Adventures in Healthier Eating with 2 Kids and a Picky Husband

My Pantry

Posted by 8 years ago 33 Comments

Having a stocked pantry really allows me to be creative in the kitchen. I try to keep these items in stock so I am prepared to make just about anything during the week. Now I’m not saying I keep ALL of this food ALL of the time but the more you have on hand the easier it will be cook a good meal at home without running to the grocery store every other day.

Some people believe eating healthy costs more. I disagree. I think it used to for me when I didn’t know what I was cooking. Now most of my shopping trips consist of lean meats and produce. Everything else is in stock. It took awhile to find a balance. Don’t get discouraged if you find you are missing something here and there. Stocking your optimal pantry is an art, not a science. It takes practice, a lot of practice!.


  • Lean Turkey Sausage
  • Lean Ground Turkey
  • Lean Ground beef
  • Pork Loin
  • Chicken breasts (boneless and with bone)
  • Lean Cuts of Beef
  • Shrimp
  • Tilapia Fillets
  • Salmon Fillets

Frozen Food

  • Stir Fry Veggie Mixes
  • Broccoli,, Green Beans, Peas and Corn
  • Strawberry/Berry Mixes
  • Veggie Burgers
  • Lite Ice Cream Products

Other “Middle Aisle” Stuff

  • Whole Wheat Pasta
  • Brothy Soups
  • Canned Dices tomatoes
  • Tomato Paste
  • Crushed Tomatoes
  • Canned Beans (all types)
  • Canned Corn
  • Canned Green Beans
  • Canned Fruit (only those in natural juices)
  • Lite Popcorn
  • 100 Cal Packs
  • Rice/Multigrain Cakes
  • Low Sugar Jellies
  • Quick Oats
  • Unsweetened Applesauce

Baking Supplies

  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • Oat Flour
  • Soy Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Nons-Stick Cooking Spray (canola and olive oil)
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder


  • Bag of Spinach
  • Bag of Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Yams
  • Potatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Any Squash in season


  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Melons


  • 1% milk
  • Fat Free Plain Yogurt
  • Lite flavored Yogurt cups
  • Sugar Free Pudding
  • Part Skim Shredded Mozzarella
  • Fancy Shredded cheese blends (like mexican, pizza, etc)
  • Turkey Pepperoni
  • Lean Ham
  • Lite Whole Wheat Bread
  • Whole Wheat English Muffins
  • Low Carb/Whole Grain Tortillas


  • Kosher Pickles
  • Sugar Free Sweet Pickles
  • Mustard (spicy, honey, dijon)
  • Salsa
  • Italian Dressing Dry Mix
  • Olive Oil
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Ketchup
  • Dry Spices

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There are 33 comments so far. Join in on the conversation.


    November 19, 2007

    Roni, I make your fiber one crusted Tilapia at least once a week----it is delicious! Love your great ideas! Reply


    November 30, 2007

    LOVE this idea of a pantry list! I might steal it from you. ;) Random thought - but have you considered frozen corn, green beans, etc. rather than canned? A little healthier but hey - get your veggies any way you can. :-) Reply


    December 1, 2007

    I do use them! I should add them to the list! Reply


    December 20, 2007

    Have you ever tried Edamame? I'm addicted, but only cook with a little salt. I'm sure you would be more adventurous with seasonings to try. I've found a few ideas on-line, but never any that stick out. I love both of your sites - thanks for the inspiration! Reply

    Paula Register

    January 22, 2008

    I am having trouble finding 95% beef. We only have 93% in my Reply


    January 22, 2008

    Paula - Go with the 93%, My rule of thumb is 90% or better. I believe the fat difference between 93% and 95% is only about 1 g per ounce. Reply


    April 17, 2008

    I've often thought about buying frozen berries - but I'm not really sure what to do with them! Do you defrost them or use them from frozen like in your smoothie recipe? Reply


    April 17, 2008

    geri - I generally use them for smoothies or sauces. They do defrost quite mushy but normally they are VERY sweet. Reply


    April 20, 2008

    I noticed you eat whole wheat pita bread. What brand do you like? Also, have you ever made pita bread? Thanks! Reply


    April 21, 2008

    In addition I have: rice, tuna, eggs or egg whites, lots of beans, barley, rice, onions, celery, salsa, almonds, walnuts, raisins. I buy onions, celery, peppers on sale and cut them up and freeze them. I save our glass peanut butter jars. I keep masking tape and a marker in the kitchen, and label stuff right away. For weeks I can just grab a couple of jars, put them in the refrig the night before (or microwave if I forgot), and make something quick the next day. I do that with the beans too. I buy dry beans, soak them overnight, and then cook more than I need and freeze the extra. Before I go shopping I check my staples list. Have you seen "Zonya's Health Bites" on PBS. She is a registered dietitian and public speaker. Reply


