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Pantry Stocking Staples

If you’re like us, you always want to maximize your trips to the grocery store by buying food items that are versatile, healthy and have a long shelf life. Of course, there are many foods that are great to have in your house at any point, but we’ve compiled a list of our top six food staples and the recipes they work in.


Carbs are the body’s main source of energy. They typically make up between 40% and 60% of your daily calorie intake. Eating carbs is especially important before a workout. They are a great base to a variety of meals- from breakfast to dinner. Healthy carbohydrates include: pasta, brown rice, quinoa, oats and oatmeal.


Beans are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and many other vitamins and minerals, plus they’re low in calories! They have also been known to lower blood sugar levels. Common types of beans are kidney beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), navy beans and soybeans. They can be mixed in everything from stews to salads to salsas!

Canned fish

Canned fish is also a good source of protein and an excellent way to get your dose of omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that canned fish is no better or worse for your health compared to fresh fish. Canned fish can include salmon, sardines, and tuna. You can get creative with your canned fish by trying out one of the recipes below.

Nuts and nut butters

Nuts and nut butters are good sources of healthy fats and carbohydrates. They are great on their own or can be used to dress up desserts. Examples of nuts include: pecans, almonds, walnuts, peanut, pistachios, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, and macadamia nuts.


Vegetables, whether canned, jarred, pickled, frozen or fresh, all provide plenty of nutritional value to our diet. Opting for a form of vegetables with a longer shelf life can help you stretch your groceries longer. You can add them to your salad for a pop of color, use them as a side dish to your healthy main course or even turn them into a delicious energy bite that tastes more like dessert than a healthy snack.

Vegetable or chicken broth, oils

Broths are commonly used for soups but they’re also great for cooking quinoa in to give a little extra flavor. Oils, such as olive oil or avocado oil, are a good source of heart-healthy fats. They’re good to have on hand because they are the base of many excellent dishes.

Check out our video below to hear Grace Derocha, registered dietitian and health coach at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, share her favorites.

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Photo credit: RapidEye.

A Healthier Michigan
Author: A Healthier Michigan

Our mission is to help everyone in Michigan get healthier from the inside out. This means everything from giving you resources to help you make better decisions about diet and exercise, as well as information on creating and sustaining nurturing communities and successful businesses — everything you need to help create a healthier Michigan.