13 Healthy Shelf-Stable Food Options, According to Nutritionists (2022)

13 Healthy Shelf-Stable Food Options, According to Nutritionists (1)

With the nation (and the world) on high-alert during this unprecedented time, many have changed their routines to accommodate safer practices. We are told to avoid touching our eyes, nose, and mouth (something you do about 16 times an hour without even realizing), and avoid distance between ourselves and other people. Basically, you’ve heard this a million times: Stay home and do your part to flatten the curve.

With that in mind, if you haven’t already stocked up on food essentials, now is the time to do so. Since you want to reduce the number of times you leave the house (to zero, if possible), putting together a smart shopping list of shelf-stable foods is important, especially since fresh fruits and vegetables (sadly) don’t last as long as we’d like them to.Now, it’s smart to stock up on the frozen kind, which can easily be defrosted when you need them.

So while Spicy Nacho Doritos is a great comfort food purchase, we're thinking long-term here—i.e. healthier shelf-stable alternatives for preparing, serving, and snacking. Below, find our favorites, as recommended by experts.

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Chickpea Pasta

Instead of wheat pasta, choose a healthier alternative, like chickpea. “Chickpeas contain immune-boosting zinc and de-stressors like magnesium,” says nutritionist Tracy Lockwood Beckerman. “Chickpea-based pasta is filled with plant-based protein, fiber, and is even gluten free.” The Banza brand was highly recommended by many, and offers Banza Pasta available in 15+ shapes, Banza Rice (cooks in five minutes), and a plant-based, vegan mac and cheese.

02of 13

(Video) How to Create a Healthy Plate

Crispy Snacks

Cheese fanatics unite! Whisps are crunchy, flavorful, and made with 100% real cheese that are baked and not fried. They taste like a party every time you bite down and are a fantastic replacement for oily potato chips. Flavors include Regular and new Tangy Ranch and Nacho. Another brand, AvoCrazy, makes Avocado Puffs. Think cheese puffs but healthy. They’re vegan, gluten-free, have no sugar, and are full of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, folate, and potassium, all found in avocados.

03of 13

Cleaner Nut Butters

Peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, and every nut better in between is a great pantry staple. Not only are they rich in omega-3s, they’re also a good source of magnesium, which is a mineral that may naturally lower anxiety and stress. Brigitte Zeitlin, a registered dietitian based in New York City, also says to make sure to buy ones that do not have added salt or sugar. “The ingredients should only say the name of the nut without anything additional.” Split Nutrition offers a dual packet of both clean nut butter and jam spread—all in one pack.

04of 13

Better-for-you Cookies

Lenny & Larry offer treats are packed with protein, fiber, and none of the bad stuff. The plant-based, baked, vegan cookies come in a variety of flavors to satisfy everyone in the family. They even have a Keto Cookie, if that's what you're into.

05of 13

Canned Salmon

Lee Cotton, RND, LDN, suggests swapping any canned meat for canned salmon. “Salmon is a great source of B vitamins, protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and Vitamin D,” she says. “If you’re able to purchase the wild-caught salmon in a can, that’s your best choice. Believe it or not, the soft bones inside are an excellent source of calcium."

06of 13

Green Lentil Pasta

“The refining process removes most nutrients from wheat, making regular pasta a poor source of vitamins and minerals,” says Dr. Sarah Neidler, a molecular biologist with a Ph.D. in cancer research. Instead, as another alternative to wheat pasta, she recommends green lentil pasta. “Lentils are one of the most protein-rich plant foods with a low glycemic index, which keeps you full for a long time.” Ancient Harvest offers green lentil penne and spaghetti.

(Video) Healthy Eating for Kids - Compilation Video: Carbohydrates, Proteins, Vitamins, Mineral Salts, Fats

07of 13

Naturally Sweet Treats

Baresnacks offers vegan, shelf-stable chips are made solely from real apples that are baked, not fried. Fuji and Reds Apple Chips have no added sugar or preservatives, so they’re the perfect snack to have for yourself or give to the family. The only ingredient is apples. Another really delicious, shelf-stable sweet treat are dates. Joolies are certified organic dates that are high in natural plant fiber and have a low glycemic index. They’re packed with magnesium, B vitamins and potassium.

