How to Stock a Healthy Pantry

Tips from a health coach about how to stock a healthy pantry so you always have food on hand to make healthy and delicious meals!

One key to making healthy eating easier is making sure your pantry is stocked with healthy foods.

I always joke that Isaac and I have way too much food in the house for two people, but then again I don’t ever complain when I look up recipes and already have all the ingredients on hand!

Pantry stocked with canned goods, vegetables and more.

Once you have your pantry stocked with these healthy staples be sure to check out my healthy pantry staple recipes for a roundup of quick and easy meals you can make.

Healthy Pantry Staples to Keep on Hand

Grains and Legumes

  • Oats (steel cut and old fashioned)
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Dry beans like chickpeas, red beans, black beans and lentils
  • Pasta (I like legume-based pastas)

Canned/Packaged Goods

  • Crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and tomato paste
  • Marinara
  • Canned coconut milk
  • Canned pumpkin
  • Canned tuna
  • Vegetable and chicken broth
  • Shelf-stable non-dairy milk

Pantry staples stocked in a pantry like peanut butter, canned goods and bagged foods.

Nuts, Seeds and Dried Fruit

  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, etc.)
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Shredded coconut
  • Dried fruit (dates, raisins, cranberries, blueberries, etc.) 
  • Nut/seed Butter (almond, coconut, peanut, sunflower, tahini, etc.)

Oil and Vinegar

  • Oil (coconut, avocado, olive, etc.) 
  • Vinegar (balsamic, apple cider vinegar)


  • Ghee
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Tamari, soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • Maple syrup
  • Salad dressings
  • Sriracha

Pantry stocked with vegetables and canned goods and dry goods.

Long Lasting Veggies

  • Onions
  • Garlic 
  • Potatoes (sweet potatoes and white potatoes)
  • Winter squash (spaghetti squash, butternut, acorn, etc)

Baking Supplies

  • Grain-free flours (almond, coconut, oat, etc.)
  • Coconut sugar
  • Honey
  • Chocolate chips
  • Baking soda / baking powder

Fridge Staples

  • Eggs
  • Veggies (lettuce/ spinach, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, ginger root etc.)
  • Fruits (lemons, limes, apples, oranges, grapes, blueberries, avocados, etc.) 
  • Meat & Seafood (chicken, ground turkey, salmon)
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh 
  • Yogurt 
  • Hummus
  • Feta cheese 

Freezer Staples

  • Veggie burgers
  • Frozen fruit (I love blueberries, banana, and mango)
  • Frozen veggies (my faves: stir-fry veggie blends, edamame, cauliflower rice, broccoli, peas and corn)
  • Frozen seafood (salmon and shrimp are my go-tos)
  • Whole grain bread and English Muffins
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    1. Michelle Hastie Thompson
      March 10, 2021 AT 2:49 pm

      Thank you for sharing a well rounded list of pantry staples. Nothing is more frustrating than finding a great recipe only to realize you do not have an ingredient on hand!

    2. Jocelyn Diaz
      September 24, 2020 AT 6:02 am

      It’s so true how having a healthy pantry makes everything easier when trying to make new recipes! I purposely threw out the not so good things in my pantry and have stocked it up with healthy items.

    3. Maria
      May 17, 2020 AT 4:00 am

      Hey! Thank you for the insights. I have gone through the list and have almost everything what you listed above! However, I am thinking about decreasing the emount of canned food, as it often comes along with high sodium amount (e.g. fish). With canned veggies it is much easier, rinsing them off with water.

    4. bionaze
      May 7, 2020 AT 12:52 am

      Such a great educator. Thank you so much for sharing this! Stocking your foods during this pandemic is really important. Food supplies might be out of stock in the market.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        May 7, 2020 AT 8:13 pm

        Of course, I’m so glad it’s helpful!

    5. Dan Martin
      February 1, 2014 AT 11:09 pm

      What is the problem with canned tomatoes? Does it apply to home canned tomatoes in mason jars? I only eat my own home canned tomatoes.

      1. Eating Bird Food
        February 2, 2014 AT 8:40 am

        Check out this article. It’s the BPA in the cans that’s the issue. Homemade canned tomatoes are great!

    6. Kat W
      June 2, 2012 AT 6:00 pm

      Thanks so much for posting this! I’ve just started trying to eat healthier and LOVE your blog; everything I’ve made following your recipes have come out amazing. This is so helpful to start stocking my pantry.

      1. Eating Bird Food
        June 2, 2012 AT 11:52 pm

        Thank you so much Kat! I’m glad you have been enjoying the recipes.

    7. Kelly @ Foodie Fiasco
      January 18, 2012 AT 8:34 pm

      What a great idea and thanks for the heads up on the contest! I could always use an excuse to up my grocery budget… 😉

    8. glidingcalm
      January 18, 2012 AT 3:43 pm

      yes to keeping healthy food stocked and on hand!! totally agree! makes life easier when you have great choices around!

    9. Rachelle R.M.
      January 18, 2012 AT 3:42 pm

      I definitely have heard that I have a pantry that’s enough to feed a family of four… and I’m single! My pantry has benefitted many people, as I’ve always had enough on hand to make random dinners and to give away if they needed something. I always hit up the bulk bins to stock my pantry, even more so now that I live an hour away from the nearest Whole Foods!

      A staple I’m known for: unique jams & mustards.

