5 Must-Have Foods to Always Have in Your Pantry

Wholegrain and dietary fiber food border with notebook.

At the end of a long day, figuring out dinner — let alone something healthy — can feel like a chore. But, if you keep these five foods on hand, a healthy and delicious dinner can be done in no time.

Here are five foods to refresh your pantry:

  1. Canned fish or chicken. Very low sodium canned albacore tuna, packed in water, or chicken can be a go-to for sandwiches. Instead of mayo, stir in fat-free or low-fat plain yogurt. Not in the mood for a sandwich? Stir canned tuna or chicken into a low-sodium pasta sauce or add as a protein to a green salad.

  2. Canned beans and vegetables. Canned vegetables and beans can help make a meal in minutes. Add no-salt-added or low-sodium canned beans to a salad for a vegetarian entrée. Or sauté beans in a small amount of olive oil with garlic, add low-sodium tomato sauce and serve over whole-grain pasta. Canned veggies, such as green beans, can be sauteed and added to pasta. Choose lower-sodium options when buying canned vegetables and beans. Be sure to rinse and drain them to remove more sodium.

  3. Canned fruits. Canned fruits are canned at the peak of their freshness and may be less expensive, so they make for a nutritious and affordable option. Look for canned fruit with no added sugars, and save the juice for a smoothie or a mocktail.

  4. Whole grains. Brown rice, barley, bulgur, sorghum and other whole grains like couscous and quinoa are healthy and versatile. Add old-fashioned oats to fat-free or low-fat plain or no-sugar-added yogurt, mix in unsalted nuts and/or berries and store in your fridge overnight for a quick on-the-go breakfast! Or add grilled or steamed vegetables to quinoa for a quick one-pot meal.

  5. Nuts, seeds and nut butters. Enjoy nuts, seeds and nut butters for a snack or toss into salads, stir-fries, breads, and fat-free or low-fat plain or no-sugar-added yogurt. A little bit goes a long way, so be sure to watch your portion size. Look for the unsalted or lightly salted varieties.

The best part? Many of these items can be bought in bulk to save money. Plus, canned foods have a long shelf life, so you can stock up and have them ready to go for a snack or to put a meal together. Let your pantry work for you!

Pancakes with Blueberry Vanilla Sauce
Date Nut Granola Bars

Lipton

Nationally Supported by

Lipton

Egg Nutrition Center

Nationally Supported by

Egg Nutrition Center

Eggland's Best

Nationally Supported by

Eggland's Best