You know how you sometimes get home from a long day of work and just do NOT feeling like cooking? Or how you maybe screw up your dinner dish, even though it’s an easy crockpot recipe? When mealtime turns stressful, it’s important to have basics on hand to save the day: pantry staples! Here are 10 foods to stock up on for those dinner emergencies — you can thank us later.
1. Instant Rice: Rice, whether white, saffron, or brown, is one of those perfectly balanced foods that’s equal parts healthy and hearty. Use it to whip up some health-ified fried rice with two eggs and some frozen veggies. Or mix in beans and peppers to create an at-home burrito bowl.
2. Chickpeas: You know what goes perfectly in a stir fry OR a burrito bowl? Chickpeas. In fact, they pair well with just about anything, and they’re a delicious source of vegan protein and fiber.
3. Coconut Oil: Coconut oil has one of the highest smoke points around, which means that you can use it to cook pretty much everything. While it’s often used in vegan recipes, you can also use the leftovers after dinner for a homemade hair mask.
4. Quick Oats: Oats are another grain that, much like rice, are a cinch to whip up. You can have breakfast for dinner in a jiff; just add fruit, nuts, and maybe even a little brown sugar.
5. Frozen Blueberries: It’d be hard to pick a favorite fruit, but if we HAD to, blueberries just might be it. They’re low on sugar and carbohydrates, yet super high in antioxidant content. These frozen treats are perfect for dinnertime oats (see above) and Instagram-worthy smoothies.
6. Chia Seeds: These hearty little seeds are packed with fiber, protein, and healthy fats, making them ideal for adding to soups, stews, smoothies, oatmeal, you name it. There are many dinner options for chia seeds, so don’t be afraid to dig in.
7. Black Beans: Much like chickpeas, protein-packed black beans can be added to rice or soup, or served as a side.
8. Cooked Shrimp: When placed in a bowl of lukewarm water, frozen cooked shrimp thaw in just about 10 minutes. Serve with cocktail sauce, or add into a salad for a healthy hit of protein.
9. Quinoa: Quinoa is much more protein-packed than most grains (even though it’s technically a seed), making it ideal for whipping up on days when you don’t have any meat or beans on hand. Throw in some frozen veggies, top with your favorite seasonings, and voila!
10. Veggie Chips: Keep some Veggie Chips on your shelf for occasions when you simply don’t have any other way to get your veggies in. Admittedly, they do play second fiddle to the fresh or frozen variety, nutrient-wise… but in a pinch, you’ll still be glad you have them.
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