If so, you have come to the right place.
Having a well-stocked pantry is crucial for maintaining optimal nutrition and fueling your performance.
A pantry is not just a place to keep canned and dry foods. It can also include foods that you keep in the fridge or freezer that last a long time and are easy to use.
In this blog post, we will provide you with a pantry staples list pdf, including grains, pastas, cereals, breads, nuts and seeds, dried fruits and more, that will help you meet your nutritional needs. (1)
Additionally, we’ve included a downloadable pantry staples list pdf that you can use as a handy reference guide.
The benefits of following pantry staples list pdf for athletes
Pantry staples are a variety of foods that athletes find super helpful. These foods are versatile, last a long time and have lots of benefits.
Here are a few reasons why using our pantry staples list pdf is good for athletes:
- Nutrient dense: Pantry staples have important nutrients like carbs, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These nutrients help athletes grow, perform well and stay healthy. (1)
- Energy and recovery: Athletes need energy and to recover after workouts. Pantry staples give you the fuel you need for their muscles and brain, so you perform at your best. (2)
- Convenient and healthy: With pantry staples, you don’t have to skip meals or rely on unhealthy fast food. You can easily make nutritious meals, even when you’re in a hurry.
- Time and money savers: Pantry staples last a long time, so athletes don’t have to shop as often or waste food. This saves time and money.
- Get creative in the kitchen: Athletes can have fun experimenting with different pantry staples. You can mix and match ingredients, try new flavors, and make tasty meals that keep you excited about eating well.
Using pantry staples is a smart choice for athletes. They provide important nutrients, convenience, savings and a chance to explore your cooking skills. So, athletes, stock up your pantry and get ready to fuel your body and perform your best!
How to stock your pantry
There is no one perfect pantry list for athletes. Your pantry staples may vary depending on your personal likes, dislikes, needs and sports nutrition goals.
However, there are some general tips that can help you stock your pantry with foods that support your health and performance.
- Choose foods that are high in quality, nutrient density and flavor
- Opt for whole or minimally processed foods over refined or highly processed
- Include foods from different food groups, such as grains, beans, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, oils, spices
- Look for foods that have a long shelf life, such as canned, dried, frozen or vacuum-sealed
- Store your foods properly to prevent spoilage and contamination
- Check the expiration dates and rotate your foods regularly
- Experiment with different recipes and combinations of foods
The best pantry staples for athletes
Here’s our best pantry staples list pdf for athletes, categorized by food group. You can use these foods to make various meals and snacks that suit your taste buds and sports nutrition energy needs.
Grains are an excellent source of carbohydrates, which are essential for providing energy and supporting athletic performance. They also provide fiber, B vitamins, iron, magnesium and other minerals.
Including a variety of grains in your pantry ensures you have a range of nutrients to fuel your workouts and aid in recovery.
Here are some essential grains to include:
- Whole wheat pasta: Packed with fiber, whole wheat pasta is a great source of complex carbohydrates, offering sustained energy for workouts and aiding in muscle recovery.
- Brown rice: Brown rice is a nutrient-dense grain that provides a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. It is a versatile staple you can use in various meals to provide long-lasting energy.
- Quinoa: Quinoa is a complete protein grain, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. It is a valuable addition to any athlete’s diet, offering not only protein but also fiber, minerals and antioxidants.
- Barley: Barley is rich in fiber and a good source of vitamins and minerals, including manganese and selenium. It has a chewy texture and adds a nutty flavor to soups, salads or as a side dish.
- Bulgur: Bulgur is a whole grain made from cracked wheat. It is quick-cooking and has a slightly nutty flavor. It is an excellent source of fiber, manganese, and magnesium.
- Millet: Millet is a gluten-free grain that is rich in antioxidants and minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus. It has a mild, nutty flavor and is found in various recipes, such as hot cereal, salads or side dishes.
Including some of these grains from our pantry staples list pdf provides a solid foundation for nutritious meals that support your athletic performance and overall health.
Remember to store them properly in airtight containers to maintain their freshness and quality.
