12 Healthy Foods You Should Always Keep In Your Pantry

·2 min read

A delicious dinner with a mix of fiber, protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates not only tastes good, but it will leave you feeling satisfied. Here are 12 items to stock in your pantry so you’ll always have the makings of a balanced meal ready to go.

Tomato paste

Just one tablespoon of tomato paste accounts for a ¼ cup serving of vegetables. Not to mention, it’s full of heart-healthy lycopene and vitamin C.

Whole grain products

Grains like brown rice and whole wheat pasta are packed with fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates, making for a great foundation to any meal.

Root vegetables and squash

Potatoes, onions, carrots and squash are great sources of the mineral potassium, which aids your muscle and nerve function.

Canned beans

Aside from being great sources of protein and fiber, beans can be incorporated into any meal and are usually ready in a matter of minutes.

Dried lentils

This staple pantry item might take a little longer to cook, but it has enough fiber and protein to complete a well balanced meal.

Canned fish

Toss some of this canned goodness into a salad or sandwich for a dose of vitamin D and healthy fats.

Spices and herbs

If your meal seems a little bland, keeping seasonings like cumin, cayenne, rosemary, and nutmeg in your pantry will help elevate any recipe.

Nuts, seeds, and nut butters

The protein and healthy fats found in seeds and nuts make them great to snack on between meals or incorporate into a recipe that needs more substance.

Extra-virgin olive oil

Drizzle a little EVOO on a salad or as the finishing touch to a meal for some heart-healthy monounsaturated fat benefits.


Whether it’s balsamic, apple cider, or white wine, vinegar will add a bright flavor to your dish.

Nutritional yeast

Swap out cheese for this tasty, dairy-free topping on mac and cheese or a salad.


Garlic serves up some antioxidants and adds delicious flavor to your recipes.

Originally Appeared on SELF