How to Stock a Healthy Pantry

Preparing to stock your pantry from scratch, or looking to overhaul your existing pantry selection but not sure how to get started? We have got you covered with this guide to stocking a healthy pantry. Here are 11 healthy pantry staples that everyone should keep in their kitchen, from flavored vinegars to jam and jellies:

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Whole grains

Grain-based dishes are perfect for easy weeknight dinners. Keep a variety of whole grains on hand — including rice, quinoa and oats — so you can always whip something up. Also stock your pantry with whole grain products, such as whole wheat bread and pasta, so that you can make everything from toast to spaghetti on the fly.

Canned vegetables

Fresh vegetables are awesome, but they also have a tendency to go bad quickly, which makes it hard to stock up on them in advance. Instead, opt for canned vegetables, which have a much longer shelf life. Look for tomatoes, peas, carrots, corn and other vegetables that are low in sodium or do not have extra salt added so you can control your sodium intake.

Dried beans and lentils

Beans and lentils are an excellent form of plant-based protein, which is why you should definitely keep them in your healthy pantry at all times. They will also keep for a very long time (think several years) when stored properly, so you do not have to worry about them going bad. You can also choose canned beans instead if you never remember to soak them far enough in advance.

Cooking oils and vinegars

No pantry would be complete without cooking oils such as olive oil. If you bake a lot, also keep a neutral-flavored oil such as canola oil or vegetable oil on hand. You should keep your pantry stocked with a couple of vinegars such as balsamic vinegar and apple cider vinegar so you can make your own dressings at home.

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Spices and herbs

Herbs and spices are critical for adding flavor to dishes. While fresh herbs must be used almost immediately, dried ones will keep for a very long time, making them an essential staple for any healthy pantry. Incrementally add to your collection over time, and soon you will have a spice rack that any chef would be jealous of.

Nuts and nut butters

Nuts and nut butters are another great plant-based protein option. Nuts can be eaten whole or mixed with dried fruit to create trail mix. Nut butters can be spread on bread, fruits or vegetables, or mixed into smoothies and sauces to add some flavor. Use a clean knife each time you spread the nut butter to avoid introducing contaminants to it.

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Honey and maple syrup

Looking for healthy sugar alternatives? Raw honey and maple syrup are must-haves for any healthy pantry. Honey can be stored at room temperature indefinitely. Maple syrup can go in the pantry until it is opened and then it should be moved into the refrigerator to prolong its shelf life.

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Garlic and onions

Garlic and onions form the backbone of many savory recipes — and, what is more, they can be stored at room temperature in your pantry. Whole, unpeeled raw onions will last two to three months, while an entire head of garlic will last up to six months if left intact.

Shelf-stable fruits and vegetables

Speaking of vegetables, you should also stock your healthy pantry with shelf-stable produce such as potatoes, winter squash, apples, oranges, bananas and more. FYI: Just make sure to store your other produce away from the onions, apples and bananas. When they ripen, they release ethylene gas, which can cause other produce to go off quicker.

Dried fruit

Dried fruit is another staple that you should keep in your pantry. You can eat it on its own as a snack or use it as a topping for salad or oatmeal. Choose your favorites from a variety of dried fruit such as raisins, craisins, dried cherries, dried apricots, dried dates and more.


Healthy condiments

No pantry is complete without a healthy selection of condiments. Think salsa, tahini, mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, jams and jellies, nutritional yeast, sriracha, soy sauce, rice vinegar and so on. Be sure to carefully read the labels, as some of these condiments will need to be stored in the refrigerator after opening, while others can be left in the pantry.

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