Cereals and breads
Cereals and breads offer quick and convenient sources of carbohydrates for athletes, making them ideal for pre- or post-workout meals. Here are some pantry staples in this category:
- Rolled oats: Rolled oats are a versatile and nutritious option, providing fiber, protein, and essential minerals. Make oatmeal, granola or add to smoothies for a hearty and filling meal. They are also rich in beta-glucan, a type of fiber that stabilizes blood sugar and reduces inflammation.
- Whole grain cereal: Look for whole grain cereals such as bran flakes or whole grain corn flakes. These cereals are typically fortified with vitamins and minerals and offer a good amount of fiber to keep you satiated and energized.
- Whole grain tortillas: Whole grain tortillas are a convenient option for creating healthy wraps or burritos. They provide complex carbohydrates and fiber for sustained energy.
- Multigrain bagels: Opt for multigrain bagels that incorporate a variety of grains like whole wheat, oats, and flaxseeds. These provide a balance of carbohydrates, fiber, and protein.
- Whole grain english muffins: Whole grain English muffins are a great choice for a quick and easy breakfast or snack. They can be topped with nut butter, avocado or lean protein for a balanced and satisfying meal.
- Whole grain crackers: When choosing crackers, opt for whole grain options that provide more fiber and nutrients than refined crackers. Pair them with hummus or nut butter for a nutritious snack.
- Whole wheat pita bread: Whole wheat pita bread is a versatile option for sandwiches, wraps or as a base for homemade pizzas. It offers a good amount of fiber and nutrients compared to white pita bread.
- Whole grain bread: Choose whole grain bread over refined white bread as it retains more fiber and nutrients. Look for bread with minimal additives and preservatives for a healthier option.
Including these cereals and bread options in your pantry ensures you have convenient and nutritious choices to fuel your active lifestyle.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great source of healthy fats, which are important for hormone production, lubricating joints, cell membrane function and reducing inflammation.
They also provide protein, fiber, vitamin E, selenium, zinc and other minerals. Some of the best nuts and seeds for athletes are:
- Almonds: Almonds are one of the most popular nuts. You can eat them raw, roasted or as almond butter. Almonds are also high in calcium, which is vital for bone health and muscle contraction.
- Walnuts: Walnuts are one of the most nutritious nuts. You can add them to salads, oatmeal, granola, baked goods, etc. Walnuts are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower inflammation and improve brain function.
- Chia seeds: You can make chia pudding, chia jam, chia gel, chia crackers, etc. You can also sprinkle them on smoothies, yogurt and salads. Chia seeds are also high in soluble fiber, which can help you feel full and regulate your blood sugar levels.
- Sunflower seeds: Sunflower seeds taste great them raw, roasted or as sunflower butter. Sunflower seeds are also high in vitamin E, which can protect your cells from oxidative damage.
Dried fruits are a convenient and nutritious option for athletes. They provide natural sugars, fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Here are some essential dried fruits to have in your pantry:
- Dried apricots: Dried apricots are a good source of iron, potassium, and fiber. They make for a sweet and chewy snack or can be added to trail mixes.
- Dates: Dates are naturally sweet and offer a good source of potassium and fiber. Slice and top your oatmeal, stuff with nut butter or add to smoothies for natural sweetness.
- Raisins: Raisins are rich in antioxidants and provide a good amount of fiber. They can be enjoyed as a standalone snack or added to baked goods and oatmeal.
- Dried cranberries: Dried cranberries provide antioxidants and a tangy flavor to your meals and snacks. Add to salads, oatmeal or enjoy in a trail mix.
- Dried blueberries: Dried blueberries are a tasty and convenient option for adding antioxidants and fiber to your diet. They can be used in baking, trail mixes, or enjoyed as a standalone snack.
- Dried mango: Dried mango is a delicious tropical treat that provides vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. Eat as a snack or add to homemade granola for added sweetness.
- Dried pineapple: Dried pineapple offers a sweet and tangy flavor along with vitamin C and manganese. It can be enjoyed on its own or used as a topping for yogurt and smoothie bowls.
Having a selection of dried fruits in your pantry allows you to add natural sweetness and a burst of flavor to your meals and snacks, while also providing a range of nutrients.
