10 Pantry Staples for College Students

Hey guys, and welcome to 2018! My name is Kaleigh and I am a wellness intern this year with Chartwells. The new year always brings about excitement and changes, and we always honestly try our best to keep our resolutions. However, I found that keeping your favorites around while making slight changes can make resolutions a whole lot easier! As college students we ALWAYS have our go to meal that is quick and easy and consists of most things we have in our pantry. Weather it is tacos, spaghetti, or stir-fry, we have our comfort foods for when classes get hard. These comfort foods can cause a problem and may make keeping healthy resolutions difficult. For the hopes of ringing in the New Year in a way that can help keep your resolutions and your favorites, I’ve compiled a list of 10 staple pantry foods for every college student.

1. Rice, Quinoa, or Couscous

Keeping whole grains in your cabinet is always a good idea. Whole grains help with heart health and have a whole lot of fiber. One serving is 1/2 a cup, which is easy to mix these three in your stir-fry, or use a cup to add to a salad. These whole grains also always go great with grilled fish or chicken. Another Plus? Rice and Quinoa are gluten free!

2. Sweet Potato

Not only is this root vegetable jam packed with antioxidants, sweet potatoes also contain vitamin A, Vitamin C, Magnesium and vitamin B6. Its great to bake and eat as a main dish or side, but there are also many other ways to prepare it. A serving size for cooked sweet potatoes is 1/2 cup (4 oz). Have you ever tried sweet potato tacos?! They are actually incredible, and very easy to make. Don’t believe me? just try them. Check out the recipe at the bottom from the Fayetteville Farmers Market.

3. Tuna

Having canned tuna on hand is both convenient and serves as a healthy meal option. Tuna is a good source of essential nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, high quality protein, selenium and Vitamin D. Tuna also contains omega-3 fats which are needed for good heart health, brain function and normal growth and development. Get the packed in water and low sodium options for even more health benefits. One serving is 1/4 a cup (4 oz).

4. Nuts of choice: Walnuts, almonds, or pistachios, Peanut Butter

Snacking on nuts is booth heart healthy and can help you stay full longer. Nuts can help lower your LDL and increase your HDL levels. LDL leads to plaque build up in your blood vessels, so eating nuts has long lasting affects. Nuts also high in unsaturated fats, omega-3 fats, fiber, vitamin E, and are considered plant sterols. Considering that nuts are  fats which have satiety (the feeling of being full), snacking on these will satisfy and keep you until your next meal. serving sizes vary for each nut. One serving size includes 28 peanuts, 45 pistachios, 24 shelled almonds, and 14 shelled walnut halves. One serving of peanut butter is 2 Tbsp. Shoot for getting 1/3 a cup of nuts a day.

5. Garlic

Garlic is low in calories and very rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Manganese. It also contains trace amounts of various other nutrients. Garlic also has some antioxidant properties, and has been known to be heart healthy by reducing blood pressure. Plus, it may play a factor in fighting colds. Garlic is rich in flavor, and is the perfect addition when sauteing vegetables or baking lemon chicken. one serving size is considered to be one clove of garlic.

6. Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or chia seeds

Pumpkin seeds are high in iron, zinc, and phosphorous. So will help reduce fatigue and contribute to healthy hair, skin, teeth and bones! Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E, selenium, and thiamin. Snacking on these will help protect cells from oxidative stress, and help maintain a healthy metabolism. Chia seeds are high in fiber, and are recognized for their ability to provide energy. Add some to your yogurt in the morning, or a salad for lunch and get all the health benefits! One serving of seeds is 2 Tbsp.

7. Olive oil

Some of you might be wondering why I put olive oil instead of the lovely coconut oil. While both great sources of fat and fun to cook with, Olive oil is actually lower in saturated fats. It is also higher in antioxidant qualities, and has been known to decrease blood pressure and lower LDL levels. Olive oil still contains a small amount of saturated fat, and also small amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fats as well. It is also less expensive than coconut oil, and is great for cooking vegetables. One serving of olive oil is 1 Tbsp.

8. Chicken Broth

Chicken broth is low in calories at 18 calories per serving, which is 1 cup. However, it does contain a small amount of protein, 1.4g, and 3% of the daily recommendation for  vitamin A and Calcium. Having some reduced sodium chicken broth on hand is a great idea. You can cook vegetables with it, or use it as a great base for whipping up some soup! Its great for chicken noodle soup when you’re fighting a cold. Yummmm!

9. Fruits

It is recommended that we have at least 2-3 servings of fruit a day. Fruits are sources of many essential nutrients that are underconsumed, including potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folic acid. Also, diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Having fruits on had can be very beneficial, and one serving is 1 whole fruit, or 1/2 a cup. Easy pantry fruits are oranges, apples, bananas, avocados, kiwi, and grapefruit. To save money, shop for fruits in season. Currently citrus is in season.

10. Vegetables

We are also recommended to consume 2.5 to 6.5 cups of vegetables a day (or five to sixteen servings). One serving of vegetables is 1/2 a cup of cooked vegetables, 1 cup of leafy green vegetables, or 1/2 a medium potato. Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folic acid, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits may reduce risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke. Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as some vegetables and fruits, may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Keeping carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, peppers, and mushrooms on hand is always a great idea!


Check out these attachments to see what is currently in season!

Colorful Illustrated General Recipe Card (1)