• By Jessica DeGore
  • In Uncategorized
  • October 14, 2020

Plant Based Pantry Staples

By: Felicia Porrazza, MDA, RDN, LDN, CPT

Did you know that an increased intake of plant-based foods has been linked with a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and hypertension, as well as, inflammation? [1,2,3] Eating a more plant-forward diet can also lead to increases in fiber, folic acid, vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium, and phytochemicals!


Check out some of the following plant-based pantry items to see what you can stock up on or experiment with in your kitchen.


1 – Canned Beans 

Canned beans are great to have on hand for soups, stir-fries, or salads. Beans are a great source of protein, fiber, iron, and potassium! When getting the canned varieties, try to look for low sodium or no-salt-added options. 


2 – Canned Vegetables

Canned vegetables can make for an easy meal solution, especially when you might not have access to fresh produce. Some great staple items include canned corn, green beans, mushrooms and diced tomatoes. Diced tomatoes in particular can be a great base for a homemade soup!


3 – Nut Butters

Nut butter can be paired with fruit (like bananas or apples) for a quick snack or used in baked goods for some protein and healthy fat. When choosing a nut butter, try to find brands that do not have any added sugar.


4 – Quick-Cook Oats 

Oats are a good source of fiber and a simple meal solution, especially for breakfast. If you are short on time in the morning, try putting together overnight oat jars. To make, simply mix ½ cup of oats with ½ to ¾ cup of milk of choice and top with nuts, seeds, and/or dried fruit. Store in the fridge overnight and heat in the morning or eat just as is!


5 – Seeds

There are many different types of seeds you could have on hand like ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds. Seeds are a good source of protein, healthy fat, and omega-3s! Ground flax and chia can be used in smoothies or as a replacement for an egg in baked goods. For 1 “egg,” simply mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed (or chia seeds) with 3 tablespoons of water and let sit for about 3-5 minutes. 


6 – Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is an inactive form of yeast with a cheesy and nutty flavor. Nutritional yeast contains protein and fiber and fortified varieties contain B-vitamins! Nutritional yeast can be used in soups and salads; however, you can also use it to make a “cheese” sauce along with cashews!


7 – Bean or Lentil Pastas

Bean/lentil pastas are great to have on hand for easy meal solutions. Both are packed with protein and fiber, which keep you fuller for longer, and potassium, which plays a major role in heart health.


8 – Quinoa

Quinoa is technically a seed (not a grain) but can be used in most recipes that call for rice (like casseroles or stir-fries). Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and is a good source of fiber, protein, and micro-nutrients (like iron and magnesium).


9 – Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is great to pair with nuts for a quick snack or in oatmeal for some natural sweetness. When comparing dried fruit varieties, try to look for no-sugar-added options. 


10 – Shelf-Stable Tofu

Tofu can be bought refrigerated or in a shelf-stable carton. Tofu is a great source of protein while also containing 0 mg of cholesterol! Tofu takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it in, so it is very versatile and easy to use in stir-fries and soups.

Sources for information:

[1] Plant‐Based Diets Are Associated With a Lower Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Disease Mortality, and All‐Cause Mortality in a General Population of Middle‐Aged Adults. Journal of the American Heart Association. August 2019. https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.119.012865

[2] Tuso PJ, Ismail MH, Ha BP, Bartolotto C. Nutritional update for physicians: plant-based diets. Perm J. 2013;17(2):61-66. doi:10.7812/TPP/12-085

[3] Winston J Craig, Health effects of vegan diets, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 89, Issue 5, May 2009, Pages 1627S–1633S, https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.2009.26736N


Felicia Porrazza, MDA, RDN, LDN, CPT

Felicia Porrazza is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, and DSWI Certified Health Coach with a Masters Degree in Dietetics Administration. She owns a private practice, Porrazza Nutrition LLC, where she works primarily with clients to incorporate a plant-based style of eating for preventative health and disease management. Her specialty is in combining plant-based eating with fitness programming, specifically targeting strength-training. Outside of her business, she also teaches nutrition at Bucks County Community College both online and face-to-face.