A Dietitian’s Staple Foods List (get ready for a read!)

Staples Why
Grains Quinoa ·         My favorite carbohydrate side dish that you can pair with just about anything! (Example: one pot skillet meal – quinoa, chicken, and veggies with your choice of sauce or seasoning).

·         Quinoa is a complete protein and a great source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, and potassium.

·          Check out the brand “I Heart Keenwah” for hot quinoa cereal which is delicious paired with fruit and nuts in the morning.

Brown Rice

White Rice

·         Another great side dish to add to any meal, brown rice is obviously the preferred carbohydrate over white rice because it is a complex carbohydrate and prevents large fluctuations in blood sugar versus white rice which is a simple carbohydrate – I do keep both in my pantry though and sometimes I will do a mix of both!
Whole Wheat Pasta

Whole Wheat Gnocchi

·         I believe in including carbohydrates into my meals as you can tell, balance and moderation is key. Our bodies (especially our brain) need the quick energy source that carbohydrates provide and all carbohydrate sources are not the enemy.

·         *check out my previous blog post to make sure that you are checking the nutrition label and buying 100% whole wheat or 100% whole grain products. Whole Grains? Whole Wheat? Sprouted Grains? What Should You Choose?

Lentils ·         If you want to load up on your fiber intake (for the week haha), you need to include lentils into your diet!

·         Lentils are a great source of protein, iron, potassium, and fiber.

·         I use them in place of beans in some recipes and if you have never made lentil soup before, you are missing out. Lentils are a great addition to meat-less meals to increase the protein content and keep you full longer. Check out this website for lentil recipes – Easy Lentil Recipes

Rolled Outs ·         For the obvious reason – oatmeal, oatmeal cookies, oatmeal energy bites, etc.

·         Oats are nutrient powerhouses with heart healthy benefits including reducing total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Plus, rolled oats are whole grains, try overnight oats for an amazing breakfast ritual. (try this recipe – Peanut Butter Overnight Oats Recipe)

Whole Wheat Flour

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

Almond Flour

All-Purpose Flour

·         Guys, I love to bake and try new recipes, so I have to have all kinds of flour. You guys wanted my staple foods, so this is honestly what I keep as staple foods in my house.
Whole Wheat Tortilla’s ·         Because cheese and black beans in a whole wheat tortilla is one of my favorite  quick and easy meals 🙂
Staples Why
Dairy Almond Milk ·         I am lactose intolerant so plant-based milk is my milk of choice. I use almond milk for smoothies and for baked goods!
Cheese Sticks (reduced fat/low fat version) ·         Most of the time I eat salads at work so I pair a cheese stick with my meal to make sure I get adequate protein to hold me over until my next snack or meal!
Parmesan Cheese (low fat/reduced fat) ·          I need this to top my pasta and Italian dishes

·         Plus, I need the calcium.

Shredded Cheese (low fat/reduced fat) ·         Because I need this to top all my Mexican themed dishes
Plain or Vanilla Yogurt (Greek and Low Fat) ·         I pair my yogurt in the morning with granola, peanut butter, fruit, seeds, nuts, etc.

·         I also add yogurt to my smoothies to bump up the protein and make sure I am getting adequate probiotics to promote a normal functioning digestive system.

·         Plus, I need the calcium.

·         Read my blog post on health benefits of yogurt if you need convincing on why this should be in your fridge! All About Yogurt

Half and Half ·       I use a tiny bit of half and half for my morning coffee.
Staples Why
Protein Chicken (breast or tenderloins) – skinless and boneless ·         We eat chicken about once a week; normally I bake it in the oven with veggies for a quick and easy sheet pan meal.

·         Here is an example sheet pan meal – Honey Roasted Chicken Sheet Pan Meal




·         I always buy wild-caught (not farm-raised), I am particular about that.

·          I love to pour lemon juice over my fish and maybe add a little bit of salt and pepper – it is my favorite and so simple!

·         My top methods of cooking fish are baking and steaming, I love to add a piece of fish to the top of my salads for protein plus all the omega-3’s.

·          Pair your fish with any vegetable and they will go great together.

Lean Ground Turkey (normally 93% lean, 7% fat) ·         I use ground turkey for Taco Tuesdays!!!

·         Plus I like to cook ground turkey and add rice and stir-fry veggies with some light sodium soy sauce for my idea of a Chinese night! Recipe: Healthy Turkey and Veggies, One Pot Skillet Meal

Black Beans

Chickpeas (tons and tons)  and HUMMUS!

Kidney Beans

Edamame (Frozen)

·         Beans, beans, beans – no salt added or at least rinsed before used if you are buying canned beans!

·         This is my favorite protein source of all time, great for an addition to meat-less or vegan meals.

·          I add beans to salads, breakfast skillets, brownies, and everything in between.

·          Plus the aquafaba in the can of chickpeas is great for making vegan chocolate mousse!!

·         Try adding edamame (which is a complete protein full of all the essential amino acids that your body needs) to your daily intake, here is a link to fun ways to use edamame – Edamame Recipes

Italian Sausage (Nitrate Free + Fully Cooked, like the brands found in Aldi and Lidl) ·         Another super easy to cook protein source!

