Consumer Reports: Eat from your pantry longer

Canned, jarred or dried foods and a container of water.
Canned, jarred or dried foods and a container of water. (iStock)

Are you suddenly making three meals a day plus snacks for your stay-at-home family? As Consumer Reports explains, now is the perfect time to limit trips to the grocery store by using the healthy foods you probably already have in your pantry.

You can make whole meals that are pretty tasty from the things you have in your kitchen, like canned beans or fish, grains, and pasta. Then you can supplement them with fresh food you’ve got in your freezer.

For instance, oatmeal makes a healthy breakfast, but add some peanut butter and cinnamon, then top with thawed frozen berries and a little honey and you’ve got a protein-packed bowl of deliciousness, all from the pantry.

And for lunch or dinner, now is the perfect time to try your hand at homemade soup. Sautéed onion and garlic are a flavorful start to any soup. Add several cups of your favorite veggie—frozen if you don’t have fresh—followed by four cups of low-sodium chicken broth, and you have a very basic soup. Use your pantry to jazz it up with a can of beans, a handful of dried pasta, and your favorite spices. And soups are a great way to use up leftovers.

When you go to restock your kitchen, pick up some other long-lasting staples to enhance your meals. Cottage cheese and ricotta can last one to two weeks in your fridge. And sturdy produce like apples, winter squash, carrots, and cabbage will last up to two weeks if kept in a cool dry place.

CR says if you use canned foods from your pantry, they can be high in sodium, so pair them with unprocessed foods when possible, like frozen fruits or veggies. CR has shared some easy, healthy recipes for meals from your pantry. You can find them on CR’s website.