Camp-Style Winter Pantry Basics

As winter sets in, you probably don’t feel like making as many trips to the grocery store and are getting sick of the question, “What’s for dinner?” Just like you will be packing your camper’s bags in only 6 short months in the hopes that they will be prepared for what is to come, you should be packing your kitchen for the winter and preparing yourself for the meals, snacks and holidays to come by stocking your pantry.

My friends and family often laugh when they look at my pantry. “There’s nothing to eat!” they inevitably exclaim. Other than pretzels, cereal and some nuts, they’re right — I don’t generally keep a lot of ready-to-eat food around. Even my fridge and freezer are packed with raw ingredients rather than bags and packages of snacks and meals. This isn’t just because I love to cook. Having a pantry stocked with raw ingredients and not pre-made foods can not only save money, but can also help you eat healthier by cutting out on preservatives and calories. See the “recipe” for a healthy pantry below and make sure to check back in the next few months for a new 3-part recipe series on recipes straight from the pantry!


  • Brown rice
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Quinoa
  • Other favorite whole grains
  • Wild rice pilaf
  • Dried lentils
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Assortment of canned beans (black, chickpeas, kidney, white)


  • Red wine vinegar
  • Cider vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Other flavored vinegar


  • Frozen spinach
  • Frozen peas
  • Frozen artichoke hearts
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Frozen mixed vegetables
  • Assortment of canned tomatoes
  • Capers/olives
  • Sun-dried tomatoes


  • Lemons/limes
  • Frozen berries
  • Apples


  • Bread crumbs
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Veggie burgers
  • Assorted nuts
  • All-natural peanut butter
  • Boxed vegetable/chicken stock


  • Low-fat milk
  • Cheese for snacking
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Low-fat/fat-free Greek yogurt
  • Other cheeses

Meat (frozen)

  • Chicken cutlets
  • Lean ground beef
  • Ground turkey
  • Other lean beef cuts
  • Shrimp/other seafood
  • Fish fillets


  • Soy sauce
  • Hot sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Reduced fat mayonnaise
  • Mustard 


  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Cooking spray
  • Dark sesame oil


  • Bay leaves, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, cumin, ground coriander, oregano, paprika, rosemary, thyme leaves, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, etc.


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