Let me guess – you took one look at the title and thought
“hey, isn’t that an oxymoron? How can something be non-perishable and healthy at the same time?!”
This is an all too common misconception that I hope to satisfactorily address in this article. It is perfectly possible to have healthy non-perishable food and I am going to show you how.
Imagine that you are feeling terribly hungry, and on ransacking the fridge, you only find foul smelling, rotting remnants of what would have made a yummy meal a few days prior. In such circumstances a stock of non-perishable food would come in extremely handy.
Of course, non-perishable comes with a caveat: it should also be healthy. All too often the “non-perishable” tag that certain foods get comes at a heavy price: the detriment of your health ( primarily due to preservatives, just in case you are wondering). Let us now have a look at some of the healthy non-perishable food that you must absolutely have in your house at all times.
Before we get into the nitty gritty of this article, here what it will be about:
The Healthiest Non-Perishable Food Items
It would not be fair to start off with any item apart from this.
Soup is the go-to for a lot of people who cannot eat fresh food for whatever reason – unavailability, sickness and so forth.
The best thing about soup is that it is not only healthy, but it also comes in myriad flavors. It is not enough to eat healthy stuff, you also need to keep your taste buds and body happy. Variety in soup will help accomplish that to a large extent.
If you get bored of having eggs and milk for breakfast on a regular basis, you must certainly experiment with oats.
To be brutally honest, the taste is not for everyone (although it does taste delicious when made right). The key is to enhance the flavor of oats with add-ons such as peanut butter and fresh fruits.
3. Peanut Butter
If you are on the lookout for a healthy snack that also pleases your taste buds, then you cannot go wrong with peanut butter.
It is full to the brim with proteins and healthy fats, and that is not all, it is so versatile that it can be added to a wide variety of dishes.
Unlike its cousin, instant noodles, pasta makes for a delicious and healthy snack. If your pasta happens to be made from whole grains like quinoa then it gets even better, as sources seem to suggest that a cup of quinoa pasta goes a considerable way in meeting the daily requirement intake of certain nutrients such as protein, iron, manganese, etc.
5. Canned Vegetables And Fruits
Always ensure that you have a stock of canned vegetables and fruits. In times of need and emergency, nothing works quite as well as canned vegetables and fruits.
The only caveat here is that it is best to avoid those foods which have high sodium and/or sugar content.
6. Dry Fruits And Nuts
Dry fruits tend to get underrated in food discussions. They offer great nutritional value and a number of health benefits.
Add a generous dose of almonds, raisins and walnuts to your daily diet.
7. Canned Tuna With Chicken, Salmon, Or Turkey
Out of this list, canned tuna is my favorite by far! Canned tuna goes with just about anything. Seriously! Try for yourself and see.
8. Dark Chocolate
Dark Chocolate is perhaps the healthiest chocolate you will ever see.
It is said that dark chocolate can help regulate your blood pressure and is good for your heart in general. Pro tip: go for one with the highest cocoa content.
9. Protein Bars And Granola
These are perfect for the day-to-day athlete. Protein bars and granolas are one of the best sources of carbohydrates on this planet.
They stay fresh for quite a long time, so you don’t have to worry about them getting spoilt.
10. Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are among the finest sources of vitamin E, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, magnesium and copper.
The best part? They double up as an incredible snack. They help with digestion and have been said to have beneficial effects with respect to your cardiovascular health as well!
The only downside is that people tend to go overboard with them sometimes and that could be a problem if calorie intake is a concern. Sunflower seeds rank notoriously high in calorie content.
Honey is one of those essentials that you should always have handy. In addition to being one of the most versatile items in the kitchen, it also happens to be tasty.
Oh, and it also does not burn a hole in your pocket! Not convinced yet? Well, here are a few proven health benefits of honey that may just change your mind:
12. Plain Popcorn Kernels
This entry is sure to have a number of readers scratching their heads in bewilderment.
Popcorn and healthy?! Is that even possible?
The answer is yes.
Firstly, remember that popcorn here means plain popcorn kernels. They are sold in bulk at most grocery stores, so you should have no trouble finding them. Also, it is imperative that you do not add butter, salt and all those other toppings which make popcorn unhealthy.
If you cannot avoid it altogether, keep the toppings to an absolute bare minimum. Moreover, treat plain popcorn kernels as a healthy snack and have it in moderation.
13. Whole Wheat Pretzels
Whole wheat pretzels contain myriad vitamins and minerals and happen to be loaded with fiber. They also happen to be low in saturated and total fat.
If you are looking for a good mix of taste and health, then you cannot go wrong with whole wheat pretzels.
14. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are nutritional powerhouses, loaded with magnesium, protein, zinc and manganese. Their benefits range from improving prostate health and postmenopausal symptoms, to bolstering your heart and liver health.
