Having a well-stocked pantry with staple ingredients can ensure that you’ll always have meal options in a pinch. For seniors, this is especially important to consider because having all the staples you need will make everything from cooking daily meals to trying to save money when grocery shopping much easier.
The items below are shelf-stable and can make many different meals without you having to spend extra money at the store or having to get sidetracked from any diet requirements you may have.
Remember: you can alter this list to fit your health needs and lifestyle so don’t feel like you’re limited to what’s below and don’t forget to have fun choosing your staples!
Pastas and rice both last for long periods in the pantry, making them two of the easiest and most cost efficient options for you to keep in stock. Both can serve as an excellent base for a well-rounded meal and can be prepared in many ways. You can even add different sauces, spices, herbs, proteins, and vegetables to pasta or rice without complicating cooking times.
There are so many options out there for canned beans and vegetables, so you’re not limited here at all! Fortunately, canned options are also very cost efficient so you can easily stock up without worrying too much about your budget. Besides choosing your favorites, the only other thing you’ll need to keep in mind is to choose low sodium and no-salt-added options so that you don’t have to sacrifice nutrition.
Canned soup is a great and quick option to keep on hand for when you don’t feel like cooking. You can always add in extra ingredients such as fresh veggies or protein to level up the pre-packaged soup as well. You’ll want to aim for low sodium options to monitor your salt intake when possible, and consider versatile options with a longer shelf life like broths.
Keeping your favorite sauces, spices, and condiments on hand make it easy to liven up your meals and give yourself variety with taste without having to spend extra money. When thinking of what to keep in stock, consider the some of your favorite meals and the flavors they have. Some of our favorites include onion powder, cayenne pepper, soy sauce, spicy mustard, and just simple table salt and pepper!
Peanut butter, almond butter, and the many other variations that exist are great options for a quick and easy source of protein. Keeping a few bottles of your favorite nut butter in your pantry can They can make a great sandwich or can be added to many recipes or sauces for extra flavor.
Ingredients like baking soda, baking powder, corn starch, flour, brown sugar, and white sugar are key staples to have in the kitchen at all times you’ll more than likely have to use them in most recipes – not just for baked, sweet goods. You’ll thank yourself later for having these on hand at all times when you don’t have to make multiple trips to the store just to get a meal prepped and cooked!
Bottled items such as olive oil and canola oil are staples that are used in practically every recipe. Because of this, you’ll want to keep a few bottles stocked in your pantry at all times.
Stocking up your freezer with meals and ingredients makes for simple meal planning.. When thinking of what foods to purchase, you’ll not only want some of your favorites, but you’ll also want items that are more sustainable, and have a longer shelf life when frozen.
For example, vegetables and fruits like winter greens, squash, peas, bananas, oranges, and pineapple all can be frozen for a long period of time without you having to worry about them spoiling. Once you’re ready to defrost any of them, they’ll still be fresh, and have all their essential nutrients.
Having your kitchen essentials on hand will benefit you in a number of ways including being able to keep better track of your health, saving time while cooking, and even helping stretch your money further between grocery trips.
So, quit waiting, create your list of staples and go out and stock up on them now. You’ll thank yourself later when you can easily create tasty meals without any extra hard work!
For more information on kitchen staples, check out these resources:
Meal Planning for Older Adults
Stocking Your Kitchen for Simple Meals