10 Healthy Foods That (Practically) Never Expire
Stock your pantry and fridge with these nutritious staples.
While it's true that many shelf-stable foods are often loaded with preservatives (think condiments, lunch meats, and bags of chips), there are a number of good-for-you foods thatlast for a long time, too—au naturel.
"In general, the more processed a food, the higher its content of fat, salt, sugar, calories, and/or cholesterol and the lower its content of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber," says Elizabeth Somer, M.A., RD, and medical advisory board member for Persona Nutrition. "When shopping for healthier shelf-stable foods, try to choose minimally-processed products that contain whole grains, plain fruits and vegetables or frozen/canned versions packaged in their own juice, nuts, legumes, or frozen chicken or fish. Ignore the label claims and go straight to the nutrition information on the back."
We recommend stocking up on these long-lasting staples whenever it's convenient so they'll be on hand when you're ready to get cooking. Curious about the shelf life of more foods in your kitchen? Consult our comprehensive food storage guide.
Almonds are filled with monosaturated fatty acids, and they're a great source of vitamin E and fiber—and they can last for up to one year when stored in the refrigerator. Pack them for an afternoon snack or use them to make your own almond milk.
Packed with fiber, vitamin E, and a variety of antioxidants, (unopened) brown rice can last for one year at room temperature. After its been opened (to make, for example, this brown rice bowl with egg and avocado), it should stay good for about six months.
Unlike canned beans, which are often stored in sodium, dried beans are free of additives and preservatives. They're also an excellent, cholesterol-free source of protein, and can last for up to two years in the pantry. Try adding them to one of these slow-cooker stews.
Filled with protein and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, nut butters can last at room temperature for nine months unopened (once opened, they'll stay good for three months). Look for jars with short ingredient lists and zero added trans fats.
Oats are an excellent source of fiber, help to keep cholesterol in check, and contain vitamins, minerals, and even some protein. Unopened containers can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to four months, according to the Whole Grains Council. Give them a try in our fruit-and-nut filled baked oatmeal.