The Ultimate Healthy Pantry Checklist

Wednesday, February 12, 2020, in Nutrition, Advice by

Having a well-stocked pantry provides the foundations for a variety of dishes that can be adapted using whatever fresh produce you have available. Whip your pantry into shape with these key staples for a nutritious and speedy meal at your fingertips.



When it comes to grains, it’s important to choose whole grains and wholemeal varieties whenever you can. Whole grains are a simple way to boost your fibre intake, provide slow-burning carbohydrates for long-lasting energy and make a nutritious and filling base for meals and snacks.

  • Barley Rice (brown, Basmati, wild)

  • Couscous

  • Whole-wheat pasta

  • Quinoa Noodles (Udon, Soba)

  • Rolled Oats Amaranth (puffed)

  • Breads/Wraps/Tortillas




No pantry is complete without flour. Thankfully, with a variety of flour options available, you can easily take your baked goods to new, healthy heights.

  • Wholemeal

  • Spelt

  • Almond Meal

  • Buckwheat




Pulses and legumes provide a budget-friendly and versatile way to add hunger-busting fibre, plant-based protein and antioxidants to almost any dish. Team with salads, soups, tacos, rice bowls, or mash them into a tasty dip, or use as a meat substitute in pasta sauce or patties. Opt for the salt-reduced varieties where possible and rinse thoroughly to remove excess salt.

  • Dried and canned lentils

  • Canned beans (Baked, Kidney, Borlotti, Black, Four Bean Mix)

  • Chickpeas




Packed with heart-healthy healthy fats, fibre and protein, as well as health-promoting phytochemicals. Enjoy the goodness of nuts as a snack, as a spread, sprinkled over breakfast cereals or smoothies, or ground into a delicious pesto.

  • Almonds

  • Cashews

  • Brazil

  • Walnuts

  • Pepita

  • Sunflower

  • Chia

  • Pistachio

  • Sesame

  • Nut butters

  • Tahini

  • Pinenuts




Canned tomatoes are a cost-effective, long lasting pantry item that can be used in a range of healthy recipes and provide an excellent source of lycopene, which is linked to heart health. Opt for reduced-salt varieties.

  • Tomatoes




Healthy oils contain a mix of fatty acids such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats are considered heart-friendly because they help to lower the bad (LDL) cholesterol and have abundant disease-fighting antioxidants. Whether you’re baking, frying, sautéing or drizzling, having a variety of healthy oils on hand will give distinct flavours that can be tailored with certain ingredients.

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Canola (rapeseed)

  • Peanut

  • Other (Macadamia, Sunflower, Coconut oil)




As well as being incredibly versatile, canned fish pack a nutritious punch offering the all-important omega-3 fatty acids and ready-to-eat protein. Toss into pasta, baked dishes or top wholegrain crackers for a well-rounded snack.

  • Tuna

  • Salmon




Dried herbs and spices are a delicious way to add a variety of flavours to recipes and reduce the need for added salt.

  • Chilli flakes

  • Cumin

  • Curry powder

  • Paprika

  • Coriander

  • Ginger

  • Rosemary

  • Thyme

  • Turmeric

  • Cayenne pepper




When done right, a healthy stash of nourishing snacks can help to stabilise blood sugar levels, combat energy slumps and take the edge off your hunger so you don’t overeat at the next meal.

  • Wholegrain crackers

  • Raw nuts

  • Dried fruit (medjool dates, apricots, figs, raisins, currants)

  • Popcorn

  • Roasted beans/legumes




  • Baking powder

  • Cacao Powder

Kathleen is a trusted health expert in the field of nutrition and fitness. She is an exercise physiologist and nutritionist, author and founder of The Right Balance. Follow Kathleen on Instagram and Twitter, or get in touch: [email protected]

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