Pantry Staples

Eating healthy doesn’t just happen; it definitely involves some planning.  It will be much easier and more convenient if you stock your kitchen with staples that can be thrown together for a delicious and fast healthy meal or snack.  Here is a list of foods from each food group that I think are pantry (or refrigerator/freezer) staples that will help you when in a pinch.

Fruits and Vegetables:
• Dried fruit with no sugar added and sun-dried tomatoes
• Low sodium canned tomato sauce or pasta sauces
• Frozen or canned fruits and veggies of any variety (without syrup and low in sodium)
• Shelf stable fresh produce that won’t spoil quickly such as apples, carrots, celery, broccoli, onions, potatoes, melons or oranges

Meat and Bean Group:
• Frozen chicken and salmon
• Ground turkey breast
• Canned tuna or other canned fish packed in water
• Canned or dried beans and edamame
• Hummus
• Nuts or natural nut-butters
• Eggs or egg substitutes
• Frozen veggie burgers
• Trail mix

Grain Group:
• Whole-wheat bread, english muffins, bagels (small), or pitas
• Whole grain frozen waffles or pancakes
• Whole grain crackers (recommended: Kashi or reduced fat Triscuits)
• Whole-wheat or corn tortillas
• High fiber, whole grain cereal (5 grams of fiber and less than 6 grams of sugar per serving)
• Oatmeal
• Quick cooking brown rice, long grain brown rice or basmati brown rice
• Whole wheat pasta (or other whole grain pastas such as brown rice pasta, soba noodles, etc)
• Other whole grain products such as kasha, millet, bulgur, barley, spelt, quinoa, wheatberries, etc.
• Popcorn

Dairy Group:
• Fat free plain yogurt or greek yogurt (sweeten it yourself!)
• Low fat or fat free cottage cheese
• Skim milk
• String cheese or other low fat cheese such as feta, parmesan or goat cheese
• Fortified soy milk

Fat Group
• Olive oil or Canola oil
• Pam cooking spray (made with olive or canola oil)
• Light oil based salad dressing (Newman’s Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette is my favorite! You could make them yourself too).
• Promise, Benecol or Smart Balance spreads
• Tub margarines such as Canola Harvest
• Spray butter and spray salad dressing (but watch the serving size!)
• Canola oil based mayonnaise or nayonnaise
• Ground flaxseed
• Low fat spreads such as ketchup, mustard or low calorie BBQ sauce

Emily Fonnesbeck RD,CD