Low on time?
No problem! Hunger Actions is here to help!
The Hunger Actions team has created a page full of ingredients that we find would be beneficial for families to have in their pantry. Find it right here.
As long as you have a few of these pantry essentials listed below in your kitchen, you can whip up a quick meal in no time! Not only do they provide you with key nutrients, they also add flavour to your food and many of them are cost effective. Let’s get started!
1) Olive Oil
- Rich in monosaturated fats (the good kind of fat!).
- Provides a flavourful taste to your cooking.
- Naturally free of cholesterol, trans fat, sugar, salt and gluten.
- Helps to protect against heart disease, aids in digestion and promotes healthy aging.
- More expensive but provides more health benefits than regular canola oil.
2) Dried Nuts & Fruits
- Quick and easy snack for you and your kids if you’re running low on time.
- Increase the quality of your diet.
- Helps to reduce the risk of chronic disease.
- Consume in moderation.
- Add to salads to provide a sweeter and more flavourful taste.
3) Peanut Butter
- Great for snacking and baking.
- Easily pair with fresh fruit and vegetables like apples and celery.
- Relatively inexpensive.
4) Fruit Jams
- Provide our bodies with quick boosts of energy.
- About half the amount of calories than butter.
- Far less saturated fat and cholesterol than butter or margarines.
5) Rolled Oats
- Use them as the main ingredient in making granola bars. Check out our quick and easy recipe here!
- Great for breakfast because it is very filling, giving you the energy you need to take on the day.
- Add fruit like chopped apples and spices like cinnamon to make it more appealing for your children!
- Lowers cholesterol levels and helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Keep in mind that instant oatmeal does not necessarily have the same benefits.
- Low in sodium if you get the unsalted ones!
- Easily pair with some cheese slices for the kids in their lunches.
7) Marinara Sauces in Bottles/Cans
- Have a long shelf life.
- Do not buy the ones that have a lot of added ingredients because you can spice it up yourself with seasonings you have at home.
- It is cheaper to buy simple sauces, too!
- Easily combine sauce with pasta and sautéed vegetables and you have a quick meal.
- Always good to have in your pantry for a quick dinner option.
- Throw in some vegetables, lean protein and some marinara sauce mentioned earlier and voila! Quick, delicious meal in about 25 minutes.
- Inexpensive and long shelf life.
- If your budget allows, opt for multigrain pasta – healthier!
- Choose difference shapes and sizes to appeal to your children!
- Check out our Thai Green Curry With Pasta recipe here.
9) Brown Sugar
- Natural brown sugar has a few additives.
- Processed in a natural way.
- Useful in baking but you can use it marinate and caramelize foods.
- Check out how we used brown sugar in our banana bread recipe here.
10) Canned Foods
- Examples include beans, corns, lentils, peas, tomato sauce, and tuna
- They provide a long shelf life.
- Canned fruits and vegetables are preservative free and research shows that canned veggies and fruits are just as nutritious.
- Be careful about canned fruits, however, because those can be kept in sugary syrups. Look for ones kept in their natural juices!
- Items like canned tuna are good because you can use them to prepare lunches for your kids consisting of tuna sandwiches or a tuna casserole for dinner! As a snack, have some tuna served with the crackers we mentioned earlier!
- Stay away from canned foods like soups. These are high in sodium and other things you do not necessarily want a lot of in your body.
Look at that! Ten ingredients that have so much to offer in the kitchen! Try incorporating these in your pantry and go back to them when you’re facing a time crunch. Check out our many recipes for ideas on how to use these ingredients in your own cooking. We have firsthand testimonials of many families trying out these recipes and reporting that their kids LOVED them!
The great thing about these pantry items is that they all have relatively long shelf lives. However, keep in mind that moderate consumption of all these ingredients is KEY! Try not to become too heavily reliant on them. Try to always use fresh foods with ingredients you can pronounce. Check out our guide on reading a nutrition label here.