11 Dietitian-approved Pantry Foods You Should Keep On Hand

A carpenter never leaves the house without a hammer, square and scales. A chef never cooks without his favorite knife, whetstone, cast iron skillet or food thermometer. Likewise, anyone who wants to be prepared for a healthy meal or snack at any time will always have some essentials in their pantry that should be ready. If this person doesn’t have the goods, he may prefer to boil the sausages that have been in the freezer since the 4th of July.

Even dietitians order Chinese food or pizza when there is nothing to eat at home. But there are very rare moments when these nutritionists are unsure about the ingredients needed to make a quick and healthy meal. They know that one key to good nutrition is to get produce ready to go. Thus, they stock the basic building blocks of a healthy diet.

Why leave your healthy eating to chance when you can browse the dietitian’s pantry? Here are a few pantry staples that dietitians love to have on hand.

dried beef
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“If you live on the go like I do, portable protein is key,” he says. Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LDthe author Sports Nutrition Playbook and is a member of our Expert Medical Board. “Dry beef is an excellent way to get 10 essential nutrients, including high-quality protein, iron and zinc, when you need protein quickly. It doesn’t need to be kept cold, making it ideal for travel, kid’s lunches and snacks.” . or to run errands.”

In fact, protein is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of obesity, as a new study suggests.

open canned corn carrot peas green beans
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Registered dietitian nutritionist Jen Haugen, RDNhe stocks his pantry with canned vegetables ready to be thrown into soups, chili peppers and pasta dishes.

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“I always have plenty of diced tomatoes, especially fire roasted tomatoes – great for added vitamin C and lycopene.” author Dinner, Done! explains. “They add great flavor and color. I also like to have canned artichokes on hand to add to pastas or to make a lower-calorie version of artichoke sauce, as they contain a lot of fiber per serving.”

canned salmon
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When you can’t go to the fisherman and don’t have time to thaw fish in the freezer, you can still get your protein and omega-3s with a can opener.

“If you have canned salmon or tuna, beans, tomatoes, and 90-second whole grains, you can make an endless number of meals,” says Virginia-based registered dietitian nutritionist. Jill Weisenberger, MS, RD, CDCEScreator Prediabetes Meal Planning Crash Course.

For example, Weisenberger recommends this simple salmon salad: mix canned salmon with drained marinated artichoke hearts, chopped onions, and canned chickpeas. Garnish with olive oil and rice vinegar.

coconut flour
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This gluten-free flour is low in carbs and high in fiber, which supports heart and gut health as well as blood sugar stability.

“I keep this in my pantry because it’s versatile and also caters to my dietary needs and all guests with dietary restrictions,” says the nutritionist. Lisa Richards, creator of a low-sugar, anti-inflammatory diet for gut health called the candida diet. “I use it to boost nutrition in desserts like gluten-free muffins and muffins. It’s also great for pancakes or as a bread topping for items that will just go to the air fryer.”

Coconut flour absorbs a good amount of the liquid in a recipe due to its high fiber content, so Richards recommends replacing a cup of regular flour with a quarter cup of coconut flour.

bowl of quinoa
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Richards keeps some of this protein-rich grain in her pantry, as it can be used to complement almost any meal.

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“It’s a complete plant protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids that are rare for plant foods,” he says. “The protein and fiber of this grain keep you feeling full and full for a long time after a meal.”

ground flaxseed
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For a healthy sprinkling in your meals, several dietitians recommend that you always have flaxseed and ground flaxseed on hand for mixing or baking into smoothies, yogurt, and cereal. Rich in a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and soluble fiber, flaxseed is an easy way to increase the nutritional value of many meals and snacks. Studies show that it is an effective ingredient for lowering cholesterol levels, as well as containing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Read this to learn about Science, An Important Effect of Eating Flaxseed.

seaweed sheet nori
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You’ll always find dried nori seaweed or kombu in the pantry of a registered dietitian nutritionist. Carly Knowles, RDN, LD.

“These are great sources of micronutrients and minerals that you can easily add to beans or a soup for depth of flavor and nutritional boost,” she says. Dietitian’s Kitchen. “I also love mashing them up and sprinkling them on a green salad for a savory, mineral-rich addition.”

various dried beans and legumes
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“My dry pantry always has beans and legumes for quick weeknight meals,” Knowles says. “I can throw them in my Instant Pot for a quick, nutrient-dense meal. Or I can pop a can of beans and prepare them in a variety of ways, like in this Dried Tomato and Olive White Bean Pasta.”

fresh bread, wheat and cereals
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“I usually stock my pantry with kasha, a cooked cereal made from buckwheat, barley, millet or rye, whole grain pasta, and steel-cut oats, for a healthy high-fiber starch option,” says registered dietitian nutritionist. Lisa Young, PhD, RDNauthor Finally Full, Finally Thin. “I like to start the day with steel-cut oats, so it’s at the top of my list—oatmeal is high in fiber and super satisfying.”

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Oats are also a source of beta-glucan fiber, which is particularly good for gut and heart health. Goodson is a fan of oats because of its versatility.

“You can use them to make oatmeal like I do every morning, or to make overnight oats. Use them as the basis for energy bites to make a nutrient-rich snack, and even grind them to make flour that can be used in many recipes—even desserts for the holidays,” she says. goodson.

bone broth soup
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She uses bone broth as a base for soups, for sautéing greens, or “to sip when I want a protein-rich snack,” says Knowles. Bone broth is rich in protein, collagen and minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.

Regarding this building block for proteins in the body, she says, “I often recommend bone broth to my pregnant patients for the added benefits of gelatin and collagen, which contain a very important amino acid called glycine.”

peanut butter and peanuts
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“I eat peanut butter every day of my life,” Goodson says. “It contains 4 grams of protein per tablespoon plus healthy fat, a combination that will help you feel full faster and stay full longer. It can also be eaten in many foods, such as apples and bananas, bread and waffles, crackers and bagels, or mixed with oatmeal — my preferred way.”

Goodson also stocks her pantry with walnuts, pistachios, almonds, and cashews for the same reasons—they’re packed with protein and healthy fats. Walnuts are his favorite as they are an excellent source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids.

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