Healthy Staples You Should Always Have In Your Kitchen

Eating healthy can be overwhelming, especially if your kitchen isn't stocked with the ingredients you need to make balanced meals and snacks. While perishable items like fruits and vegetables need to be replenished regularly, there are quite a few healthy food staples that you can keep in your pantry to turn to when it's time to cook. According to Healthline, beans and lentils are great to keep on hand. These can be stored for years in canned or dry form and can add protein and complex carbohydrates to your meal. They are also very affordable and filling.

Nuts and seeds can also be kept for long periods of time without spoiling. These items are full of healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. You can use raw nuts and seeds to make your own nut butters and spreads, which are a healthier alternative to store bought versions that are typically full of added oils and sugar. Additionally, nuts and seeds can be eaten as a snack, tossed on salads, or added to pasta dishes to round out a meal.

Other healthy staples to keep at home

Beans and lentils aren't the only whole grains you should keep stocked in your pantry. Other whole grains like oatmeal and quinoa are super filling and full of fiber (via US News). "It's a great idea to look for whole-grain or whole-wheat options because they're full of fiber and can help create that feeling of fullness at meals," said Emily Rice, a registered dietitian with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus. "Other pasta alternatives made from lentils or beans are a great source of fiber and protein as well, especially for those on gluten-free diets."

Canned fruits and vegetables can get a bad rap, but these are excellent foods to keep in your pantry, especially if you are on a budget or have a hard time getting to the grocery store regularly to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Try to buy products that are stored in water instead of syrup or oil. Many canned vegetables have sodium added to preserve freshness, but you can remove most of the salt by rinsing your veggies before you cook or serve them.