add savory toppings like grated cheese, sundried tomatoes or even eggs for a quick, nutrient-rich meal. And it fills you up quick.
Note that while eggs do require refrigeration, they still have a longer shelf-life than most refrigerated foods and can be very versatile in sauces, breads, and other dishes as well.
A high-fiber, high-protein dry cereal like Kellogg’s Special K protein cereal or Kashi’s GO cereal with low-fat milk can also come in handy as a quick mini-meal.
Canned, sugar-free fruits and vegetables
Stocking up on canned vegetables, canned fruit and applesauce without added sugar is also wise. Be sure to rinse canned vegetables to get rid of extra sodium. Don’t forget your canned sauces like pasta sauces. They are usually inexpensive and lasts for a long time unopened.
Dried fruit, popcorn and yes, chocolate
Dried fruits like prunes, apricots, raisins, cranberries, figs are a sweet source of iron, fiber and antioxidants. They can be combined with nuts like walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, peanuts or pecans. Sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds are also a tasty nutritious option, and can be used for DIY trail mixes.
Popcorn is also a great source of fiber, and you can sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top to turn it into a savory snack or add dried fruit or mini chocolate chips for added sweetness.
Don’t feel bad about getting a stash of chocolate. Try to go for dark chocolate, which is rich in anti-aging flavanols.
Water, shelf-stable milk and coffee
Remember, in addition to stocking up on foods it’s important to stay hydrated.
“The general rule of thumb for emergencies is to store at least one gallon of water per person or pet per day and to have a three-day supply handy. However, if you typically drink tap water or have some sort of filter, I wouldn’t worry about buying copious amounts of water,” said Alyssa Pike, a registered dietitian and manager of nutrition communications at the International Food Information Council in a CNN.com interview.
Milk is also a good source of calcium and immune-boosting vitamin D, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be refrigerated.
What to buy for your freezer:
Bread, deli meat and fresh seafood
Remember, fresh foods can be frozen, which will allow you to enjoy them at a later date, so take full advantage of your freezer, including for foods that freeze well but that you might not typically freeze, such as milk, deli meats and breads.
– fresh fruits and veggies – Research has revealed that frozen fruits and vegetables can have just as many vitamins — and sometimes more — as compared to fresh.
– shredded cheese
– opened sauces
– fresh fish
– chicken and beef
Frozen strawberries, blueberries and peaches can be used for smoothies, while spinach, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, asparagus and green beans can be used as a solo side dish or mixed with pasta or rice.
Packaged foods help meet the nutrition needs of many of us, including vegetarians, as well as those who have special dietary restrictions.
“For vegans and vegetarians, packaged alternatives are a good option,” Pike said, including items such as frozen bean burritos, frozen veggie burgers and frozen veggie pizza.