HALIFAX -- The COVID-19 pandemic has many people rushing to fill their cupboards, as they look to nourish their selves and their families for the days to come.

While it’s important not to stockpile, registered dietitian Laurie Barker Jackman says it’s always smart to have a well-stocked pantry. Here’s a look at her cupboard checklist to help you pull together quick and easy meals for your family.

  • Canned fruit. Look for no sugar added varieties. They make a great snack on their own, or add them to your oatmeal, yogurt, or smoothie. Unsweetened applesauce is also great to use in baking.
  • Canned vegetables. Look for no salt added varieties. Canned vegetables are versatile, you can eat them as is, or add them to everything from omelets to casseroles to boost the nutrition. Laurie always has canned diced tomatoes on hand to use as a base for soups or casseroles.
  • Canned/dried beans and lentils. For canned options, rinse and drain to remove some of the sodium. Beans and lentils are an excellent plant-based alternative and are also an economical source of protein that you can add to tacos, grain bowls or soups.
  • Canned fish. Some varieties pack an omega-3 punch and are a great way to add protein to fill you up. You can add as a sandwich filling or make fish cakes.
  • Canned soup. Canned soup tends to be higher in sodium. You can boost the nutrition and volume by adding frozen vegetables, dried lentils, and whole grains like brown rice.
  • Whole grains. Grains like quinoa, brown rice, bulgur can be used in so many different ways. Use them as a base to a grain bowl or an addition to soup. Pasta, in a few varieties, is a must-have pantry item and can be a quick and easy meal or side. Don’t forget about popcorn as a healthy, whole grain snack.
  • Nuts, seeds and nut butter. a great way to pack some protein and healthy fat into your meals and snacks. Add them to yogurt, use them in baking, or stirred into oatmeal.