Stocking Your Kitchen With Pantry Staples for Weight Loss Success

By Taylor Ellingson, Registered Dietitian, Assistant Center Director

With the New Year upon us, many people will be motivated to make smarter food choices—beginning with what they store in their kitchen pantries. A benefit of any type of pantry staple food is that they can last you for many years without expiring. Non-perishable boxed or canned foods also cut out preparation time, which is another bonus!

Not all non-perishable pantry items are healthy, but the good news is that there are plenty of options to stock your shelves with that will keep you guilt-free on your weight loss journey. Ideally, you should resort to foods that are nutrient dense, meaning they have a lot of bang for your buck – packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc.

We’ve put together some healthy pantry item ideas for weight loss for your next grocery list:

Whole Grains (Rice, Oatmeal, Pasta)

Whole grains are a great choice to always have on hand because they are cost effective, can be added to many dishes, and due to the fiber content, it promotes fullness. The consumption of whole grains can help lower cholesterol and improve heart health (Harvard T.H CHAN). To identify if a food is made up of primarily whole grains, the first ingredient on the nutrition label should say whole grain/wheat. Sugar should not be one of the first three ingredients, and the carbohydrate-to-fiber ratio should be less than 10:1. Some products also feature an industry-sponsored Whole Grain Stamp on the label (Harvard T.H CHAN).

Mixed Nuts

“No salt added” nuts or dry-roasted nuts are a great choice for healthy snack pantry items. Mixed nuts provide around 8 grams of healthy fat and 3 grams of protein per serving. Although they are an easy snack to choose, they are also easy to overdo. One quick tip: Choose the single serving packs (100 calories) to avoid mindless eating and maintain portion control.

Low-Sodium Canned Vegetables

Although whole vegetables are the best option to choose from, canned vegetables are another way to increase your overall intake. When looking at canned goods, look for “low sodium” or “no salt added” options. Be mindful that cans marked as “reduced sodium” are not salt-free. Draining and rinsing before consuming can reduce the overall sodium level (Ellis).

Canned Tuna/Chicken

Canned proteins are an excellent choice for your pantry staples for weight loss! They are a quick, easy and inexpensive way to increase your protein intake.

Jerky

Jerky is another quick and easy healthy pantry protein item that you can enjoy while trying to reach your weight loss goal. When looking for jerky, the best choices are turkey jerky, which is a lean protein, or options made by a butcher, which tend to have less additives.

What about freezer/fridge items?

Freezer and cool storage items can also be a very cost-effective, healthful way to lose weight. Some days you’re too busy and the day goes by, and you still need to create your Fresh and Lean meal. Resorting to frozen or cool food options can be an easy way to get your protein and vegetable servings in an instant.

Healthy Choice Meals

These options are a great choice for quick, easy meals! When shopping for grocery list ideas for weight loss, look at the nutrition label. Find an entrée that is around 250-350 calories, 40 grams of protein, 11-12 grams carbohydrates, and 10-11 grams of fat.

Frozen Vegetables

Frozen vegetables are an easy way to add vegetables into your daily diet. They’re usually already pre-cut and can typically be reheated in 45 seconds.

Hard Boiled Eggs

Hard boiled eggs are an excellent choice when looking for a quick grocery list ideas for weight loss. Most grocery stores or food shops sell eggs already hard boiled, and they’re also super easy and quick to make at home. One egg is equivalent to 1 oz protein.

What Should I Leave at the Grocery Store?

Take a look in your pantry: what items do you see that might not be healthy? Crackers, dried fruits, granola/granola bars, candy? There are many different foods that serve a purpose in your lifestyle, but what are the ones to avoid more often when trying to lose weight?

Some foods to avoid on your health and wellness journey:

Granola Bars

Although these sound like a great choice, many granola bars or protein bars from the grocery store are high in calories and carbohydrates, and lack a sufficient amount of protein. Due to the small amount of protein, granola bars will usually leave you feeling hungry after a few hours.

Sweets/Packed Goods

Both chips and sweets are considered empty calories. This means they don’t provide any nutritional value that benefits your health. These foods are typically high in calories and lower in fiber and protein. Baked goods and chips can be an easy way to put a hold on your weight loss journey.

Canned Soups

This option can be a little tricky. Most of the time commercial soups are high in sodium, carbohydrates, and calories and have low amounts of protein. One way to still enjoy soup and make it a healthy pantry item is to add different proteins and vegetables to “bulk it up.” When you add your own proteins and vegetables to soup you’ll be increasing your daily intake of healthy options, plus you’ll stay fuller for longer. Always look for low sodium, reduced sodium, or no salt added when looking for healthy soup staples for weight loss.

Sugary Beverages:

This is another item that fits into the “empty calorie” category. Sugary beverages are an easy way to increase your overall caloric intake. By avoiding sodas and sugary juices, you can achieve your weight loss goals a lot quicker. If you need a better alternative to satisfy your craving, our Livea Water Enhancers are a great choice.

Sources:

Ellis, Esther. “The Basics of the Nutrition Facts Label.” EatRight, 4 Nov. 2019,
https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/nutrition-facts-and-food-labels/the-basics-of-the-nutrition-facts-label.

Harvard TH CHAN School of Public Health. “Whole Grains.” The Nutrition
Source, 4 Nov. 2019, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/whole-grains/