Pantry Essentials to Keep You Full and Fit This Winter

pantry essentials
Colder weather often means spending more time inside, which can sometimes lead to mindless eating. Having the best possible food choices is a smart way to stay on track.
Let’s take a peek into the pantry, often home to some of the snackiest foods. Try crowding them out with canned and dried beans, whole grains and cold-hardy vegetables such as onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes, which should all be kept at room temperature. Refrigerating them will cause a loss in taste and texture.
Sara Siskind, a culinary nutritionist, has some tips for how to stock your pantry to keep you full and healthy all fall and winter. At the top of her list: organic broths, grains, oats and nuts. As for nuts, Sara works with pistachio purveyor Setton Farms, which makes a pantry-friendly bar that combines pistachios with dried cranberries.
Winter squashes are plentiful this time of year, and the great thing is they’ll last weeks on your countertop so you don’t have to worry about rushing them to dinner. Root vegetables, such as carrots and parsnips, last a long time in the fridge and are an abundant source of fiber and antioxidants. Organic is best, Sara says, but if they’re not available, look for produce from local farmers.
Fall fruit includes an abundance and variety of pears and apples, which range from tart and tangy to sweet and crisp. Slice up some apples and combine them with nuts and kale for a quick and healthy salad. Combine a bunch of baby kale, one large chopped apple (leave the skin on) and a large handful of walnuts. In a separate bowl prepare the dressing, combining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Drizzle dressing over salad and serve.
Sara has a “Sara This Season” shopping list to help you stock your pantry and refrigerator with healthy, long-lived ingredients that can help you create nutrient-packed meals without having to resort to takeout or venture to the store at the last minute.


  • Dried beans
  • Snap beans
  • Beets and beet greens
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Collard greens
  • Kale
  • Mustard greens
  • Swiss chard
  • Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Peas
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Pumpkins and other winter squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips


  • Apples
  • Pears


  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Farro
  • Polenta


  • Grapeseed oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil


  • Pistachios
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Pecans
  • Hazelnuts


  • Cayenne pepper
  • Himalayan pink salt
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Paprika

What swaps are you itching to make in your pantry? —Gail

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1 Comment
  1. Kristen says:

    Love this article and that it included a list of foods for stocking a pantry. I have been thinking of how I need to purge and reorganize my pantry. What a very timely article this was for me,