While we are all trying to keep our social distance we still have to eat. Let’s face it most of us aren’t meal prepping at home on a regular basis, which means that our pantry is probably not as well stocked as it could be. So we’ve got the food items for your quarantine kitchen, the ones that will require you to hit up the grocery store a less frequently while keeping every in your home well fed. Plus we’ve included recipes that will use these ingredients to make meal prep even easier.
Full of Beans
The stars of any meatless meal, dried beans and lentils are long lasting and much easier to prepare than you might think. Although canned are just fine, if you haven’t checked out the dried beans and lentil section of the grocery aisles before, you’ll find an endless variety, each one adding a different flavour and texture to your dishes. Beyond being a terrific vegan and vegetarian go-to ingredient, beans and lentils also work well in turkey tacos, beef stews and salads, as well as the main ingredient in a variety of appetizer type dips and spreads.
TRY THIS RECIPE: Vegetarian Tacos
While the frozen foods section has a good selection of convenient yet unhealthy options, there are some healthy ones. We all would reather fresh produce, we get it, but at times like these when we all want to minimize our trips to the grocery stores, it’s important to remember that frozen garden varieties still offer the same vitamin and nutrient benefits as their fresh counterparts. In short, that broccoli in your freezer section was likely picked at its peak, then flash frozen to retain all the nutrients you expect from cruciferous vegetables. This is also a cost-effective way to try different type of vegetables to extend far beyond that mixed bag of carrots, peas and corn.
TRY THIS RECIPE: Warm Brussels Sprout Slaw
When it comes to fresh fruits, make your choices as wisely as avoiding the boxed pizzas in the frozen food section. Opt for fruits with a longer shelf life which include apples and citrus fruits. Fresh berries are not in season this time of year anyway, which means you’re doling out a small fortune for those strawberries in the produce department. Taking a stroll through the frozen produce section, you’ll find a variety of berries, all ready for your smoothies, breakfast cereal or whatever you’re cooking up.
TRY THIS RECIPE: Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins
From tuna salads to crab cakes (yes, crab in a can is a thing) you don’t need fresh fish and in fact in some recipes the canned varieties work even better. With many types of fish available in cans, there options are endless and don’t require a ton of prep to get a meal on your table. When it comes to flavoured varieties, take a close look at the nutrition label as some flavours are higher in sodium than others.
TRY THIS RECIPE: Super Easy Crab Cakes
As a runner pasta is probably already in your pantry. If it’s not it should be. Pasta is one of the most-cost effective meals that also offers endless options simply by changing the variety of noodle and by changing the sauce. Whether it’s a simple tomato sauce or a more complex pesto, pasta can always play a part recipes that suit just about every eater in the house. And when we’re all stuck in the house as we currently are, this really matters most.
Nut butters or nuts, which ever you prefer having either or both on hand can make a big difference for nearly every meal. When it comes to sauces, dressings and marinades almond, peanut and cashew butters add a richness in many asian recipes. Chopped nuts also make a great addition in salads, vegetable side dishes, and homemade granola recipes. And let’s face it both make an easy post-run snack when you need something fast.
TRY THIS RECIPE: No-Bake Breakfast Squares
Anna Lee Boschetto is a regular iRun contributor, health and wellness writer and content producer.