Kitchen Staples

Yes!  This is my pantry :)

Yes! This is my pantry 🙂

I enjoy teaching cooking classes because it’s the best way I know to help make healthy eating a reality.  During these classes, I often get questions that spark a blog post.  Today’s question was ‘what to keep in a well-stocked kitchen?’.  Well, I am happy to answer!

Keeping the right staples in the kitchen can ease the transition to healthy eating.  Many of the recipes you will find on this blog originated from my kitchen staples (Red Beans and Rice Soup, Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins, Warm Sweet Potato, Lentil and Apple Salad Bowl, Cheddar Chicken and Potato Packets, Lentil Portobello Marinara, to name a few!).  The USDA’s MyPlate is the guide for healthy eating and for kitchen staples.  Take a look:

Fruits & Veggies

  • Fresh, in season
  • ‘Quick adds’ like baby spinach, shredded carrots and broccoli slaw: items that are pre-washed and ready to use in salads, sandwiches, wraps, omelets
  • Frozen (no sauce)
  • Fruit canned in juice
  • Canned vegetables (low sodium, if needed) including tomatoes (diced, fire roasted, sauce)
  • Lemons and limes


  • Skim or 1% milk
  • Plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • Low fat cottage cheese


  • Whole grains- brown rice (instant and regular), quinoa, couscous, quick-cooking barley, polenta, oatmeal (quick cooking and regular)
  • Whole wheat/brown rice flour
  • Whole grain breakfast cereals (Quaker’s Oatmeal Squares, or Kellogg’s Smart Start or Cracklin’ Oat Bran are some of our favorites)
  • Potatoes (white and sweet)
  • Whole grain pasta/noodles
  • Popcorn


  • Frozen extra lean:  beef/pork/turkey/chicken
  • Canned beans:  kidney, cannellini, garbanzo, black beans, fat-free refried beans
  • Frozen fish/shellfish
  • Canned fish:  salmon, tuna, crabmeat
  • Dried lentils
  • Tofu


  • Canola/olive oil
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • Soft spread margarine (by far, my favorite is Earth Balance)

You can print this page to start a grocery list.  And, if I missed one of your favorite (healthy) kitchen staples, please share with a comment below!


2 responses

  1. Love the list. Such a great tool for people to do a reality check against what they have on hand. So critical to have a well stocked pantry especially now when it’s an ordeal to run an errand for something you don’t have on hand.

    Here are a few adds – eggs and a wedge of Parmesan to grate for added flavor and maybe some nuts and/or nit butters. Then a whole additional category of great flavor builders – like Dijon mustard, sriracha, cholula or Tabasco, balsamic vinegar, etc. With all those ingredients, you’re ready for anything!

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