Current challenges with grocery shopping create challenges in the kitchen too. But these cooking-from-the-pantry tips and healthy eating hacks can make it easier to get good nutrition, while shopping (and spending!) less and staying home more.
Beans, the Perfect Pantry Protein
Canned or dried beans (and their pulse and legume cousins) can take the place of fresh meat in many recipes. Just like meat, they offer tooth-satisfying texture plus plenty of protein. Plus, they are a great source of fiber and provide an array of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
Chickpeas—also called garbanzo beans or ceci—offer the right chewiness and color to stand in for poultry meat. Try an equal amount of cooked chickpeas as a substitute for chicken or turkey over pasta or in tacos, pot pies or stews.
You can also mash up some canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained, with mayonnaise, a dab of mustard and a pinch of dried dill to create a meatless take on “tuna” salad. (It’s a popular vegetarian standby.)
Try lentils where you would usually go with ground beef, for example in sloppy joes, lasagna or Bolognese sauce. Two cups of cooked lentils for one pound of ground beef works well in many recipes.
Mushrooms, the Other Meat
Mushrooms boast a hearty texture and enough umami (savory taste) to rival meat. They are also an excellent source of B vitamins, selenium and even some vitamin D. Let them take center stage in stroganoff, Bolognese sauce or Philly-style sandwiches.
Pantry-Friendly Fruits and Veggies
Potatoes and sweet potatoes can last up to two weeks in the pantry, longer if kept in a cool, dark place like the basement.Carrots and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts tend to be among the longer-lasting produce in the fridge.
Dried fruits are a tasty add-in to oatmeal (another pantry superstar), and raisins are a traditional accent to pasta and couscous in Sicilian recipes.
And don’t forget frozen fruits and veggies, which are fine to use in many recipes that call for fresh.
Bought a few too many bananas when you first stocked up? Before they get overripe, peel them, slice them and toss them in the freezer for use in smoothies later.
In a Pinch: Save-Your-Recipe Swaps
If you find yourself short on a recipe ingredient, consider a swap before you shop. The following are tried-and-true, recipe-rescuing substitutions:
Don't spend extra time in the grocery store if you have these substitutions at home.
- 1 teaspoon baking powder = ¼ teaspoon baking soda + ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar = 1 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice = 1 teaspoon white vinegar
Better (for You) Than Butter
These substitutions work best for muffins, quick breads and cakes:
- 1 cup melted butter = 1 cup vegetable oil
- In many recipes, half or all of the butter or oil can be replaced with applesauce or mashed banana
Follow the Breadcrumbs
This is a great use for stale crackers.
- 1 cup breadcrumbs = 1 cup ground oats or ground crackers
Make Do With Mayo
Mayo can substitute for eggs or oil in many recipes.
- 1 tablespoon oil = 1 tablespoon mayonnaise (in many recipes)
- 1 egg = 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Spice it Up
Dried herbs are a fine replacement where recipes call for fresh.
- 1 tablespoon fresh herbs = 1 teaspoon dried herbs
- 1 clove garlic = 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon allspice = ½ teaspoon cinnamon + ½ teaspoon cloves
Visit CarilionClinic.org/coronavirus for up-to-date information about our response to COVID-19. Call our Community Hotline for general questions about symptoms, resources, guidelines and more,
COVID-19 Community Hotline
Monday - Friday, 8 a.m - 5 p.m.
Do not call the Community Hotline to make appointments, or to request testing or test results. For information about COVID-19 and your personal health, talk with your primary care provider.