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What to keep on hand to make cooking a delicious, nutritious meal easy every night of the week.
The best way to ensure you have everything you need to prepare delicious meals is to keep a well-stocked pantry. When you cook at home you can prepare healthy, nourishing food using quality, fresh ingredients—much better than prepared food that is often loaded with calories, fats, sodium and added sweeteners.
Our Healthy Pantry list includes all the items you need to prepare healthy recipes plus a few other ingredients that will make last-minute meals easier. You can also use it as a starting point for a grocery shopping list.
Oils, Vinegars & Condiments
Extra-virgin olive oil for cooking and salad dressings
Canola oil for cooking and baking
Flavorful nut and seed oils for salad dressings and stir-fry seasonings: toasted sesame oil, walnut oil
Butter, preferably unsalted. Store in the freezer if you use infrequently.
Vinegars: 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, chile-garlic sauce, curry paste
Kalamata olives, green olives
Kosher salt, coarse sea salt, fine salt
Anchovies or anchovy paste for flavoring pasta sauces and salad dressings
Dried herbs: bay leaves, dill, crumbled dried sage, dried 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, dry mustard, nutmeg, paprika, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, turmeric
Lemons, limes, oranges. The zest is as valuable as the juice. Organic fruit is recommended when you use a lot of zest.
Pure maple syrup
Unsweetened cocoa powder, natural and/or Dutch-processed
Bittersweet chocolate, semisweet chocolate chips
Canned Goods & Bottled Items
Canned tomatoes, tomato paste
Reduced-sodium chicken broth, beef broth and/or vegetable broth
"Lite" coconut milk for Asian curries and soups
Canned beans: cannellini beans, great northern beans, chickpeas, black beans, red kidney beans
Chunk light tuna and salmon
Grains & Legumes
Whole-wheat flour and whole-wheat pastry flour (Store opened packages in the refrigerator or freezer.)
Assorted whole-wheat pastas
Brown rice and instant brown rice
Pearl barley, quick-cooking barley
Plain dry breadcrumbs
Nuts, Seeds & Fruits
Dry-roasted unsalted peanuts
Natural peanut butter
Assorted dried fruits, such as apricots, prunes, cherries, cranberries, dates, figs, raisins (Store opened packages of nuts and seeds in the refrigerator or freezer.)
Low-fat milk or soymilk
Low-fat or nonfat plain yogurt and/or vanilla yogurt
Reduced-fat sour cream
Good-quality Parmesan cheese and/or Romano cheese
Sharp Cheddar cheese
Eggs (large). Keep them on hand for fast omelets and frittatas.
Dry white wine. If you wish, substitute nonalcoholic wine.
Fruit-juice concentrates (orange, apple, pineapple)
Frozen vegetables: edamame soy beans, peas, spinach, broccoli, bell pepper and onion mix, corn, chopped onions, small whole onions, uncooked hash browns
Italian turkey sausage and sliced prosciutto to flavor fast pasta sauces
Low-fat vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt for impromptu dessert
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