With everyone’s focus firmly set on preventing the spread of the coronavirus, it’s even more important to prioritize our health! But with social distancing in effect and grocery stores running low on — well, let’s face it, everything — how can we prepare healthy meals without the typical freedom to choose any ingredient we want?
In anticipation of stocking up and staying in, we’ve compiled a list of 10 common pantry and freezer staples and ways to prepare them to keep you and your family nourished and satisfied. If you’re planning a grocery order, these items are versatile, healthy, and long-lasting.
Before we start, it’s important to note that now more than ever we should aim to abide by all food safety regulations to keep our immune systems functioning properly. In addition, here at Pack Health, we like to keep all our meals Healthy Plate compliant. Want a quick refresh on how to do that? We’ve got you covered.
01 Beans and Legumes
Canned beans are an easy way to add protein to lots of dishes. Combine some brown rice, black or pinto beans, canned salsa, sliced avocado, and shredded cheese for a quick and healthy meal. Want to add a little more green? Build your at-home burrito bowl on a bed of fresh spinach if you have that on hand!
02 Frozen Vegetables
There was a rumor going around that frozen produce isn’t as nutritious as fresh. We’re here to tell you that frozen veggies provide just as many nutritional benefits as fresh! Click here for more on that topic. Frozen vegetables are a perfect way to add a quick side of veggies to any meal. Trader Joe’s has an awesome freezer aisle. We like to stock up on their organic frozen cauliflower rice at $1.99 per package!
03 Brown Rice
Whether it’s ready-rice or the dried, long-grain kind, brown rice is a wonderful way to add whole grains to your bowls or meals. Brown rice is packed with fiber that contributes to healthy digestion and controls cholesterol levels.
Eggs are one of the most versatile foods that are commonly stocked in the fridge. In addition to keeping your breakfasts true to the Healthy Plate, eggs make great snacks and can be added to most dishes for a little extra added protein!
05 Frozen Zoodles
Most supermarkets these days carry pre-zoodled vegetable noodles! Craving pasta tonight? Keep your blood sugars leveled out by opting for vegetable noodles instead of those that contain flour and added sugars. If you have lean ground turkey on hand, whip up a pasta sauce with added veggies for a delicious dinner!
06 Nut Butters
Nut butters are easily stored in the pantry or refrigerator and provide protein for breakfasts and snacks alike. Toast a piece of whole-grain bread and or slice up an apple for a nice snack. Be sure to watch your serving sizes, because although they’re packed with protein and healthy fats, at the end of the day, too much fat is still too much fat!
07 Olive Oil, Vinegar, Lemons, and Dried Spices
Watching your salt intake is a common thing we chat about here. People assume that salt is the only way to add flavor to your favorite foods but think again! Dried herbs, lemons, and limes are a few ways to add flavor without the added salt!
08 Root Vegetables
Stock up on things like sweet potatoes, spaghetti squash, onions, garlic, and carrots to either roast, add to soups, or flavor your favorite dishes.
09 Canned Tomatoes
Any canned item is going to come in handy when you’re looking to prep a meal using pantry staples. Just remember to stay on top of sodium content! Pro-tip: Rinse your beans before heating to remove any excess starch and salt. Canned tomatoes can be added to soups, stews, and pasta sauces.
10 Rolled Oats
Want some more healthy eating inspiration to keep you entertained and eating well? Sarah, one of our on-staff dietitians, has you covered. Click here to see the staples she keeps on hand.