Last Updated on June 30, 2023 by April
When it comes to stocking a pantry, non-perishable foods are a must-have. These items have a longer shelf life than fresh produce, making them an excellent choice for emergency preparedness or simply ensuring a well-stocked kitchen for daily cooking needs. This article will explore 150 non-perishable food items to consider adding to your pantry, considering factors like convenience, nutritional value, and variety.
Non-perishable items can provide essential nutrients and energy during times when access to fresh ingredients may be limited or when budget and storage constraints make these items more practical. Including a diverse selection of non-perishable foods in your pantry ensures that your household can access balanced and wholesome meals, regardless of circumstances.
To achieve a well-rounded pantry, the list of 150 non-perishable foods encompasses a range of categories, including grains, legumes, canned fruits and vegetables, and canned meats and fish. These products will offer flexibility in meal planning, allowing for both satisfying and creative dishes even with limited fresh produce available.
Types of Non-Perishable Foods
Non-perishable foods are essential for maintaining a well-stocked pantry. Their long shelf life makes them reliable options during emergencies and for everyday meal planning. This section will cover the different types of non-perishable foods, organized into five sub-categories for easier reference.
Grains and Pasta
Grains and pasta are staple pantry items due to their versatility and long shelf life. They provide energy and are an excellent source of carbohydrates. Common grains and pasta options include:
- Rice: A popular and versatile staple in several varieties, such as white, brown, wild, basmati, jasmine, arborio, red, black, forbidden, and sushi rice.
- Pasta: Available in many shapes and forms, such as spaghetti, macaroni, penne, fusilli, linguine, fettuccine, rotini, rigatoni, lasagna, angel hair, orzo, farfalle, vermicelli, capellini, and ziti.
- Quinoa: A protein-rich, gluten-free pseudocereal suitable for those following a gluten-free diet. Types of quinoa include white, red, black, tricolor, and Inca red quinoa.
- Lentils: A legume that can be used in dishes like soups, stews, and salads, providing a good source of protein and fiber.
Canned goods are known for their long shelf life and excellent non-perishable protein and vegetable options. Some common canned goods include:
- Canned meats: Tuna, chicken, and salmon are popular choices that provide a good source of protein. You can also get sardines, ham, corned beef, roast beef, chicken breast, turkey, pork, beef stew, and chili with meat.
- Canned vegetables: Green beans, corn, peas, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, mixed vegetables, asparagus, artichokes, beets, mushrooms, olives, pumpkin, spinach, and squash are widely available and can be used in a variety of dishes.
- Beans: Canned beans come in wide varieties, such as black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, pinto, cannellini, navy, lima, Great Northern, black-eyed peas, and lentils, providing protein and fiber.
- Pasta sauce: Essential for pasta dishes, canned or jarred pasta sauces have a long shelf life and come in many flavors like marinara, alfredo, pesto, tomato and basil, arrabbiata, bolognese, vodka, mushroom, garlic and herb, roasted red pepper, and sun-dried tomato.
Dried Fruits and Nuts
Dried fruits and nuts are nutritious and convenient snacks that can also be used as ingredients in various recipes. Some popular options include:
- Trail mix: A mixture of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and sometimes chocolate, providing a healthy and portable snack.
- Dried fruits: Raisins, apricots, dates, figs, prunes, cranberries, blueberries, cherries, mangoes, apples, pineapples, bananas, papayas, kiwis, peaches, and pears are common dried fruit choices that can be added to cereals, yogurt, or baked goods.
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, sunflower, cashews, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, and hemp seeds are examples of nutrient-dense options to have on hand.
Baking essentials are key non-perishable ingredients that will allow you to prepare baked goods and other recipes. Some of the most common baking essentials are:
- Flour: All-purpose flour is a must-have for baking, and other varieties include whole-wheat, almond, and coconut flour.
- Baking Mixes: cornbread mix, muffin mix, biscuit mix, waffle mix, and pancake mix.
- Oils and fats: Cooking oils, such as vegetable oil, olive oil, and coconut oil, are essential for both baking and cooking.
- Sugar: Different types of sugar, like granulated, brown, and powdered, are used in baking and sweetening food and beverages. You can also store honey in your pantry.
Snacks and Beverages
Snacks and beverages can also be non-perishable, making them convenient options to have on hand for satisfying cravings or as part of an emergency food supply. Some common non-perishable snacks and beverages include:
- Crackers: A versatile snack that pairs well with cheese, spreads, or eaten alone.
- Tea and coffee: Both of these are long-lasting staples that provide comfort and energy when needed.
