How a Nutritionist Stocks Her Pantry

June 22, 2009

Well-stocked food pantry

Find out the secrets behind a healthy kitchen: everyday staples you can use to create healthy and nutritious meals.

Here are tips and advice on healthy everyday staples to keep in your kitchen.

Effortless Nutrition

When unexpected company is coming, you've had a hectic day, or when you just want to eat at home, a sensibly stocked kitchen makes meal preparation easier. You can prepare nourishing meals at home using quality staples and adding fresh ingredients - much better than prepared food that's often loaded with calories, fats, sodium, and added sweeteners.

Kitchen Essentials

As a chef, registered dietician, and a mother of three, I'm offering a few insider tips for keeping a sensibly stocked kitchen:

  • Use your freezer to keep an extra package of fish filets or a pound of lean ground beef or turkey which can be easily thawed and used in a chowder, soup, or stew
  • Keep ingredients such as maple syrup and whole-grain pancake mix on hand for a quick and easy breakfast
  • Have a few jars of olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts to use as an addition to a quick pasta or salad
  • Hard cheeses such as Parmesan or Romano are easily stored and they're wonderful for perking up a salad, pasta dish, or soup
  • Store a variety of oils and vinegars - they make inexpensive and delicious marinades and salad dressings
  • Try to always have potatoes, garlic, and onions on hand - garlic and onions are an integral ingredient in many main dishes, and a potato cooked in any number of ways is a meal in itself
  • Keep a variety of rice, grains, pasta and canned beans on hand - they're quick, easy, and can be the basis for a satisfying meal
  • Reduced-sodium canned stocks and broths are perfect for making a quick soup
  • Steer clear of seasoned rice and stuffing mixes, packed spice mixes, and seasoned hamburger and tuna mixes to avoid high-sodium meals - choose lower-sodium alternatives
  • Buy whole-grain crackers and avoid prepared baked goods and snack crackers which are typically loaded with trans-fats (hydrogenated oils)

This is a list of key ingredients found in a healthy pantry. These ingredients, plus perishable items such as fish, chicken, eggs, pork, beef, are all that you need to keep on hand for cooking more healthy meals on a daily basis. This list can also be used as a starting point for a healthy grocery shopping list.

Get tips to protect eye sight and take better care of your family member's vision

See well to live well

Discover how to care for your eyesight and your family’s, too.

Read protecting your eyes
What foods you should avoid mixing with medication because they render meds ineffective

Watch what you eat with meds

Some foods can render your medications ineffective and boost your chances of health issues.

Read foods and meds that don’t mix
Tips to choose a doctor while switching from a pediatrician when kids grow older

Choosing a doctor as your kids get older

What’s the right age for your child to outgrow the pediatrician? It depends.

Read about switching doctors