A well-filled pantry is your meal back-up plan. When you don't have time to go to the grocery store, items from a pantry full of healthy staples can be combined to create many different meals. Always keep the basics in your pantry to make sure you have the ingredients necessary to prepare healthy and appetizing meals at home.
Beans are a pantry basic that can be stored both in dried and canned forms. There are dozens of types of dried beans as well as dried bean mixtures. Canned beans are an easy alternative, as they eliminate the lengthy soaking time that most dried beans need for preparation. One cup of cooked beans provides the same amount of protein as two oz. of meat, making beans an easy and inexpensive alternative to meat.
Whole Wheat Pasta
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Americans should try to make at least half of their grain choices as whole grains. Whole wheat pasta is an easy way to add whole grains to your diet, and a convenient addition to any pantry. Pasta can be the basis of dozens of different meals, and adds bulk to help fill you up. Top it with a sauce or add it to soups and stews to get a whole grain addition to your diet.
Canned Fruits and Vegetables
One of the easiest ways to store these healthy foods in your pantry is in cans. Canned fruits and vegetables last much longer than fresh varieties, and are often just as nutritious. Keep a large variety of veggies and fruits in your pantry for easy additions to any meal.
Tuna is a healthy, low fat form of protein that is relatively inexpensive. Choose tuna that is packed in water rather than oil for the healthiest version. Tuna is a good source of iron and potassium, two trace minerals that are important to your general health. Add tuna to soups, make classic tuna sandwiches or surprise the family with an old-fashioned tuna noodle casserole.