One simple way for us to stay on track with healthy and clean eating is keeping an ample stock of healthy pantry staples.

When you have easy access to a pantry filled with nutritious foods and ingredients, you are able to make and eat nourishing food that fuels your body when you need them.

12 must-have essentials and food items list for a healthy pantry including staples, snacks for clean eating, and recipes so you have ingredients on hand to make healthy meals, whether it’s lunch, dinners or snacks for kids. #pantrystaples

{This post contains affiliate links}

I’m sharing my top 12 healthy pantry food items that have helped to sustain my healthy eating journey.

But before we get into the list of must-have healthy pantry foods, let’s take a step back and start from the beginning.

Where to shop for healthy pantry staples? 

While I do most of my perishable food shopping at my local supermarkets, I rely on Thrive Market and Amazon Subscribe & Save for most of my non-perishable pantry needs.

Not only does it save a lot of time and energy to have these food items delivered directly to my door, but these online vendors also allow me to buy these pantry staples on a recurring basis base on my need so that I can basically ”set it and forget it”, and not have to worry about running out of basic pantry ingredients!

I’ve found Thrive Market prices to be at a fairly consistent lower-cost, wholesale price, whereas prices on Amazon can sometimes vary greatly month over month.

Thrive Market is very much like Costco (grocery at wholesale prices with membership) except it’s online and sells organic and clean non-perishable groceries like this almond milk with ONLY 4 real food ingredients, conveniently delivered to your door.

They make shopping is quick and easy as you can filter your grocery list to shop by diets such as clean eating, gluten-free, paleo, ketogenic and etc. 

If you would like to shop smart and save time, energy, and money to stock your healthy pantry, you can get a Thrive Membership risk-free for 30 days with this link and choose a FREE gift, up to $22 in value.

As you can probably tell, I like doing my grocery shopping at Thrive Market.  And when I’m not shopping there, I’m over at Amazon Subscribe & Save where I can save at least 15% off the list price.

12 Must-Have Healthy Pantry Staples


Avocado oil is very rich in healthy oleic acid and enhances the absorption of important nutrients such as carotenoids.

It’s also a great oil for high heat cooking, with a smoke point of 520 degrees Fahrenheit.

Avocado oil spray is perfect for oven roasting vegetables for the two aforementioned reasons. 

Olive oil is loaded with healthy fatty acids and powerful antioxidants.  

It’s high in heat-stable monosaturated fat and therefore a good oil choice for most cooking methods.  

Extra virgin olive oil’s smoke point is around 405 degrees Fahrenheit

The health benefits of coconut oil are somewhat controversial.  Coconut oil has been touted for its medium-chain-triglycerides (MCTs) health benefits.

However, recent findings revealed that the coconut oil you find in supermarket shelves do not contain MCTs, but lauric acid (source).    

Never the less, coconut oil has many uses and benefits for our nail, skin, and hair, that it still holds a spot in my healthy pantry.

2. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is chock full of health benefits from being a digestive aid to healing skin conditions such as eczema and wart.

Unlike other kinds of vinegar, ACV is unique in that actually makes your body more alkaline once ingested. This helps to boost your immune system and fight cold and flu viruses.

ACV is a great substitute for lemon if you don’t have any on hand.  

You can use ACV in salad dressings, sauces, marinades, and soups.  ACV is also essential in bone broths to draw out the nutrients in bones.

3. Oats

Healthy pantry - oats

Oats are a great source of fiber and nutrients. Their health benefits include lowering your cholesterol and reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Oatmeal is a great breakfast option if you are looking to lose weight. 

Eating oatmeal helps you feel full for a longer period of time so you are less likely to reach for mid-morning snacks.

There are three different forms of oats are based on how they were processed, and I use each one for different purposes:

  • Old-fashioned rolled oats – are oats steamed and rolled into a flat shape.  These are great for making breakfast oatmeal cookies.
  • Quick-cooking oats – are similar to the old-fashioned rolled oats but rolled even thinner to cook more quickly.  They are great for making energy bites and also breakfast oatmeal cookies.
  • Steel-cut oats – also referred to as Irish or Scottish oats.  These oats are whole oat kernels cut with a steel blade into several pieces.  They make excellent overnight oats.  They also rank lower on the glycemic index, which means they are less likely to cause spikes in your blood sugar and can aid in weight loss.

4. Quinoa

Quinoa is an excellent source of all nine essential amino acids, protein, iron, and dietary fiber.

It’s easy to cook and also highly versatile and can be a part of breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner.

I usually mix quinoa with rice and just throw them into my Instant Pot with an equal amount of water, and voila, they are ready in just 15 minutes!

You may have noticed a recent trend in sprouted seeds, grains and beans

Sprouting allows these grain seeds to germinate but they are then harvested before they bloom. During this process, the starch in the seed is used as energy to break through the outer shell. 

Therefore sprouted grains are lower in starch and higher in nutrients like proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

Sprouted quinoa is harder to find in grocery stores and also more expensive, but you can find them at Thrive Market at an affordable price.

