Sometimes it feels like no matter how much or how long you spend at the grocery store, you always come home to a pantry that’s missing something.
Especially now, when trips to the grocery store are getting more and more infrequent, you need a game plan to ensure that everyone in your house has something delicious and nutritious to snack on.
So when you make that last grocery run before cooking at home full-time, here are some great pantry staples to have on hand for easy recipe substitutions, healthy snacks, and much more.
1. Beans and Legumes
They’re rich in nutrients like fiber and protein, and super easy to mix into salads, soups, and pastas.
2. Canned Fish
Like tuna, salmon and sardines are highly nutritious, and they also offer a boost of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
3. Nut and Seed Butters
These are a great source of protein and healthy fats, and they pair well with anything, from savory crackers and breads to sweet apples and bananas.
4. Whole-Grain Pasta, Quinoa, and Brown Rice
These nutrient-rich grains are great for a side dish when paired with a lean protein and vegetables.
5. Old-Fashioned Oats
A great way to start your day, they’re full of fiber and part of a healthy breakfast. Add in some nuts or flaxseed, and enjoy with a couple of eggs for added protein.
6. Frozen Fruits and Veggies
These are great to have stored in your freezer for whenever you need them. Picked and frozen at their “peak,” they hold their nutritional value. (But be sure to avoid unnecessary added sugars and sauces.) Frozen fruits and berries can be tossed into cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, created into a smoothie, or simply eaten alone. Veggies are great for a stir fry, side dish, or mixed in with pasta or rice.
7. Dried Fruit
Prunes, apricots, raisins, cranberries, and figs are a particularly good source of iron, fiber, and antioxidants. Toss them with some nuts for added protein and healthy fats to create a nutritious snack the whole family can enjoy.
8. Seafood and Meats
Oftentimes these are our main sources of protein. Meats such as chicken, beef, and turkey, as well as all varieties of seafood, are easily frozen and can last in the freezer for up to two or three months. (Just make sure they’re well packaged and sealed to avoid freezer burn.)
Remember, in addition to stocking up on foods, it’s important to stay hydrated! If your local grocery store is fresh out of bottled water, tap water is a completely adequate substitute.
I hope these pantry staples make breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time a fun and nutritious time in your household. May we all be healthy in spirit, mind, and body.
By: Chef Gary Appelsies, MS
Director of Healthy Eating
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