What’s in a Dietitian’s Pantry?

This is what three RDs make sure to have on hand.
Pantry photo

Laura Hartung’s pantry. Photo provided

You head into the grocery store, ready to stock up on a week’s worth of healthy food—then get overwhelmed and leave with three bananas, a pint of ice cream, and an armful of frozen meals. Sound familiar? We thought so.

Grocery shopping doesn’t have to be such a trying task, though. We asked three local registered dietitians what they keep stocked in their fridges and pantries, so you can build your own healthy shopping lists. Here’s what they told us:

Laura Hartung

Her philosophy: “A lot of the stuff I get is organic, but not everything I get is organic. I look out for specials,” she says. Organic vegetables get high priority.

Pantry stock: Quinoa, brown rice, barley, dried lentils, low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, almond butter, peanut butter, coffee, tea, protein powder, cocoa powder, non-perishable almond milk, and a variety of nuts.

Canned goods: Sardines, salmon, black beans, garbanzo beans, pumpkin, tomatoes (all organic when on sale, and with BPA-free lining).

Spices: Basil, thyme, oregano, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and red chili pepper.

Hartung’s tip: Use your herbs with abandon. “A lot of people tend to have the same herbs and spices for six months, a year [but] herbs and spices decrease in potency and flavor,” she says. “It’s important to use your spices up.”

Lainey Younkin

Her philosophy: Younkin counts eggs among her go-to foods, since they can be eaten at any time of day and are nearly preparation-free. “I keep things in my fridge and pantry that are easy and versatile to use, but are still packed with nutrition,” she says.

Fridge and freezer must-haves: Eggs, baby spinach, baby carrots, apples, bananas, mixed berries, hummus, avocados, and nuts.

Canned goods: She buys canned beans, but stays away from canned fruits with extra sugar, and canned vegetables with too much sodium.

Younkin’s tip: “Make sure half of your plate is vegetables at every meal, a quarter of your plate is whole grain, and a quarter of your plate is protein,” she says. “If you’re not a picky eater, you can throw together whatever you have that fits the healthy eating plate. It doesn’t have to be a gourmet meal.”

Nancy Clark

Her philosophy: “I tend to eat more [full] meals than snack stuff,” Clark says. She eats four meals a day, but rarely snacks in between.

Pantry stock: Oatmeal, whole-grain cereals (like Grape Nuts, Shredded Wheat, and Raisin Bran), granola, dates, almonds, Teddie peanut butter, honey, olive oil, curry, refried beans, and powdered milk for back-up.

Fridge or freezer must-haves: Chicken breasts, turkey burgers, broccoli, green beans, winter squash, bananas, and yogurt.

Clark’s tip: “You want healthy-yummy,” she says. “My go-to food is peanut butter—peanut butter crackers, peanut butter apple, peanut butter banana, peanut butter bread. It’s a good sports food, because it knocks down inflammation and it’s satisfying.” Clark also recommends that athletes maintain a good balance of protein and carbs, noting that the body needs three times more carbohydrates than it does protein.