Long-life foods

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Foods that have a longer shelf life can be handy to have in your kitchen. These are foods that you may be able to stock up on when they’re on sale as they won’t expire quickly if stored properly. Foods don’t need to be fresh to be nutritious – there are great canned, frozen and dried options. Here are some of our favourites:

Food group

Foods to choose

Grain (cereal) foods

  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Couscous
  • Noodles
  • Rolled oats and breakfast cereals
  • Bread, bread rolls, crumpets or muffins (can be frozen)
  • Crispbreads, rice cakes and rice crackers


  • Tinned vegetables and legumes
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Shelf-stable fresh vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes and onions
  • Dehydrated vegetables such as beans, lentils and potato.


  • Fruit that will stay fresh for longer (apples, oranges, kiwi fruit)
  • Tinned fruit in natural juice
  • Dried fruit
  • Frozen fruit
  • Consider freezing left over fresh fruit for smoothies and muffins.

Dairy and alternatives

  • Cow’s milk (UHT/long life)
  • Milk powder
  • Tinned evaporated milk
  • Plant based milks with added calcium (e.g. soy milk)
  • Custard – UHT/long life or powdered
  • Tinned rice pudding
  • Cheese

Lean meats and alternatives

  • Fresh meat, chicken or fish (can be frozen)
  • Cheaper cuts of meat for making casseroles and stews (can be frozen)
  • Tofu
  • Eggs*
  • Peanut butter or other nut butters*
  • Nuts or seeds*
  • Legumes and lentils
  • Canned fish such as tuna, salmon and sardines.

* Check your service or school policy

Tips for buying safe foods

  • Check the 'best before' and 'use by dates' before you purchase food. Products should not be eaten or sold past their 'use by' date. Products can be eaten after their 'best before' date but may have reduced quality after this date.
  • Do not buy food in damaged containers – especially canned foods. Do not store food in opened cans. Transfer to a sealable non-metal container after opening.
  • Do not buy cracked or dirty eggs. Ask for an exchange if you notice this at the checkout.

Buy cold or hot foods last and get them home fast. It can help to have an esky or insulated bag to transport these items.