Handy foods

Appetite for Life

Handy foods

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Nutritious foods that have a longer shelf life are useful to keep in your kitchen for times when you can’t get to the shops. Keeping these foods on hand means you will always have the makings of a good meal or snack at home.

Grain (cereal) foods

  • Rice, pasta, cous cous and noodles
  • Flour (to bake homemade products)
  • Dry biscuits, crispbreads, rice cakes and rice crackers (preferably wholegrain varieties)
  • Bread, bread rolls, crumpets or muffins
  • Rolled oats and breakfast cereals.

Lean meat and meat alternatives

  • Tinned fish such as tuna, salmon or sardines
  • Tinned or dried legumes such as kidney beans, baked beans, lentils or chickpeas
  • Tofu
  • Peanut butter or other nut butters
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Eggs (these are best kept in the fridge).


  • Tinned fruit in natural juice - try peaches, pears or fruit salad
  • Long life 99% fruit juice (found on the shelves of the supermarket, rather than the fridge)
  • Dried fruit such as apricots, sultanas, prunes or dates.


  • Tinned vegetables and legumes such as corn, tomato, mushrooms, chickpeas, carrots and peas
  • Dried vegetables such as dehydrated mashed potato, lentils and dried peas and beans
  • Tinned vegetable soup.

Dairy products

  • Milk powder, evaporated skim milk, long-life (UHT) milk
  • Plant based milks fortified with 1,000mg of calcium
  • Custard powder
  • Tinned rice pudding
  • Cream cheese
  • Cheese (best kept in the fridge).

In the freezer

  • Frozen vegetables
  • Frozen fruit
  • Oven-bake chips or roast potatoes
  • Chicken breasts, fish fillets and small serves of mince
  • Packaged frozen meals
  • Left over meals – place in small individual containers and freeze
  • Ice cream and frozen yoghurt
  • Grated cheese
  • Bread, bread rolls, crumpets and muffins.

For flavour

These versatile flavourings can be added to almost anything and will keep for a long time in the cupboard or fridge. Remember to check expiry date and storage instructions on the label.

  • Dried herbs and spices such as garlic flakes, mixed herbs, curry powder, cinnamon and ginger
  • Sauces, such as mustard, mint sauce, mayonnaise, tomato sauce and chilli sauce
  • Lemon juice

This general advice was accurate at the time of publication (June 2020). For more information about nutrition and your individual needs, see your GP or an Accredited Practising Dietitian.