08of 13

Homemade Granola

Cereals can be jam-packed with lots of added sugar, but little whole grains, fiber, protein or healthy fats. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS suggests making your own granola instead. “Pantry staples like dried coconut, nuts, seeds, rolled oats, dried fruit, and honey or maple syrup are all the ingredients you need.” If you don’t have these ingredients on hand, healthier cereal alternatives like Kashi GO Cereals offer good, nutritious ingredients with protein and fiber. Switch it up with oatmeal from Nature Path. Their Qi’a Superseeds & Grains Oatmeal packs a nutritional punch with oats, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and buckwheat and no added sugar.

09of 13

Bone Broth

Canned or boxed bone broths can be the base for a ton of nourishing soups. Nutritionist Shannon Doleac recommends these instead of the high-sodium, processed canned varieties. Parks & Nash created bone broth soups that are already cooked and ready to heat up. These protein-packed soups are meant to help decrease inflammation, immunity, and improve gut health, sleep, and energy.

(Video) Healthy Eating on a Budget

10of 13

Sprouted Gluten-Free Bread

White breads can leave you foggy and lethargic. Instead of regular white or whole wheat bread, consider sprouted whole grain bread like Little Northern Bakehouse’s Sprouted 7 Grain Bread. “Sprouting makes nutrients easier for our bodies to absorb while retaining all their nutrition and fiber,” says Holistic Nutritionist Joy McCarthy. “Plus, essential nutrients, like B vitamins and vitamin C, are made more available to give you a boost of focus and mental awareness.”

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This nutrient-dense, shelf-stable food is a powerhouse of versatility. “Quinoa contains a good percentage of all nine essential amino acids that our body cannot create on its own,” says Jayne Williams, Certified Integrative Health and Nutrition Expert. “Quinoa can be used in everything from breakfast options, plant-based burgers, side dishes, and healthier desserts.”

12of 13

Healthier Pancake Mix

Opt for the healthier pancake mixes, like the recently-launched line from Purely Elizabeth. These mixes, which normally have refined sugar as a second ingredient, are made with a blend of chia, hemp, and almond flour, sweetened with coconut sugar. They even have a pancake mix that contains grass-fed collagen, a super ingredient for the health-conscious foodies.

13of 13

Seaweed snacks

Craving the salty crunch? Seaweed is highly nutritious and the perfect topping for a lunch bowl, salads, morning scramble, or even as a replacement for chips. DJ Blatner, RD loves seaweed snacks for their immunity-boosting vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids. Try gimMe Organic Seaweed Snacks, which come in all different flavors including sea salt, sesame, and olive oil. If you'd rather try another salty treat, Goodfish offers a really delicious crispy salmon skin chip. Yep. It’s packed with clean protein, healthy fats, marine collagen, and comes in a variety of flavors.

(Video) How the food you eat affects your brain - Mia Nacamulli

How to Make Yourself Crave Healthy Foods, According to a Nutritionist

Article Sources

Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.

  1. Nicas M, Best D. A study quantifying the hand-to-face contact rate and its potential application to predicting respiratory tract infection.J Occup Environ Hyg. 2008;5(6):347-352. doi:10.1080/15459620802003896

  2. Boyle NB, Lawton C, Dye L. The effects of magnesium supplementation on subjective anxiety and stress-a systematic review.Nutrients. 2017;9(5):429. doi:10.3390/nu9050429

  3. Al-Farsi MA, Lee CY. Nutritional and functional properties of dates: a review.Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2008;48(10):877-887.

