Pantry Staples

Peanut butter granola wrap sandwich

Alexandra Grablewski / StockFood Creative / Getty Images

Your pantry should be well-stocked with a good selection of staple foods so you can make dinner without having to run to the grocery store. These items should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place, which is the definition of a pantry. If you don't have a separate pantry in your kitchen, set aside a cupboard or small room for this purpose.

Be sure to mark the purchase date on the items you store in your pantry. Rotate your stock from time to time, using these foods in your daily meal preparation, and replacing them with new purchases. Remember that even canned and dried foods don't last forever. But also remember that "best by" dates on canned products don't mean the product is spoiled. Those dates just mean that the product is still safe to eat, but won't be top quality.

Keep an erasable board mounted inside your pantry door. When you start getting to the end of some of these supplies, write it down on the board so you don't run out. And think about the foods your family likes to eat when you stock your pantry. It's no use having lots of canned or dried food that no one wants to eat!

Single serving packaging is a good way to not waste food when refrigeration is unavailable or unreliable. Buy the smallest jars and packages of food that is perishable when opened, but be sure you have enough to feed your family for at least a week.

With these foods and disaster meal recipes, you will be prepared for just about anything. Edit this list to suit your family's tastes and budget. The pictured recipe is Peanut Butter Granola Wrap Sandwiches. And it's delicious!

Pantry Staples

Non-food items

  • Bottled water (one gallon per person per day)
  • napkins
  • paper and plastic utensils, plates and cups
  • garbage bags
  • manual can opener
  • first aid kit

Canned foods

  • canned beans
  • olive oil
  • canned tuna
  • canned chicken
  • small bottles of mayonnaise and salad dressing
  • canned meats and seafood
  • canned broths
  • canned evaporated milk
  • canned soups
  • oil
  • canned juices
  • canned fruit
  • mustard and ketchup
  • canned brown bread
  • canned vegetables

Dried foods

  • dried soup mixes
  • dried pastas
  • dried vegetables
  • powdered milk
  • dried meat
  • bouillon cubes and granules
  • spices
  • dried sauce mixes
  • dried pesto mixes
  • instant pudding mixes
  • dried fruit
  • dried mushrooms

Shelf stable foods

  • cereals
  • raisins
  • small containers of applesauce
  • crackers
  • couscous
  • coffee and tea
  • jams and jellies
  • nuts
  • boxed juices
  • snack and energy bars
  • peanut butter
  • infant formulas and baby foods if necessary
  • salsa
  • sugars
  • canned pie fillings
  • graham crackers
  • syrups and honey
  • vinegars
  • onions
  • potatoes
  • prebaked pizza crusts (Boboli)
  • cracker bread
  • shelf-stable Parmesan cheese
  • salt
  • pepper
  • any homemade shelf-stable mixes

Cooking utensils

  • non-electric hot plate
  • matches
  • fire extinguisher
  • small camping grill
  • charcoal (store in a fireproof container)