1. Eden Canned Rice and Beans
These have come in handy more times that I can count, and I have learned to always have a few cans in my pantry. Usually, I plan ahead and cook my own beans and rice, but there have been situations where I needed something hearty, healthy, and fast! These clever products consist of brown rice, either beans or lentils, and seasonings. They come in a variety of flavors, all of them excellent. One of my favorites is the Caribbean Rice and Beans made with brown rice, black beans, and scrumptious spices. As easy as opening the can, heating, and stirring, they are ready to eat in just a few minutes.
TIP: Pair them up with a big bowl of steamed veggies, or use them as a filling in a whole wheat wrap or pita.
2. Mori-Nu Silken Tofu (Firm or Extra Firm)
This tofu is shelf-stable until you open it, but you may find it in the refrigerated section of your grocery store along with other tofu. You can slice it up, marinate it, and then grill or bake. Try adding it to stir-frys or salads. It also makes a delicious base for creamy sauces, dips, and dressings. My favorite thing to create with this tofu is a high-protein pudding. Just puree together:
- Some cocoa powder
- A sweetener such as maple syrup, honey, or dates
- A dash of vanilla extract
- A pinch of sea salt
TIP: Toss a quarter of the package into a fruit smoothie in place of protein powder.
3. Koyo Soba Ramen
This is the closest thing I have found to whole grain, baked-not-fried, no-MSG added, ramen noodle packets. They are made with a blend of wheat flour and buckwheat flour and provide 194 calories, 3 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of protein. Perfect for a quick, hot snack that really satisfies. They are fairly high in sodium, so balance this out by watching your salt intake the rest of the day.
TIP: While cooking, stir in some frozen spinach and/or peas to boost up the nutrition content. After removing from stove, stir in a big spoonful of peanut butter for a delicious, creamy peanutty taste that adds some healthy fats for a complete meal.
One of the keys to staying on track with your diet is to have the right types of foods conveniently available to eat. I hope you add one, two, or three of these affordable, nutritious, versatile, and delicious pantry staples to your grocery list. The next time you are in need of a quick meal, you will have a few new options at your fingertips.
Corinne Goff is a Registered Dietitian who is absolutely passionate about food, health, and nutrition. Corinne has a BA in Psychology from Salve Regina University and a BS in Nutrition from the University of Rhode Island. As a nutritionist, her objective is to help people reach their health goals by offering a personalized holistic approach to wellness that incorporates natural foods and lifestyle changes. She works together with her clients to develop daily improvements that they feel comfortable with and that are realistic. She believes that the focus on wholesome, nutrient-rich, real food, is the greatest possible way to become healthier, have more energy, decrease chances of chronic disease, and feel your best. For more information, please visit her website at RI Nutrition Housecalls.com.