    April 21, 2008

    I'm with reply #2, frozen rather than canned, less processing, less sodium. I go to the big warehouse type store and get 5 lbs of broccoli, corn, and peas. By "lite popcorn", I suspect something packaged. How about just plain bagged kernel popcorn and buy an air popper. I do add a little butter (or alternative) to mine, but it's healthier and less expensive. Tyra Banks had a good suggestion. Air pop your popcorn. While that is going on, in a tupperware bowl, add a little honey, cinnamon, salt, butter, and microwave for maybe 20 seconds (the heat from the popped popcorn maybe enough). Add the popped popcorn to the tupperware bowl, put the cover on, and shake. It's sweet and sticky :-) The 100 calorie packs are a nice idea, but they are expensive (save the money in your kid's college fund ;-)). Also double check the ingredients for unhealthy ingredients like partially hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup. I can't take the artificial sweeteners either. Perhaps an alternative would be carrots sticks or apple slices with peanut butter (read the label and get the kind with just peanuts - not Jiffy), or a handful of almonds, in a reusable container. Reply


    April 22, 2008

    Katie - I usually get Trader Joes brand or a brand named Damascus (I think, It's been awhile). I never even thought of making my own! But that's a neat idea! DJ - Great additions!! Thanks! Reply


    June 4, 2008

    Except for the canned veggies and salmon, our pantries and staple items sound almost identical! I also like high fiber cereals and raisins or craisins. I've never tried frozen berries, I should check them out! Reply


    August 24, 2008

    I am wondering if you have a shopping list specific for Trader Joe's. There is not one in the area where I live, but would like to shop there next time I am near one. Any special products that are "must have's"? Reply


    August 24, 2008

    I actually do! I just happen to hve it on my other site.... I guess I should move it here! Hope that helps! Reply


    September 28, 2008

    Hi Roni - What kind of lean lunch meats do you buy? Just curious to see what your favs are. Reply

    Nia Bennison

    January 27, 2009

    Hi Roni My husband and I have been on WW for about 6 weeks now!! Im finding that Im getting a little board with all the cooking and am needing a little help with what to cook!! I loved snooping around the site and Im going to bring it to a meeting and let everyone know that most of your recipes have WW points its great!! Im hoping that i can plan ahead and make a meal from your recipes everynight!! Got any Imsperation for me as a fellow WW?? Im reaching for any help that I can get right now!! Thanks a million im so happy that I stumbles on this site!! Reply


    February 2, 2009

    I LOVE your website! I am 17 years old and have become a vegetarian a couple months ago. I did it by my own choice and it took a while but I feel much better without meat in my life. I love cooking and food shopping but don't know what brands to buy because a lot have artifical perservatives in them. I want to know does it matter what brand you buy from this list? [Condiments, Baking Goods, Frozen Foods, Other “Middle Aisle” Stuff, Deli/Dairy/Breads, etc.] If so, what brands do you buy? :] And what do I have to look out for on the ingridents labels and such? Reply


    February 3, 2009

    Hi Raine! I'm just a "whatever brand is cheaper" girl. There are only a few brands I'm loyal to. As for labels look for the least number of ingredients and the you KNOW what they are. :) Reply


    March 16, 2010

    Just let me tell you.. this website is AMAZING! I love it!! I just discovered it and it's already my homepage. It is super helpful! The only question I have is about your cheese.. typically I buy fat free shredded cheese, both cheddar and mozzarella, but my fiance hates it! He says that it doesn't melt right.. So I was just curious as to what kind of cheese you use. I know that it says part skim, but I wasn't sure about the points difference. Typically for the fat free shredded, it's 1pt for 1/4 cup. Also, do you use fat free singles or just use shredded for everything, including sandwiches? thanks a lot for any help! Kelli Reply


    March 23, 2010

    Hi Kelli! Thanks so much.. I'm glad you like the site. As for cheese I usually keep a bag of part skim fancy shredded Mozelle (2 points/oz) and a bag of Mexican cheese blend (also 2points/oz) I won't buy the fat free stuff. It's just not cheese to me. ;) I also keep munster cheese in slice form and get it from the deli having them slice it as thin as possible but I barely use it, it's more for the husband and the child. I used to be addicted to cheese but I learned that a little goes a long ways and now I don't need it as much. It just adds extra points I don't want. Reply