- Shelf-stable milk: Milk alternatives, such as almond, evaporated, soy, or powdered milk, have a longer shelf life than dairy milk.
These are just a few examples of the many non-perishable food options available to stock your pantry and ensure you are prepared for any situation.
- Powdered Eggs
- Hamburger Helper
- Powdered Creamer
- Water Flavorings
- Fruit Leather
- Spices (salt, pepper, cumin, curry powder, garlic powder, basic, etc.)
Storing Non-Perishable Foods
Shelf Life and Food Safety
Non-perishable foods have a longer shelf life compared to perishable foods due to their low moisture content and the presence of preservatives or additives. Although they are less susceptible to spoilage, it is still crucial to store them properly to ensure food safety. Monitoring expiration dates and ensuring proper storage conditions can significantly extend the food’s shelf life and maintain its quality.
Refrigeration is unnecessary for most non-perishable foods, as they can withstand room temperature. However, some items, like canned goods, may require it once they are opened for consumption. Always check the labels for specific instructions regarding storage after opening.
Best Storage Practices
- Airtight containers: Storing food in airtight containers is essential for preventing the ingress of moisture and contaminants. These containers maintain the quality and freshness of non-perishable foods such as grains, pasta, dried fruits, and nuts.
- Cool, dry, and dark environment: Heat, light, and moisture exposure can cause non-perishable foods to deteriorate over time. Store them in a cool, dry, dark place like a pantry or cupboard to prolong shelf life.
- Organize and rotate: It’s essential to organize and rotate stored non-perishable foods regularly. Place new items in the back and older items in the front, ensuring first-in, first-out usage. This practice helps prevent food waste and guarantees items’ consumption before expiration dates.
- Label and date: To keep track of your non-perishable food items, label and date them upon purchase. This practice makes it easy to identify the items you have on hand and monitor their expiration dates to ensure food safety.
Following these best storage practices ensures that your non-perishable foods remain safe, fresh, and high-quality for consumption. Proper storage of these items plays a vital role in maintaining their nutritional value and preventing food waste.
Key Nutrients in Non-Perishable Foods
Protein is an essential nutrient for maintaining and repairing body tissues. It’s crucial to include protein-rich foods in a well-balanced diet. Some non-perishable protein sources include:
- Jerky: This dried meat product is high in protein and makes a convenient snack.
- Canned fish: Fish, such as tuna and salmon, are good sources of protein, and canned varieties have a long shelf life.
- Nut butters: Peanut butter and other nut butters provide a significant amount of protein and healthy fats.
Pairing these protein sources with other foods can help improve the overall quality of the protein intake in a diet.
Fiber and Whole Grains
Fiber is essential for digestion and has numerous health benefits, including maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Whole grains are a great source of dietary fiber. Some non-perishable sources of fiber and whole grains include:
- Oats: A versatile and nutrient-dense grain, oats are high in soluble fiber and can be used in various recipes.
- Canned vegetables: Canned veggies such as corn, peas, and green beans are good sources of fiber. Look for options with low sodium content.
- Canned fruits: Fruits like peaches, pears, and pineapple in their own juice or light syrup offer a healthy dose of fiber.
Always choose whole grain products over refined grains for maximum health benefits.
Healthy fats are essential for brain function, heart health, and the absorption of certain vitamins. Some good sources of non-perishable healthy fats include:
- Nuts: Cashews, almonds, and walnuts are packed with healthy fats and nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
- Seeds: Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and sunflower seeds provide essential fatty acids and a variety of nutrients.
- Oils: Olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil are versatile, non-perishable sources of healthy fats that can be used for cooking or drizzling on salads.
Including a variety of these foods in your diet will help ensure that you’re receiving the key nutrients necessary for balanced nutrition and overall health.
Including Non-Perishable Foods in Your Diet
Incorporating non-perishable foods into your diet can help ensure a balanced and nutritious intake, especially during emergencies or when fresh options are limited. Non-perishable items can be a great source of protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. For instance, canned beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber, making them a healthy addition to meals. Similarly, canned soups and vegetables can provide essential nutrients even when fresh options are not available. However, it is important to look for low-sodium and low-sugar options to maintain a balanced diet.
Creative Meal Ideas
There are plenty of creative meal ideas using non-perishable foods that can become favorites for you and your family. Here are a few suggestions:
- Pasta dishes: Combine whole grain pasta with canned vegetables, beans, and a tomato-based sauce for a quick and nutritious meal.
- Stir-fries: Use canned or frozen vegetables, canned proteins like chicken or tofu, and a tasty sauce to create a flavorful stir-fry over rice or noodles.
