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These pantry staples will have you doing the can-can, literally

As we face challenges in the middle of the month, many South Africans are worried about what’s for dinner as the food runs out and payday seems a long way off.

As breadwinners grapple with unbudgeted financial realities, one of the first budgets typically cut to make ends meet until the end of the month is the grocery budget. But, it’s possible to feed your family without resorting to inexpensive, high-calorie, processed alternatives if you’re smart about your staples.

A balanced diet includes five a day – eat at least two fruits and three vegetables a day to ensure you get adequate amounts of fibre, vitamins and minerals. However, a 2021 report by Eat Well Live Institute found that the average South African does not achieve this goal well enough.

A common misconception is that if you don’t eat fresh fruits and vegetables, a healthy, nutritious diet is not possible. But when times get tough, canned fruits and vegetables are not only a tasty alternative, but also a super convenient way to make sure you and your family are getting all the vitamins and minerals you need for a healthy body and healthy lifestyle. healthy minds.

So, now that you know canned can be just as good as fresh, here are some ways to “zshoosh” those canned staples you’ve packed in the pantry and surprise your family with delicious, nutritious meals. to guide you through life. end of February, and well beyond.


Peas have a remarkable nutritional profile, they are low in calories and high in vitamins, protein, fiber and antioxidants. Add peas to pasta dishes to fluff them up and make a simple one-pot dinner that uses minimal ingredients for the perfect weeknight meal. Or sauté peas with onions and some mixed herbs for a hearty side dish. They’re even a delicious flavor explosion in any salad.


Canned corn offers a healthy dose of fibre, protein and potassium, and is just as tasty and crunchy as fresh. Add corn to a simple pancake mix for delicious lunchtime fritters or dice onions, bell peppers and baby tomatoes to add to your canned corn for a fresh side salad. Toast your corn on a baking sheet for a few minutes for a grilled Mexican alternative.


Unlike other vegetables that often taste different from their fresh counterparts, canned beets retain unmistakable flavor, while providing a good source of fiber, iron and folate – and beets boost immunity. This superfood can be used in many creative ways. Mix with garlic and lemon juice to make a delicious hummus that can be spread on wraps and crusty bread for lunch or combined with baby potatoes to make a tangy beet and potato salad . You can even get super creative and mix beets into smoothies and baked goods like cupcakes or muffins.


As a rich source of vitamins, minerals and fiber, chickpeas may provide a variety of health benefits, such as improving digestion and reducing the risk of disease. This nutty legume is high in protein, making it an excellent meat substitute in many vegetarian and vegan dishes. Add them to a curry or stew to boost nutrition at dinnertime or mix them into pasta to add texture and flavor. They can be eaten in wraps or pitas for lunch alternatives and they make a crispy, nutritious snack when roasted in the oven or in the air fryer.

Creativity is key because you have flavor at your fingertips. By leveraging the wide range of pantry favorites available to you, it’s possible to make your money work harder while preparing delicious meals for the whole family.