By: Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA
It can feel like a challenge to create nutritious, tasty and balanced meals during quarantine. However, stocking your pantry with a variety of healthy ingredients will help you to better plan meals, stick to a budget and stretch meals. Isolation doesn’t have to mean boring food, get creative in the kitchen! You’ll be amazed at all the combinations of ingredients you can use to spice up your meals each day!
Condiments: Add zest to your meals with a variety of condiments.
Mustard, light mayonnaise, red wine or white vinegar, siracha or other hot sauce, soy sauce and ketchup can help elevate an otherwise boring dish.
Grains: Stock up on fiber-containing whole grains.
Cereals: Whole oats, oat bran
Wild Rice, jasmine rice
Beans & Legumes: Be sure to rinse canned beans before using to remove excess sodium.
Lentils, split peas, garbanzo, red kidney, white beans, black beans
Nuts & Seeds:
A satisfying and filling snack packed with fiber, healthy fats and protein. Choose unsalted versions of nuts and “natural” versions of nut butters.
Almonds, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
Canned Vegetables: Canned vegetables can provide a good source of nutrition in a pinch, be sure to rinse them if they have added salt.
Canned tomatoes don’t require any rinsing and are a must have in any pantry! Think saucy tomato chicken over quinoa for a quick and tasty meal.
Canned soups – choose broth based whenever possible.
Canned Fish: A great staple to have on hand that is high in protein, heart healthy & budget friendly. Choose varieties packed in water.
Tuna, Salmon, sardines & muscles
Fruit: Look for “no sugar added” and those packed in water or “own juices”. Fruit may be the first item to run out in your home, shelf-stable varieties are just as nutritious. Be sure to read the label for no sugar added options.
Applesauce, pears, pineapple and mandarin oranges.
Fun Foods: It’s ok to have some sweet & salty items on hand!
Whole grain chips and salsa
Popcorn – whole-grain snack that is low in calories yet high in fiber
Peanut butter crackers
Dark chocolate chips to make cookies
Lower sodium Broth: Keep on hand for soups, stews and added flavor in chicken and fish dishes.
Spices: Don’t forget to flavor your food! Garlic powder, pepper, paprika, Italian seasoning and other salt-free seasonings.
Shelf stable milk as a backup.