Kitchen Staples for Healthy Eating

keep good foodsWhether you’re making a quick 30-minute meal or more time-intensive recipe, here is a list of some staples to always have on hand.

Fruits & Vegetables

  • Any and every – fresh, frozen, or canned!  If canned, make sure to choose fruit in its own juice or low-sodium vegetables (always drain canned goods to cut down on calories and sodium).

Grains & Legumes

  • Whole-wheat flour
  • All-purpose flour
  • Assorted whole-wheat pastas
  • Brown rice and instant brown rice
  • Wild rice
  • Old-fashioned rolled oats
  • Dried lentils
  • Yellow cornmeal
  • Whole wheat or whole grain crackers
  • Dried grains: quinoa, whole-wheat couscous, bulgur, barley
  • Low-carb tortillas
  • Whole grain bread
  • Whole grain English muffin


  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Lean ground beef
  • Chunk light canned tuna or salmon (low sodium, in water)
  • Nuts/Seeds
  • Nut butters
  • Eggs
  • Water-packed tofu


  • Low-fat milk or soy milk
  • Low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • Sour cream
  • Grated Parmesan
  • Part-skim mozzarella string cheese
  • Mini Babybel low-fat cheese wheel

Oils, Vinegars, & Condiments

  • Extra-virgin olive oil for cooking and salad dressings
  • Canola oil for cooking and baking
  • Cooking spray
  • Flavorful nut and seed oils for salad dressings and stir-fry seasoning: toasted sesame oil, walnut oil
  • Vinegar: balsamic, red-wine, white-wine, rice or rice-wine, apple cider
  • Asian condiments and flavorings: reduced-sodium soy sauce, fish sauce, hoisin sauce, mirin, oyster sauce, chili-garlic sauce, curry paste
  • Dijon mustard
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Ketchup


  • Kosher salt, coarse sea salt, fine salt
  • Black pepper
  • Fresh garlic or garlic powder
  • Fresh ginger
  • Dried herbs: bay leaves, dill, crumbled sage, thyme leaves, oregano, tarragon, Italian seasoning blend
  • Spices: allspice (whole berries or ground), caraway seeds, chili powder, cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, ground cumin, curry powder, ground ginger, garlic powder, dry mustard, nutmeg, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, turmeric

Canned Goods

  • Canned tomatoes, tomato paste, low sodium
  • Reduced-sodium chicken broth, beef broth, and/or vegetable broth
  • Canned, low sodium beans: cannellini beans, great northern beans, chickpeas, black beans, red kidney beans.  Remember to drain and rinse well before using!
  • Canned lentils

Freezer Basics

  • Frozen plain vegetables: stir-fry mix, bell pepper and onion mix, edamame soy beans, peas, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, chopped onions, green beans, diced
  • Unsweetened frozen berries

Try this quick and easy meatloaf made from pantry ingredients. Cooking the meatloaf in a muffin tin cuts the baking time in half. Serve with green beans and boiled red potatoes or cauliflower mashed “potatoes”.


Meat Loaf ‘Muffins

6 Servings (2 “muffins”)


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped frozen onion, defrosted
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped canned carrots
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or parsley
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, extra lean
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed crackers (saltines)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tbl prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • Cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 350o.
  2. Combine all ingredients except ketchup and cooking spray.
  3. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.  Spoon meat mixture into muffin cups.  Top each with ketchup.  Bake at 350o for 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160o.  Let stand for 5 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Calories  279         Protein 32g         Carbohydrates 11g        Sodium 638mg        Fiber 1g