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Tips for Healthy Pantry Staples

April 14, 2020
Published in: COVID-19, Nutrition

woman getting a jar from a pantry shelf

Augusta Health's dietitians understand that healthy eating can be challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like you, they've personally been facing the challenge of preparing healthy meals while limiting trips to the grocery stores. So they've turned to articles and blogs written by fellow dietitians in order to plan and prepare meals for themselves and their families.

Here's their list of healthy pantry staples. Over the next few weeks, they'll be sharing some of the healthy recipes and meal ideas that they themselves have prepared and enjoyed. If you are looking for assistance with managing your own diet and meal planning during this time, please reach out to them at (540) 213-2537.

They are happy to help keep you and your family healthy!

Building a Healthy Pantry


  • Old fashioned rolled oats
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Instant or quick-cooking brown rice
  • Whole wheat OR whole grain OR bean-based pasta
  • Barley
  • Quinoa
  • Whole potatoes


  • Canned or dry beans (NOTE- if you use canned beans, it is best to drain and rinse these to decrease sodium)
  • Nuts/seeds (no salt added)
  • Natural peanut or almond butter
  • Canned fish (tuna, salmon)
  • Canned chicken
  • Eggs
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese (low sodium if available)
  • Soy or almond milk


  • Olive oil
  • Canola Oil


  • Frozen Vegetables
  • Any non-starchy canned, low sodium vegetables (tomatoes, green beans, carrots, collard greens, etc.)
  • Onions (can last 1 or more months if in a cool, dry place)
  • Winter squash (can last 1 or more months if in a cool, dry place)
  • Canned fruits in water or natural juices (no added sugar)
  • Frozen fruits

Flavor Enhancers

  • Spices (cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, curry powder, black pepper)
  • Low sodium soy sauce
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Low sodium broth
  • Salsa (in a jar)
  • Hard cheese (Parmesan, Romano)
  • Hot sauce
  • Mustard

Easy Meal Ideas Using Pantry Staples

Easy Black Bean Chili

  • Heat drained/rinsed black beans, canned diced tomatoes, salsa, frozen corn, chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika in a pot and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  • Serve over instant brown rice.

Baked "Mexican-Style" Eggs

  • Stir together drained black beans, salsa, and frozen mixed veggies in a baking dish.
  • Make wells in the mixture and crack eggs into the wells.
  • Bake at 375° F until everything is heated and the eggs are cooked through.