Staples for Your Pantry, Fridge, & Freezer

A smartly stocked pantry, fridge, and freezer means less trips to the grocery store, more options for as-you-go meal planning, as well as cost-savings and healthier eating! Here are lists to reference to “build up” your pantry and freezer as well as a go-to list for keeping your fridge stocked.


  • Beans – Black beans, garbanzo beans, and white beans are our most used varieties. A few cans are always handy to have on hand for last minute meals.
  • Rice – Depending on what kind of cooking you do most, a basic white jasmine rice (Asian) or basmati rice (Indian/Mexican) is probably the most versatile.
  • Pasta – bean/lentil- based or whole grain are your better choices.
  • Rolled Oats – Old fashioned  not quick) oats are best for recipes such as homemade granola and oatmeal cookies.
  • Quinoa/Farro/Bulgur/Barley – An alternative grain is always handy to have, when you don’t feel like pasta but want something hearty and filling as a base. Pick your favorite, they’re pretty much interchangeable in most recipes.
  • Bread Crumbs – From meatballs to chicken tenders, breadcrumbs are functional and flavorful. Panko breadcrumbs are good for most situations if used only for the extra crunch.  Try chickpea crumbs op Kodiak pancake mix for a more nutrient-dense option to bread  fish and chicken.
  • Garlic & Onions – A go-to base/start for many recipes or a great way to add flavor when cooking on the fly. Garlic and onions keep very well in dry, dark environments for months, and are technically still ok to eat if they have sprouted (though the flavor might have changed). Red onions and yellow onions are the most versatile varieties.
  • Potatoes – White and sweet – while a perishable food item, potatoes can keep quite well if properly stored in a well ventilated box or container in a cool, dark and dry place. Don’t store your potatoes near your onions as they’ll cause each other to spoil much faster. Cut off any sprouts or green spots before eating. Nodak tip – in the winter our garage floors make a great spot to store potatoes.
  • Nut or seed butters – Healthy fats for quick snacks and often needed for baking recipes
  • Canned tomatoes, paste – Great base for chili’s, sauces, and stews.
  • Stock or Broth – Adds flavor for soups and stews. 
  • Tuna – High in protein, tuna is a great option for sandwiches or salads and can be very versatile – mixed with vegetables or apples, dried fruit, & nuts.
  • Salsa – hello chips & salsa! Salsa is also a great topper to add burst of flavor to many dishes
  • Canned or jarred olives – Olives are a good source of healthy fat and can quickly add depth & flavor to many dishes
  • Lentils -high in fiber and often protein, lentils are a great option to add to many dishes or provide plant-based options like a lentil chili



  • Butter – grilled cheese, baking, sauteing – use real butter for maximum flavor 
  • Eggs – so many options for eggs – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eggs with veggies & salsa are an excellent lunch or dinner option! 
  • Tortillas (corn or whole grain) – tacos, quesadillas, tuna wraps, egg wraps…. 
  • Yogurt – plan, with nut or seed better, with granola, with fruit – lots of options
  • Frozen: berries, peaches, strawberries, mango, broccoli, bell peppers and onion mix, corn, edamame, peas, spinach. 

With a well/smart stocked pantry, fridge, and freezer – it’s easier to put together meals. Looking at the list above how many combinations of protein + carbohydrate + healthy fat could you put together for meal ideas?!

Vanessa Lennick, Registered Dietitian
Proximal50 Life Center