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5 must-have pantry staples

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5 must-have pantry staples

Sometimes making it to the grocery store can be nearly impossible. Which is why keeping a well-stocked pantry is essential for maintaining a busy household.

On days when soccer practice is followed by dance class, which is followed by homework, making it to the grocery store can be nearly impossible. Which is why keeping a well-stocked pantry is essential for maintaining a busy household.

Stocking up on a few key ingredients can make your day-to-day life less stressful. And just knowing you have the makings of a healthy throw-together meal in your kitchen will give you the strength to put down the take-out menu and whip up something wholesome for the whole family.

Keep these five items on hand at all times:

Beans
Keep an assortment of canned and dried beans to throw into any dish, from spaghetti to chili to stew. They’re an excellent source of protein and dietary fibre, and have been shown to promote weight loss, reduce cancer risk, and drop LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.

Quick-cooking grains
Grains such as bulgur, quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat take less than 25 minutes to cook, making them the perfect base for a quick, nutritious meal. Cook them up with sautéed garlic, mushrooms, and onion, and top with steamed fish and veggies

Garlic, onions, herbs, and spices
Okay, so technically these are three things, but we can classify them all as seasonings. They amp up the flavour of just about any dish without adding salt. Throw all three into simmering diced tomatoes and you’ve got yourself a snappy jar-free pasta sauce. Not to mention all three have documented health benefits, such as garlic’s ability to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, and turmeric’s ability to relieve indigestion and provide cancer protection.

Dried mushrooms
The rich umami flavour of wild mushrooms can take a dish from okay to out of this world. Add soaked dried mushrooms such as shiitake, maitake, porcini, and lobster to risottos, soups, stir-fries, and sauces for added anticancer benefits.

No salt-added canned tomatoes
Packed with free radical-fighting lycopene, an antioxidant that actually has greater bioavailability after cooking, tomatoes may ward off cancer, osteoporosis, and heart disease. And canned tomatoes can become the base to a variety of dishes, such as tangy baked beans, chilis, soups, stews, and of course, pasta sauce.

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