A Registered Dietitian’s Healthy Pantry Staples

Want to stock your kitchen like a dietitian? Here are my pantry staples I always have to make healthy eating easier and more convenient.

Pantry staples pinterest graphic

Cooking more meals at home is a great way to eat healthier and save money. However, if you’re new to cooking, this can be overwhelming! In order to cook healthy food, you need to have healthy ingredients in your kitchen. This is why it is so important to keep your pantry stocked with some nutritious essentials.

I love to cook at home, and I make sure to always have these essential ingredients in my kitchen. I make a note on my grocery list whenever I am running low to restock. It is so much easier to create simple, healthy meals in a pinch when you have nutritious ingredients on hand!

A Dietitian’s Healthy Pantry Staples

Healthy cooking oils

Pantry staples - oils

I use a few different oils in my cooking, depending on certain factors. Avocado oil is wonderful for high heat cooking, and extra virgin olive oil tastes amazing in salad dressings! These cooking oils offer heart healthy unsaturated fats, and are less processed than other vegetable oils. Store them in a cool, dark place to prevent oxidation.

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Oil sprays: avocado oil, coconut oil, and olive oil (I love Chosen Foods)
  • Toasted sesame oil

Whole grains

Whole grain products are always in my pantry. I keep a variety on hand, including brown rice, quinoa, bulgur, and oats. I love making vegetarian stuffed eggplant or peppers, grain salads, or just simple veggie and brown rice stir fries for dinner. Here are the whole grains I currently have in my pantry:

  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Bulgur
  • Oatmeal
  • Farro

Frozen fruit and vegetables

Pantry staples - frozen produce

These are technically stored in the freezer, but I consider them pantry staples because they last a long time. Frozen produce is just as nutritious, or more so, than fresh produce, because it is frozen at peak ripeness. Using frozen fruit or vegetables in your recipes is a great way to save money, because it is quite inexpensive. I love to heat up frozen fruit to make chia jam and add frozen peas to pasta dishes. I usually have all of the following frozen items in my freezer:

  • Berries
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower rice
  • Mixed vegetables

Nuts, seeds, and nut butters

Pantry staples - nuts and seeds

I always have multiple types of nuts, seeds, and nut butters in my pantry. I add nuts and seeds to oatmeal and homemade granola, and grab a handful for a snack all the time. Also, I consider peanut butter it’s own food group, so a jar (or two) is an essential in my kitchen! Here are some of my favorites:

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Peanut butter
  • Cashew butter
  • Almond butter

Canned goods

Canned goods - pantry staples

My pantry always has a handful of canned goods stocked away. Canned ingredients, like beans and tuna, easily add an inexpensive boost of protein to any meal. I also like to have canned tomatoes or sauce on hand to make an easy pasta sauce or add to soups. Consider purchasing a few cans of these items next time you hit the grocery store:

  • Beans
  • Tuna or salmon
  • Tomato sauce or paste
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Artichoke hearts

Spices and dried herbs

Pantry stapes - spices

Start collecting your favorite spices and dried herbs to add flavor to your meals. You don’t need a million different spices, but I love to have a variety on hand. If you love Mexican food, grab some cumin, chili powder, cayenne, and paprika. For Italian flavors, try oregano, parsley, thyme, and crushed red pepper. I also love Primal Palate‘s organic spice blends. Their adobo is my absolute favorite!


Pantry staples - vinegars

I love making homemade salad dressings and sauces to add flavor and variety to my meals. I keep several types of vinegar on hand to add to these! Here are some of my favorites:

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Rice vinegar
  • Apple cider vinegar

What are your favorite healthy pantry staples? I would love to know! Let me know by leaving a comment below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

Save this free pantry staples shopping list for later to one of your Pinterest boards

Pantry staples shopping list - Daisybeet

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Budget-Friendly Grocery Shopping for a Nutritious Week

Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you go to the grocery store, and walk out having spent over 100 dollars on who knows what? (To be honest, this happens to me every time I go into Target). I understand this feeling, and know that one of the biggest perceived barriers to eating well is cost. As a graduate student living in New York City, I’ve become very adept at living on a budget. I’ve learned that grocery shopping and preparing most of my own meals is the best way to stick to a budget. I’ve also learned that with a little planning, shopping for and preparing delicious, healthy meals is easy and fun! I spend between 40 and 60 dollars a week on groceries – and this gets me through a majority of my meals (save for 2-3 meals out, mostly on weekends). Here are my biggest tips to staying within budget, saving time, and eating well by preparing meals at home.

  1. Do your research. Take a look at the grocery stores in your area you are willing to travel to. For some, there may be only one or two options, but if you are like me, there are probably 10 grocery stores within a half mile radius. Figure out which store has the best prices without compromising on quality. Trader Joe’s is my favorite for affordable, consistently high quality products!
  2. Form your plan. Before you shop, decide what you are going to cook for the week. For lunches, I like to prepare a big salad with 2-3 raw veggies, an inexpensive protein like hardboiled eggs or canned tuna, and a simple homemade vinaigrette. For dinners, decide on a few easy recipes that store well for a few days in the fridge. The majority of my meals are actually not “recipes,” rather, they are simple combinations of a lean protein source, simply prepared vegetables, and a complex carbohydrate. For example, baked salmon with roasted Brussels sprouts and cinnamon-paprika sweet potato fries.
  3. Shop the sales. Take a look at the sales flyer for your grocery store (or check online – Whole Foods posts their sale items by store) to figure out what is on sale that week. Usually, the produce on sale is also seasonal, so you’ll be saving money and eating in-season, flavorful food at the same time!
  4. Choose mostly plant-based meals. Contrary to what many people think, eating a plant-based diet is actually quite inexpensive. Meat and poultry are some of the most expensive items in grocery stores. Trying more vegetarian proteins is good for your health AND your wallet. Some examples are canned beans, eggs, frozen edamame and tofu.
  5. Block off 2 to 3 hours. You’ll want to have some time to shop, but you also need to prepare the food once you get home! Blocking off a few hours once a week to prep everything in advance will make weeknights easier and help you avoid ordering take out knowing the fridge is stocked with a fully or partially prepared meal.
  6. Make a list. Once your meal plan is set, make a list of all the ingredients you need. If you have time, it helps to organize the list by category – produce, grains, canned goods, etc. IMPORTANT: Check your pantry and fridge to see what you already have on hand. There have been more times than I can count that I come home with a carton of eggs or bag of oatmeal, only to find one unopened when I return! This step reduces food waste and saves you storage space and money.
  7. Don’t shop hungry. Go to the store after you’ve eaten a nice meal or snack. Shopping while hungry may lead to you stray from your list as you see snacks that become temptations. Shopping on a full stomach will help you stick to the plan and keep you within budget.
  8. Pump the jams. Once you return from shopping, put on your favorite tunes and get cooking! Start with the items that will take the longest to cook, such as roasting vegetables, then move on to the quicker tasks, like chopping lettuce or making a vinaigrette.

Follow these tips, and after a few weeks, you’ll be a grocery shopping pro! I may even go so far as to say you’ll ENJOY it J For a little more inspiration, I’ve attached a simple shopping list to use. Print out a copy, or make your own to help get started.

Daisybeet Shopping List for One

I would love to see your shopping successes and meal prep masterpieces on Instagram. Tag #Daisybeet so I can check them out!