Skip to content

12 Pantry Staples to Always Leave on Grocery Store Shelves

These kitchen staples do more harm than good.
FACT CHECKED BY Kiersten Hickman

Nothing feels as good as looking into your kitchen closet and seeing each shelf fully stocked with your favorite snacks and ingredients. Upon closer inspection, some of these items might actually sneak in a ton of poor nutrition under the guise of being a wholesome snack, or just blatantly pack in unwholesome ingredients that can throw your whole eating plan out of whack, making them incredibly unhealthy pantry staples.

Don't accept any unhealthy pantry items that sneak in extra fat, sugar, salt, or empty calories into your diet. These twelve items represent the worst kitchen staples you can buy, despite their massive popularity with shoppers. Keep on the nutritional straight and narrow to make sure each of these items stays out of your life for a much more rewarding eating experience, and instead stock up on these 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

Smuckers Goober Grape PB & J Stripes

smuckers goober
Per serving: 220 calories, 11 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 125 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (2 g fiber, 21 g sugar), 5 g protein

If you love the convenience of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but hate the time it takes to spread each condiment onto your bread, Smuckers found the solution you have been waiting for. While the brand's Goober Grape PB & K Stripes saves time, it won't do your waistline any favors, thanks to the 21 grams of added sugar and a ton of corn syrup. According to the American Heart Association, many of us shouldn't consume more than 25 to 36 grams of sugar per day, and this spread takes us dangerously close to the limit with just one serving.

After you purge your kitchen of these unwholesome pantry staples, check out 18 Ingredients That Nutritionists Say to Avoid Cooking With.

Ken's Buttermilk Ranch

kens buttermilk ranch dressing
Courtesy of Walmart
Per serving: 170 calories, 19 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 250 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 0 g protein

Nothing completes a salad like the perfect dressing, but if you decide to use Ken's Buttermilk Ranch, you effectively negate any positive nutrition your salad offers. The dressing packs in 19 grams of fat, making it an extremely unhealthy condiment to keep in your cabinet.

Next time you crave a Ranch dressing that can make your diet happy, try out our healthy homemade ranch recipe.

Kraft White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese Dinner 7.3 oz Box

kraft mac and cheese
Per serving: 320 calories, 3.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 670 mg sodium, 59 g carbs (2 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 12 g protein

According to the FDA, no one should try to eat more than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day. This comes as bad news to Kraft mac & cheese fans, especially those of us who love their white cheddar macaroni and cheese dinner. The massive amount of salt in this meal compares to eating 55 Lay's potato chips and can upend any diet.

Spaghettios with Franks

campbells spaghettios
Per can: 380 calories, 12 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 1,050 mg sodium, 52 g carbs (6 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 16 g protein

If you thought eating a quarter of your day's salt in one box of mac and cheese was bad, wait until you get a look at Spaghettios with Franks' sodium count. Clocking in with almost half your daily salt in one serving, these canned noodles shouldn't sit on anyone's shelves. Avoid the risk of high blood pressure and gout and leave these noodles on the store shelf next time you make a grocery run.

Instead, grab one of these 14 Best Low-Sodium Canned Soups for Heart Health, Approved by Dietitians.

Reese's Peanut Butter

Per serving: 190 calories, 16 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (3 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 8 g protein

Peanut butter can hide a wealth of poor nutrition, and thanks to a high-fat content deriving from hydrogenated oil, Reese's peanut butter ends up as one of the worst sweet spreads you can let into your kitchen pantry. Keep your diet on track by avoiding this unhealthy peanut butter and opt for healthier nut spreads next time a craving strikes.

Kettle Brand Spicy Queso Krinkle Cut Potato Chips

kettle chips
Per serving: 140 calories, 8 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (2 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 2 g protein

With a serving size of just nine chips, these Spicy Queso chips pack in a ton of fat and do some real damage. This particular chip ranks as one of the worst potato chips you can pick up at the store and when you need to eat healthily, anyone can easily overdo it on this snack. Keep to the nutritional straight and narrow and avoid the massive amount of fat-per-serving ratio that comes embedded into this chip.

And you'll also want to steer clear of these 15 Unhealthiest Chips On The Planet.

Pepperidge Farm White Bread

pepperidge farm white bread
Per 2 slices: 140 calories, 2 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 210 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 3 g protein

White bread has become notorious in recent years thanks to its wealth of empty calories. Pepperidge Farm serves up one of the worst contenders, offering a ton of carbs in bread with almost no nutritional value. For healthier sandwiches, opt for whole-grain bread to get a greater selection of vitamins and minerals to really keep your eating plan moving forward.

Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies

Famous amos bite size chocolate chip cookies
Per serving: 280 calories, 13 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 210 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (2 g fiber, 18 g sugar), 2 g protein

Everybody has come to love Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies, but sadly, their high fat and calorie count makes them one of the worst cookies you can have on the shelf. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average person should aim to consume somewhere between 44 to 78 grams of fat a day, and if you want to stick to the lower end, the 13 grams of fat found in one serving of cookies can do some real damage. Steer clear of these snacks next time you need to restock your pantry.

Instead, make your own cookies at home with one of these 33+ Best Healthy Cookie Recipes.

Campbell's Beef with Vegetables and Barley Soup

campbells beef and barley
Per serving: 100 calories, 1 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 890 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (2 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 4 g protein

Salt can do a real number on your health. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, too much sodium can lead to cardiovascular disease and kidney disease. Unfortunately, Campbell's beef with vegetables and barley soup won't help you with these numbers—the whopping 890 milligrams of sodium easily ranks this soup as one of the saltiest at the store. Make sure to avoid this flavor when you need to restock. Or make your own soup with these 31 Best Healthy Instant Pot Soup Recipes.

Nissin Spicy Chile Chicken Cup Noodles

cup noodles
290 calories, 11 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 1,280 mg sodium, 41 g carbs (2 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 7 g protein

Ramen noodles notoriously contain a ton of salt and poor nutritional value, with the spicy chili chicken Cup Noodles containing some of the highest levels of sodium found in a pantry good. The 1,280 milligrams of sodium easily equate to half a day's worth of salt, making it one of the worst instant noodles to put into your body. Stay clear of these easy-to-cook noodles next time hunger strikes.

Crush Pineapple Soda

crush pineapple bottle
Courtesy of Crush
Per 20 fl oz: 320 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 110 mg sodium, 86 g carbs (0 g fiber, 85 g sugar), 0 g protein

Not all sodas are created equal—some pack in even higher levels of poor nutrition per serving compared to their competitors. Crush Pineapple soda pushes the limits of poor nutrition wrapped into a drink thanks to the massive 85 grams of sugar found in each serving. The drink contains double the amount of sugar you need in a day, making it a terrible choice for anyone looking to eat healthily.

Instead, grab one of these 25 Healthy, Low-Sugar Soda Alternatives.

Herr's Salt and Vinegar Chips

herrs salt vinegar chips
Per serving: 150 calories, 9 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 490 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 2 g protein

Salt can make or break a chip, but some brands take their sodium to new levels. For a chip that pushes the sodium envelope, Herr's Salt and Vinegar chip slip in 490 milligrams of sodium into one small snack serving of chips. When you can easily overdo it on these snacks, it just is easier to stay away, rather than fall prey to such high sodium levels. Factor in the fact that these snacks only provide empty calories, and you have a poor nutrition double-header that can break any diet.

Speaking of, here are 22 Foods That Are Never Worth The Empty Calories.

Erich Barganier
Erich Barganier is a health and food writer. Read more about Erich