Simplifying Meals and Snacks At Home - Tips for Using Pantry Staples To Nourish Your Family |

Our Registered Dietitian, Amy, was recently on WCCO (check out the segment HERE) sharing tips for feeding your family during this time. Check out our resources on simple ingredients that can keep your kiddos happy, healthy & full!

 Tip #1 Simplifying Your Snacks

Many parents are now home with their kiddos and while we are all practicing social distancing, it can be stressful when you’re doing your best to limit trips to the grocery store and all while purchase foods that nourish your family. My best advice is to keep it simple.

There always seems to be pressure on parents to feed their kiddos the absolute best and Pinterest-worthy meals. Parents need to know that no meal or snack is perfect, and at the end of the day, the most important thing is that our kids are happy, healthy and full. Below are a few snack and meal ideas to help parents pivot their thinking when it comes to healthy eating and feeding their family.

S I M P L E   S N A C K I N G

We recommend snacks to include a carbohydrate + a protein/healthy fat. And remember, we don’t need to over engineer it. Examples of healthy carbohydrates include fruit (all forms count), dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese), and whole grains (such as crackers, bread, rice, oats, granola, etc.) When it comes to produce, don’t forget that all forms of fruits and vegetables are nutritious! Of course, keep purchasing fresh produce, but don’t forget about canned, frozen, or dried. Purchase no sugar added frozen, canned, and dried fruit, and purchase no salt added canned and frozen vegetables. These are great options to choose at the store to help you and your family #haveaplant 

We have a list of healthy snack ideas on this handout. Plus, a few fun & easy recipes below.


Banana Sushi (1 serving)

  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 Tablespoon nut butter
  • Toppings: ½ cup granola, whole grain cereal, or dried fruit (such as raisins)


Spread nut butter over banana evenly. Either sprinkle or roll banana in toppings until well coated. Using a knife, cut the banana into ½ inch pieces. Enjoy your banana sushi!


Tuna Cracker Stackers

  • Whole grain crackers
  • Cheese
  • Canned or Pouch Tuna
  • Pickles


Add some cheese to each cracker (can be string cheese, sliced cheese, shredded cheese). Top each cracker with some tuna & top with a pickle. Serve with a side of fruit (fresh, frozen, canned, or dried).


S I M P L E   M E A L S

Snack Platters – perfect for meals or snacks!

What is a snack platter? It’s a blend of different fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products and proteins that you spread out on a large plate or a cutting board. The purpose of this snack platter is to give your family nutritious, yet simple options that they can choose from. This is a great opportunity to put out some thawed frozen fruit, cheese, crackers, nuts/seeds, peanut butter, canned fruit, dried fruit, tuna packets, etc. It’s a perfect solution for one of those times when no one wants to cook! Here is what was on the snack platter in the WCCO segment:

  • Whole grain crackers
  • Nut butter
  • Walnuts, Almonds and Pumpkin Seeds
  • Carrots and Grape tomatoes
  • Fruit Cups (in 100% juice)
  • Dried fruit
  • Luncheon meat (lower sodium ham and turkey)
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Cheese Sticks
  • Tuna

One Pot Meal! Ground Beef Pasta Primavera

And last, but certainly not least, here is one of our favorite recipes using pantry staples and it cooks all in one pot! Check out the link for the full recipe of our Ground Beef Pasta Primavera. Here are a few substitutions you can make to use the items you have on hand:

  • Although lean (93%) lean ground beef is recommended, you can also pick 80% lean and drain the extra fat after cooking. No beef? Try ground turkey, ground chicken, or even substitute it out for some beans!
  • The zucchini can be swapped for any other fresh or frozen vegetable such as broccoli, cauliflower, green bell peppers, etc! Use what you have on hand.

Ground Beef Pasta Primavera

For additional resources from our dietitians including recipes, articles and more, please visit You can also find great resources about produce from our friends at the Produce For Better Health Foundation. Don’t forget to #HaveAPlant to support a healthy immune system!

Amy, MS, RD, LD
Registered Dietitian