Healthy Meals Straight from the Pantry

If you’re like most of the country, you probably don’t want to step foot in a grocery store. And delivery services like Instacart and options like curbside pick-up are experiencing overwhelming surges due to customers trying to stock up and stay home.

Social distancing is a must right now and, while it is important to have two weeks’ worth of food reserves on hand, wait times for orders and empty shelves can prevent this from happening.

But that doesn’t mean that healthy meals and snacks are impossible and that you can’t still enjoy some home cooking – but it is time to put on your creativity hat.

Start by going through the cupboards and refrigerator, eliminating anything that may be expired or past its prime. Try to get a good idea of what you have to work with and then consider downloading an app like Yum or BigOven. These apps allow you to enter foods you might already have on hand and then it scours countless recipes to provide you with ways to put your resources to good use.


Here are a few ways to make the most out of what you have:

Bananas a bit too ripe for eating? Consider freezing them to make a great base for a fruit smoothie or turn them into muffins. Simply Google: “easy banana muffins with limited ingredients” and you’ll find recipes that you’ll most likely already have the supplies for.

Most people have a box of pasta, olive (or vegetable) oil or butter, and a few veggies on hand, whether fresh or frozen. Sauté whatever vegetables you may have (think zucchini, broccoli, onions, carrots, tomatoes) until soft. Boil pasta. Mix all together and add some seasonings like garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, and top with cheese.

You’re sure to have a few canned vegetables on hand and, although fresh is always better, something is better than nothing. Search your pantry for corn, veggie (or chicken) broth and rice. Add a protein, such as chicken, and a few vegetables if you have some, like carrots and celery, and you have a delicious chicken and rice soup. Simply sauté the veggies until soft and cook the rice until fluffy. Bake or boil the chicken and then shred. Combine ingredients and simmer until dinner!

Bread is a hot commodity right now. Most of the shelves are bare in the grocery store and with kids home, this could create a real problem. If you’re feeling ambitious (but not ambitious enough to cook with yeast), there are some really simple recipes for homemade bread out there with very limited ingredients. Use Google to search for “yeast-free bread” and find an easy recipe that comes together quickly with limited ingredients.