  4. McCance RA, Sheldon W, Widdowson EM. Bone and vegetable broth.Arch Dis Child. 1934;9(52):251-258.

  5. Mano F, Ikeda K, Joo E, et al. The effect of white rice and white bread as staple foods on gut microbiota and host metabolism.Nutrients. 2018;10(9):E1323.

    (Video) Plant-based Nutrition Myth-busting with Emma Strutt from The Lentil Intervention.

  6. Willcox DC, Scapagnini G, Willcox BJ. Healthy aging diets other than the Mediterranean: a focus on the Okinawan diet.Mech Ageing Dev. 2014;136-137:148-162.


What is the number 1 healthiest food in the world? ›

So, having scoured the full list of applicants, we have crowned kale as the number 1 healthiest food out there. Kale has the widest range of benefits, with the fewest drawbacks when stacked up against its competitors.

What is considered shelf-stable food? ›

Shelf-stable foods are foods that can safely sit on the pantry shelf for at least one year and do not have to be cooked or refrigerated to eat safely.

What food should I stockpile now? ›

What to Always Keep in Your Pantry
  • Peanut butter. A great source of energy, peanut butter is chock-full of healthful fats and protein. ...
  • Whole-wheat crackers. ...
  • Nuts and trail mixes. ...
  • Cereal. ...
  • Granola bars and power bars. ...
  • Dried fruits, such as apricots and raisins. ...
  • Canned tuna, salmon, chicken, or turkey. ...
  • Canned soups and chili.
19 May 2022

How do you eat healthy on a shelf-stable diet? ›

Get ideas for shelf-stable foods and recipes below.
Whole Grains
  1. Choose intact whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, or quinoa.
  2. Look for 100% whole grain pasta, or bean-based pasta.
  3. Choose 100% whole wheat bread and tortillas, or corn tortillas. (These can all be frozen.)
23 Mar 2020

Why are shelf-stable foods important? ›

Food Additives + Shelf-Stability = Stronger Food Supply

Without them, we would have to make more frequent grocery trips, spend more money on food, and throw away food that would spoil too quickly.

What vegetables are shelf-stable? ›

Fresh Veggies with longer shelf life:
  • Spaghetti squash.
  • Butternut squash.
  • Onions.
  • Garlic.
  • Potatoes | Sweet Potatoes.
  • Cabbage.
  • Kale.
  • Turnips.
13 Mar 2020

Why are some foods shelf-stable? ›

Shelf-stable foods have undergone preservation processes that have produced foods that are considered to be 'commercially sterile,' i.e., will not spoil or cause disease under normal conditions of handling and distribution. These foods are not completely sterile and are subject to some type of bacterial spoilage.

What are the 3 foods to quit? ›

"This can lead to weight gain and other detrimental health conditions," Corey warned.
  • Processed Meats. Foods such as bacon, sausages and some deli meats are not only high in calories and sodium, but also in saturated fat as well as some nitrates and nitrites. ...
  • Sugary Coffee Drinks. ...
  • Sugary Cereals.
19 Mar 2022

What 3 foods Can you survive on? ›

  • Perfect Foods. (Image credit: XuRa (opens in new tab) | shutterstock (opens in new tab)) ...
  • Beans. (Image credit: USDA) ...
  • Kale. (Image credit: Justin Jernigan) ...
  • Cantaloupe. (Image credit: stock.xchng) ...
  • Berries. (Image credit: Ohio State University.) ...
  • Barley. (Image credit: USDA) ...
  • Seaweed. (Image credit: NOAA) ...
  • Fish.
10 Jun 2008

What food can you survive on the longest? ›

However, there is no known food that supplies all the needs of human adults on a long-term basis. Since Taylor is determined to follow a one-food diet, then potatoes are probably as good as anything, as they contain a wider range of amino acids, vitamins and minerals than other starchy foods, such as pasta or rice.

What meats are shelf-stable? ›

Meat products that can be stored at room temperature without the risk of microbial spoilage are considered to be shelf stable products. They include canned meats such as ham, tuna and chicken, jerky, dry sausages, snack sticks, summer sausage and freeze dried meat.

What is shelf-stable fruit? ›

Shelf-stable food (sometimes ambient food) is food of a type that can be safely stored at room temperature in a sealed container. This includes foods that would normally be stored refrigerated but which have been processed so that they can be safely stored at room or ambient temperature for a usefully long shelf life.

What food should I buy for shortage 2022? ›

Should I Stockpile for Food Shortages?
  • Bottled water.
  • Shelf-stable fruits and vegetables.
  • Beans and lentils.
  • Rice.
  • Nuts.
  • Peanut butter.
  • Shelf-stable milk.
  • Shelf-stable meat options.
1 Jul 2022

What should I be stocking up on 2022? ›

If you are wondering what food to buy before inflation hits more, some of the best food items to stockpile include:
  • Peanut butter.
  • Pasta.
  • Canned tomatoes.
  • Baking goods – flour, sugar, yeast, etc.
  • Cooking oils.
  • Canned vegetables and fruits.
  • Applesauce.
12 Feb 2022

Do I need to stock up on food 2022? ›

There will likely be a canned food shortage in 2022.

High prices and low availability of aluminum may cause canned food and beverage shortages this year, much like the end of 2021. This extends not just to canned food, but also canned pet food.

What are shelf-stable snacks? ›

30 Healthy non-perishable snacks
  • Straight-up fruit. Bananas, pears, oranges—they can all last for days.
  • Nuts. ...
  • Sliced fruit + nut butter. ...
  • Homemade protein cookies. ...
  • Roasted chickpeas. ...
  • Protein cereal (with almond milk) ...
  • A single-serving oatmeal cup or packet. ...
  • Breakfast bar.
20 Oct 2021

How can I eat healthy without a refrigerator? ›

Eating Healthy is Still Possible.
Canned, Bottled and Boxed Foods
  1. Canned soup.
  2. Canned veggies (e.g. green beans, corn)
  3. Canned beans.
  4. Canned tuna or chicken.
  5. Tomato Sauce.
  6. Chicken, Beef, or Vegetable broth.
  7. Vinegar.
  8. Olive oil, Canola Oil, Sesame Oil, etc.
19 Feb 2021

What foods can be stored for a long time? ›

Here is a list of foods that work well in long-term storage:
  • Rice.
  • Dried beans, lentils, or peas.
  • Protein bars, granola bars, or fruit bars.
  • Canned soups, fruit, and vegetables.
  • Peanut butter and jelly.
  • Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.
  • Powdered drink mixes.
  • Nuts and dried fruits.
14 Sept 2021

What are the two ingredients called shelf stable? ›

Foods that can be safely stored at room temperature, or "on the shelf," are called "shelf stable." These non-perishable products include jerky, country hams, canned and bottled foods, rice, pasta, flour, sugar, spices, oils, and foods processed in aseptic or retort packages and other products that do not require ...

Are dented soup cans safe? ›

If a can containing food has a small dent, but is otherwise in good shape, the food should be safe to eat. Discard deeply dented cans. A deep dent is one that you can lay your finger into. Deep dents often have sharp points.

How can I make my shelf life longer? ›

Here are 10 ways you can help prolong the shelf life of your food.
  1. Ignore best-before dates.
  2. Check your fridge temperature.
  3. Freeze just about everything.
  4. Keep things airtight.
  5. Grow your own herbs.
  6. Separate your fruit and veg.
  7. Get pickled.
  8. Master the art of batch cooking.
1 May 2020

What fruit is the most shelf-stable? ›

Apples. Apples and pears last longer than any other tree fruits, according to the University of Maine, and can keep for up to 4 months under the right conditions.