    Rachel Price

    June 21, 2010

    i like reading food blogs because i am always seeking for new recipes.~`. Reply

    Wendy (Healthy Girl's Kitchen)

    January 7, 2011

    I LOVE KALE! Great to see you cooking with it and blogging about it. Eating greens every day (kale, collard, swiss chard, bok choy, beet greens) is a great way to make weight loss really healthy, fun and easy. There are so many tasty ways to prepare them if you just do a little internet searching. Reply


    February 9, 2011

    Hi Roni, I stumbled onto your site when looking for easy soup recipes, and was happy to find such healthy selections. I've found one of my favorite, easy and healthy snacks, is frozen fruit. I buy the packages of "peaches, grapes, honeydew, and strawberries" at Aldi in addition to the berries. I think it's an excellent way to quench that sweet desire and it's easy. Also, you can always use it in smoothies! Your pantry is almost my ideal pantry! I love it. But I would definitely need onions on that veggie list! And probably cilantro. Thank you for making the site, I will definitely come back. Reply


    July 17, 2011

    Hey Roni, While I was out shopping I came across something I think is really versatile and so VERY healthy. CHIA SEEDS yep the one and the same as the stuff you put on your Chia Pet to grow sprouts lol. I looked up recipes online and found that a lot of people use it as a thickening agent and it has more calcium than a glass of milk and 7 grams of fiber in 2 tbsp...awesome! And more vitamins I can mention. Can't wait to try some recipes with it. I would be interested to know if you have used them. Best of luck, Reply


    July 28, 2011

    I haven't! But I'll look them up!! Reply


    October 21, 2011

    HI Roni, I found your site because I was looking for a vegitarian chili for my 12 year old who has just become a vegitarian. Anyway, I love your list for you pantry. But being a new diabetic and having a type one diabetic child as well we both have almost the same things. The only things I have different is the can corn, green beans and fruit. I use frozen because of the salt in the can veggies and the sugar in the can fruit is so high. Plus if you go to BJ's or Costco close by you can by in bulk and save some money. Just food for pun intended. LOL Well I am going to try your mango salsa for sure this weekend and I'll let you know how it goes. "Save the Earth! It's the only planet with chocolate!" Monique Reply


    June 1, 2012

    I just found your site, and I noticed your pantry included a lot of canned veggies. I was wondering if you have experimented with dehydrated veggies or fruits, or even some of the freeze-dried fruits. Although it might be a bit of initial work, dehydrating can keep on hand some wonderful seasonal veggies such a pumpkin (I have 8 dehydrated) and sweet potatoes (I found a ten cent/lb sale). I then throw the powder into smoothies, muffins or chili, what ever calls for fresh. Corn, peppers, onions, and ginger are all great to have on hand! Great site, look forward to learning a lot from you! Reply

    Erin M

    October 4, 2012

    I am on a weightloss journey right now and as of now have lost approx 80 lbs. I also have a husband who is doing it with me but has quite a bit more weight to lose than myself. I am looking for some meals that will give him enough food to fill him up but will not be ALL veggies. A typical meal for us would be: chicken a chicken breast for myself, covered in 98%fat free soup, with green beans as the "main dish" as this is what we eat most of. It does taste good, but my hubby is starting to get sick of veggies as his main dish. He's a meat and potatoes kinda guy. Any suggestions on a main meal that he can eat a lot of that doesnt require a ton of veggies? (he is almost 500lbs and although he has done amazing so far, I'm really looking for some more alternatives to keep his interest...and mine!!) Thanks! Erin Reply

    Erin M

    October 4, 2012 finish, he would typically eat 2-3 chicken breast along with everything else I do to fill him up. I love your recipes so far! Ive tried a few and will continue to try more! Reply

    Chia Chick

    July 4, 2013

    Warm greetings from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia My Journey to your website began with: > Google search; 'Food Facebook' > JustEatingRealFood ( > Spinach Ham Omelet Roll Up - that recipe has a link to your website > Voilá Sterling job young lady, Stirling :) It is one of the best food related websites I have seen on the internet. You are now in my bookmarks, on my scribble pad and soon, my pantry will be modified to your some of your recommendations (currently, my pantry is filled with medi-ockra healthy items stored in empty Maxwell House Coffee glass jars, the big hexi shaped ones with red lids). Anyhoot, A well structured and informative website deserves praise and recognition - Well Done. I look forward to trying and modifying some of your recipes - will post notes where I can Warm Regards Tracey Adams •´ ♥ ☆ ♥ `• Reply