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Must-have items for a well stocked pantry

iStock-1291258085 While we are all facing changes in our daily work and home life routines, one thing we all have in common is a need to nourish our bodies.

Vitamins, minerals, nutrients from plant-based foods, and fiber are vital in maintaining a strong, healthy immune system that can fight off illness. Stocking foods in your pantry that contain these nutrients can help you put together satisfying, immune-supporting meals and snacks for you and your family.

  1. Grains–Choose whole-grain products, specifically those with the word “whole” as the first ingredient. These may include staples such as quinoa and brown or wild rice.
  2. Beans–Legumes are a great way to add fiber and protein to a meal. These include black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, lentils, white beans, and kidney beans. Rinse and drain canned beans to remove some of the extra sodium. Dried beans can also be cooked on the stove, in the slow cooker, or in a pressure cooker.
  3. Nuts and seeds–A great source of protein, these also provide fiber and healthy fats. Nuts to have on stock include almonds, pecans, and walnuts. Seeds include chia, flax, and sesame. Peanut and almond butters are a nutritious crowd pleaser.
  4. Herbs and spices–Add a boost of flavor to your dishes and a punch of plant nutrients without extra fat or salt. These include basil, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cilantro, cinnamon, black pepper, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and turmeric.
  5. Vinegar, condiments, and sweeteners–These can add a bright pop to finish a dish and are great in homemade dressings, marinades, and sauces. Think about apple cider and balsamic vinegar, dates, dijon and whole grain mustard, raw honey, low-sodium broth, and pure maple syrup.
  6. Onions and garlic–These ingredients can build flavor and add immune-supporting compounds to meals.
  7. Squash and potatoes–Both are shelf-stable champions. They can be kept in a cool, dark pantry for extended periods of time and add another layer of nutrient density and bulk to your dishes.
  8. Canned goods–Jarred roasted red peppers, canned coconut milk, canned tomatoes and tomato sauce, and other canned items save you time and get a healthy, home-cooked meal on the table.
  9. Healthy oils–Consider keeping avocado, extra-virgin olive, flax seed, and walnut oil on hand. Make sure to store avocado and the extra-virgin olive oils in a cool, dark place to preserve their nutritional quality. Flax seed and walnut oils are good for drizzling because, while they are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, they become unstable under the heat of cooking. Keep these two refrigerated to preserve nutrients.

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