Canned goods are convenient pantry staples that offer a longer shelf life while still providing essential nutrients. Here are some essential canned goods for athletes:
- Tuna: Canned tuna is an excellent source of lean protein, omega-3 fatty acids and various vitamins and minerals. It can be used in salads, sandwiches or enjoyed as a standalone meal.
- Salmon: Another great source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids is canned salmon. Use in sandwiches, salads, or as a topping for whole grain crackers.
- Beans: Canned beans, such as chickpeas, black beans, or kidney beans, are versatile and provide a good amount of plant-based protein and fiber. They can be added to soups, salads or used to make homemade bean dips.
- Canned tomatoes: Canned tomatoes are a pantry staple that can be used to make sauces, stews or added to soups for added flavor and nutrients.
- Coconut milk: Canned coconut milk adds a creamy texture and rich flavor to curries, smoothies and desserts. It can be used as a dairy-free alternative in various recipes.
- Canned vegetables: Opt for low-sodium or no-salt-added canned vegetables such as corn, green beans or peas. They provide convenience and can be used in a variety of dishes when fresh produce is not readily available.
- Soup: Canned soups can be a quick and easy option for a light meal or snack. Look for options with lower sodium content and choose varieties that include vegetables and lean proteins.
Including a variety of canned goods in your pantry ensures you have nutritious options available, especially when fresh ingredients may not be accessible or convenient.
Condiments and spices
Condiments and spices add flavor and enhance the taste of meals without adding excessive calories or unhealthy ingredients. Here are some essential condiments and spices for athletes:
- Olive oil: Olive oil is a heart-healthy oil that used for cooking, salad dressings or as a flavorful addition to roasted vegetables and grilled meats.
- Nut butter: Nut butters, such as almond butter or peanut butter, are great sources of healthy fats and protein. Spread on whole grain bread, add to smoothies, or use as a dip for fruits and vegetables.
- Honey or maple syrup: Natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup can be used in moderation to add sweetness to oatmeal, yogurt or homemade energy bars.
- Low-sodium soy sauce: Low-sodium soy sauce is a staple in many cuisines and can be used to add savory flavor to stir-fries, marinades, or as a dipping sauce.
- Balsamic vinegar: Balsamic vinegar adds a tangy and slightly sweet flavor to salads, roasted vegetables or used as a marinade for meats.
- Herbs and spices: Stock your pantry with a variety of herbs and spices to enhance the flavors of your dishes without adding excess salt or calories. Examples include basil, oregano, cinnamon, turmeric, and chili powder.
- Hot sauce or sriracha: If you enjoy spicy flavors, having hot sauce or sriracha on hand can add a kick to your meals. Make sure to avoid on game day!
By having a selection of condiments and spices in your pantry, you can elevate the taste of your meals and make them more enjoyable without compromising on nutrition.
- Canned chicken: Create a quick pasta dish with this convenient source of lean protein that you can also be use in salads, sandwiches or added to pasta dishes for a quick and easy meal.
- Fish pouches: Canned fish pouches, such as tuna or salmon, offer a high protein content along with omega-3 fatty acids. Use these in salads, wraps or mixed with whole grain crackers for a protein-packed snack.
- Lentils: Lentils are a versatile legume that provides a good amount of protein, fiber, and essential minerals. They add flavor and richness in soups, stews, salads or as a meat substitute in various dishes.
- Legumes: Legumes, including chickpeas, black beans, and kidney beans, are excellent sources of plant-based protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. Use these in a variety of dishes such as chili, salads, or homemade bean dips.
- Edamame: Edamame, young soybeans, is a complete protein source that offers essential amino acids. Enjoy as a snack, added to stir-fries or used as a plant based protein boost in salads.
- Tofu: Tofu is a versatile plant-based protein that absorbs flavors well and tastes great grilled, stir-fried or used in soups and salads.
- Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt is a creamy and protein-rich option to add to smoothies, or used as a base for dressings and dips. Opt for plain, unsweetened varieties for a healthier option.
Including these protein sources in your pantry provides you with a range of options to meet your protein needs, whether you follow a plant-based or omnivorous diet.
