While we are all facing changes in our daily work and home life routines, one thing we all have in common is a need to nourish our bodies.

Now that we are a few weeks into the stay-at-home order, we may be finding ourselves in one of two camps: cooking meals at home or relying on takeout.

While it is important to support your local restaurants, it is also more important than ever to be mindful of what we choose to put in our bodies.

Today, and over the next several weeks, what we choose to consume can either hinder or support our immunity.

I don’t know about you, but I want to give my immune system a fighting chance.

Vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber are vital in maintaining a strong, healthful immune system that’s capable of fighting off illness.

Stocking foods in your pantry that contain these nutrients can help you put together satisfying, immune-supporting meals and snacks for you and your family.

For easy snacking or breakfast the whole family will enjoy, try the Simple Granola Bar recipe. It’s made exclusively with pantry items, easy to make and tastes like a treat. Other dried fruits like apricots or figs can also work well in this recipe if you don’t have dates on hand. And feel free to swap in other nuts for the peanuts.

A dinner recipe I’d suggest that includes some of these staple items is Chana Masala. You can even make a double batch and eat it for lunches or dinners later in the week. The flavor just gets better each day.

Must-have items for a well-stocked pantry

1. Grains

From barley and oats to whole grain breads and pastas, these are great to have in your pantry.

Choose whole-grain products, specifically those with the word “whole” as the first ingredient. These may include bulgur, farro, millet, quinoa and brown or wild rice.

2. Beans

Legumes are a great way to add fiber and protein to a meal. These include black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, lentils, white beans and kidney beans.

When using canned beans, rinse and drain them to remove some of the extra sodium.

If your store is sold out of canned beans, look for bags of dried beans you can cook on the stove, in the slow cooker, or in a pressure cooker.

3. Nuts and seeds

A great source of protein, these also provide fiber and healthy fats. Raw nuts and seeds may be kept in the refrigerator or freezer for optimal freshness.

Nuts to have on stock include almonds, pecans and walnuts. Seeds include chia, flax and sesame.

Peanut and almond butters are a nutritious crowd pleaser.

4. Herbs and spices

You’ll want to add a boost of flavor to your dishes to make breakfast, lunches and dinners something to enjoy. They add a punch of phytonutrients without extra fat or salt.

These include basil, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cilantro, cinnamon, black pepper, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, oregano, parsely, rosemary, thyme and turmeric.

5. Vinegar, condiments and sweeteners

These can add a bright pop to finish a dish and are great in homemade dressings, marinades and sauces.

Think about apple cider and balsamic vinegar, dates, dijon and whole grain mustard, raw honey, low-sodium broth and pure maple syrup.

6. Onions and garlic

Having ingredients like onions and garlic in your pantry can build flavor and add immune-supporting compounds to meals.

7. Squash and potatoes

Both are shelf-stable champions. They can be kept in a cool, dark pantry for extended periods of time and add another layer of nutrient density and bulk to your dishes.

8. Canned goods

Jarred roasted red peppers, canned coconut milk, canned tomatoes and tomato sauce, and other canned items save you time and get a healthy, home-cooked meal on the table.

9. Healthy oils

Consider keeping avocado, extra-virgin olive, flax seed and walnut oil on hand.

Make sure to store avocado and the extra-virgin olive oils in a cool, dark place to preserve their nutritional quality.

Flax seed and walnut oils are good for drizzling because, while they are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, they become unstable under the heat of cooking. Keep these two refrigerated to preserve nutrients and avoid rancidity.

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