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How to stock your Pantry, Fridge and Freezer.

A well-stocked kitchen is “the” secret weapon to getting healthy and delicious dinners on the table fast. Having the best ingredients on hand can be the difference between a nutritious homemade meal or turning to your well-worn takeout menus.

We asked nutrition professionals to share the items they always stock up on so they can throw dinner together in a flash.

Pantry Essentials

Since you don’t have to worry about using pantry items up before they go bad, you can buy in bulk and stock a variety of options here.

Broaden your culinary horizons beyond Pasta and sauce, and pick up some of these dietitian pantry favourites next time you’re at the market.

Quick-cooking whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, barley)

Whole-grain and bean-based Pasta

Dried red lentils

Canned beans (black beans, chickpeas, cannellini beans)

Canned tomatoes

Canned artichokes

Canned Roasted red peppers

Canned coconut milk

Canned tuna in olive oil

Jarred salsa

Low-sodium tamari

Olive oil, coconut oil, and ghee

Flavoured vinegar

Nuts and seeds (walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds)

Nut and seed butters peanut butter, almond butter, tahini)

Sweet potatoes and potatoes

Onions and garlic

Spice mixes

With a full pantry, the dinner possibilities are endless, even when it’s been a while since your last trip to the grocery store.

Catherine Brown, a Plant-based Chef & Culinary Nutritionist at A Seat at My Table, loves coming up with creative meals using what she finds in her cabinet. One of her favourite pantry meals is curried coconut lentils over brown rice.

Fridge Essentials

Ensuring that you have fresh items in the fridge takes a little forethought, so you don’t end up wasting food. These are some refrigerated items dietitians rely on:


Plain Greek yoghurt

Parmesan or Pecorino cheese

Feta or goat cheese

Extra-firm tofu

Bagged salad mixes

Leafy greens like spinach and kale

Zucchini and squash

When it comes to eggs, think beyond breakfast. Eggs for dinner is a top dietitian tip. Add fresh or frozen vegetables and cheese, and dinner is only minutes away.

Stacy Lewis, MS, RDN, says “eggs are a quick and easy protein source.” She relies on veggie omelettes on days when life keeps her out of the kitchen.

Jessica Ivey, RDN agrees. She reaches for eggs on busy nights for high-protein veggie frittatas.

Freezer Essentials

These are essentials to stock up on:

Frozen veggies (broccoli, cauliflower)

Salmon and tuna burgers

Cooked shrimp

Broccoli and cauliflower

Corn and peas

Frozen fruit (berries, pineapple, mango)


Pre-cooked grains (rice, quinoa)


What you keep in your freezer is only limited by the amount of space that you have available. Making planned leftovers of soups, stews, or casseroles is one smart strategy.