10 Dietitian Approved Pantry Staples

We’ve compiled a list of some basic ingredients we use everyday in our kitchens. These items are the ones we use most often and are the most versatile.


  1. Plain Greek Yogurt

Substitute for sour cream and mayo in most recipes. Can also be used as a base for dips. This is a great option for cutting down on added sugars found in most flavored yogurts.

Recipe Idea

For an easy snack, add 1 tsp ground cinnamon and 1 tsp of honey to plain Greek yogurt. Top with fresh, seasonal fruit!

  1. Quinoa

This high-protein, high-fiber grain is a great alternative to pasta or rice if you’re looking to mix it up. Can also be served as a grain in salads and as a hot cereal.

Recipe Idea

To Cook: Rinse, then combine 1 part quinoa to 2 parts low-sodium vegetable broth. Add quinoa when broth is boiling and cook on medium for about 10 minutes or until the cooking liquid is gone and the grain is tender.

  1. Plain Oats

The easiest, quickest breakfast around! When ground up in the food processor, can be a whole-grain flour substitute.

Recipe Idea

Check out our Simple Cranberry Oats for inspiration on how to flavor plain oats!

Oat Flour: place 1 cup of oats in food processor and blend for about one minute until oats are in a fine powder. Yield=1 cup.

  1. Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)

Roast for a crunchy, high protein snack or use as a substitute in meat recipes. Great as a protein/carb source for salads and soups too! You can also blend up with tahini paste for a delicious homemade hummus.

Recipe Idea

Roasted Chickpeas:  Toss with olive oil, paprika and garlic powder. Spread on baking sheet and bake for 1hr at 400 degree, stirring once halfway through.

  1. Frozen Spinach

A great way to get some vitamin A with no prep! Add to virtually any dish or side such as soups, whipped potatoes, stir fry, tomato sauces, eggs and casseroles.

Recipe Idea

Try our Stuffed Spinach and Artichoke Chicken!

  1. Herbs & Spices

Using herbs and spices are the best way to make a dish your own! If you don’t want to shell out a ton of money, stick to store-brand or stop by your local dollar store. Our top picks include: garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, paprika, parsley, chili powder and cinnamon.

Recipe Idea

Choose fresh herbs for the best flavor. Any leftovers can be kept sealed in the freezer for later use. Be sure to stick with salt-free seasoning blends!

For some spiced up recipes try our

Creamy Spiced Pear Quesadilla, Quinoa Chili and Indian Inspired Vegetable & Barley Soup.

  1. Vinegar

Different vinegars can be used in variety of recipes to add a ton of flavor without added sodium or calories. Try rice vinegar in a stir fry, balsamic vinegar as a marinade, and apple cider vinegar in a dressing.

Recipe Idea

Simple Salad Dressing:

¼ c apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp olive oil

¼ tsp ea. salt and black pepper

  1. Fresh Citrus

Nothing beats the flavor of fresh citrus in recipes, especially during the summer. The tart zing of flavor adds that something extra to dishes without adding calories or sodium. Also keep a bottle of lime or lemon juice on hand for best convenience! Try zesting your citrus and keep in the freezer to add a fresh burst of flavor anytime!

Recipe Idea

Top fish with fresh lemon zest while grilling. Add orange slices to a pitcher of water for extra flavor. Squeeze lime juice into Homemade Salsa, try ours.

  1. Non-Stick Cooking Spray

This is an essential for stove top, oven and even grill recipes. This help cut down on calories and makes cleanup a breeze!

Recipe Idea

Substitute cooking spray for oil in recipes when sauteing veggies, such as onion and garlic. Use a few sprays in your bakeware and on your grill instead of coating in oil, those calories add up!

  1. Bananas

One of the best sources of potassium, bananas are very versatile in the kitchen. Add to baked goods for some extra moisture and sweetness. Use in a fresh fruit salad or atop cereal. Don’t throw out those over ripe bananas, freeze them for a great addition to smoothies or to make banana bread!

Recipe Idea

Check out our delicious Berry-Nana Smoothie!Pair banana slices with a serving of peanut butter for a delicious nutritious snack!