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20 Foods every working mom should have in the pantry

When you’re a working mom, you don’t always have a lot of extra time on your hands to make sure your family is eating healthy. By stocking your pantry with healthy staples, you can make the process a little easier.

Woman with groceries

When you don’t have a lot of time on your hands to make sure there are healthy eating options for your family, planning for success becomes crucial. Here are 20 foods that every working mom should have in her pantry.


Whole-wheat pasta

A better alternative to traditional pastas, which are made with white flour, this is a great source of whole grains and fiber.



Quinoa is a super food that is a complete protein. It can be used to make side dishes and salads, and it can be served warm for breakfast.



Oatmeal is full of fiber and is a great quick breakfast option. Customize yours with different add-ins and toppings so you can control the sugar content.



Beans are a great source of protein, can bulk up any dish and can replace meat in some cases. Kidney, black and garbanzo beans are good ones to have on hand.


Brown rice

Brown rice is a healthy substitute for white rice and can be used to bulk up many entrées and side dishes.


Low-sugar cereal

Check the labels on your favorite cereals and find the one with the lowest amount of added sugar.


Canned tomatoes

Full of the antioxidant lycopene, canned tomatoes are a healthy option to add to any meal.



Here’s another protein-packed legume that can be added to almost any dish for extra nutritional value.


Whole-wheat flour

Use it in your baking to give your treats a little more nutritional value.


Cooking oils

Choose healthier cooking oils like olive, canola or coconut oil.


Nut butters

Peanut butter can be thrown on some whole-wheat bread for a quick sandwich or eaten alongside a banana or apple for added healthy fats and protein.


Jarred pasta sauce

A jarred pasta sauce can make for a healthy and fast dinner. You can bulk it up with shredded vegetables for an added nutritional kick.


Dark chocolate

Sometimes you just need something sweet! A square of dark chocolate can satisfy your sweet tooth while also serving up some antioxidants.


Trail mix

Another fast and easy snack option for busy families, trail mix can be bought prepackaged, or you can make your own and customize it.



Applesauce is a great on-the-go, kid-friendly snack. Look for an unsweetened variety to lower the amount of sugar.


Fruit leathers

Fruit leathers are a kid-friendly snack without all the additives found in some of the popular packaged snacks.


Canned fruits

Look for a variety that is canned in water only, not in syrup, to control the amount of sugar your family is getting.



Vinegar can be used to add flavor to a dish. It is also a great all-purpose item to have around the house for cleaning!



Nuts are a great source of fiber and protein and a perfect ready-to-eat snack. Preportion them out into plastic baggies so that you’re not grabbing too many at once. Almonds, walnuts and sunflower seeds are great choices to keep stocked.



Look for tuna packed in water for a healthy — and fast — lunch option.

When stocking your pantry, make sure you take some time to look at the labels on the foods you are buying. The fewer ingredients, the better, and if it contains things you can’t pronounce, it’s probably best left unpurchased.

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