What fruit keeps the longest? ›

  • Blueberries are the longest lasting of the berry family; if they're allowed to ripen at room temperature and then stored in the fridge, they will keep for up to two weeks. ...
  • Oranges, grapefruits, clementines, lemons, and limes should be allowed to ripen at room temperature and then stored in the fridge.
8 Apr 2020

How long are shelf stable foods good for? ›

Most shelf-stable foods are safe indefinitely. In fact, canned goods will last for years, as long as the can itself is in good condition (no rust, dents, or swelling). Packaged foods (cereal, pasta, cookies) will be safe past the 'best by' date, although they may eventually become stale or develop an off flavor.

Are Frozen foods shelf stable? ›

Generally speaking, most food should last 3-6 months without succumbing to freezer burn. But wrapping foods properly with freezer wrap (not plastic wrap, which lets a lot of air in), or using air-tight, freezer-safe containers can increase their “shelf” life.

What is not shelf stable? ›

It means that items can sit on the shelf, without cold or refrigeration for long periods of time. No microbial spoilage. Fresh Fruits and veggies are generally not considered to be shelf stable.

What foods should you avoid after 50? ›

Here are eight foods that you should cut down on (or avoid eating altogether) as you get older, and why:
  • Raw or undercooked eggs, meat and poultry. ...
  • Grapefruit. ...
  • High-sodium foods. ...
  • Caffeine. ...
  • Sodas and sugary drinks. ...
  • “Sugar-free” drinks. ...
  • Alcoholic beverages. ...
  • Foods with empty calories.
24 Jul 2022

What 3 foods do cardiologists say to avoid? ›

“Avoid any foods that have the words 'trans,' 'hydrogenated,' or 'partially hydrogenated' on the label [indicating bad fats], often found in commercially fried foods, donuts, cookies and potato chips,” advises Dr. DeVane. “Also, be aware of how many calories are coming from sugar.

What foods help burn belly fat? ›

Studies indicate that a diet rich in high protein foods, such as eggs, fish, seafood, legumes, nuts, meat, and dairy results in overall less abdominal fat, more satiety, and an increased metabolic function. Adding fiber-rich foods to meals is also a key in keeping off the body fat.

What is the most nutritionally complete food? ›

"The only food that provides all the nutrients that humans need is human milk," Hattner said. "Mother's milk is a complete food. We may add some solid foods to an infant's diet in the first year of life to provide more iron and other nutrients, but there is a little bit of everything in human milk."

Which foods have all 9 essential amino acids? ›

Foods that contain all nine essential amino acids are called complete proteins. These foods include beef, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, soy, quinoa and buckwheat. Foods that contain some but not all the essential amino acids are called incomplete proteins. These foods include nuts, seeds, beans and some grains.

What to eat to get all nutrients? ›

Try to eat a variety of foods to get different vitamins and minerals. Foods that naturally are nutrient-rich include fruits and vegetables. Lean meats, fish, whole grains, dairy, legumes, nuts, and seeds also are high in nutrients.

What food can you eat everyday? ›

Including lean protein, vegetables, and nuts in the diet every day can help people stay healthy and prevent certain chronic conditions. Some plant foods, such as cruciferous vegetables and berries, contain particularly beneficial compounds, including polyphenols and glucosinolates.

What do the oldest people in the world eat? ›

Kane Tanaka, a 119-year-old woman from Fukuoka, Japan who currently reigns as the oldest living person, eats rice, fish and soup. However, she's not exactly on a strict routine. For her, that means savoring hakata ramen, motsu nabe (offal stew), mentaiko (fish roe) and mizutaki (chicken hotpot).

Can you live off eggs and potatoes? ›

Technically a person can survive well into adulthood without any major health issues off of just eggs and potatoes; though, cholesterol may become an issue when older.

What is the healthiest food in the world 2022? ›

#1 Moringa

According to the 2022 Whole Foods Trend Report, expect to see this nutrient-dense plant steal the spotlight as one of the healthiest foods to eat in 2022. In fact, global technology research predicts a 2.85 billion dollar growth in the moringa-product market by 2025 – wow is right.

What is the #1 Superfood? ›

Blueberries are at the top of almost every superfood list, but just about any edible berry is worthy of superfood status.

