15 Healthy Staples You Should Always Have on Hand

Healthy Staples

A well-stocked kitchen is required in order to quickly prepare a meal that is high in nutrition. The fact that many popular nutritious foods have a short shelf life and need to be consumed within a few days means that many home cooks go through their food supplies very rapidly.

Even so, it is possible to prepare nutrient-dense meals and snacks with the help of a handful of nutritious, long-lasting staples that may be stored in your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator. You can utilize these items even when you are out of your usual go-to foods.

Here is a list of 15 nutritious basics that you should always keep in your pantry.

  1. Dried beans and lentils, as well as those in cans

To consume beans and lentils is one of the best things you can do for your health. In addition, dried beans and lentils, as well as those that are canned, have very lengthy shelf life, which makes them an excellent option for a non-perishable food to keep in your kitchen.

In point of fact, canned beans have a shelf life of two to five years when kept in the pantry at room temperature (68 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 degrees Celsius), whereas dry beans have a shelf life of ten years or more. Because dried beans do not have the necessary amount of moisture to support the growth of microorganisms, they have an extremely extended shelf life.

Beans and lentils, both canned and dried, are extremely nutritious foods that can be stored for a long time without losing their shelf life. They provide a wealth of minerals, such as fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, and iron.

Chilies, soups, and salads can all benefit from the addition of black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and kidney beans.

  1. Nuts, seeds, and the butter that come from them

Nuts and seeds are nutritional powerhouses because they include beneficial fats, a protein that satisfies hunger, fiber, and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.

Nuts and seeds, depending on the kind, can be stored at ambient temperature for anywhere between one and four months, making them an excellent choice for stocking your pantry.

Natural nut and seed butter, as opposed to their commercial equivalents, which generally contain additional oils and sugar, have a longer shelf life and are considered to be healthier.

Nuts and seeds are versatile ingredients that can be included in a variety of recipes, such as oatmeal, yogurt, trail mix, and salads. Nut and seed butter are delicious complements to smoothies, and they may also be mixed into sauces, used as a spread on fruits and vegetables for a fast snack, or used in any number of other culinary applications.

  1. Grains

Because of their adaptability and ease of preparation, grain-based dishes, such as salads, grain bowls, soups, and pilafs, are excellent options when time is of the essence.

Depending on the variety, grains such as spelt, brown rice, amaranth, bulgur, oats, and quinoa can be stored at room temperature in a manner that is safe for anywhere from a few months to several years, making it a prudent choice to purchase them in large quantities.

In addition, these grains are excellent sources of fiber and micronutrients, including B vitamins, manganese, and magnesium, and research suggests that consuming them can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and some malignancies.

  1. Frozen fruit and veggies

Many fresh fruits and vegetables, such as berries and greens, have a short shelf life because they spoil easily. However, purchasing these foods in frozen form enables you to always have fresh produce that is high in nutrients on hand.

Due to the fact that the micronutrient content of frozen fruits and vegetables is on a level with that of fresh produce, stocking your freezer with these foods is not only easy but also beneficial.

You may try including frozen greens in things like smoothies, soups, and saut├ęs. Frozen berries can be utilized in the same ways that fresh berries can be used, and they provide a naturally sweet flavor to oatmeal, smoothies, baked products, and yogurt parfaits.

  1. Honey and various kinds of syrups

Every once in a while, we could all use a little bit of sweetness. Honey and maple syrup are two examples of natural sweeteners that have their own distinct set of positive health effects.

For instance, raw honey has been shown to be effective against microbes and inflammation, and it also includes potent antioxidants. In addition to being high in antioxidants, maple syrup also has trace amounts of beneficial minerals and elements such as magnesium, potassium, and manganese.

Both sweet and savory dishes can benefit from the flavor and complexity that honey and maple syrup bring to the table. Just keep in mind that you should only use these sweeteners in moderation, as consuming an excessive amount of sugar from any source can be detrimental to your health.

  1. Apple cider vinegar

In the kitchen, apple cider vinegar can be utilized in a variety of ways. For instance, it is an efficient cleaner that can be used for a variety of purposes, and it can also be utilized as a flavorful addition to many dishes, such as sauces, salads, and baked products.

This vinegar has a sharp flavor, and in addition to its adaptability, it is quite good for you. According to some studies, it may have qualities that help prevent diabetes, reduce inflammation, protect against free radical damage, and promote heart health.

  1. Cooking fats that are good for you

Depending on the kind of fat, some oils and fats, such as olive oil, coconut oil, and ghee, can be stored risk-free at room temperature for a period of one year or longer. Because of this, you should consider purchasing these pantry essentials in greater numbers so that you always have a source of healthy fat available.

The addition of taste to dishes and improved absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from meals are both benefits of cooking with healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil.

  1. Foods that are fermented

Pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods like these are not only delicious but also quite adaptable, and they provide a variety of important health benefits. They have been demonstrated to benefit digestive health, and some research suggests that they may also help lower inflammation and blood sugar levels.

