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Stock Up Your Pantry On Diabetes-Friendly Staples

No time to plan dinner? No problem. With a few staples, you can make a quick and healthy meal.


Even with great meal planning, there’ll be times when you need to whip together a quick meal. Having a pantry stocked with diabetes-friendly staples can help you keep it simple and healthy. Here’s a list of some items to have on hand1:

  • Canned vegetables (no added salt)
  • Canned fruit (in water or unsweetened juice)
  • Canned beans (rinse before eating to remove any salt)
  • Canned tuna or salmon (in water)
  • Dried herbs
  • Olive oil
  • Cooking spray
  • Instant oatmeal or quick oats
  • Whole-grain cereal
  • Whole-wheat pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Dried fruit
  • Whole-wheat bread
  • Whole-wheat pita
  • Nuts (e.g., almonds, peanuts, walnuts)
  • Peanut or almond butter
  • Seeds (sunflower, flax)
  • Popcorn (light, microwave)
  • Potatoes (sweet potatoes, yams)
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Soup (low-sodium and low-fat versions)
  • Whole-wheat crackers
  • Whole-wheat flour

Canned beans are a good source of protein and fibre and can make a satisfying vegetarian entrée (see recipe below). If you like meat in your mains, stock up on frozen meats like chicken breasts or shrimp that can be defrosted and added to a recipe. Low-fat cheese is another good item to replenish from week to week.

Quick & Easy Vegetarian Chili1


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) canola oil
  • 1 cup (250 mL) chopped onion
  • 1 cup (250 mL) chopped green sweet pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, or 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1 14-ounce can (398 mL) no-salt-added diced tomatoes or stewed tomatoes
  • 1 8-ounce can (250 mL) no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 cup (250 mL) water
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons (about 20 mL) chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) garlic-herb salt-free seasoning blend
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground cumin
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 15-16-ounce can (473 mL) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup (250 mL) frozen mixed vegetables


1. Lightly coat an unheated large saucepan or Dutch oven with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat bottom of pan. Add onion, sweet pepper, and garlic to hot pan; cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until pepper is tender, stirring often.

2. Add undrained diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, chili powder, seasoning blend, cumin, and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in beans and mixed vegetables. Return to boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Makes 4 (1 1/2-cup) servings.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 375 mg sodium, 11 g fibre, 10 g protein, 0 g saturated fat, 42 g carbohydrates, 2 g total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 209 calories (kcal).



1 Adapted from: