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Must haves shelf-stable food items


Are you tired of not knowing what to cook after a long day? Or coming back home and find out that you forgot to do your weekly grocery shopping and have nothing to eat? Whenever these situations happen, we tend to go for the easier option- order delivery/take out. Ordering foods from restaurants can increase our salt and fat intake and reduces our vegetable and fruit intake. I want to provide you a list of stable food items that you can have in your pantry and freezer, in case you forgot to go to the grocery store or just want to make a quick and nutritious meal.


Pasta and rice can last in your pantry for a long time, and they can be paired with any vegetables and meats to make a nutritious meal. If you are always short on time, Instant rice and pasta packets can be great additions to your pantry because they can be cooked and ready in 2 minutes in the microwave.

Dried fruits

Dried fruits such as dried mangoes, pineapples, peaches, and apples can be a good way to eat more fruits. They can last about 6 months if you keep them in the pantry, and even longer in the refrigerator. Make sure you look for those that have no added sugar in them.


Other than your traditional salt and pepper, spices can help elevate the taste of your food and help you reduce the amount of salt you put in your food. The stable spices you can have in your kitchen are onion and garlic powder, cumin, paprika, curry powder, chipotle chile pepper, and herb pastes. Soy Sauce, vinegar, corn starch, and sesame oil can be great to have in your kitchen as well. You can use them to make sauces. You can use a combination of any of these spices to make a sauce for your rice or your salad.

Canned goods

Unlike fresh food, canned goods can last a long time in your home, and they don’t even need to be placed in the refrigerator. Canned vegetables such as corn, green beans, baked beans are good vegetable choices you can have in your pantry. Canned proteins like chicken, turkey, salmon, and tuna can be easy protein options. Tuna pouches that are flavored can be used as an easy-to-go option. Canned fruits such as peaches, pineapples, and oranges can be used for a quick snack, just make sure they come with no sugar added.


Other shelf-stable food items such as peanut butter and shelf-stable milk can be a lifesaver when you don’t have any food at home. Both of them are nutritious foods that keep you full and provide you nutrients.


Jordan Chen is a dietetic intern at the Purdue Extension Office in Montgomery County, 400 Parke Ave., Crawfordsville, IN 47933; phone: 765-364-6363.


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