5. Legumes 

Lentils are a good source of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are also such an excellent source of protein that they are one of the popular meat-replacement proteins for those on plant-based diets.

Dried or low sodium canned beans are also high in protein and fiber and can be easily added to stews, salads, or side dishes

You can also sneak in healthy legumes as pasta for your kids with this chickpea spaghetti and red lentil and quinoa fusilli.

6. Nuts and nut butter

Healthy pantry - nut butter snack

Nuts are loaded with protein, healthy fats, and important nutrients like Vitamin E and magnesium. The fiber in nuts has also been shown to lower cholesterol levels

You can usually find walnuts, almonds, and cashews, especially this delicious sriracha cashew, in my healthy pantry snack collection. 

Nut butter such as peanut butter and almond butter complement healthy snacks such as apples or celery and make them even more satisfying.

7. Proteins

Beef jerky is a great pantry snack that is high in protein, which helps you to feel full longer and promote weight loss.

Choose grass-fed beef that is packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids.  Also, check the ingredient labels to ensure the sugar level isn’t too high. 

You can also try turkey jerky, which usually has less sugar and calories per serving, but can be just as delicious!

Another excellent source of protein is a collagen protein powder, which is highly versatile and can be easily added to any hot or cold drinks.

I personally add a scoop of hydrolyzed collagen peptide to my coffee every day.  

Not only does it nourish my skin and reduced the appearance of wrinkles, but my back and knee pain has subsided as well. 

One more excellent source of protein you can stock in your pantry is wild-caught canned seafood.  

Fish such as sardines and anchovies are lower in the food chain and contain lower levels of mercury.

Canned salmon is high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and can be easily added salads or pasta dishes.

If you are vegetarian or vegan, nutritional yeast is a highly nutritious food that adds extra protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to meals. 

8. Dried Fruits

Dried fruits may be naturally high in sugar, but they are great snacks that can actually aid weight loss.  

They are packed with nutrition and fiber to keep you feeling full and satisfied for a longer period of time.

Some of my favorites are dried apricots, Medjool dates, and raisins.     

9. Superfoods 

Dark chocolate is a superfood that is loaded with fiber, nutrients, and powerful antioxidants.

Most chocolates contain some sugar, but dark chocolates are high in cocoa content (preferably 78% or above)  and low in sugar.

Alternatively, raw cacao nibs are highly versatile – you can add it to your yogurt, oatmeal, or use for baking and making hot chocolates.

Goji berries are a sweet, low-calorie, and high fiber superfood.  Their health benefits including promoting eye and skin health, boosting the immune system, and prevent blood sugar spikes that can increase fat storage.

They are highly versatile so you can sprinkle them in your yogurt, oatmeal, trail mix, salad, or green smoothie.

I also like to add them to soups and bone broths to add a subtle sweet flavor.  

Chia seeds pack an impressive amount of fiber, making it a highly effective appetite suppressant for weight loss.

You can add them to overnight oats or make a dessert chia pudding

Flax seeds and hemp seeds also highly nutritious and can be easily added green smoothies.

10. Natural Sweeteners

Processed sugar, or added sugar, is one of the major culprits of our current obesity epidemic.

While it may be difficult to completely eliminate processed foods and sugar from our lives, we can prevent consuming more processed sugar by stocking our healthy pantry with natural sweeteners.

Pure raw honey works best for dishes or drinks that are cold to lukewarm, as prolonged exposure to high temperatures can degrade its beneficial enzymes and potentially change the taste of the honey.  

I use them in my homemade salad dressings and tea.

Maple syrup can withstand high heat without degrading its nutritional value and is, therefore, better suited for cooking and baking.

Remember, you only need to substitute about 1/2 to 2/3 the amount of honey or maple syrup for an equivalent amount of table sugar for taste.

11. Teas

Not only is drinking tea highly beneficial to your health, but it’s also a great to keep you hydrated throughout the day.

I grew up drinking teas plain without added milk or sugar, as is common in Asian culture.  Coffee is where I reserve my milk and sweetener.

Matcha green tea is the healthiest green tea with the highest level of antioxidants.

Pu-erh and oolong teas are aromatic, popular Asian teas that are also some of the best teas for weight loss.

I drink herbal teas almost daily and stock my pantry with a healthy supply of dandelion, peppermint, lemon and ginger, turmeric, and ginger teas.

12. Spices

Last but certainly not least, spices are one of the most important healthy pantry items to have!

Not only do spices and add a variety of taste to your dishes, but they are also highly nutritious and incredibly healing to your body!

Numerous studies have been done on the amazing health benefits of turmeric to improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s, arthritis, PMS, and even cancer.

Cinnamon is known for its ability to control blood sugar.

Cumin can help boost immunity, improve digestion, and aid weight loss.

The list goes on and on!

Sharing is caring! What are your favorite must-have healthy pantry staples? Comment below!