- Hearty soups: Mix canned beans, vegetables, and broth to create a satisfying soup that is both delicious and nutritious.
Non-Perishable Snacks and Treats
Non-perishable foods can also be used to create delicious and healthy snacks. Some popular options include:
- Nuts: A handful of nuts (like almonds, cashews, or walnuts) can be a filling and nutritious snack rich in protein and healthy fats.
- Trail mix: Create your own mix by combining nuts, dried fruits, and whole grain cereal for a snack that is both tasty and energizing.
- Granola bars: Opt for those with whole grains, nuts, and minimal added sugar for a convenient and satisfying snack.
Remember to keep portion sizes in mind and choose options with minimal added sugars and unhealthy fats. By incorporating non-perishable foods into your diet, you can maintain a balanced and diverse intake even when fresh options are limited or unavailable.
Special Considerations for Non-Perishable Foods
Food Allergies and Intolerances
Non-perishable foods can provide a variety of nutrients, but it’s essential to be cautious of food allergies and intolerances when selecting items. Common allergens include nuts, soy, and gluten. Take time to read ingredient labels and be aware of potential allergens, especially when it comes to snacks like granola bars and protein bars.
Items such as coconut milk, olive oil, and shelf-stable milk can serve as alternative options for those with specific dietary needs. Always choose products that cater to individual allergies or intolerances, ensuring the consumption of safe and nutritious foods.
Reducing Added Sugars and Sodium
Many non-perishable foods tend to have higher levels of added sugars and sodium, which can be harmful to health when consumed in excess. To mitigate this concern, seek out low-sugar and low-sodium options.
For instance, opt for unsweetened cocoa powder and dark chocolate over sugary alternatives. Use natural sweeteners like maple syrup and vanilla extract instead of processed sugars. Replace high-sodium canned vegetables with lower-sodium versions, or incorporate fresh produce like carrots and spinach when possible.
Pay attention to the sodium content of salt, spices, pepper, and olives. Use them sparingly or look for low-sodium alternatives. Enhance the flavor of non-perishable foods with various herbs and spices, like vinegar, which can add a tangy kick without increasing sodium intake.
Shelf-Stable Nutrients and Beverages
Choose non-perishable foods that provide essential nutrients while maintaining a stable shelf life. For instance, powdered milk offers calcium and protein, and can be reconstituted with water when needed. Other shelf-stable drink options include coffee and juice, which can be convenient for on-the-go consumption or emergency situations.
Consider incorporating baking soda into recipes to ensure that non-perishable foods provide leavening, an essential aspect of baked goods.
In summary, when selecting non-perishable foods, consider allergen concerns, opt for low-sugar and low-sodium options, and prioritize nutrient-dense options that have a stable shelf life. By doing so, you can enjoy a variety of nutritious and convenient food choices that align with individual dietary needs.
Emergency Preparedness with Non-Perishable Foods
Planning for emergencies is essential to ensure the well-being of you and your family. One crucial aspect of emergency preparedness is having a pantry stocked with non-perishable foods. These are foods that can be safely stored for an extended period without spoiling, making them ideal for unpredictable situations like natural disasters, power outages, or other crises.
When creating an emergency food supply, choose items that are easy to store and require minimal preparation. It is crucial to have a variety of non-perishable options to accommodate different dietary preferences and nutritional needs. Some examples of non-perishable foods include:
- Canned vegetables and fruits
- Dried or canned meats, such as tuna or chicken
- Dried fruits and nuts
- Whole grain cereals and crackers
- Granola or protein bars
- Shelf-stable milk or plant-based alternatives
- Ready-to-eat soups and stews
Efficient storage of non-perishable foods is important for maximizing the available space in your pantry and keeping items organized. To maintain freshness and prevent spoilage, store these foods in a cool, dry, and dark place, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Properly sealed containers can extend the shelf life of certain products and protect them from pests.
Don’t forget the importance of water in your emergency planning. Make sure to have an ample supply of bottled water or a water purification method in case of a shortage or contamination. Depending on factors such as age, activity level, and climate, it is generally recommended to have at least one gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation purposes.
In addition to food and water, it’s also helpful to have basic kitchen utensils and supplies, such as a manual can opener, disposable plates, and utensils, on hand to prepare and consume meals during an emergency situation. This will help streamline the process and minimize stress during a challenging time.
By carefully selecting non-perishable foods and efficiently storing them, you can build a dependable emergency pantry that will help you and your family stay nourished and prepared in times of crisis.