Resolutions to Solutions

Solutions to Resolutions - Canned Food Alliance

Melanie ZookMelanie Zook, MA, RD
Registered Dietitian and Licensed Nutritionist

January is the perfect time to clean out your pantry and stock up on ingredients for a healthy lifestyle. Consider these simple tips to set yourself up for long-term success by keeping staples on hand for quick, nutritious meals and energy-packed snacks to grab and go.

Give yourself a pantry makeover: Pitch expired food and give the shelves a good cleaning. Then, stock up on items that will help you serve quick, simple and flavorful meals “outside the box” without compromising nutrition:

  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Whole grains, such as brown rice, barley and quinoa
  • Canned beans, including navy and cannellini, black, pinto, chick peas/garbanzo and kidney
  • Canned vegetables, including corn, green beans and beets
  • Canned diced tomatoes and tomato sauce
  • Canned salmon and/or canned light tuna
  • Canned broths, including chicken, beef and vegetable
  • Oils, including olive (for cooking/dipping) and canola (for baking)
  • Vinegars, including balsamic, apple cider, white and rice
  • Onions/garlic
  • Sweet potatoes and other potatoes

Just add one: Try adding just one more serving of fruit, vegetables and beans somewhere in your day. Bananas on your oatmeal. A quick, made-ahead salad at lunch. Hummus and carrots for a nutritious snack. A simple bean soup for dinner. Pressed for time? Canned foods are an affordable, year-round, nutrient-rich option. They’re not only packed at the peak of freshness, but may also provide additional health benefits that fresh fruits and vegetables may not, such as in the case of peaches and tomatoes that have higher vitamin C and lycopene content than fresh, respectively. Rinse canned beans and vegetables to cut down on sodium, and opt for fruits packed in juice or light syrup. Look for pop top cans for healthy snacks on-the-go!

Look for lean protein: Lean protein, such as fish, skinless white-meat poultry, low fat dairy products, and eggs, may help you feel fuller with fewer calories. Canned tuna, salmon and chicken are nutritious, time-saving options.

Plan ahead: Choose a few essentials that you can mix and match for breakfasts, smoothies and make-ahead snacks, as well as for use in baked goods:

  • Nut butters
  • Canned fruit, including pumpkin, peaches, pears, pineapple and mandarin oranges
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts, including chopped walnuts, pecans and almonds
  • Seeds, including sunflower, flaxseed and chia seeds
  • Wheat germ
  • Oatmeal
  • Mini dark chocolate chips
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Nonfat powdered milk
  • Popcorn
  • Whole wheat crackers
  • Whole grain tortilla chips
  • Sweeteners, including all fruit jam, maple syrup and honey