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How to Stock A Pantry For The Year

Are you wondering how to stock a pantry for a year? Here are my favorite pantry items to stock up on in the beginning of the new year to have plenty of options on hand for healthy meals and snacks!

We are already nearly two weeks into the New Year. Have you restocked your pantry yet?

Healthy, shelf-stable pantry recommendations to keep on hand for healthy meals at any time!

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I get most of my pantry staples from Thrive Market because having a usable pantry is like a blank canvas for 15 minute recipes.

Pantry staples are essential for quick dinners, making something out of nothing when you’re in a pinch, or just to have for random recipes and baking creations.

These tips are quite similar to tips for how to stock a pantry for the first time, and making sure we’ve checked our boxes on different food groups. 

Make a List

What I usually do is start by making a master list.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What foods do you like?
  • What foods do you want to eat more of?
  • Are you looking to make more plant based recipes?
  • How often do you plan on going grocery shopping?

Then, I’ll take note of what I do have on hand in the pantry.

Lastly, I’ll go to the store and get what I need and want, based on how I answered the questions above. 

Canned goods in aisle in Whole Foods

How to Stock a Pantry for the First Time

I like to use the new year as a way to reorganize and restock my pantry. This will be a similar process to you structuring your pantry for the first time. 

Pantry staples are important for SEVERAL reasons. Not only are they a basis for so many recipes, but they are great to always keep for those nights where you need something quick, but nutrient-dense.

They have a longer shelf life and are made to make your life easier.

thrive market

Pantry staples are also very budget friendly!

The best way to stock up is to use a service like Thrive Market and have them sent monthly. Then you never have to use the grocery store for these staples and they’ll always be stocked. 

Thrive Market finds on table

The objection I hear the most from clients is that they don’t have time to prepare healthy meals. We all have the same amount of time in the day.

I truly feel that if you set yourself up for success (stock your pantry with quality, nutritious staples), you can make time to put together healthy meals.

I detail this process more and share how to simplify meal prep

Olive oil and dressings in aisle in Whole Foods

What To Fill Your Pantry With

  • Grains
  • Pulses/Legumes
  • Nuts/Seeds
  • Dried Fruit
  • Oils (coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil)
  • Baking Essentials
  • Canned Fish/Dressings
  • Pastas – Don’t sleep on tortellini – it’s a staple for weeknight meals, like this summer tortellini salad
  • Sweetpotatoes – Endless possibilities for one of my favorite foods

If you have a smaller pantry, or live in a college dorm and need tips for meal prep for college students, you may modify this slightly.

Let’s review each one and see how creative we can get.  


I love having a variety of whole grains on hand, depending on how I’m feeling. Obviously, oats are a staple for oatmeal or banana baked oatmeal (great for portable breakfasts – you can use any fruits)!  

I also love switching up my oatmeal for quinoa in the mornings with a quinoa breakfast bowl

Some of my favorite whole grains to buy include:

Rice, Pasta, Quinoa, Couscouos, Sorghum and other grains from Whole Foods

I love the Whole Foods 365 brand because it is both high quality and budget friendly. I also love to order from Thrive Market to keep the pantry stocked. 

On another note, I also love using the bulk bins for grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, etc. if I need a small or large quantity.

It’s a great way to save even more money and just buy what you need or use. 

bulk bins aisle at Whole Foods

Oats are also great to keep on hand for making granola and muffins.

Two of my favorite granola recipes include this pumpkin peanut butter granola and cinnamon maple granola

For baked goods, coconut flour oatmeal cookies and pumpkin no bake cookies wouldn’t be nearly as delicious without oats. 

Pulses & Legumes

Pulses are FULL of protein and in my opinion, necessities to always keep stocked.

I actually prefer canned beans because I’m usually pretty spontaneous when I decide I want to use them.

If I’m looking for a quick, protein and fiber-packed dinner, I’ll always add canned beans. Just remember to wash them; you can save up to 30% of the sodium that way!

We use lentils often in this lentil hummus and use beans in desserts, too! Like this sweet potato vegan edible cookie dough

Some favorites:

  • Canned or dried black beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Peas (a cup of peas gives you 8 grams of protein, that’s pretty good!)
Pantry Staples

Nuts and Seeds

My nut preference is very limited since I’m allergic to tree nuts, but I can have peanuts and almonds. So, I always keep those on hand.

Sometimes just for munching, or sometimes to make this delicious cinnamon peanut butter or peanut butter banana brownies.

We bake with peanut butter often and pretty much use it to top all of our muffins and breads. 

I also love:

Stacked Vegan Hemp Protein Barsth oats in background

Chia seeds and flax seeds are easy to boost the nutritional content of oatmeal and yogurt. We make chia pudding often, which is a tasty snack or breakfast, especially in the hot summer weather. 

Cherry coconut milk chia pudding is like a dessert and banana chia seed pudding is a great post workout snack. 

Dried Fruit

Some favorites include:

  • Raisins
  • Figs
  • Dates
  • Dried mango, cherries, apples (depends on what’s on sale and the season!)

We make chocolate cherry oatmeal cups with dried cherries.

And honestly, I use dried fruit for my marathon training fuel all the time. It’s a great way to maintain blood sugar and get quick energy!

