Having fresh produce and meat at home can be great, as you can cook up a healthy, wholesome meal that can provide you with the nutrients you need and taste delicious. But it can be hard to always find time to get outside for a shopping trip, and delivery can surely add up. Plus, you never know if you will eat the fresh ingredients in time, as things can come up where plans can change. And that would be a waste of money and perfectly good food.
That’s why having ingredients at home that have longer shelf lives can be great. They can last a while due to a longer expiration date and they are often still nutritious and versatile for quick and easy meals. It makes meal prep a breeze. If you can’t seem to make it to the grocery store, keep these great pantry staples in your kitchen cabinets.
Can’t go to the store for meat or fish for protein? You can find the same amount of grams in a protein bar, and Quest Protein Bars have 20-21 grams of the good stuff. Plus you can also find ones that have a good source of fiber and are low in sugar and carbs to help with managing blood sugar swings and filling you up further. You can buy them in bulk from stores at once or online, so they are always on hand. Stash in a bag for on the go too—you’ll always have a good snack or meal replacement at your fingertips.
Another great high-protein and high-fat source that is good for lowering inflammation, boosting satiety, promoting muscle repair and recovery, and protecting your heart, canned fish, such as canned tuna or canned salmon is easy to keep in a pantry and will last years at home. Add it to salads, grain or bean bowls, patties for burgers or fish cakes, sandwiches, or eat it straight out of the jar with some seasoning. It’s naturally low-carb and low-sugar, too.
Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes, like black beans, kidney beans, and lentils, are all rich in plant-based protein and fiber, and they can be a quick, easy meal to make in minutes. To get rid of excess sodium, rinse them from the can. You can stuff them into burger patties (try half meat and half beans!), add to tacos, top on salads or protein bowls, or even use in dessert, like for black bean brownies.
Quinoa and Pasta
Quinoa and pasta are great to have at home since they don’t go bad easily and you can make a ton of various meals with them. And if you are low-carb, you can swap pasta for a bean based or chickpea pasta or a low-carb pasta variety, too! Quinoa works for sides, quinoa cakes, protein bowls, veggie burger patties, and more.
While it’s in your fridge technically, yogurt has a long shelf life and you can often enjoy it past the expiration date—just smell it first! If it smells off or has mold on it, toss it for sure. If it’s safe, then enjoy it as a snack or meal! You can add in fresh fruit, nuts and seeds, and even healthy fats, like using it as a topper for avocado or drizzling in olive oil.