Because they have a lengthy shelf life, you won’t need to worry about wasting any of these goods if you buy in bulk. For instance, fermented foods such as sauerkraut and pickles can be kept at room temperature for up to 18 months.

You can eat these sour foods right out of the jar, or you can use them as tasty toppings for salads and other dishes. Either way, they are delicious.

  1. Seasonings and herbs that have been dried

Having a spice rack that is adequately supplied is quite necessary in order to develop delectable meals. When you’re stuck in a cooking rut, spices and herbs might help you break out of it by elevating the flavor of the food you’re making.

Additionally, include dried herbs and spices in your diet can be beneficial to your health in a variety of different ways.

Numerous studies have shown that the spices turmeric, cayenne pepper, rosemary, cinnamon, ginger, oregano, and cumin all have positive effects on one’s health, including a reduction in inflammation and a lower risk of developing various diseases.

  1. Onions and garlic, of course

Both amateur and professional chefs like garlic and onions because of their adaptability in the kitchen and their ability to keep for an extended period of time after purchase.

Both have been demonstrated to be beneficial to your health in many different ways, and making them a regular part of your life may help reduce your risk of developing a variety of diseases, such as some malignancies, mental decline, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

  1. Fresh fruits and vegetables that can be stored for a long time

Even when kept in the refrigerator, many fresh fruits and vegetables perish rather fast; nevertheless, you can choose from a number of kinds that have a longer shelf life.

Some examples of fruits and vegetables that can be kept for a few weeks or longer when stored in the refrigerator or on the counter include sweet potatoes, butternut squash, apples, beets, cabbage, spaghetti squash, rutabagas, pomegranate, carrots, and citrus fruits. Other examples include rutabagas, pomegranate, and carrots.

  1. Fish, poultry, and cuts of meat that have been frozen

Even while fresh fish, pork, and poultry have a short shelf life, their frozen counterparts can be safely consumed for a significantly longer period of time as long as they are stored at the appropriate temperature.

For instance, if fresh poultry and pork are frozen at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17 degrees Celsius), they can be consumed safely for up to a year. On the other hand, fish such as cod and haddock can be safely preserved in the freezer for up to 5 months.

When there are few fresh sources of animal protein, it is helpful to have a big supply of frozen poultry, beef, and fish on hand so that you may cook nutritious meals that are high in protein.

  1. Condiments that are good for you

It only takes a few seconds to transform a dull recipe into a mouthwatering masterpiece by adding a few simple ingredients, such as a dash of spicy sauce or a drizzle of tahini.

However, when stocking your pantry, it is imperative that you select condiments that are healthy and refrain from selecting goods that are overly processed and loaded with sugar.

Some examples of condiments that are not only delicious but also beneficial to one’s health include tahini, salsa, coconut aminos, balsamic vinegar, coconut butter, mustard, nutritional yeast, tamari, raw honey, and sriracha. These are just a few of the many condiments that serve more than one purpose.

  1. Eggs

Eggs are a flexible food that may be consumed at any time of the day due to their wide range of uses. Because they are so rich in protein in addition to virtually every vitamin and mineral that is necessary for your body to function properly, they are frequently referred to as “nature’s multivitamin.” Eggs have a shelf life of up to 5 weeks in the refrigerator, despite the fact that they are considered to be a perishable food.

To increase the amount of protein in your diet, you might want to try preparing a nutrient-dense vegetable omelet or adding a fried egg to your oatmeal, salad, or vegetable dish.

If at all possible, you should buy eggs that were reared on pasture. Not only do eggs laid by hens with access to pasture have a higher nutrient density than eggs produced by hens confined in cages, but the chickens that produce the former are also often cared for in a significantly more humane manner. They are free to wander the outdoors and are able to engage in their natural foraging activity thanks to the availability of adequate space.

  1. Full fat yogurt

Because it can be put to such a wide variety of uses in the kitchen, yogurt is an essential component of any well-stocked refrigerator. You may eat it with berries, include it into smoothies, dollop it onto vegetable dishes, or use it to make sauces and soups creamier.

Full-fat yogurt is not only more nutritious than nonfat or low-fat yogurt, but it has also been linked to a range of health benefits, despite the fact that many people choose lower-fat or nonfat yogurt.

For instance, consuming yogurt with all of its natural fat may reduce the chance of developing coronary heart disease and the accumulation of abdominal fat, both of which are risk factors for a variety of illnesses, including diabetes.

The majority of yogurts can be stored for up to three weeks in the refrigerator and can even be consumed far after their expiration date as long as they still have a fresh appearance, flavor, and aroma.

Final Verdict

Making sure that your refrigerator, pantry, and freezer are stocked with nutritious foods may ensure that you never find yourself without the materials you need to produce a home-cooked dinner that is good for you.

Before you know it, your kitchen will be completely stocked with nutritious basics if you make a couple of the purchases suggested in the previous paragraph during your next few trips to the grocery store.