Keeping your kitchen stocked with healthy, relatively shelf-stable basics ensures you’ll always have what you need to whip up a delicious, good-for-you meal for your family in no time. Here’s what we recommend:
- Whole grains (quinoa, barley, farro, wheat berries, oats, brown rice, whole-grain crackers, whole-grain pasta)
- Shelf-stable veggies (onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic, winter squash)
- Sunflower seed butter or soy butter, seeds
- Canned low-mercury tuna (aka “light tuna”)
- Dried or canned beans (lentils, garbanzos, black beans)
- Low- or no-sodium canned veggies
- Olive and vegetable oil, vinegars, cartons of stock or broth
- Honey, vanilla extract, cinnamon
- Go-to spices (black pepper, chili powder, rosemary, cayenne, curry powder)
- Whole-wheat and all-purpose flour
- Canned whole and diced tomatoes, tomato sauce
- Canned fruit in its own juices, 100% whole fruit juice, unsweetened applesauce, dried fruit (apricots, dates, prunes, raisins)
- Low-sugar, high-fiber cold cereals (less than 8 grams sugar, more than 5 grams fiber per serving)
- Long-lasting veggies (like carrots and bell peppers)
- Dark greens (kale, baby spinach)
- Semi-hard cheeses (feta, cheddar), milk, eggs, and yogurt
- Mustard, salsa, tahini, olives
- Whole-wheat tortillas
- Grapes and berries
- Low-mercury seafood (like salmon and shrimp)
- Frozen chopped and whole veggies (like onions, peppers, and broccoli)
- Frozen fruits (mango chunks, berries)
- Poultry and lean meat
- Citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges, clementines), bananas, apples
- Whole-grain bread
- Use your space to your benefit. Organize items by food group, with the healthiest items at eye level, to increase the likelihood of making a healthy choice.
- When possible, store dry goods in clear, airtight containers to maximize shelf life and make it easier to see what you have on hand.
- Whole grains, seeds, and oils go rancid easily—store them in the fridge or freezer to extend their shelf life.
- Rinse and drain canned legumes and vegetables before use to cut sodium content by 40%.