6 Healthy Pantry Staples To Have For Weeknight Meals

Having a well-stocked pantry may also help you make more healthy decisions on weekdays, particularly when dinnertime rolls round and also you don’t have already got a plan in place. Pantry staples can be utilized to complement recent fruit and veggies you have already got available, or function an alternative choice to frozen pizza and on the spot ramen.

When shopping for canned beans, broths, greens and different shelf-stable meals, it’s price looking on the dietary labels, as these kind of meals usually have extra salt and sugar than their recent counterparts.

“Definitely look at the sodium if you’re at risk for high blood pressure or have high blood pressure,” mentioned Jonathan Valdez, proprietor of Genki Nutrition and spokesperson for New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. While the Dietary Guidelines for Americans advocate consuming below 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day (and not more than 2,000 milligrams of sodium per day for individuals with hypertension), Valdez informed HuffPost that the typical American consumes about 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day.

If you’re watching your sodium consumption, search for low-, reduced- or no-sodium choices in the event that they’re out there. In an analogous vein, for canned fruits, specialists advocate discovering choices through which the fruit is packed in its personal juices or water (as an alternative of syrup).


“Looking at the ingredients list to see if anything has been added is the best place to look for this,” Meredith Price, a plant-based registered dietitian and co-founder of Plant-Fit Besties, informed HuffPost.

We requested registered dietitians to share their go-to pantry staples and their favourite methods to make use of them. Below, we’ve rounded up their high picks.

Nutritional yeast

“This is a must in any plant-based person’s kitchen,” Price mentioned, noting that dietary yeast is a superb supply of protein, fiber and B nutritional vitamins. Plus, it’s shelf-stable for as much as two years and offers meals a tacky taste.


“It’s also low-FODMAP friendly, which is great for anyone with digestive issues, particularly IBS,” she mentioned.

Price likes to sprinkle dietary yeast over popcorn for a wholesome snack, and she or he additionally makes use of it to make vegan macaroni and cheese (mixing cashews with dietary yeast to make a creamy vegan sauce).

Here are some extra tips about what you may make with it.

Nutritional yeast is a flaky vegan ingredient that imparts a cheesy flavor to whatever dish you add it to.


Brent Hofacker / 500px by way of Getty Images

Nutritional yeast is a flaky vegan ingredient that imparts a tacky taste to no matter dish you add it to.

Dried lentils

Lentils are an awesome supply of plant-based protein, fiber and iron, Price mentioned, including, “they’re a great meat substitute for many dishes.”

Dried lentils are the star ingredient of a few of her favourite weeknight meals, together with daal (lentil stew) and lentil curry, which she serves with rice. When cooking with pantry staples, Price tries to include a minimum of some type of recent produce, even when it’s simply an onion.

“I like to have some fresh vegetables on the side to make the meal more flavorful and nutritious, such as a side salad, sauteed kale or roasted carrots,” she mentioned.

Want particular recipes? Here’s learn how to flip a bag of lentils into three meals.


Rice is a superb base for including proteins and greens, and any leftovers you’ve will be made into fried rice the following day. Throw in an egg, chopped garlic and no matter greens you’ve wilting away in your fridge and thank us later — leftovers have by no means tasted this good.

“It goes with practically every dish and has a very long shelf life,” Valdez mentioned of the grain.

Ali Webster, director of analysis and diet communications on the International Food Information Council, is keen on brown rice as a result of it’s a complete grain.

“It’s higher in nutrients like fiber, manganese, magnesium and selenium compared to white rice,” Webster informed HuffPost.

Here are 21 rice recipes you may make from pantry elements.

Canned greens that aren’t in season

If recent greens aren’t out there, frozen is the following best choice. And then after that, canned choices are good to have available.

“On the rare occasions that I can’t find the vegetables I’m looking for in the grocery store, I love to turn to canned corn for something that’s easy and microwavable, especially if corn is not in season,” Valdez mentioned. He makes use of canned corn in ramen, on salads and extra.

Canned beans

Canned beans add fiber and protein to soups and salads, Webster mentioned, they usually may also be blended into dips like hummus or paired with tortillas and different toppings for weeknight tacos.

“The versatility of canned beans is unmatched,” she mentioned.

At residence, Webster and her household cook dinner with quite a lot of pantry staples as a result of they reduce down on prep time and assist get wholesome meals on the desk rapidly. Unlike dried beans, which may take hours to soak and cook dinner, canned beans will be heated up and added to dishes in minutes.

Find nice recipes that use canned black beans right here.

Nut butter

Whether you want peanut butter, almond butter or another sort of nut butter, that is your reminder to top off.

“Nut butters are a source of protein and fiber, and they’re high in healthy fats,” Webster mentioned. “They can be used for everything from toast to smoothies to sauces.”

Webster likes utilizing peanut butter to make peanut sauces for dipping greens into or as a complement for rice noodle dishes.

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