What is the number 1 healthiest fruit? ›

Citrus fruits and berries may be especially powerful for preventing disease. A 2014 study ranked “powerhouse” fruit and vegetables by high nutrient density and low calories. Lemons came out top of the list, followed by strawberry, orange, lime, and pink and red grapefruit.

What is the number 2 healthiest food in the world? ›

The 10 healthiest foods on Earth
  • Spinach. If it's good enough for Popeye, it's good enough for you. ...
  • Garlic. Agreed, it may make your breath smell, but trust us, the benefits it provides are well worth it. ...
  • Lemons. ...
  • Beetroots. ...
  • Dark Chocolate. ...
  • Lentils. ...
  • Raspberries. ...
  • Walnuts.
12 Jun 2017

What are the 7 super foods? ›

8 Superfoods to Eat After 50
  • Berries. Berries provide “one-stop nutrition” for the over-50 crowd because they're high in fiber, vitamin C and anti-inflammatory, antioxidant flavonoids. ...
  • Dark-green leafy vegetables. ...
  • Seafood. ...
  • Nuts and seeds. ...
  • Cottage cheese. ...
  • Beans and legumes. ...
  • Water. ...
  • Avocados.
4 Aug 2022

What fruit should you eat everyday? ›

Some of the healthiest fruits include pineapple, apples, blueberries, and mangos. You should eat three servings of fruit a day as part of a healthy diet. Eating fruit improves heart health, reduces inflammation, and boosts your immune system.

What is the most powerful superfood on earth? ›

The 13 Most Powerful Superfoods
  • Avocados. Sure, they're high in fat, but avocados contain healthful monounsaturated fat, which has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. ...
  • Blueberries. ...
  • Cabbage. ...
  • Fish and Fish Oil. ...
  • Garlic. ...
  • Mushrooms. ...
  • Almonds. ...
  • Flaxseeds.
19 Aug 2012

What one food has all the nutrients? ›

"The only food that provides all the nutrients that humans need is human milk," Hattner said. "Mother's milk is a complete food. We may add some solid foods to an infant's diet in the first year of life to provide more iron and other nutrients, but there is a little bit of everything in human milk."

What is the most healthiest drink? ›

Water is the best choice for quenching your thirst. Coffee and tea, without added sweeteners, are healthy choices, too. Some beverages should be limited or consumed in moderation, including fruit juice, milk, and those made with low-calorie sweeteners, like diet drinks.

What fruit gives you energy in the morning? ›

10 Fruits for an Extra Energy Boost in Your Morning Smoothie
  • 10 Fruits for an Extra Energy Boost in Your Morning Smoothie. Brain fog and a lack of energy is all too common in the morning. ...
  • Banana. Bananas are high in natural, complex sugars and rich in fiber. ...
  • Goji Berries. ...
  • Avocados. ...
  • Oranges. ...
  • Watermelon. ...
  • Dates. ...
  • Black Sapote.

What is the healthiest snack to eat? ›

Tips for Healthy Snacking
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Frozen fruit.
  • Fruits canned in water or their own juice.
  • Whole grain bread, crackers and cereals.
  • Lower fat yogurt.
  • Lower fat cheese.
  • Unsalted nuts and seeds and their butters.
  • Hummus.
1 Mar 2021

What fruit is a super fruit? ›

Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches and cantaloupes are my top five favorite super fruits, and they're all powerful with their combination of phytonutrients and antioxidants,” says Stacy Kolbash, MS, RD, LDN, an instructor at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte.


1. How To Read A Nutrition Label For Clean Eating With Amber Velasquez
(Nutritious Life by Keri Glassman)
3. Mayo Clinic Minute: Low-carb diet findings and cautions
(Mayo Clinic)
4. What's the Best Diet? Healthy Eating 101
(The Rooted Dietitian )
6. Nutrition Tips for Healthier Shopping at the Grocery Store
(Inova Health System)

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