How To Stock Your Kitchen for a Healthy Diet

By Mike Howard

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Having a well stocked kitchen is like having armor for health and fat loss. This requires consistent and planned grocery shopping and preparing, but having a continuous supply of healthy staples makes healthy eating that much easier. Here are some kitchen essentials:


  • Whole grains (quinoa, amaranth, kamut, barley)
  • Lentils
  • Canned goods (diced tomatoes, healthy soups, tuna, salmon, mixed beans)
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Rolled Oats
  • Green/Black tea
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Mixed nuts/trail mix
  • Dried fruit
  • Vinegar (balsamic, apple cider, red wine, raspberry)
  • Oils (olive, coconut, canola, sesame, sesame, avocado)
  • Spices (oregano, basil, paprika, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon)
  • Garlic
  • Ginger


  • Low fat milk
  • Water jug (Brita)
  • Vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, romaine lettuce, carrots, spinach)
  • Fruit (Apples, strawberries, blueberries, oranges)
  • Lean meat (chicken/turkey breast, lean cuts of steak, grass fed beef) *
  • Fatty Fish (salmon, mackerel, cod) *
  • Eggs
  • Pesto/salsa/healthy sauces
  • Margarine (non-hydrogenated)


  • Frozen veggies
  • Frozen meats/fish
  • Frozen berries
  • Ready-made stir-fry mix (for emergencies)

Counter top

  • Whole wheat bread/high fiber pita
  • Fruits (bananas, apples, avocadoes)

Not a bad idea to keep handy appliances on the counter too such as;

  • Coffee grinder (for grinding seeds)
  • Blender (making smoothies)

*If cooking within the next 2 days

Taking inventory of what you have and establishing some staples makes grocery shopping and in turn, healthy eating much easier.

What is in your kitchen? Anything you would add? Omit?


  1. surato ST

    that great list, but my wife allergic to garlic…all about diet

  2. Kim

    Does anyone know of a spice substitute for onion? My husband’s allergic to onion and really doesn’t care for garlic. Any suggestions?

  3. Fat Burners

    Nuts, seeds and dried fruit has to be my favourite snacks. Whenever I feel like something sweet or fattening then these are the snacks I reach for instead.

  4. vaughan

    That’s a great list. I add items for those times when I run out of fresh produce (raisins and frozen vegetables). I also keep beans, split peas, sunflower seeds (roasted, shelled and unsalted), red wheat berries and popcorn.

  5. Carpet Cleaning

    A Kitchenaid. This Stand mixer takes the place of multiple gadjets. It whips and kneads dough, can make sausages, pasta, you can make cookies. It’s really a good investment.

  6. Gary Winnick

    For the nights when all you can muster is a frozen pizza- this sheet makes it taste great!

  7. personal trainer

    a couple of things to add to your fridge… fruit pots and jelly! brilliant snacks!

  8. Edwin

    List is great!!
    Thanks for valuable contribution.

  9. strawberry871

    Good ideas for healthy food to keep your kitchen stocked with. Eating healthy is not all that difficult. it has just gotten way too easy to go to the store and buy the quick stuff that is processed and loaded with stuff that our bodies weren’t built to funtion on.

  10. Sally

    You surely won’t be able to eat junk food if it isn’t available! Good food list, Mike.

  11. Supplements

    I think the biggest thing I like to have in my kitchen is pre-prepared meals. Either store bought, but typically cooked at home and then frozen. That to me really makes it easier to eat healthier.

  12. Mike H.

    Yes! Another counter gem – tomatoes. We usually make home-made salsa out of them.

  13. Spectra

    Great list! Looks like my pantry/fridge, actually. Except that I keep tomatoes on the counter top because they totally lose their flavor if you put them in the fridge. Also, I like to keep yogurts in the fridge and a bottle of homemade lowfat salad dressing (olive oil/balsamic vinegar and various herbs/garlic all mixed up…YUMMY!!). It makes eating salad that much more appetizing.

  14. Mike H.

    The butter vs. margarine debate is a humourous one to me. I don’t think it’s vastly important unless you are consuming exorbitant amounts of either (which I wouldn’t recommend). Now that just about all margarines are trans fat-free, I really don’t see what difference it could possibly make from an overall health perspective – provided you are eating a generally healthy diet to begin with.

    From a cost perspective, the margarine’s containing the healthier ingredients tend to be quite expensive. Other than that, there are no ingredients in typical margarines that are alarming and many are fortified with vitamin A and E and C. I know the ultra-purists will condemn the fact that if you have to add something back in the first place, it is evil, but I’m not going to jump on the anti-margarine bandwagon just yet.

    And voodoo – yes I think the margarine health benefits are exaggerated by margarine manufacturers.

  15. Trixie

    Speak for yourself. I love the Smart Balance products.

  16. Never teh Bride

    It may have some healthy qualities, but it tastes nasty!

  17. voodoo

    This link gives a very different opinion on the health benefits of Margarines over Butter:

    I would be very interested to hear your opinions on this, as I am wondering how unbiased Unilever are, who coincidentally are the worlds leading margarine manufacturer =)

  18. Mike H.

    You are absolutely right! My wife makes a monthly bulk shop across the border to Trader Joe’s and Fred Myer… Tilamook cheese… yummmmy!

    We also have yogurt in there most of the time, although ours is full fat.

  19. thegirl

    That’s a great list. But you have no cheese! Laughing Cow cheese is a staple in my fridge…and fat free yoghurt too.

  20. Mike H.

    cool! Yeah – the margarine is more of an “emergency” item lest there is no butter on hand

  21. blah

    My kitchen definitely needs all natural nut and seed butters. My favorites are peanut butter, soy nut butter, and sunflower seed butter. I also like to have raw sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds around to sprinkle on salads or to eat as snacks.

  22. Tom

    I’m a big fan of frozen veggies and meat. Not nearly as good as the fresh stuff which is what I try to use, but when in a hurry it is good to have these so you can make a healthy meal without having to go the store. I don’t treat these as a substitute for fresh food, but I have them just in case.

  23. monica

    Great list, it looks very similar to the healthy grocery list template I created earlier this year. Mine’s a vegetarian version, so add tofu, tempeh, soy milk and beans to the mix. Forget the margarine – I just have a little butter treat whenever I’m in the mood. I’d rather have less of a good thing than more of something sub par. My healthy butter substitute (that tastes just as good) is avocado – so good call on that one! Nut butter is good, as well. I’m caffeine-free so no green or black tea, but rooibos and herbal Yogi tea is are favourites of mine. One last thing: tinned tomatoes! So useful!