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5 Foods Nutritionists Always Have in Their Pantry – Vegan Edition

Written by Lara Valerio, Dietetic Intern at UNC-Greensboro

Having a well-stocked pantry is an excellent foundation for healthy eating and meal preparation/planning. With the right nutritious foods, our health and nutrition goals can be obtained. 

Here are some foods that we feel are staple items for every Vegan to have to use for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks!


Rolled Oats

These versatile whole grains are a great source of soluble fiber (by means of beta-glucans), protein (1 cup cooked contains 5g protein), and important minerals/vitamins such as manganese, iron, zinc, folate, copper, and magnesium. Health benefits include reduction in cholesterol levels, decrease in the risk of heart disease, weight management, and regulation of blood sugar. These grains are not only great as oatmeal but can be used to make granola, muesli, burgers, meatloaf, crispy coatings, sauces, and oat flour. 

 5 Foods Nutritionists Always Have in Their Pantry – Vegan Edition

Nut/Legume Butter

From almond butter to peanut butter to cashew butter, having at least one of these jars in the pantry is a must! Nut butters are packed full of healthy fats, proteins and fibers. They are a great source of calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin E, copper and manganese. Nut butters are great foods to eat with fruits and vegetables.  They can be put into stews/soups, used as sandwich fillers and to create sauces, and used to bake with. Look for the all-natural, no additives butters that contain just the nut/legume to avoid unnecessary added oils, sugars, and salts.



These powerful seeds are a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are important in the formation of cell membranes and they assist in improving circulation and oxygen uptake. Flaxseeds are also a great source of antioxidants, fiber, protein and lignans. To reap all the benefits that flaxseeds have to offer, it’s important to eat them ground as opposed to whole. To digest these seeds properly, we need to break the outer shell. This is most efficiently done if they are already ground before consumption. Ground flaxseed is great on salads, in casseroles, baked goods, burgers, sauces, oatmeal and and can be used as an egg replacer!


Canned beans

The FDA recommends consuming around 1/2 cup of beans a day. They count as both a protein and vegetable, and are excellent sources of fiber, folate, plant protein, iron, vitamin B1 and minerals such as magnesium, potassium and copper. Beans are a versatile and inexpensive food that has a long shelf life and can be easily made into a meal. I keep a variety of beans in the pantry to add protein to a salad, bulk up a soup/stew, or complement a grain. 



This seed is a great source of protein. One cup of cooked quinoa contains roughly 8.1 grams of protein. I keep this in my pantry in case I am lacking other sources of protein and need a quick fix for a meal. This tiny little seed is extremely powerful and is filled with iron, folate, fiber, magnesium, calcium,  and zinc.  Quinoa can be transformed into many things, including granola bars, and can be a component of cold salads and soups. It’s great with any meal, including breakfast!



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With more than 40-year years of experience in delivering wellness and weight loss programs, the Duke Diet and Fitness Center has established itself as one of the leading weight loss and total body health destinations for health conscious individuals seeking a residential style health program focused on natural weight loss.

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