Lifestyle: Nutrition

Healthy Nonperishables

by Tracey Pollack

Take Stock of Healthy Nonperishables 

Pick up these good-for-you foods that won’t go bad. 


Can you find healthy and hearty nonperishables? Yes, you can! And these canned, dried and packaged foods can be lifesavers during tornado season, hurricanes, and when life is out of control. Unfortunately, there’s an unhealthy belief that only farm-fresh, free-range, fresh-picked foods can be good for you. But when it comes to being prepared in any situation, this “fresh is best” mindset has to be tweaked. Unlike fresh foods that don’t stay that way very long, canned and dried nonperishables have a long shelf life. And these canned, dried, and packaged foods don’t demand refrigeration and can be stored at room temperature. While some nonperishables are packed with preservatives, many are actually healthy. So stock up on these good-for-you nonperishables that won’t go bad for years. 



We’re spilling the beans about the benefits of this plant-based protein. Beans are a non-negotiable nonperishable because they’re as good for your health as they are to keep on your shelf. Canned beans have a shelf-life of two to five years, while dried beans can stay good for up to 10 years. Beans are a part of the family of legumes, which includes lentils, peas, and chickpeas. They’re all high in filling fiber and protein, and low in fat and cholesterol. They’re also packed with iron and make a healthy addition to soups, salads and more. Keep canned beans on hand in case you are without water or power, and dried beans on hand for other needs. 


Salmon, Tuna and Sardines 

Whether kept in a can or preserved in a pouch, fish tips the scales with its abundance of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and bone-building vitamin D. While fresh fish can take a big bite out of your budget, canned and pouched seafood make it easy to catch healthy, affordable meals at any time. To reel in the biggest benefits, choose seafood preserved in water rather than oil. Try flaking salmon into a salad, mixing tuna into pasta or serving sardines on whole-grain crackers. Remember to grab a manual can opener for your canned goods. 


Nut and Seeds 

These portable, pop-able, plant-based picks are packed with protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and grab-and-go convenience. Whether you’re nuts about walnuts, almonds, peanuts, cashews, pecans or sunflower seeds, they all bring a lot to the table for your health and hunger. They also bring lots of crunch and flavor to trail mix, over yogurt, on salads and in stir-fries. Their high oil content gives them a shorter shelf life than other nonperishables, with nuts only good for four months and seeds lasting for six months at room temperature. Nuts and seeds are great for stocking your storm shelter with healthy choices. 


Nut Butters 

Speaking of nuts, you can do a whole lot more than eat them whole. Ground down to creamy or crunchy spreads, they’re full of the same protein, healthy fats and nutrients as their sources, but they’re easier to spread for a sandwich, serve as a dip with fruit or just eat by the spoon! Just like the nutty originals, these spreads have a shorter shelf life. Commercial nut butters are good for nine months in the pantry which make them a great choice for preparing for disasters, but natural options only last for three months.  


Fruits & Vegetables 

While fresh fruits and veggies go bad quickly, their dried descendants and canned counterparts stay good—and good for you!—for up to a year when dried, and two to five years when canned. From raisins, mango, peaches, and pears to tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, and more, nonperishable produce contains the same vitamins, minerals, and nutrients as fresh, but without the limited lifespan. Pick dried and canned options with no added sugar or salt, then use them to freshen up for granola, soups, salads and treats. 


When it comes to your health, fresh isn’t always worth the fuss! Nonperishables are a no-nonsense way to keep wholesome food on hand in good times and bad. 

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