Essentials for Stocking a Healthy Kitchen

Use this guide to make sure your kitchen has all the items you’ll need for healthy snacking and quick, easy-to-cook meals. Here we list some of the everyday staples, the basic provisions you should have on hand to be sure you can always put together a meal from a well-stocked pantry and refrigerator.

In the pantry

  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • Cornstarch
  • Flours — whole-wheat and all-purpose
  • Sugars — white and brown
  • Vanilla extract
  • Vinegars — balsamic, red wine
  • Oils — olive, canola, sesame
  • Cooking spray
  • Peanut butter*
  • Broth — chicken or vegetable, canned*
  • Soups — mushroom, minestrone, or vegetable;canned*
  • Tomatoes, canned*
  • Tomato sauce*
  • Tuna, canned
  • Herbs, dried
  • Italian spices, dried
  • Mushrooms, dried


  • Salt and pepper
  • Ketchup*
  • Mayonnaise, reduced-fat*
  • Mustards* — Dijon, yellow
  • Soy sauce
  • Hot sauce
  • Pickles and pickle relish*
  • Capers*
  • Olives*

Cereals, grains, and beans

  • Cereal — ready-to-eat, whole-grain
  • Oatmeal
  • Couscous
  • Legumes (kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans, etc.), canned or dried
  • Pasta
  • Rice — brown and white


  • Graham crackers
  • Nuts, mixed
  • Popcorn kernels
  • Whole-grain snacks like crackers and pretzels

Fruits and vegetables

  • Fruit, canned in juice
  • Fruit, assorted fresh
  • Raisins
  • Garlic, fresh
  • Onions
  • Potatoes — baking or roasting, and sweet potatoes or yams
  • Celery
  • Bell peppers, green or red

In the refrigerator

  • Butter
  • Cheeses for grating, such as Parmesan
  • Eggs
  • Milk — low-fat or nonfat
  • Yogurt, plain — low-fat or nonfat

In the freezer

  • Bagels — mini or small (2 ounces)
  • Breads — whole wheat and pita
  • Berries and other fruit, frozen
  • Fruit sorbet or fruit/juice pops
  • Beef or chicken bones for homemade stock
  • Chicken breasts, individually portioned
  • Ground turkey or lean ground beef
  • Meatless burgers
  • Pizza crust, frozen
  • Prepared dinners — reduced-calorie, frozen
  • Vegetables, frozen


  • Carbonated water
  • Vegetable juices
  • Sugar-free soda
  • Iced tea, unsweetened
  • Evaporated skim milk, canned
  • Herbs, fresh
  • Tomato salsa
  • Green chilies, canned
  • Tortillas — corn and flour, small

*These items may need to be refrigerated after you’ve opened them.

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