• dietitian approved pantry items

Dietitian Approved Pantry Items

A collection of dietitian approved pantry items that make mealtime smoother and can be used in an pinch to add nutritious, healthy ingredients to your meals. 

You can be the most prepared person in the universe when it comes to meal planning but the truth is some days, stuff just goes wrong.

Perhaps the chicken you had in mind for dinner didn’t quite thaw (or you forgot to take it out of the freezer), your meeting ran late so you no longer have time to cook, or you just don’t want to deal with making the dinner you had planned (<–me at least once a week).

Whatever the reasoning may be, some days you just need something quick and easy.

I reached out to some of my dietitian friends to find out what items they kept on hand for days like these. Simple, dietitian approved pantry items that can be used to make a quick and healthy dinner. And then I took it one step further and shared some recipe ideas that use those pantry items.

So without further ado…

Laura Murray, RD from Making Healthy Choices

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  • You can’t wrong with pasta for a simple and delicious dinner the whole family will love. This Simple Tomato Sauce recipe from Hunger, Thirsty Play is highly satisfying and uses canned tomatoes, which is a huge time saver.
  • This Tomato, White Bean Soup with Kale Pesto from Small Bites by Jessica is one of my favorite, simple to make soups for fall. It uses canned tomatoes and canned beans, making it very pantry friendly! Plus the kids love it too, win-win.
  • If you are looking for a rich and decadent dinner that still uses some on hand pantry item staples, this Fresh & Fruity Vegetarian Spinach Lasagna from Foodal is definitely a crowd favorite. It not only utilizes canned tomatoes, but frozen spinach as well.

Kelly Jones, MS, RD, CSSD at Eat Real Live Well

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Lauren Sharifi, RD, LDN at Bite of Health Nutrition

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  • If you are looking for a stunning dish for a dinner party, these Baked Sweet Potatoes with Garlic Butter are simple to make and definitely impress guests. Using pre-minced garlic would save lots of time in the kitchen.
  • This Broccoli and Garlic Sauce from Foodal calls for lots of minced garlic, which means it’s right up my alley! Pre-minced garlic saves lots of time and sanity at dinner time.

Audra Zimmer, MD at And a Dash of Cinnamon

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  • Canned vegetables are great for adding vitamins and fiber to meals.
  • Throw onto salads, add to soups, or just serve as a side dish to any meal.
  • Simple, economical and just as nutritious as fresh vegetables.

Brynn McDowell, RD at The Domestic Dietitian (aka me)

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  • Upgrade your lunch game with this Spicy Tuna Wrap that uses canned tuna to take lunch from average to extraordinary.
  • For a healthy lunch or snack in a minute, simply add some fresh squeezed lemon, pepper and a little diced onion to a can of tuna and enjoy!

Brynn McDowell, RD at The Domestic Dietitian (me again)

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  • Do yourself a favor and make this Mexican Black Bean Soup from Hunger, Thirst, Play this weekend! It’s so easy and if you double the recipe, you get fantastic leftovers for the rest of the week. Using canned black beans means less time in the kitchen and less money at the store. Who doesn’t love that?
  • This collection of 25 Recipes Using Beans & Lentils just goes to show the power of canned beans!


What are some of your favorite pantry items to have on hand that make meal time easier?



  • comment-avatar
    AZ@...And A Dash of Cinnamon November 9, 2017 (3:52 pm)

    Thanks for using my quote! I definitely try to have all of these staples on hand for those times of need!

    • comment-avatar
      Brynn McDowell November 10, 2017 (1:22 pm)

      thanks so much for sharing your staple item with me!

  • comment-avatar
    Jillian November 10, 2017 (5:16 am)

    agree with all of these! great list!

  • comment-avatar
    Denise Barratt November 10, 2017 (5:27 am)

    Thank you for sharing these! It’s great to see what dietitians like to stock in their pantries!

    • comment-avatar
      Brynn McDowell November 10, 2017 (1:21 pm)

      Thanks Denise! I always love seeing what people have in the pantries (or fridges), it’s such a great way to find new products sometimes.

  • comment-avatar
    Sarah Remmer November 10, 2017 (1:54 pm)

    Great round-up, thanks for sharing!

  • comment-avatar
    Catherine Brown November 11, 2017 (8:55 am)

    This is a great collection of recipes and tips. Always good to have a few of these options readily available for when plan B is needed!

  • comment-avatar
    Emily | EmPowered Nutrition November 12, 2017 (1:00 pm)

    I always love peeking into other dietitians’ pantries! So fun!

  • comment-avatar
    Katie Cavuto November 13, 2017 (6:54 am)

    Love this compilation! I love that simple tomato sauce. Thanks for sharing!!