Quarantine Pantry Staples (+ How to Use Them)

Let’s talk about Pantry Staples– items that have a long shelf life, are packed with nutrients and can be used in a variety of ways. During this crazy time it’s important to grocery shop only when absolutely needed, so pantry staples are a must!


Some ideas to have on hand:

  1. Apples- Any variety is great to have on hand for a quick and nutritious snack. Apples have a much longer shelf life than most fruits (up to 3 weeks!). Spread on some nut butter or sprinkle with cinnamon for a fiber-packed snack!
  2. Sweet Potatoes & Potatoes- Not only are potatoes high in fiber, but they are also packed with vitamin C, vitamin B6 and potassium. Some ideas: toss them into soup or chili, bake them up as a hearty side dish or bake into chips/fries (hint hint- there’s a Sweet Potato fry recipe in the Side Dishes category!).
  3. Oats- This shelf-stable whole grain is a MUST during quarantine. Oats are packed with fiber, potassium, iron and vitamin B6. I love making my own granola for breakfasts, oatmeal bakes and tossing a handful into smoothies!
  4. Frozen Fruits and Veggies- Contrary to popular belief, frozen fruits and veggies are just as nutritious as fresh, plus they’re a lot more affordable. Try tossing frozen fruit into an easy smoothie or mix into a yogurt bowl for breakfast. Use your frozen veggies for an easy stir fry or stir into a pot of soup!
  5. Canned Tuna or Salmon- The perfect base for an easy lunch or dinner, canned fish contains a high amount of iron, calcium and protein. Add some simple flavors to create an easy tuna or salmon salad and serve it over mixed greens, on a sandwich or wrap or in lettuce cups!
  6. Pasta- Another fiber packed grain that almost everyone has stashed. Serve pasta warm with sauce and veggies, add to soup or try a cold pasta salad with fresh veggies for some crunch!
  7. Rice (or quinoa)- These simple whole grains are easy to find pre-cooked or even frozen now, aka even less work on your part! I love adding brown rice to veggie stir fries, adding to soup or using quinoa for the base of a cold salad.
  8. Dried or canned beans- You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to enjoy these fiber packed goodies. There are a variety of beans and legumes to try out including balck, pinto, lima, white, navy, cannelini, kidney and chick peas! Try making a vegetarian chili if you can’t get your hands on ground beef or turkey.
  9. Peanut or Nut Butter- Aside from the obvious healthy fats and protein, peanut and other nut butters contain a high amount of potassium and magnesium. While PB&J are easy and delicious, try making some energy bites, homemade granola bars or peanut butter cups!


Recipes to try on healthbyhayl using these items:

  1. 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
  2. Apple Crisp
  3. Spiced Apple Baked Oatmeal
  4. Baked Sweet Potato Fries
  5. Trail Mix Bars
  6. Shaved Brussels Sprout & Sweet Potato Salad
  7. Peanut Butter Energy Bites
  8. Apple Nachos
  9. Hearty Chicken & Vegetable Soup
  10. Turkey Chili – make it vegetarian/ vegan by subbing 3 cans of black, pinto or kidney beans for ground turkey.
  11. White Bean Dip
  12. Easy Garlic Hummus
  13. Dark Chocolate Cranberry Granola Bars
  14. Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats




New Foodie Finds

Each year the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics holds a four-day conference and expo highlighting the best new products, innovations and ideas around nutrition. Thousands of Registered Dietitians, food enthusiasts and bloggers gather to hear and taste this year’s best new products. This year I had the pleasure of attending the expo in Chicago and saw first hand the modernizations that have come about this year. Aside from the free samples (which is a great perk), I was able to speak with RDs from all over the career spectrum.

I’ve compiled a list of products I’m diggin’ lately. Some are new to me and some I’ve been using for a while. Taste one or taste them all and tell me what you think!

  • Disclaimer: While I do eat/use these products, it is not everyday. These products can be EXPENSIVE. Most of the time I buy these brands when I have a coupon or when there is a sale.
  • These brands do not need to be used to have a “healthy” diet/lifestyle; they are just fun add-ons to switch it up!
  • Most of these products can be found in the health section of your local grocery store, on Amazon, online on their websites or last resort: Whole Foods (probably the most expensive option).


Here are some new products and companies to look out for:

Siggi’s Dairy – This Icelandic style yogurt is thick like Greek yogurt, but slightly less grainy. The best thing about this yogurt is that their products have more protein than sugar per serving! Their products include individual yogurt cups, quart sizes (specific flavors only) and drinkable yogurts.

Tummy Drops – These hard candies are perfect for tummy troubles; made with less than 4 ingredients, these drops sooth upset tummies without the added fillers. My favorite flavor is the lemon ginger, but they also have apple cinnamon and grape!

RX Bar – These protein bars are perfect for traveling or just a pre-workout snack! RX bars are made with egg whites, dates, nuts and seeds- (no BS) THAT’S IT! The flavors are endless with RX bar so you’ll always be satisfied. My favorite flavors are chocolate peanut butter, maple sea salt and chocolate chip!

Quest Nutrition – You’ve probably heard of these protein bars before. Quest products are known to be low sugar and high protein and they deliver. These bars keep you full and won’t disappoint on flavor. Try my favorites: cookie dough, oatmeal chocolate chip, and cinnamon bun.

BiPro – I first used this product in my Athletic Performance Cuisine class at JWU. BiPro has one ingredient: whey protein. Their products include protein powders and protein water drinks in 5 flavors! Unlike other protein powders on the market, BiPro has no added sugars!

Boom Chicka Pop – The perfect snack for those who crave something salty & sweet! Boom Chicka Pop popcorn is made with minimal ingredients like corn kernels and sea salt. Their portioned bags make it easy to not overeat because who eats a real portion of popcorn???

Salba Chia – Chia seeds are great to add into smoothies, granola or yogurt bowls. These little babes are packed with protein, omega 3s and fiber! Plus, they expand in your stomach during digestion to keep you full.

Go Macro – These along with RX bars are the only two “protein bars” I eat. The minis are the perfect pre or post workout with only 100-120 calories. The rice puffs that are mixed into the bars add to the crispy texture that differs from other protein bars. My favorite flavor is the sunflower butter + chocolate!

Enjoy Life – Known for their vegan, dairy-free and soy-free chocolate, these chips and bars are perfect for mixing into your favorite cookie recipe (or eating right out of the bag).

Sun Butter – For those who are allergic to peanuts, sunflower butter is a great substitute. Made from only sunflower seeds and salt, SunButter won’t have you missing peanut butter at all. I spread it on toast, bagels or on a spoon right out of the jar!

Purely Elizabeth – My favorite granola! Purely is a granola and oatmeal brand sweetened with coconut sugar or maple syrup and baked with coconut oil. This highly addictive granola is a great swap for those high in sugars. *Best price I’ve seen is at Target!

Banza – This pasta is the perfect gluten-free substitute because of its main ingredient: chickpeas. Unlike most gluten free pasta, Banza has a firm “al dente” texture that perfectly mimics its gluten-filled counterpart. Banza pasta boils up just like regular pasta and can be used for a healthier mac n’cheese or a new take on classic spaghetti with meatballs.

Simple Mills – Gluten and refined sugar free baking mixes, crackers and frostings are Simple Mills’ staple products. Held together with arrowroot and sweetened with cocont sugar these mixes bake up just like Betty Crocker mixes! The vanilla frosting is my favorite – right out of the can with only a little less guilt!


If you have any new products you love this season, be sure to let me know! I’m always open to trying new things.