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The 6 healthy foods that you need in your pantry

A healthy home is made up of many different components, but one of the most important is the food that is stocked with.

As a public health professional, I have a strong understanding of the nutrients and foods that many Canadians are not getting enough of. 

In today’s article, I will outline 6 of the most important foods for you to have  available in your pantry on a regular basis to help promote a balanced nutrient intake and a higher level of overall health for you and your family.

  1. All Bran Cereal: Cereal is a family favourite and a generally strong choice for a breakfast food because of its convenience. All Bran Cereal varieties in particular are high in fibre and magnesium, two nutrients that Canadian’s may not get enough of.
  2. Canned Salmon: Salmon is one of the most important foods in the diet of the average Canadian as it is an important source of both vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, and is higher than tuna in both categories. Unfortunately, fresh salmon is prohibitively expensive for many and so canned salmon is a great alternative.
  3. Lentils: Lentils are a healthy and affordable alternative to animal proteins and are rich in important nutrients such as fibre, magnesium and potassium. Other legume varieties such as chickpeas are also great options here.
  4. Sunflower Seeds: From a public health perspective, nuts and seeds are essentially “superfoods”. They contain a variety of heart-healthy fats and are rich in many of the nutrients that Canadians don’t get enough of.  While sunflower seeds are probably the most economical choice; pumpkin seeds, almonds and walnuts also come highly recommended.
  5. Steel Cut Oatmeal: Forget the microwaveable instant varieties; on mornings when you have more time nothing beats Steel Cut Oats. They take time to prepare but are better for you than t common rolled oats and are something I recommend every household keep stocked.
  6. Quinoa: Although steeper in price than the other foods on this list, quinoa is a food that I highly recommend as an occasional starch alternative at meals. If you are tired of rice, pasta and potatoes then give quinoa a try. It is offers some nutritional advantages over rice or pasta and is quick and easy to prepare.

Even if you don’t like all of the foods on this list, it is important to make an effort to have the ones that you do enjoy available for you and your family to enjoy on a regular basis.

Consuming these foods more regularly will contribute to an improvement in your overall health and help to balance your nutrient intake in the long-term.


Andy De Santis RD MPH

Andy is a Toronto-based private practice dietitian with a master’s degree in public health nutrition. He is also a nutrition writer  and  blogger. You can learn more about him and his services at

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