If you have space in your kitchen to store non-perishable foods, then consider yourself lucky. Non-perishable foods have a longer shelf life than most foods and don't need to be refrigerated. That means more space for produce, dairy, meats, and other essentials, without sacrificing the amount of food you have. Not to mention non-perishable foods are great in case of emergency. For example, if you have a power outage that causes the food in your fridge to spoil, you can count on having your supply of non-perishable foods to feed you and your family.
If you're looking to build up your pantry supply, these non-perishable foods are a great place to start. The best non-perishable foods are nutritious and can be used in tons of different recipes. Some can be eaten on their own as meals or snacks, and others are perfect side dishes or ingredients that can bring the rest of your meal to life.
So next time you go to the grocery store, take this list of non-perishable foods with you to make sure that whether there's an emergency or a random Tuesday night when you're out of fresh groceries, you have exactly what you need to enjoy a meal with your family.
Peanut Butter: Packed full of protein, long-lasting, and versatile, peanut butter should be a staple of any pantry. It's great on its own — if you indulge in a spoonful of peanut butter then you already know this — and it can be eaten with other ingredients, such as celery sticks or bread. If peanuts aren't you thing, try another nut butter like almond butter, which is just as delicious and versatile.
Canned or Dried Beans: Canned or dried (which tend to be much cheaper, if you're looking to save some money at the grocery store!), having beans in your pantry is a great move. They're super high in protein, and can be included in so many easy recipes. Chili? Yes. Rice and beans? Yes. Throw them in a salad? Absolutely.
Granola Bars: The perfect grab-and-go item. Granola bars come in a variety of flavors, so you can try a bunch and see what you like bes. Beware: A lot of granola bars are packed with unnecessary sugar, so be sure to check out the nutrition facts before you buy.
Dried Fruit: Yes, fresh fruit is really the pinnacle of fruit-dom, but when you're in a pinch, dry fruit can do the trick. Dried fruits like raisins and dried cranberries can be especially good to have on hand as an easy sweet snack or to throw in a salad to give it another dimension of flavor. Beware, though, some dried fruits have added sugars (in addition to the fruit's natural sugars), which can make them significantly less healthy. Opt for a variety that contains no added sugars.
Canned Tuna: It might not be the sexiest of foods, but there's no denying its usefulness. There's nothing quite like a tuna sandwich, which is easy to make and packed with protein — throw in some small bits of dill pickle if you really want to amp up the crunch and flavor — and tuna can also be used in casseroles and other baked dishes. And of course, it lasts forever. Don't sleep on the canned tuna.
Canned Soup: Soup is the perfect comfort food to have year-round, and you can usually get it at a low price that makes the bang for your buck totally worth it. It doesn't matter if you prefer a classic chicken noodle, a hearty beef and barley, or a veggie-filled minestrone, keeping a variety of soups in your pantry will mean that you have a complete meal on hand whenever you need it and regardless of whether you've been able to get fresh ingredients at the store lately.
Alternative Milks: If you're a milk-lover but you can't seem to make it through a gallon before the expiration date hits, then exploring some alternative milks could be a great option for you. Non-dairy milks such as almond milk and oat milk can last a long time before you open them, which makes them perfect non-perishable items to keep in your pantry. Once you crack them open, they continue to last for months in the fridge, which means you won't have to feel guilty about wasting milk you can't finish before it goes bad.
Nuts and Seeds: These tiny foods are good sources of protein, fiber, healthy fats, as well as vitamins and mineral. They're great when tossed in a salad, eaten on their own, or included in baked goods. If you're feeling adventurous, you can even make your own trail mix using nuts, seeds, and dried fruit — maybe even throw in a handful of chocolate chips.
Canned Vegetables: Keeping canned vegetables in your pantry allows you to always have access to veggies even if you're not able to get fresh ones from the grocery store or famers' market.
Whole Wheat Crackers: Make sure you check out the nutrition facts before purchasing at a store. Some crackers can be super high in sodium, which you want to avoid. A good, whole grain cracker is usually your best bet.
Cereal: Yes, there are some cereals that aren't any more nutritious than a bag of candy. But not all cereals are created equal and some really do have nutrients that are good for you. For instance Cheerios are made from whole grains, and they only have one gram of sugar per bowl, and Kashi Honey Puffs have almost half your daily recommended servings of whole grains.
Pasta and Sauce: The ultimate pantry duo. If you keep a few varieties of pasta and sauce in your pantry, then you'll always have a meal ready to go in about 15 minutes. Pasta can make even the pickiest of eaters happy, and it's so easy to make that you can get your kids involved in preparing dinner. Whole grain pasta can have nutritional benefits such as fiber, and you can sneak a full serving of veggies into a well-disguised pasta sauce. It's like the pantry equivalent of a little black dress — always a good option!
Rice: Much like pasta, having rice on hand is a staple in any supply on non-perishable foods. It's the perfect accompaniment to any meal, and it can really make a meal feel well-rounded and planned. There are also numerous ways to prepare it to make it fit whatever type of cuisine you want to prepare. And the added bonus: It basically lasts forever.
Oats: One of the healthiest grains out there, oats are packed with vitamins, minerals, and all sorts of components that will make your body feel full and good. They're a great way to begin your day, with a warm bowl of oatmeal, or you can use them to make baked goods such as oatmeal cookies or rolled oat power balls.
Jerky: The dried meat is high in protein and can have good minerals such as zinc and iron. It can be a great snack to power you through the rest of your day. A lot of store bought versions, however, are high in sodium, which can have its own challenges, so that's something to be aware of when you're shopping. It lasts for ages though, and is a good source of protein when you don't have access to other perishable varieties.
Olive Oil: A true kitchen essential, pantry or not. It's great for sautéing vegetables on the stove or roasting veggies in the oven. It's also easy to use to cook meats and fish. Or if you want to strip things back, it's delicious for dipping with a nice loaf of fresh bread.
Coffee and Tea: These beverages can last pretty long when stored correctly, and they don't need to be refrigerated. They can provided the added boost of caffeine you need to get through the day or the soothing calm you want to end your evening.
Flour and Sugar: For all the baking enthusiasts out there, you know these two ingredients are musts for the pantry.
Spices: One downside of a lot of non-perishable items is that they can be a bit lacking on flavor, which is why you need spices. Keep in mind though that spices aren't good forever. They do lose their flavor after a certain amount of time, according to McCormickbut the good news is that it takes a long time for that to happen, and they don't really go bad in a way that would make you sick.
Bottled Water: In general, drinking from your tap is usually perfectly fine. And using a reusable water bottle is way better for the environment than using throwaway plastic water bottles. However, keeping some plastic water bottles on hand is a good idea in an emergency kit of non-perishable foods. If there's an earthquake or other natural disaster that prevents you from getting water from the tap, you'll feel grateful to have some clean water ready to go for you and your family.
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