Consumer Reports: Eat from your pantry longer

Are you suddenly making three meals a day, plus snacks for your family while at home?

As Consumer Reports explains, you can still limit trips to the grocery store by using the healthy foods you probably already have in your pantry.

Being cooped up at home makes it tempting to cozy up to some not-so-good for-you comfort food. But perhaps now more than ever, experts say it's important to stick to a healthy diet.

"The foods you choose to eat right now can support your immune system and boost your energy level. So making nutritious choices is really important," says Trisha Calvo from Consumer Reports.

Health officials advise that we stay home as much as possible, and that includes minimizing trips to the grocery store.

Before you go out shopping, check the cabinets and freezer.

"You can make whole meals that are pretty tasty from the things you have in your pantry, like canned beans, canned fish, grains, pasta, and then you can supplement with fresh food that you've got in your freezer," says Calvo.

For instance, oatmeal makes a healthy breakfast - but add some peanut butter and cinnamon, then top it with thawed frozen berries and a little honey - and you've got a protein-packed bowl of deliciousness, all from the pantry.

And for lunch or dinner, now is the perfect time to try your hand at homemade soup.

Sauteed onion and garlic are a flavorful start to any soup.

Add several cups of your favorite veggie - frozen if you don't have fresh - followed by four cups of low-sodium chicken broth and you have a very basic soup.

Use your pantry to jazz it up with a can of beans, a handful of dried pasta and your favorite spices. And soups are a great way to use up leftovers.

And when you go to restock your pantry - pick up some other long-lasting staples to enhance your meals. Cottage cheese and ricotta can last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

And sturdy produce like apples, winter squash, carrots, and cabbage will last up to 2 weeks if kept in a cool dry place.

Consumer Reports says if you use canned foods, know they can be high in sodium, so pair them with unprocessed foods when possible, like frozen fruits or veggies.

You can find some easy, healthy recipes for meals from your pantry here.
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