The Best Foods For Runners To Have In Their Pantry

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The ultimate list of more than 100 pantry staples every runner should have in their pantry so that they can whip up a nutritious meal in minutes!

Now more than ever, many runners are realizing the importance of a well-stocked pantry. Having shelf-stable essentials on hand helps you create a well-balanced meal in minutes.

Not only do these staples last for months, they’re also nutrient dense and provide your body with good nutrition to support your training and boost your immune system.

Here are some of my go-to staples I always keep in my pantry, in addition to recipes to accompany many of the staples.


Grain are a great way to meet your carbohydrate needs when fueling and recovering from your runs. With so much versatility, there are endless ways you can add grains to your plate.

grains for runner's pantry

Try making a batch for a sweet or savory breakfast, like steel cut oatmeal. Or add whole grains to salads or soups, or enjoy as a side dish for dinner. Challenge yourself to get outside of your comfort zone and try a grain you haven’t experimented with before, like any in this list below.


Beans are always a staple in a vegetarian diet. Full of satiating fiber and muscle building protein, you can’t go wrong here. Try buying an assortment of dried and canned.

Rinse canned beans to remove any excess salt. Or for a cheaper (although more labor intensive option), cook up a big batch of dried beans.

beans for runners pantry

If you’re not going to use them all, you can freeze some for later. Once cooked and cooled, place the beans in a freezer safe bag and they should keep up to 6 months.

Pro tip: one can in the store typically has about 2 cups of beans, so place two cups in each individual bag and label it. When a recipe calls for a can of beans, defrost the ones in the freezer in the microwave.

The uses for beans are endless – dips, salads, soups, or the base of a meal paired with grains and veggies. Here are some of my favorite varietals:

Oils, Vinegars & Condiments

These are the basics you’ll want to keep on hand for flavoring and cooking. Utilize these staples to easily whip up your own dressing or marinade, rather than relying on store-bought versions. I always keep a variety of oils and vinegars in stock for this purpose.

oils & vinegar for pantry
  • Olive oil
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Canola oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Rice vinegar
  • White wine vinegar
  • Low sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Maple syrup
  • Honey
  • Avocado oil mayonnaise
  • Mustard
  • Salsa
  • Tahini
  • Sriracha/Hot sauce
  • Pesto

Dried Herbs and Spices

Every kitchen should be equipped with a variety of dried herbs and spices for endless flavor combinations. While you may have your go-to favorites, try branching out with something new.

spices for runner's pantry

Each herb and spice offers up their own unique set of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so the more variety, the better.

  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Majoram
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Chili pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Cumin
  • Curry powder
  • Turmeric
  • Garlic powder
  • Cinnamon [Cinnamon Roasted Almonds]
  • Nutmeg
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Ground ginger
  • Smoked paprika
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Vanilla extract

Nuts, Nut Butter, Seeds & Dried Fruit

Between snacking, cooking and baking, these versatile and delicious ingredients have certainly earned their title as pantry must-haves. Keep a variety on hand to throw into recipes and round out meals.

nuts & seeds for runners pantry

Make your own trail mix to snack on before, after or during your runs.

  • Flaxseeds [Tahini Maple Oat Balls]
  • Chia seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Hemp seeds
  • Peanuts
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Raisins
  • Dried cranberries
  • Dried apricots

Jarred & Canned Staples

This category is a mix of ingredients that can work their way into many recipes and meals. Buy canned fruits and veggies for times when fresh and frozen may not be an option.

jarred food for runner's pantry

I try and keep one of each item listed in the pantry and replenish as needed.

  • Roasted red peppers
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Tomato sauce
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Coconut milk
  • Salsa
  • Beets
  • Canned corn
  • Refried beans
  • Vegetable/bean based soups
  • Canned spinach
  • Canned green beans
  • Prunes
  • Chiles
  • Olives
  • Capers
  • Canned pumpkin
  • No sugar added fruit cups
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Low sodium vegetable broth


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I’m Natalie Rizzo, an NYC-based Registered Dietitian.

My mission is to help everyday athletes fuel their fitness with plants.

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