Healthy and Easy Pantry Meals
We’ve all been there. You have a fridge full of healthy foods, and great intentions to cook elaborate, delicious meals at the start of the week. But now it’s 6 o’clock, you're hungry and you have no energy to cook dinner, don’t want to spend money on take out (since you have plenty of food), and are looking for something relatively cheap, quick, and healthy. What can you throw together with minimal effort?
The key is to make sure that you are keeping your pantry stocked with a few key items in 4 categories: Carbs, protein, fat, and veggies. Mix and match from the different combinations to make a meal!
Carbohydrates- boil in-a-bag or microwave brown rice or quinoa, whole grain pasta or bean based pasta, potato (you can microwave this!)
Fat- olive oil, avocado
Protein- eggs, canned beans, chicken sausage, frozen shelled edamame
Veggies- Anything you like! Quick options are a handful of fresh spinach, any frozen veggie (just steam or sauté) such as peas, green beans, or broccoli
Then you can add any other toppings or sauces you might want. So a simple meal could be:
Whole wheat pasta + veggies + chicken sausage + pre made tomato sauce
Rice + beans + spinach + avocado + salsa
Sautéed ground turkey + broccoli + edamame + rice with some soy sauce, sesame oil or stir fry sauce
But really you can put these together in any combo. Eggs and sweet potato? Sure! Quinoa, beans, and green beans? Why not!
Keep on hand a few different seasoning or topping options to keep it interesting. Examples of these could be:
Chili flakes or hot sauce
Soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger powder, and rice vinegar to make a very simple stir fry sauce
Cumin, chili powder, and paprika to add southwest style flavors
By keeping a few staples foods on hand and a variety of seasonings, it will make it just a little easier to make healthy choices on busy nights.
Author: Becca Sprague, MS, RD, LD