There will always come a time when you go into your fridge to make a meal and find only moldy, rotting remnants of what used to be gloriously fresh food. When this happens, you can either cry, go to the store to buy new food, or just give up and order some pizza.

However, if you're smart you'll always have some non-perishable food items on hand, which come in clutch at times like these. They're also super great for snacking and last forever. So make sure to always have the following non-perishable food items on hand, as they could save your life one day.   


apple, meat, beef, sauce, pork, vegetable
Kendra Valkema

Remember in elementary school when applesauce was a staple of your diet? Same. And now it comes in squeezable tubes, which I totally would've died to have in my youth. Applesauce is still a good thing to have on hand in your adult life too. It can be enjoyed as a healthy snack, or as a replacement for oil in baked goods, like these pumpkin spice muffins your inner basic is just dying to make.   

Cheese or Peanut Butter Crackers

Ari Richman

These guys are great to take with you on the go, although be careful when eating them in the car because crumbs will go everywhere. They're sure to keep you full between meals, as the peanut butter variety contains four grams of protein, and the cheese crackers contain five grams. The bright orange color of the crackers are still a bit worrisome to me, but I'll go with it. 


Kelli Haugh

Soup is my go-to when I don't have any other fresh foods on hand to eat. There are tons of varieties at the grocery store, so no matter how many times you're forced to eat soup you can't get tired of it. Go for heartier kinds that will leave you feeling full and satisfied. To round out the soup, pair it with pita bread instead of crackers and low-fat cheese. 

Individual Oatmeal Packets

Becky Hughes

Run out of eggs and toast for breakfast? Tragic. Although oatmeal may not be the ideal replacement, it'll still keep you full through the morning. There's also a ton of sweet varieties of oatmeal to choose from at the grocery store, and they can be sweetened up in glorious ways, with add-ins like fresh fruit, peanut butter, and almond milk. Make these chocolate cheesecake overnight oats, and you'll forget all about those boring eggs.

Ramen Noodles

Caitlin Wolper

We all know ramen is the ideal college meal. Too broke to go out to eat? You've got ramen. Too lazy to cook an actual meal? Ramen takes two minutes. Ramen's always got your back no matter what (just make sure to buy it in bulk). And it doesn't even have to be boring anymore because we've got some genius twists to take your ramen to the next level of high-class deliciousness. 

Granola or Protein Bars

Rachel Hartman

When you've got no time to make breakfast, granola or protein bars are the essential go-to. You can easily eat them while driving, walking, or during class (if you're not obnoxious about opening the wrapper). Protein bars are also good to have for after a workout, when you know you won't have time to make an actual meal for awhile after. Make sure to get the best bars to ensure you're on your ultimate daily grind.

Pasta and Spaghetti Sauce

Emma Danbury

When unopened, pasta and spaghetti sauce can last (almost) forever. It's essential to keep it in your pantry for when you need to whip up a quick Italian dinner to show your friends or a significant other you actually have your life together. Spaghetti is also a cheap meal in general, and so having it a couple times a week for dinner will definitely help your wallet.

Peanut Butter

Caitlin Shoemaker

Peanut butter is my own personal lifesaver. It's great on toast, can be added into a variety of baked goods, and makes a great midnight snack. Peanut butter is a healthy treat full of good fats, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to function. It's also cheap, and a huge tub of the stuff can last you a whole school year. 

Canned Tuna

Kimberlee Bochek

Canned tuna packs a large amount of protein for a small price. For only a couple bucks, you get 10 grams of protein and a world of opportunities. Drain and mix with mayo and spices for a tuna sandwich, or get classy and make these teriyaki glazed tuna cakes. Beware of eating tuna around others, as the smell can cause bad looks and upturned noses. But hey, it's their loss. 


Katherine Baker

I had forgotten how amazing a cup of pudding could be after all these years of not getting them in my lunch box everyday. But when you're craving something really sweet and you find that your ice cream has freezer burn (or you ate it all), pudding is a satisfying replacement. A single pudding cup is also way less calories than ice cream, with only 60 to 140 calories per cup. You can also get sugar-free or fat-free varieties, or choose from a ton of deliciously sweet flavors like Hershey's chocolate-covered strawberry.

Dried Fruit

Benjamin Martin

Is it just me or does fresh fruit always seem to go bad as soon as I'm about to actually use it? While dried fruit is certainly not the same thing, it can be used in some cases as a good replacement. Top it off in your yogurt, cereal, or granola, or add it to some nuts and seeds to make a bomb trail mix for snacking during the day

Beef Jerky

Tess Wei

Where's the beef? If it's gone bad in your fridge (tragic), then beef jerky can still be the source of a sufficient amount of protein, and it's super low in fat. It's also great for snacking when you've hit that afternoon slump and need a burst of energy. Vegan? Not a problem—these seven vegan jerky snacks provide an equal amount of delicious plant-based protein. 

Canned Veggies

Wallis Linker

Like fruit, fresh vegetables tend to go bad faster than you can get around to using them. Luckily, canned veggies stay good for a while. As a bonus, they're also super duper cheap (like 99 cents a can cheap). Toss canned veggies in salads, mix in with pasta, or serve on the side of a main dish to get in your daily greens. 


Hannah Linn

I never appreciated cereal so much until I came to college. There will be days when I'm either too lazy to cook or go out and get food, but cereal is always there for me. It's cheap and takes literally zero time to prepare. All you need is some milk, a spoon, and a bowl (so make sure you keep milk on hand, too). But make sure you're eating cereal that's actually good for you and not just full of sugar.  

Rice and Beans 

Jessica Barefoot

For vegetarians and meat eaters alike, beans are a terrific source of protein, fiber, and vitamins. They go great with rice, which lasts a helluva long time and can be used as the base for a variety of dishes. Together or apart, just these two ingredients can make you a ton of different breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for weeks