By Barbara Broggelwirth, RDN, CDN

Supermarkets can feel like minefields these days. Social distancing practices makes us less likely to want to go food shopping, and if we do go to the store, we don’t want to go often.  So, what foods can we purchase in larger amounts to keep on hand that won’t go bad and are also nutrient dense?

Here are some foods that meet that criteria, along with a few recipe ideas to use them in:

Building a Nutrient Dense Pantry
Dried beans and lentils Canned fish Low fat Cheese
Canned low sodium beans Low-sodium chicken / vegetable broth Eggs
Whole grains (oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa) Low sodium canned soups Non-fat plain Greek yogurt
Whole grain pasta (lentil, whole wheat, chickpea) Natural peanut or almond butter Frozen vegetable burgers
Jarred tomato sauce No salt added nuts Assorted frozen vegetables
Canned no-salt-added diced tomatoes Dijon mustard/vinegar/ olive oil Assorted frozen fruit
Prepared pesto Jarred salsa Chicken/fish/lean beef


Five simple recipes with less than five ingredients:

  1. Quick Pasta Fagioli – Simmer broth, crushed tomatoes with rinsed cannellini beans and small pasta, such as shells or elbows; cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente. Optional: Top with grated Parmesan.
  2. Quick Cauliflower Fried Rice – Sauté thawed frozen mixed vegetables in olive oil (or other oil, like sesame oil). Stir in frozen riced cauliflower and soy sauce and cook, stirring, until warm and sizzling. Optional: Add egg and scramble at the end
  3. Chili-Style Beans in a baked potato (or sweet potato) – Simmer rinsed kidney or pinto beans and a can of diced tomatoes until tender and saucy. Add a teaspoon of cumin and chili powder to the beans and tomatoes. Serve inside a small baked potato and top with non-fat plain Greek yogurt.
  4. Pasta Primavera – Measure ½ cup serving of cooked whole grain pasta, 1 tbsp of pesto and bulk it up with tons of frozen vegetables.
  5. Savory oatmeal with vegetables –  Frozen vegetables mixed with cooked steel cut oats and prepared pesto – pair with your favorite protein.

Please remember when you do venture out to the grocery store to wear a mask, stay six feet away from others, sanitize everything you bring home and stay safe.


Adapted from


Barbara Broggelwirth, RDN, CDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist who works with Bariatric and Medical Weight Management patients, helping them achieve their health and weight loss goals.