I also usually mix dried fruit and nuts/seeds in this easy homemade trail mix

pumpkin seeds, almonds, kix and raisins in a bowl for homemade trail mix in a clear mixing bowl


I’ve been on an avocado oil kick lately. It’s a neutral taste, but allows for high heat cooking, unlike olive oil.

Coconut oil is also a good alternative for that. I love olive oil in my homemade dressings.

My top choices:

I also like to use butter (prefer Kerigold grass fed) when sauteeing sometimes, too!

coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil on wooden table

Coconut flour comes in handy for me often when I want cookies and I’m out of other flour.

That’s how these coconut flour oatmeal cookies were born. 

thrive market

Baking Essentials

Baking essentials are important to keep on hand. We make muffins and healthy quickbreads often and rely on these regularly.

Some favorite quickbreads include apple cinnamon bread, chia seed bread and healthy sweet potato bread

bag of madhava coconut sugar on wooden table


  • Canned Tuna and Salmon
  • Canned Tomatoes
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Fair Trade Coffee Beans
  • Canned Full Fat Coconut Milk (love using it to make whipped cream pudding!)
  • Chicken Broth
  • Honey
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Spices (my essentials are cinnamon, garlic, basil, turmeric and italian seasoning!)
Canned goods, coffee, dark chocolate and grocery staples on wooden table

We love to make fish patties with canned tuna and salmon (turmeric salmon cakes), and buying them is much more budget-friendly than actual filets. Plus, they help meet the twice/week recommendation for seafood!

As you can see, there is so much you can do if you have a solid foundation of pantry staples!

If you’re looking to stock your pantry for ingredients for running and activity, this post on pantry staples for runners. That’s the basis for my easy meal prep for athletes roundup. 

What are your top 5 pantry staple items and what do you make with them?

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  1. Love this post but can you please tell me where you got the ribbed glass jar with wood lid? Too cute!

  2. Good list of pantry staples, thank you. I am confused about how getting a monthly order from online helps you to stock up for the year…am I missing something?

  3. I make it a priority to hit the grocery store each week so I tend to have a few key things in the house so I can just add the fresh stuff each week. Frozen veggies, Oatmeal, Raisins, Pretzels (not healthy but are a great snack in a pinch – have used as croutons before), and Eggs are always in stock!!

  4. I try not to keep a huge stockpile of random things on hand. I try to buy only what we need for the week – plus maybe a few extras if I know we may have a tough time getting to the grocery store.

    But, we always have pasta, rice, oats, eggs and baking ingredients, I love keeping flour around, it makes it so easy to turn something into a fritter. Zucchini fritters, corn fritters, carrot fritters, great if we want to squeeze in some veggies.

    Also, is coffee a staple? 😉

  5. Have you tried grape seed oil?! I’ve read that it might be the new trend for 2017, apparently its great for cooking due to its ability to handle high heat (like avocado oil) 🙂

  6. Great roundup! Some of my pantry staples are oats (breakfasts), jasmine rice (usually dinners), red wine vinegar (salads), canned pumpkin (mix in oats or greek yogurt) and nut butter (to go on everything lol). I love how Whole Foods has their own line, makes things a bit more affordable, and no need to skimp on quality.

  7. Awesome post, Sarah! My top five pantry staples are probably oats (oatmeal), peanut flour (smoothies & oatmeal), raw nuts (snacks and salads), sweet potatoes (baked as fries or whole and then topped with almond butter), and dried figs (for my sweet tooth). Love Whole Foods for all of these (although I usually get my peanut flour online!)

  8. Your pantry looks a lot like mine! We always have peanut flour too. I’m addicted!

    My latest purchase is sardines. The dude sampling them at Whole Foods reeled me in. he made them like chicken salad and it was actually good!

  9. Great suggestions! Having a pantry well-stocked really does make life easier. Being on the low-FODMAP diet makes stocking the pantry, for me, in some ways more complicated but in some ways even more important, because it’s not so easy for me to go out and get a quick convenient meal. I guess my top five are rice (as a basis for stir fry and fried rice, quinoa (for a lot of the same things), olive oil for about 90% of what I cook, oatmeal (for pancakes and…well, oatmeal), and chocolate. Just for eating.

    1. All of those things are so versatile and have so many uses. I can see how low FODMAP makes it a little more challenging, but like you said, all the more important to be prepared!

  10. YES. It’s so easy to stock the pantry with all the wonderful options there are at the grocery store, and you have such a great variety. I’m glad you can have peanut butter.

  11. I love this post–such a great resource! My pantry oftne saves the day on those quick healthy i-dont-feel-like-cooking nights! I love having canned beans for quick quesadillas and tacos. Another favorite is diced tomatoes to add to some rice pasta and some marinara sauce for a super quick dinner!

  12. It makes me sad when people say they don’t have time to make healthy meals, because to me, healthy meals are THE fastest and THE easiest to make. Thanks to pantry staples like these, a quick trip to the store for some produce is all you need. The items I always always have on hand are oats, peanut butter, canned tomatoes, canned lentils or chickpeas and usually canned tuna or salmon.
    Oils confuse me. I still don’t understand the whole thing about high heat tolerance – what does that even mean and which oils are best for what? Maybe another blog post topic for you, aha.

  13. This serves a good reminder of what I’m currently missing! My top 5 pantry staples are oats, rice, peanut butter, canned tomatoes, and rice cakes.