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11 Healthy Pantry Staples You Should Stock Up On

Justina Huddleston is an editor and the head writer for TDmonthly Magazine. She has been a freelance writer for several years, though her real passion is cooking. You can see the recipes she creates on her vegan food blog, A Life of Litt...

These foods make healthy eating a no-brainer

When you're pinched for time, it's easy to be tempted by the call of the drive-thru or those sodium-blasted cans of condensed soup. That's why stocking your pantry with versatile, healthy ingredients is so important — when you start getting hangry, these foods step in to make easy meals that taste great (and make you feel pretty good too).

Image: Gabriela Arellano/SheKnows

1. Quinoa

Quinoa is a great source of vegan protein, perfect for solving your #MeatlessMonday woes.

2. Canned beans

Beans taste great in a variety of dishes, and the canned variety cook up fast. They're high in fiber, so they'll keep you feeling full for longer, and do wonders for your digestion.

3. Tomato paste

Tomato paste is rich in umami — just a tablespoon can enhance the taste of an otherwise dull soup or sauce. It's also full of lycopene, an antioxidant that can reduce the risk of disease, including some forms of cancer.

More: 10 secret ingredients every new vegan should have in their pantry

4. Tuna and salmon

Two servings of seafood each week can reduce the risk of heart disease — all the more reason to stock up! Tuna and salmon are high-protein seafoods that are rich in a range of nutrients. Buy it in a pouch so it's ready to eat, no draining required — this way, you're always ready to add seafood to your pastas, salads and sandwiches.

5. Brown rice

Simply swapping brown rice for white can make your pantry a healthier place, and may even lower your risk of type-2 diabetes according to a study by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard. Choose a quick-cooking variety to get dinner on the table faster.

6. No-salt-added canned tomatoes

Canned tomatoes are great for making quick sauces or adding flavor to chili, soups and stews, and they often taste as good (if not better) than fresh tomatoes. Best of all, tomatoes boast a variety of important nutrients, including vitamins A and C.

More: 5 quick tricks for cleaning the pantry

7. Quick-cooking ancient grains

Why ancient grains? They're full of fiber, keep blood sugar stable, help lower cholesterol and more. Quick-cooking versions of ancient grains like barley and quinoa make it easy to incorporate these grains into your meals.

8. Whole-grain pasta

Pasta is delicious, and whole-wheat pasta has more fiber and protein than its more refined counterparts, meaning you stay full longer.

More: The do's, whats and don'ts of organizing your pantry

9. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is high in fiber, low in fat and a good source of B vitamins. It's also inexpensive, meaning a healthy breakfast is never out of reach, and has been found to lower levels of LDL, or "bad," cholesterol. For a quick breakfast in the morning, try one of these overnight oatmeal recipes.

10. Nuts

Nuts are packed with nutrients and protein, so they're a great food to keep on-hand. Use them to top a salad or yogurt, or grab a handful for a quick and nutritious snack.

11. Dried fruit

Add a pinch of sweetness to your salads, cereals and desserts with dried fruit — there's no prep involved, and it has a much longer shelf life, making it an easier choice than fresh fruit.

This post was sponsored by StarKist® Tuna and Salmon Creations® Pouches.

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