Stocking a Healthy Kitchen On a Budget

Cooking on the cheap shouldn’t mean minute rice and buttered pasta EVERY night. With a little creativity and planning, stocking a healthy kitchen on a budget (without sacrificing flavor or variety) can be easy!


Tips for stocking a healthy kitchen

In my dream life, I’d spend the entire morning grocery shopping. I would peruse every aisle, find the trendiest new products, and spend the afternoon cooking delicious, elaborate meals. 


In reality, I’m a new mom who barely has time to shower, let alone grocery shop. Checking my bank account is an experience that ranges from slightly painful to full-blown-panic-attack-inducing.


Living at the intersection of broke and busy can be a challenge, but I realized pretty quickly that I can still eat well without burning through all of my income. Cooking a meal from scratch will almost always cost less than buying dinner, and that the first step to eating well on a budget – a well-stocked kitchen.


The second step is knowing store brand is always cheaper, and it doesn’t sacrifice quality or nutrition. Most of the time it is really your favorite brand disguised as a store brand for half the price.


The third step, let the most responsible household member do the shopping. If my husband were in charge our pantry would consist of a few boxes of cereal and a jar of peanut butter. Luckily, I do the shopping and I know you can have a well stocked kitchen, from pantry essentials to produce, for under $100.



Pantry Basics

Shelf-stable pantry staples are the backbone to any recipe. Plus they’re cheap and come in large quantities. 


  • Oats: perfect for energy bites, 2-minute microwave muffins, or oatmeal.
  • Rice: 90 second rice pouches are our go-to (because we are incredibly lazy). These can be more expensive than a bag of rice, but they’re often on sale.
  • Pasta: whole wheat, lentil, and chickpea pastas are always in our pantry for Chicken Fajita Pasta and Turkey Meatball nights.
  • Quinoa: filled with fiber and protein, perfect for Cauliflower and Quinoa Pomegranate Salad or one of these delicious quinoa recipes.
  • Bread: a loaf of whole wheat or box of Sandwich Thins are a must.
Oils & Vinegars
  • Avocado oil spray, coconut oil, olive oil, canola oil
  • Balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, soy sauce
  • Kosher salt, black pepper, dried herbs, ground cumin, paprika, chili powder
Canned Goods
  • Low sodium beans, tomato sauce, coconut cream, pumpkin, canned tuna or salmon


  • Nuts & nut butters
  • Dried fruit: cranberries, dates, raisins
  • Seeds: chia, ground flax
  • Popcorn kernels
  • Chocolate chips


Perishable Staples

I always keep these basic perishables on hand: 


  • Avocados, leafy greens, cucumbers, carrots, apples, onions, garlic, lemons & limes.
  • Milk, unsweetened almond milk, sparkling water
  • Honey, salsa, salad dressings, pesto, hummus

Eggs and dairy
  • Raw and hard boiled, whole milk plain yogurt, vanilla whole milk yogurt. Always buy the large yogurt containers – they’ll save you more money in the end.

Freezer Staples

There’s a few freezer staples I always have on hand because sometimes life happens and I need to have some freezer options when I can’t cook.


Store brand frozen fruits & veggies
  • Mixed berries, mangos, broccoli, stir-fry mixes, cauliflower rice, spaghetti squash, peas and carrots
  • Kodiak Cakes Frozen Flapjacks or Waffles, Amy’s Tofu Scramble

Lunch & Dinner

What questions do you have about stocking a healthy kitchen on a budget? And I’d love to know what YOUR healthy kitchen staples are. Let us know in the comments!

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