Making wholesome meals and snacks is easier when you have long-lasting foods on hand.
Be prepared for any situation by having these versatile foods in your pantry. They can help you quickly prepare tasty meals and snacks any time!
1) Fruit and vegetables
Canned fruit (peaches, applesauce), dried fruit (raisins, apricots), canned vegetables (tomatoes, peas, corn)
Having dried or canned fruit and vegetables can help save you time in the kitchen while still providing appetizing and nutritious options. Try to include a variety of fruits and vegetables that you enjoy at each meal. Boost the flavour of your favourite oatmeal by sprinkling dried fruit on top, or create a deeply flavoured sauce with canned tomatoes to add to many dishes.
There are a variety of grains that one can enjoy including wheat, oats, rye and barley. Try choosing whole grains, as they are packed with nutrients including fibre, manganese, and phosphorus. Grains can be cooked in larger batches, frozen, and then quickly defrosted for future meals. Experiment with a new whole grain each month, such as wheat berries in this grain bowl buffet or quinoa in this colourful salad.
3) Nuts, seeds and nut butters
Peanut butter, almonds, flaxseeds
These high-protein foods are great for quick and satisfying snacks or to enhance the flavours in a meal. There are a variety of tasty options to choose from and explore in all kinds of ways. Grab a pick-me-up snack using nut butter with these no-bake energy balls or try mixing in different nuts and seeds to enhance your favourite granola recipe. For more fun and creativity, turn your granola into delicious cookies.
Lentils, chickpeas, beans, dried and/or canned soup
Recommendations from Canada’s food guide are to eat plant-based protein foods more often. Pulses are not only an excellent, low-cost source of plant-based protein, but also provide fibre, vitamins and minerals including iron, folate, and potassium. There are a variety of tasty snacks and meals that can be made with pulses, from desserts and dips to salads and main dishes. Whip up this light and creamy bean dip or open your senses to the aromas of this hearty chickpea curry.
Canned tuna, canned salmon, canned sardines
Keeping some canned fish in your pantry can help make for a flavourful, simple snack or meal. Fish is a good source of protein, iron, and omega-3 fats. With many different ways to enjoy fish, it can be easy and fun to get creative with your food. Experiment with different pizza toppings like sardines or attract your tastebuds with this mouth-watering tuna melt and this fresh-tasting salmon pasta.
Proper storage of pantry items
Non-perishable food items such as canned items or dry goods should be stored in a cool, dry place at room temperature. When putting away your items, use the “First In, First Out” rule by bringing older products to the front and placing newer products in the back. Be sure to read the food label on your products to know how to properly store each item once it is opened. Always check expiry dates on items before using them, and look to best-before dates to determine if an item may still be acceptable to eat.
Interested in more tips and information on home cooking?
By Sarah Oliphant, 5th year dietetic student, with Carmen Gorlick, RD