·         I love adding Italian sausage to a pan of whole wheat pasta + kale + white beans + garbanzo beans! So super delicious and a great weeknight meal, make sure the sodium content of the sausage isn’t through the roof though. Recipe Here: Kale, Sausage, and Chickpea Skillet Meal

Eggs ·         This protein source can be incorporated into any meal – not just breakfast! Try branching out and adding eggs as a topping to your salad, you will thank me later.

·         Plus, I need eggs for all the baking that I do!

Staples Why
Fats and Oils Extra Virgin Olive Oil ·         I pretty much use this for every single thing that I make; it is my oil of choice due to its high antioxidant content, anti-inflammatory properties, and healthy fats!

·         This is my most used ingredient in the kitchen.

AVOCADOS. ·         I don’t even need to explain, I know you guys understand. Omega-3 fatty acids and increased heart health.

·         Try adding Avocados to your smoothies or in baking recipes!




·         Please do not get the salted ones; raw almonds are just as tasty!

·         These are my favorite nuts; they are calorically dense and full of heart healthy fats so I make sure to keep a bag at work and in my car so that I will reach for a healthy alternative instead of driving through a fast-food restaurant while I am on the run.

Pumpkin Seeds

Sunflower Seeds



·         Always a plethora of seeds in my cabinet, I like to add pumpkin and sunflower seeds to my salads as well as add chi seeds and flaxseeds into baked goods and my smoothies to incorporate more protein and healthy fats!

·         Check out my endless blog posts about seeds and the health benefits related to their consumption

·          Let’s Talk Flax Seeds

·         Let’s Talk Chia Seeds

·         Let’s Talk Hemp Seeds

Staples Why
Fruits Blueberries



(whatever is on sale and in season but these are my favorite)

·         I always have some kind of fresh berry in my fridge for topping my yogurt and granola in the mornings (plus, topping salads for lunch).

·         I also love to top desserts with berries – mousse and sorbets, etc. as well as include berries into my baked goods – like blueberry muffins! YUM.




·         I fill a glass bowl with fruit and sit it on my counter to remind Chris to eat more fruit.

·          I always bring some mandarin oranges with my lunches to make sure I am incorporating fruit into the majority of my meals.

·         Pick fruits that you can grab and go – no preparation needed.




(whatever is on sale and in season but these are my favorites)

·         Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to make sure you are getting all the minerals and vitamins that your body needs.

·         Use fruit in place of less healthful dessert options.

·         Fruit consumption is associated with lower blood pressure and decreased cardiovascular issues.

Variety bags of frozen fruit – whatever is a good deal! ·         For smoothies!!!
Staples Why
Vegetables Kale


(when there is a good deal I buy Swiss chard as well)

·         Because do you know how much salad this girl eats? And how much I love sautéing veggies with olive oil?

·         Kale is my favorite food and full of fiber plus folate and magnesium.

·          You can add kale and spinach to smoothies! Everyone loves a green smoothie.


Bell Peppers




·         The most versatile veggies that I need on hand at all time because every recipe calls for at-least one of these ingredients! Side note: I keep canned tomatoes on hand as well as fresh (stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes,  tomato paste, and tomato sauce – read the labels and make educated choices on which brand you buy)
Corn (canned) ·         Just like beans, you can pretty much add corn to about any meal. I choose no salt versions.
All the Frozen Veggies!

Frozen Broccoli, Frozen Mixed Veggies – stir-fry version, California medley, etc.

·         This way you have no excuse not to incorporate veggies into every single meal that you eat!
Frozen Riced Cauliflower

Frozen Riced Sweet Potato

·         Use these options instead of higher carbohydrate choices in meals (like rice and pasta), or do half and half (rice and riced veggies), you get more vitamins and minerals that way!
Sweet Potatoes ·         Always have sweet potatoes on hand as a nutrient filled carbohydrate side dish. I just recently made home-made sweet potato fries and they were out of this world!
Squash – spaghetti squash, zucchini, yellow squash, butternut squash ·         I normally buy one type of squash  each time I go grocery shopping – I definitely don’t keep all of these on hand at any given time but squash is a super versatile veggie that can be used in place of pasta in tons of meals. Squash is super easy to cook too! (Or at-least I think so!)
Staples Why
Miscellaneous Spices: name a spice and I probably have it, my spice cabinet is more like a spice closet. My top favorite spices – salt, pepper, red chili pepper flakes, chili powder, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, paprika, rosemary, oregano, basil. ·         Always keep spices on hand to add something extra to meals! Read my blog post about Herbs and Spices for Health
Apple Butter


Maple Syrup

·         I love apple butter for toast and English muffins.

·         Honey is my choice for sweetening oatmeal, smoothies, and tea (I always buy raw honey).

Low Sodium Soy Sauce



·         We all need these condiments in our kitchen.

Corn Starch

Baking Soda

Brewer’s Yeast

Baking Powder

Coconut Oil

Canola Oil

White Wine Vinegar

Red Wine Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

Sesame Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Rice Wine Vinegar

·         Cooking and Basic Necessities
Lemon Juice

Lime Juice

·         For seasoning fish!

Printable Version: (Look how easy I made it, plus its free!)


If you made it to the end of this list than you deserve a prize! If you have any questions about the certain brands or specific products that I buy, please reach out to me and let me know!

I am starting to offer individualized meal plans and counseling services through my website so if you feel like you could benefit from having a Dietitian resource 24/7, contact me and we can make a plan for you! I would absolutely love to empower you to reach your goals and create a healthier lifestyle.

-Cinthia Scott, RD, LD, CNSC

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