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10 Best Foods In Your Pantry continued...

3. Low-Salt Canned Tuna or Salmon

Packed with heart-smart omega-3s, salmon or tuna in a can or pouch can make a quick sandwich or casserole super convenient. Canned tuna is one of Cochran’s go-to pantry protein sources with 26 grams of quality protein per 5-ounce can.

4. Lower Sugar Instant Oatmeal

Making oatmeal from scratch is best, but if you only have a few minutes in the morning instant oatmeal is the start of a quick and balanced breakfast. Make it with low or nonfat milk instead of water to add protein and calcium. While it’s cooking in the microwave, chop up some fresh or frozen fruit to stir in once it’s done.  The lower sugar instant oatmeal brands have around 25% less sugar than the regular types, but you still get 3 grams fiber and 4 grams protein per packet.

5. Whole-Grain Breakfast Cereals

Almost every family has at least a couple of boxes of breakfast cereal in their pantry. The best cereal choices have a whole grain as the first ingredient and contain at least 5 grams of fiber per serving and not more than 8 grams of sugar per serving, such as Grape-Nuts, Kashi Go Lean, or Shredded Wheat. Since natural sweetness from dried fruit is included in the “sugar” total on the Nutrition Facts label, there are cereals like Kellogg’s Raisin Brain that are still a great choice even though they have more than 8 grams sugar per serving. The dried fruit in this cereal appears high in the ingredient list than added sugar.

6. Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Canola Oil

Heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and phytochemicals make olive oil a great addition to your meals and cooking. Cochran uses olive oil as a dip for bread, an ingredient in salad dressings, and as a cooking fat for chicken and fish. Ansel suggests having canola oil in addition to olive oil in your pantry because each is preferable for different culinary purposes.

7. Whole-Grain or Whole Wheat Pasta

Dinner is only 10 minutes away when you have pasta in the pantry. Make it whole wheat or whole-grain pasta and the fiber and important nutrients skyrocket. Each 2-ounce serving contributes about 6 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein, and phytochemicals coming from the whole grains. (A 2-ounce serving of white pasta contains 1.8 grams of fiber.)

8. Whole-Grain Quinoa

Quinoa can also be cooked in a rice cooker, but it has twice the fiber, protein, and iron as the same amount of brown rice. They each have about 170 calories per 1/4 cup dry. Cooked quinoa can be added to entrees, soups and stews, and salads calling for cooked whole grains.

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