    10. ali janine @ This Ninja Eats Broccoli
      January 18, 2012 AT 12:21 pm

      Having a stocked pantry is key to healthy eating! I also like to have a stocked up fridge – we’ll make a big batch of brown/wild rice to eat throughout the week and also have a big bowl of salad washed and reading to go

      1. Eating Bird Food
        January 18, 2012 AT 12:52 pm

        I totally agree! I usually make a batch of quinoa and buy salad greens as well as other fresh veggies and fruits to have one hand for the week. It works out really well for quick meals.

    11. Dena @ 40 Fit in the Mitt
      January 18, 2012 AT 11:57 am

      I love Whole Foods, I drive 35 miles one way to get the closest location, well worth it. I plan before I shop so I only need to go back every 4 months, bulk foods go a long, plus they let you stack their coupons with manufacturer coupons!

      1. Eating Bird Food
        January 18, 2012 AT 1:02 pm

        Really?!? I’ll have to inquire about the coupon stacking at my location. Good to know. 🙂

    12. Jordan
      January 18, 2012 AT 11:42 am

      Bulk foods is the way to go 🙂 Rolled oats are key and we always have quinoa and nuts and seeds too. But most importantly there is always a jar of peanut butter ready to go!

      1. Eating Bird Food
        January 18, 2012 AT 1:04 pm

        I can’t believe I forgot about my nuts and nut butters. Those are must-haves. 🙂

    13. Kati Mora, MS, RD, Kellogg’s FiberPlus(R) Wellness Advocate
      January 18, 2012 AT 11:33 am

      A pantry stocked with healthy foods is a must! We always have brown rice, beans, whole grain pasta, pasta sauce, a few varieties of Kellogg’s FiberPlus(R) cereal, apples, bananas and raisins on hand. Oh, and spices! Those are a must. 🙂

    14. sarah @ sarah learns
      January 18, 2012 AT 11:09 am

      most of those items are pantry staples for me too! i’m having a hard time coming up with any other staples that aren’t on the list. i guess breadcrumbs, chia seeds, flax, and nuts are also staples for me.

      1. Eating Bird Food
        January 18, 2012 AT 1:05 pm

        Yes- chia seeds. Forgot those little guys!!

    15. Lindsay
      January 18, 2012 AT 8:59 am

      Thank you so much for sharing this!
      This is something I always have an issue with: how do I stock my cupboards with meaningful foods without breaking the bank?

      Thanks again and good luck!!

    16. Genki Kitty
      January 18, 2012 AT 8:33 am

      I live in the bulk section at Whole Foods Market! It is a fantastic place to really stock up on so many healthy foods. 1 pd of anything there can serve about 10 or more people. Two things we always have on stock from the bulk section is nutritional yeast and TVP. Yum!

    17. Gabby @ Gabby’s Gluten-free
      January 18, 2012 AT 8:01 am

      Definitely have to enter this! I could spend hours, and a large wad of cash, in Whole Foods.

      1. Eating Bird Food
        January 18, 2012 AT 1:07 pm

        Oh me too girl!! I didn’t forget about Hot House! Maybe sometime next week?

    18. Karlee
      January 18, 2012 AT 7:39 am

      oh i miss whole foods! i used to have one down the street from me in grad school. now it’s over an hour and a half away :(. thinking about making a trip to stock up on some goodies. like kombucha. some other staples i love are couscous, peanut butter, and dark chocolate (gotta have it in the house at all times!).

    19. Jamie @ Don’t Forget the Cinnamon
      January 17, 2012 AT 11:41 pm

      I always keep vegetable bullion on hand–since I’m usually cooking for one, I rarely need a whole or even half can of broth. With bullion, you can use just what you need!

      Walnuts, almonds, and raisins are also staples for me.

    20. Liz @ iheartvegetables
      January 17, 2012 AT 11:36 pm

      I seriously need to print out this list and then STICK TO IT! My grocery budget gets high because I end up filling my cart with impulse buys!

    21. Carissa
      January 17, 2012 AT 11:01 pm

      What a great challenge! That’s what my pantry actually usually looks like…with kashi and protein powder!

    22. Kristina
      January 17, 2012 AT 10:23 pm

      I definitely try to keep my pantry stocked. I always have a few cans of beans and chickpeas as well as canned tomatoes. I also make sure I have plenty of rolled oats and brown rice, and another grain like farro, wheatberries or millet (I’m allergic to quinoa :(), and tons of red lentils. I usually buy Better than Bullion instead of boxed broth, just because it lasts for a really long time even after you open it, and it works out to be a bit cheaper (I think?). It is so much easier to throw a quick and healthy meal together when you have most of the components on-hand already!

    23. Anna
      January 17, 2012 AT 10:08 pm

      Love this grocery haul!! But I thought you were going to stay away from canned tomatoes?? Do you get a fresh juice and sip it as you shop like me???

      1. Eating Bird Food
        January 17, 2012 AT 10:19 pm

        I definitely want to limit my consumption of canned tomatoes but it’s hard to completely eliminate them. No – our store doesn’t have a juice bar. It’s sad! :/

    24. Julie @ Orcas Health Journey
      January 17, 2012 AT 10:02 pm

      Thank you for the great info! I definitely will check out to win something 🙂 Btw, love your blog! Just started to become a fan of yours!

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