Solving the problem: "There's nothing to eat!"

Apr 25, 2013 at 7:00 a.m. ET

We've all been in that situation, the one when we open the fridge or pantry and whine "there's nothing to eat!" But with a few simple changes, you can ensure that frustrating exclamation is a thing of the past.

woman looking for something to eat

Know your go-to snacks

When you get home from a long day and can't wait to get something into your belly, the last thing you want is to feel as though you have nothing to eat. So the next time you head to the fridge or pantry, ask yourself what you're looking for. Make a mental note of what you tend to crave when you're hungry. If it's something fresh, ensure you always have baby carrots, celery stalks or cherry tomatoes on hand. Or if something salty and crunchy will hit the spot, storing a big bag of mixed nuts could solve the problem. Once you identify what you're most likely to want, find foods that will satisfy your cravings (and ideally not perish too quickly), and stock up.

Buy in bulk when possible

Whether it's a peanut butter and jam sandwich or a piping-hot bowl of oatmeal, we all have certain favourite foods we're almost always in the mood for. Once you figure out what those foods are for you, buy the ingredients in larger quantities so you'll always have them on hand. Bread can be kept in the freezer and toasted as needed, while unopened containers of peanut butter, jam and rolled oats will do very well in the cupboard. When you start to notice your supply dwindling, restock before you wind up with another "there's nothing to eat" situation.

Always be prepared with quick and easy meals

When you're missing a couple of ingredients for the recipe you want to make, putting dinner together can feel impossible. But the issue might be what you're trying to cook rather than what you have to work with. To ensure you are always able to throw something together, find three recipes that can be made entirely with ingredients you'll always have on hand. Certain food items, such as onions, carrots, potatoes and squash, keep exceptionally well over long periods. Grains, such as quinoa and brown rice, and canned goods, such as chickpeas and kidney beans, can remain stowed away in the pantry for a lengthy while as well. This sweet potato stew or these spicy burritos made with frozen vegetables can be thrown together from ingredients you're likely to have on hand.

Make more and freeze for a later time

Sometimes the problem isn't so much that there's "nothing" to eat but rather that you don't have the energy to put something together that you want to eat. In such cases, a little bit of planning ahead can go a long way. The next time you make dinner, double the quantity so you have extra that can be frozen and eaten later. This works particularly well for such dishes as soups, stews and pastas. Freeze it all together if you're likely to need it for another full family meal, or divide it into separate resealable containers so you can defrost a perfectly portioned single serving whenever you need it. That sure beats a TV dinner!

Make more healthy choices with these tips to help you avoid fast food >>

Tell us

What are your tips for ensuring you never go hungry? Let us know in the comment section below!

More healthy eating tips

Ways to incorporate more leafy greens into your diet
Putting together the perfect meal plan for a healthy new year
Tips for eating healthy at the office