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Foods to Always Have in the Kitchen

Grains: Bread, Cereal, Rice, Pasta

  • Bread with “whole grain” listed as the first ingredient or with
    about 2.5 grams fiber per serving
  • Popcorn
  • Graham crackers
  • Granola bars
  • Oatmeal (preferably quick cooking or rolled oats because instant contains
    more sodium)
  • Potatoes, sweet potatoes, or dehydrated potatoes in a box
  • Plain and seasoned rice (preferably brown, rice blends, or wild rice blends) 
  • Packaged quick bread mixes (like biscuits, muffin, cornbread, pancakes
    and pizza crust)
  • Spaghetti, macaroni and other pasta (preferably whole wheat or whole grain)
  • Tortillas (preferrably corn or whole wheat)
  • Whole grain cereals, bran cereals, or shredded wheat, or other cereals (with less than 3 grams of fat per serving,
    less than12 grams sugar and at least 3 grams, and up to 5 or more, of fiber per serving) 
  • Whole grain crackers

Protein Foods: Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, and Nuts

  • Dried beans, peas and lentils
  • Canned chicken, salmon, and tuna (preferably packed in water)
  • Canned pork and beef
  • Canned beans (preferably low sodium)
  • Canned chili
  • Nuts and seeds (preferably low sodium)
  • Peanut butter (or other nut or seed butters)

Dairy: Milk, Yogurt, Cheese

  • Evaporated skimmed milk
  • Non-fat dry milk
  • Shelf-stable (UHT) milk 


  • Canned vegetables like beans, peas, carrots, beets and other
    vegetables (preferably low-sodium or no salt added)
  • Canned, bottled and boxed 100% vegetable juices (preferably low sodium)
  • Canned chilies and peppers
  • Canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste
  • Canned vegetable soup (preferably low-sodium)
  • Fresh garlic and onions
  • Salsa


  • Canned, bottled and boxed 100% fruit juices
  • Canned peaches, pears and other fruits in water, 100% juice or light syrup
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, and others


  • Canned chicken or beef broth (preferrably low-sodium)
  • Canned soups (preferrably low-sodium)
  • Cooking oil like canola, olive, or vegetable oil
  • Hot sauce
  • Herbs and spices (at least three or four dried spices)
  • Jelly or jam
  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Maple or table syrup
  • Mayonaise
  • Mustard
  • Salad dressing
  • Salt and pepper
  • Spaghetti sauce, barbecue sauce, and other ready-to-heat sauces
  • Soy sauce
  • Vinegar
  • Ketchup
  • Worchesteshire sauce

Baking Staples:

  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Brown sugar
  • Cornstarch
  • Cornmeal
  • Powdered sugar
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Sugar
  • Yeast
  • Vanilla Extract
  • White and whole wheat flour

Food Storage:

  • Foil
  • Gallon and quart-sized, freezer, plastic bags that zip closed
  • Parchment paper
  • Sandwich bags
  • Wax paper