Stock Up Your Pantry with These 11 Essential Foods for Meal Prepping

Stock Up Your Pantry with These 11 Essential Foods for Meal Prepping

Having a well-stocked pantry is essential for meal prepping in an efficient way. I like to keep these basic items in my pantry at all times and then just go to the market when I need produce, proteins, and additional canned goods. Keeping these items on hand will ensure you can whip up a meal in no time!


I keep a variety of vinegar such as balsamic, apple cider, and rice wine, in my vinegar repertoire. I like to use balsamic vinegar for a lemon-balsamic dressing or as a marinade for chicken breast with mozzarella and tomato. Apple cider vinegar is a great addition to homemade barbecue sauce and rice vinegar is one of my secret ingredients in homemade pad thai.


Since oils have different smoke points and flavors, I keep several in my pantry. Canola and olive oil are my go-to oils for cooking. I also keep sesame oil on hand to enhance the flavor of Asian dishes, and always have a good extra-virgin olive oil on hand to drizzle over a salad or cooked vegetables.


You may have heard to eat the rainbow when it comes to fruit and vegetables, and when it comes to grains it’s no different. Eating a variety of grains ensures that you’re getting fiber, and each whole grain has slightly different nutrients. Some of my favorites to keep on hand include quinoa, oats, farro, brown rice, and whole wheat couscous.


In order to add flavor with minimal amounts of calories, I love using a variety of spices in my dishes. A few of my favorites include dried herbs like parsley, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, paprika, and cayenne. Of course, my spice rack is filled to the brim but if I have to choose a few to start with, those are some of my most frequently used.


I opt for low-sodium broth whenever possible. You can always add more sodium after the dish is finished cooking if needed. Vegetable and chicken broths are most frequently used, but on occasion I do whip out the beef broth.

Soy Sauce

Low-sodium soy sauce goes with many stir-fry dishes, marinades, and sauces.


Usually I make my own, and all my cookbooks have a salsa version that I rotate between. However, I also keep a jarred salsa in my pantry for those occasions where I need to make something last minute. I can use it in my slow cooker, or top it over eggs or fish, or just as a dip.

Canned Beans

You’ll always find my pantry stocks with black, cannelini, kidney, and other canned beans that are low in sodium. If you can’t find low-sodium varieties at the store, just rinse your beans and research shows that you can decrease the sodium by up to 40-percent!


Almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, pistachios– I am a nut fanatic! I like to chop nuts to top over a salad, garnish a soup, or add to a stir-fry. I also love using them in breakfast items like muffins, pancakes, oatmeal, and Greek yogurt — or just snacking on them as is. Some of my favorite recipes in my cookbooks are the spices nuts, whether sweet or savory, which don’t last very long in my house.

Canned Tuna

Sometimes I run out of protein in my refrigerator and canned tuna always saves the day! I keep a few pouches or cans on hand (I especially love the new flavored pouches in sriracha flavor) to make a sandwich, tuna melt, or top over a salad.

Canned Tomato Products

Crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and even tomato sauce come in handy when I’m in a rush. I always stock up on my lycopene-filled tomato products as they’re so versatile!

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