them up when I do go to the grocery store for things like eggs, milk, and bread. I also get a produce box delivered once a week from Hungry Harvest to help cut down on grocery trips. If you want to try Hungry Harvest feel free to use my link here to get $10 off your first order.
While the items in this list are all great healthy choices to help keep your family fed, the most important thing to remember is that “fed is best.” If you are unable to get the healthier choice due to financial constraints, the items aren’t available, or you really need to just go through a drive through one night and pick up some burgers and fries for your sanity, that is ok. We all need to give ourselves some grace and do the best that we can.
My Top 10 Healthy Pantry Items
1.Whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice and whole grain pasta – Full of fiber and essential B vitamins, whole grains are essential and shelf stable. I like to stock up during sales, because I usually choose one of these almost daily with dinner.
2.Fruit and Nut Bars – Great for a quick snack between zoom meetings or with your morning coffee if you prefer a light breakfast. I like both Kind Bars and Larabars because they are made with whole ingredients such as fruits and nuts.
3.Tomato Sauce – I always have at least 1 emergency can of tomato sauce in my pantry. Grab your pasta, some tomato sauce, throw in some veggies (like mushrooms or zucchini) and top with cheese and you got a meal. I like to choose tomato sauce without added sugar and less than 400mg of sodium per serving.
4.Canned Beans – I like to keep multiple types on hand. Perfect for a quick and easy chili or to make rice and beans. No salt added or reduced sodium is what I look for on the label. That way I can season it to my taste preferences.
5. Oatmeal – A whole grain that is perfect for breakfast or you can also have as a snack or mini-meal. Also comes in handy if you get the urge to bake some oatmeal muffins or cookies.
6. No Salt Added Canned Vegetables(such as tomatoes or corn) – Goes great in chili or a pasta dish.
7. Nut or Seed Butter – Perfect for sandwiches or as a snack (on celery, apples, or whole grain crackers). We usually do peanut butter cause it is the cheapest, and we go through a lot. We used to do sunbutter too when V was in daycare since it is allergy friendly.
8. Canned Fruit Packed in Juice – I always keep a can or two in our pantry in case we run out of fresh fruit before our weekly produce box comes.
9. Almond Milk– We normally drink cows milk, whole for the girls and skim for me and my husband, but we keep it on hand in case we run out of our regular milk. That way we can last an extra day or two before getting groceries. I also like using the vanilla almond milk in baked goods sometimes or to cook quinoa in, instead of water. It gives it a bit of a different flavor.
10. Chicken or Vegetable Broth – You can use these to make a quick and easy soup or add flavor to meats, a stew or chili. We get the reduced sodium and season how we like.
Hope you liked my list! Comment if you have any other great healthy items that you like to always have in your pantry!
Hi, my name is Caryn, and I am a registered dietitian nutritionist in Miami, Florida. I was born and raised in Ohio and have 2 girls under the age of 5. I am a busy working mom who used to have an hour long commute to work, so I know how hard keeping up with healthy habits can be. I am a lazy cook, so I hate overly complicated recipes and doing dishes. Just toss everything in one pot....right?
What about cookies? Teasing! I need to start using brown rice. Good article