During this time of social distancing, it can be tempting to stock up on highly processed food items that won’t expire for years in order to avoid the grocery store – but there are also plenty of more nutritious, whole food options with long shelf lives that will keep you on track with your goals and satisfy your taste buds. 

While of course fresh produce is always a great choice, it isn’t always accessible so I wanted to share some other nutritious food choices that have a longer shelf-life.

There are such a wide variety of healthy, shelf-stable foods available that won’t make you feel like you’re missing out on anything. From salty foods, to sweet and savory, here are 15 nutrient-dense dry good items to keep on hand: 


Olives – are a great low carb fruit that last for many months at a time (typically 12-18 months), have a high fat content and are full of powerful antioxidants. Olives also are a good source of nutrients like iron, calcium, copper, and vitamin E. Additionally, you can eat them in many different ways like in salads, tapenades, on sandwiches and more.


Seaweed – is extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes like soups, sushi, salads, smoothies, and more. It contains an amino acid called tyrosine, a concentrated source of iodine, and is a good source of omega-3 fats. Seaweed is also a good source of folate, zinc, sodium, calcium, vitamins A, C, E and K. The salt is seaweed helps preserve it, and it can stay fresh for up to 2 years. 


Goji berries – contain all eight essential amino acids and are packed with fiber, which will help slow the raise of your blood sugar. Goji berries are also full of antioxidants like zeaxanthin and can stay fresh for up to a year, if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. They can be used to add a sweet flavor to a wide variety of healthy meals like oatmeal, smoothie bowls, toast, and more! 


Wonderful Pistachios – are a good plant-based protein snack because they contain 6 grams of protein per serving. They also contain healthy fats and fiber to keep you fuller for longer throughout the day. Pistachios also have a long shelf-life, meaning that they stay fresh and delicious for long periods of time. For me personally, one of my all-time favorite salty snacks and long-term partners is @WonderfulPistachios.  


Sweet potatoes – are a great shelf-stable root vegetable that can stay good for about 3-5 weeks when stored in the pantry and up to 2-3 months when kept in the fridge! They can be orange, purple, or white and are a great source of fiber, vitamins A, C, manganese, and antioxidants that promote gut health. I love to bake sweet potatoes in the oven and stuff them with other nutritious ingredients like corn, beans, and onions, or even almond butter and berries when I’m craving something sweet.


Quinoa – is high in protein, fiber, magnesium, vitamins B & E, iron, and potassium. Quinoa is extremely nutrient-dense and contains all nine essential amino acids, large amounts of flavonoids, and multiple antioxidants. Uncooked quinoa will last for up to 3-4 years if stored correctly. 


Steel cut oats – are the most unprocessed form of oats compared to rolled or quick oats that can last for over a year when properly stored. They are a great source of fiber, protein, vitamins, beta-glucan and antioxidants. Steel cut oats can be paired with a wide variety of flavors to satisfy any craving you may have while still providing tons of nutrients.

Beans – are a good source of protein that is also high in folate and fiber, which can help slow the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream. Dried beans can last indefinitely and canned beans can stay good for years, making them a great shelf-stable item to keep on hand. Additionally, most kinds of beans contain all of the essential amino acids and can be used in tons of recipes, since they easily absorb and taste delicious with various spices. 


Brown rice – contains both the bran and germ which provide fiber and several vitamins and minerals like manganese and magnesium. It is also a good source of antioxidants as well as the anti nutrient phytic acid that may offer some health benefits. 


Green tea –  is a hydrating drink that is loaded with antioxidants and it’s dry leaves can last for up to many years. Green tea is rich in polyphenols and great for reducing inflammation. It also contains multiple antioxidants that may help protect against cancer. I love to drink green tea with an apple or other healthy snack in the morning to help prepare for the day. 


Bone broths – can last for up to 3-5 years and are rich in minerals that help strengthen your bones. They also are low in calories, contain vitamins, amino acids, and essential fatty acids, and can be used in other recipes as well for added flavor and nutrients. Bone broth also supports healthy digestion and helps to fight inflammation. 


Garlic – is extremely nutritious, low in calories and rich in multiple nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese and more. It has been shown to  boost the function of the immune system, improve blood pressure, and even lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. Fresh, whole garlic tastes great with almost any type of dish and can last for up to 3-6 months.


Whey protein powder – is a complete protein that contains all of the essential amino acids. Depending on the kind, it can last for up to 16 months, it is quickly absorbed from the gut and usually easily digested. Just keep in mind that whey does contain lactose, so if you have trouble digesting dairy you may want to avoid this kind of protein powder and opt for a pea protein instead. 


Lentils – provide a good source of protein, fiber, folate and manganese. They can benefit gut health, improve bowel function, and help with digestion. Lentils can be paired with a wide variety of flavors making them a fantastic staple for your pantry. Dried lentils can stay good for up to 2-3 years.  


Dried dates – will last for up to 6 months in an airtight container, and a year if stored in the fridge. They are incredibly nutritious and are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth if you have cravings. Dates also contain important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. However it’s important to keep in mind that their calorie content is higher than most fresh fruit since it is dried, so you’ll want to eat them in moderation. 


Shoutout to @functional.foods for the inspiration for this post. 😁



MeowMeix aka Amanda