Healthy pantry staples

Courtney Rupertus
Healthy pantry staples

Do you ever have those uninspired days where you roam around the kitchen, looking in the fridge and cupboards, but never finding anything you feel like preparing?

Then, if you’re at all like me, you’ll eventually give up on roaming and go get a pizza.


This is okay from time to time, but not necessarily great if this ends up happening on a regular basis.

One of the easiest ways to counteract this mealtime lethargy is to always have a fully stocked, healthy pantry. With just a few essential items, and a couple of simple meal ideas, you need only buy small quantities of fresh items when you need them and whip together meals quickly and without a lot of planning.

Here’s a list to get you started:

Dried beans, chickpeas, and lentils

Canned no-salt-added beans

Whole grains like quinoa, barley, and rice

Whole grain pasta (or gluten-free if you prefer)

Rolled oats

Canned no-salt-added diced tomatoes

Low-sodium vegetable broth

Peanut or almond butter

Raw almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds

Dried apricots, dates, and raisins

Dijon and yellow mustard

Canned tuna

Canned olives

Sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, brown/white sugar

Healthy fats/oils like extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil

Variety of vinegars like balsamic, red wine, and apple cider

Baking basics like flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa 

You can slice and dice the list of pantry essentials based on what you like and the type of meals you typically cook, but these are very much the key ingredients for hundreds of quick, healthy meals.

We are creatures of habit, so look back at your food journal if you’ve started one, and start to pick out the “meals” you eat everyday. Eating healthy food doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s okay to eat simple meals that require minimal effort as long as you enjoy eating them.

Meal planning before you go grocery shopping and sticking to your list of pantry staples and few fresh items will also reduce waste, excessive spending, and any chance of getting lured into the snack food aisle.

The best part about sticking to a list of just a few essentials means that trips to Costco to stock up are less complicated and stressful – you’ll know exactly what you need and how much of it.

If you feel like being really organized, you can write down the date you’ve opened your last bag of oatmeal (or whatever else), and track how quickly you use that item. You may find you need to replenish your coconut oil every month, while your balsamic vinegar lasts far longer.