There are a few items that I absolutely always have on hand in my pantry. Ensuring I always have these products tucked safely away in my pantry means that I always have some type of meal on hand (especially when combined with the staples I always keep in my fridge and freezer – more to come on that!). They’re nothing fancy, but they get the job done when I’m in a pinch!
Whole Wheat Pastas, Rice & Pasta Sauce
Keeping a bag of whole grain pasta and pasta sauce on hand is the perfect weeknight meal when you just can’t bring yourself to cook. I’ll often combine with some steamed veggie and finish off with a sprinkling of cheese and viola! A super fast, balanced meal. Same goes for rice. I always have a bag of dried or can of low-sodium beans on-hand (see below) which makes it easy to throw together a burrito bowl.
Tuna & Beans
I always like to keep a few “shelf stable” sources of protein on hand that I can easily throw into salads or bowls. Tuna and beans (as mentioned above) are two of my favorite go-tos.
Low-Sodium Soup & Whole Grain Crackers
Especially while the weather is on the cooler side (so, essentially September through March), a can of soup with some crackers, a cheese stick and a piece of fruit makes for a perfectly comforting, balanced meal. Whole grain crackers also make a great snack when spread with nut butter or paired with hummus.
Nuts/Nut Butters & Dried Fruit:
I love mixing different nuts and dried fruit to make a homemade trail mix for snacks or for throwing directly into salads or oatmeal. And for me, nut butter is a no-brainer. It’s an easy source of protein and fat that I can spread on toast, throw into smoothies or dip fruit or veggies into.
Whole Grain Cereals (Hot & Cold)
I always have my pantry stocked with oatmeal, museli and/or granola and a whole grain cereal (I love Quaker Oatmeal Squares and Barbara’s Morning Oat Crunch) – this ensures that even on the laziest mornings, I can have a good breakfast. I throw a piece of fruit on the side (or in the bowl!) and I’m good to go!
Whole Grain Tortillas and/or Bread
Last but not least, I absolutely always have some form of bread or tortillas on hand. Again, they’re such a versatile items – I can make burritos, quesadillas or even my own chips with the tortillas. I can top the bread with nut butter, yogurt and fruit for an easy breakfast, make a sandwich using eggs, cheese or tuna and even toast it up and toss it into salads for croutons.