Frozen pantry staples
- Vegetables: Nutrient-rich frozen vegetables, such as broccoli, peas, carrots, and spinach, offer convenience and retain their nutritional value, making them a versatile addition to meals and smoothies.
- Fruits: Frozen fruits like berries, mangoes, and pineapple are excellent for making smoothies, adding to yogurt or using in baked goods. They are packed with vitamins, antioxidants and natural sweetness.
- Chicken breasts: Frozen chicken breasts are a convenient and lean source of protein. Thaw and use in various dishes, such as stir-fries, salads or grilled chicken meals.
- Fish fillets: Frozen fish fillets, such as salmon or cod, provide a quick and easy way to incorporate omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. Bake, grill or pan-sear for a healthy and flavorful meal.
- Shrimp: Frozen shrimp is a versatile protein option that cooks quickly. Add to stir-fries, pasta dishes, or used as a topping for salads or tacos.
- Pizza dough: Frozen pizza dough allows you to create homemade pizzas with your choice of toppings. It’s a fun and customizable option for a quick and delicious meal.
Also, having a few frozen meals on hand can be handy for busy days. Look for options that are lower in sodium and include a good balance of protein, carbohydrates and vegetables.
Shelf stable dairy and non dairy
- Shelf-stable milk: Shelf-stable milk, such as UHT (ultra-high temperature) milk, comes in handy cartons to store at room temperature until opened. Use in smoothies, protein shakes or as a recovery drink post practice or game.
- Powdered milk: Powdered milk is a convenient option that you can store in your pantry for extended periods. Just add water or add it to recipes, baking or as a substitute for regular milk.
- High protein milk: Darigold FIT High protein milk is a shelf-stable milk that is a convenient source of protein. It provides calcium and other essential nutrients, while also offering a higher protein content to support muscle recovery and growth.
- Non-dairy milk alternatives: For athletes following a non-dairy or plant-based diet, there are several shelf-stable milk alternatives available, such as almond milk, oat milk, coconut milk, or soy milk.
Including shelf-stable dairy products or non-dairy milks in your pantry provides additional options for meeting your nutritional needs, especially in situations where refrigeration is limited or unavailable.
In addition to the other food categories, there are a few miscellaneous items that can be useful for athletes. Here are some essential pantry staples:
- Protein powder: Protein powder is a convenient way to supplement your protein intake, especially after intense workouts. Look for options with minimal additives and a good balance of protein and amino acids.
- Energy bars: Energy bars provide a quick and convenient source of carbohydrates and protein for on-the-go fueling. Look for options with whole food ingredients and minimal added sugars.
- Rice cakes: Rice cakes are a low-calorie and portable snack you can eat plain or top with nut butter, avocado or lean protein for a quick and satisfying bite.
- Popcorn: Air-popped popcorn or lightly salted popcorn can be a satisfying and low-calorie snack option for athletes. Avoid heavily buttered or flavored varieties.
- Herbal tea: Herbal teas, such as chamomile, peppermint, or green tea, offer hydration and can provide relaxation or an energy boost depending on the variety.
- Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa is a delicious treat that also offers antioxidants and may have cardiovascular benefits.
- Instant oatmeal packets: Instant oatmeal packets are convenient for quick breakfasts or snacks. Look for options with minimal added sugars and add your choice of toppings like nuts, seeds or dried fruits.
Building a well-stocked pantry following the essential pantry staples list pdf for athletes ensures you have a variety of nutrient-dense options readily available.
From grains and cereals to nuts and seeds, dried fruits, canned goods, condiments and spices, and miscellaneous items, this comprehensive guide offers a range of options to fuel your performance and support your active lifestyle.
Remember to download the pantry staples list pdf for easy reference whenever you need it.
Steph Magill, MS, RD, CD, FAND has over 22 years of experience in public health and nutrition. As a performance registered dietitian nutritionist, Stephanie specializes in sports nutrition and provides simple and actionable information so that athletes can be well fueled for high performance on and off the field. Stephanie has a Master’s Degree in Nutrition and is a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.