15. Brown rice
Brown rice is sadly an often-neglected part of our diets. If I were to tell you that brown rice may help in preventing a variety of cancers and help the nervous system to function optimally, would you still neglect it?
Do make it a regular part of your diet and see the magic for yourself!
16. Shelf Stable Milk
Shelf-stable milk is in vogue these days. It is convenient to use and tastes quite similar to regular milk. The only caveat is that shelf stable milk spoils just like regular milk once opened.
In other words, while you can keep such milk away from the fridge for several months as long as it is unopened, you will need to refrigerate it once opened where it will usually last about a week.
17. Olive Oil
Olive Oil is full of powerful antioxidants which fight inflammation and heart disease. Adding a couple of teaspoons to your diet will go a long way in ensuring that you enjoy its benefits. Just remember to buy extra virgin olive oil.
There are quite a few varieties of olive oil, but extra virgin is considered to be the best from a health perspective.
If you are looking for protein rich foods, then quinoa is a very good option. In addition to being one of the most protein-rich foods that you can eat, quinoa contains plenty of other nutrients such as fiber, magnesium, manganese, vitamin B2, etc.
Quinoa has a long shelf-life, but it is imperative that you store it in an airtight container in a cool and dark place where the temperature does not fluctuate too much.
19. Jams and Jellies
If bread and butter has always been your favorite combination, then it may be time for a rethink. Jams and jellies tend to be loaded with fiber and unlike say, butter, they do not have high amounts of cholesterol.
As long as you do not exceed the recommended portion sizes, you should be able to enjoy the health benefits and taste of jams and jellies without any ramifications.
20. Beef Jerky
For some odd reason, beef jerky gets a bad rep from a lot of people. Such people usually dismiss it as unhealthy red meat that has way too many preservatives. However, it turns out the beef jerky may not be so bad after all.
Its high protein content makes it a reasonably healthy between-meals snack and may even help you lose weight.
You must exercise caution when you buy beef jerky, as soon brands are packed to the brim with too much MSG. Go for chemical-free products as much as possible.
The Advantages Of Healthy Non-Perishable Foods
For foods that are non-perishable, you will not need a fridge. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that. For campers, hikers and students on a budget, non-perishable food is a godsend.
The caveat here is that non-perishable food will not stay that way indefinitely. Ultimately, it will get spoilt or at least lose so much of its flavor that it becomes almost unrecognizable.
Most of the non-perishable food items require little to no cooking, so it saves time. This is particularly helpful for those on a very tight schedule due to college, work or other reasons.
Insurance In Times Of Emergencies
In times of emergencies such as a cyclone or something of that kind where it is impossible to go out, such food items are extremely useful. You don’t want to be trapped inside your house for a week due to a natural disaster with nothing to eat, trust me.
Healthy And Nutritious
Of course, if you notice it says “healthy non-perishable food”. Not all non-perishable food is healthy. The ones on this list, however, are healthy and nutritious.
What To Avoid When It Comes To Non-perishable Food
A lot of the non-perishable food items that you see on the market are ‘ready to eat’. Many of these have very high levels of sugar and sodium content. Instant noodles are perhaps the best (worst?) example of such products.
Avoid such products and if you absolutely must have them, at least limit your intake of such items to no more than once a week.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
In this section, I will briefly address a few questions that are most commonly asked for the benefit of the readers.
1.I read that product X, Y, Z is non perishable, but it got spoilt. How is this possible?
Surprisingly, this question comes up a lot.
Quite a few of the people seem to be surprised that something that is supposedly non perishable also has a shelf-life.
Here, it is imperative to remember that non perishable does not mean it will stay unspoilt forever. Everything has a limit.
Moreover, you need to ensure that you store the item properly and as advised. If not, the item may get spoilt and end up having a very short shelf-life.
2.Is it alright to use an item after its expiry date?
It is strongly recommended that you adhere to the expiry dates mentioned on the product. Regardless of what others may tell you, do not use a product beyond the expiry date.
A few dollars are not worth the potentially detrimental effects on your overall health.
3.How do I know if an non perishable food item is unhealthy?
Make sure that you read all the labels and nutritional information while buying the product.
Avoid anything that has excessive amounts of sodium or sugar. Also, remember that even a healthy item can become unhealthy if you have it in excess. Moderation is always key.
Follow this simple mantra: exercise caution while buying and restraint while eating.
4.There is not enough space in my pantry. What are some other places where I can safely store non perishable food items?
If paucity of space is a concern, then you will need to get a little creative. Closets, under the bed, under the stairs are a few options that you can explore.
Non-Perishable food does not necessarily have to be unhealthy and with a little self-control and due diligence, you can save time and eat healthy!
What are you waiting for?! Go ahead and stock your kitchen with all the healthy non-perishable goodies that you can find.
This post was most recently updated on February 27th, 2018