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9 Nutritionist-Recommended Food Staples to Stock in Your Kitchen

by Tansy Boggon

Whether you’re stocking your pantry and refrigerator or looking for inspiration on what to prepare with those items that have been in the back of your pantry for years, this list is intended to help inspire you to meet your nutritional needs with basic food staples.

Food staples to stock in your kitchen

1. Canned and Frozen Fruit

Fruit provides immunity-boosting vitamins and fibre, whether fresh, canned or frozen. Try to eat 1-2 servings daily, where a serving is approximately one handful. Try:

  • on porridge
  • with homemade custard
  • in crumbles (Feijoa Crumble), cobblers or cakes
  • smoothies

2. Canned and Frozen Vegetables

Stock up on corn, peas, stir-fry mixes, frozen spinach, edamame beans etc. Aim for 3-6 servings daily, where a serving is approximately one handful.

  • add to soups, stews, curries and stir-fries
  • add to an omelette, frittata or fritters (see recipe for Corn Fritters)
  • make savoury muffins

3. Can Tomatoes

A can of tomatoes can form the basis of many meals, providing nutrition and flavour. Add a can of tomatoes to:

4. Can or bags of dried legumes

Bulk up any dish with legumes, such as lentils, split peas, kidney beans, chickpeas, etc., to provide additional protein and fibre.

Sauce pan and small bowl with Minestrone with Barley on a white background.
Minestrone Soup with Barley. Get the recipe here.

5. Brown Rice or Quinoa

Brown rice or quinoa, whether cooked yourself or in a microwave package, adds fibre and substance to any dish. Try:

Or try making a rice pudding or mango sticky rice. See my recipe for sticky rice pudding using black rice.

6. Wholegrain oats

Oats are a great source of fibre and protein. Use in:

 7. Dried Fruit and Nuts

Dried fruit and nuts are a great source of energy, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, protein and fibre. You could:

  • have as a snack
  • add to oats for a simple muesli
  • make bars, biscuits, cakes or energy balls with dried fruit and nuts
  • add as a salad topping
Stack of three corn fritters on a plate with lettuce, relish and sour cream.
Easy fritters with canned corn.

8. Eggs

A complete source of protein, eggs are versatile and the basis of much baking. You could:

  • add poached, boiled or fried to a meal for additional protein
  • whip up an omelette or frittata with frozen veggies
  • use to make cookies and biscuits
  • treat yourself to pancakes (try my recipe for Banana Pancakes)
  • make your own custard

 9. Nut Butters

Peanut butter, tahini and almond butter are excellent sources of healthy fats and energy. Nut butters can be:

  • spread on crackers
  • added to smoothies
  • used for salad dressings or in cooking
Overhead photo of potato and carrot fritters on a light green plate with slaw and Greek yogurt dip. Around the plate on a kitchen bench are raw potatoes, carrots, eggs and slaw mix.
See the recipe for Carrot and Potato Fritters.

Other food staples to have on hand

  • fresh vegetables with a long shelf-life (e.g. onion, garlic, potato, sweet potato, pumpkin)
  • frozen bananas
  • longer-life fruits such as apples and oranges
  • canned tuna, salmon, sardines
  • milk powder or long-life milk
  • powdered yogurts
  • canned coconut milk
  • frozen grated cheese
  • frozen meats
  • spices
  • vegetable or meat-based stocks
  • wholemeal flour
  • wholegrain pasta (try my vegetarian pesto pasta that can be made with kitchen staples)
  • rice cakes
  • rice crackers
  • wholegrain crackers
  • popcorn kernels

What are some food staples you always have on hand?

Is there anything I haven’t mentioned that you always have on hand in the pantry, fridge or freezer? Let me know in the comments below.

Recipes made from mostly food staples

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