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Anti-Inflammatory Pantry Foods

People who are high-risk for coronavirus complications (#HighRiskCovid19) — because they are immunocompromised, have chronic health problems, or are older adults — have many worries on their minds these days. Food-related issues is a big one. It is unsettling to:

  • Not know how much food to stock up on
  • Feel like you can’t afford to stockpile food
  • Worry about whether the grocery store will have what you need
  • Worry about getting exposed during essential errands
  • Worry about gaining weight from overeating
  • Worry about eating too many processed foods
  • Worry about what to make with the hodge-podge of shelf-stable foods piling up the pantry

To help with the last couple of concerns, we developed an anti-inflammatory meal plan based around common pantry foods. It is extra-important for people with such conditions as inflammatory arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions to eat wholesome anti-inflammatory foods as part of overall management of their condition (including taking necessary medications).

Even if doesn’t seem that way right now, it is possible to eat well — and stick with an anti-inflammatory meal plan — when you can’t always run out to pick up fresh ingredients.

Here is a full week’s worth of delicious meals and snacks featuring anti-inflammatory foods. Each meal is packed with health-boosting foods including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, olive oil, and oily fish, and is made primarily with pantry and freezer foods you can keep readily available.

Day 1

Breakfast

PBJ Oats: Prepare one serving of rolled oats with water. Top with peanut butter and defrosted frozen raspberries or a small spoonful of raspberry fruit spread.

Lunch

Rice and Beans: In a skillet, heat canned diced tomato. Add drained and rinsed black beans and cooked brown rice. Season with cumin and chili powder.

Snack

Nuts and dried fruit (anything you have on hand: Peanuts, almonds, pistachios, raisins, cranberries, figs)

Dinner

Cajun Salmon Burgers: Green onion optional; if no bun is available, serve on top of a shelf-stable whole grain like quinoa or brown rice. Get the recipe.

Day 2

Breakfast

Sweet Potato Pancakes: Use canned sweet potato puree or cooked whole sweet potato, if available. Get the recipe.

Lunch

Tossed Nicoise-ish Salad: In a bowl, mix together drained and rinsed canned French-style string beans, drained and rinsed white cannellini beans, sliced drained and rinsed canned potatoes, drained and flaked canned tuna, drained canned black olives, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and a pinch of dried tarragon.

Snack

No-Bake 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Bites: Get the recipe.

Dinner

Chickpea Coconut Curry: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, saute ½ onion, chopped, and 1 clove garlic, crushed, in olive oil (omit garlic and onion if unavailable). Add ¼ teaspoon curry powder. Add 1 can drained and rinsed chickpeas and 1 can drained diced tomatoes. Mix well and add ½ cup coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and add salt and pepper to taste.

Day 3

Breakfast

Morning Peach Cobbler: Drain syrup from a can of peaches. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat in microwave. Add ½ cup rolled oats, ¼ cup pecans, nutmeg and cinnamon to taste.

Lunch

Instant Pot Turkey Chili: Omit turkey and onion if unavailable. Get the recipe.

Snack

No-Flour Black Bean Brownies. Get the recipe.

Dinner

Pasta Puttanesca: Prepare a box of spaghetti, according to package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, heat around 2 tablespoons of olive oil a large saute pan over a medium flame. Add 1 can of boneless, skinless sardines, drained and flaked. Cook for around 30 seconds and add 1-2 cups of prepared tomato sauce. Reduce heat to low and add capers, sliced black olives, and crushed red pepper flakes to taste. Add cooked pasta and toss well.

Day 4

Breakfast

Creamy Strawberry Smoothie: In a blender, puree frozen strawberries, frozen cauliflower, a handful of nuts, and enough almond milk to reach desired smoothie consistency. Add a date or honey if it needs more sweetness.

Lunch

Salmon Edamame Salad: In a bowl, toss together canned or pouched salmon, drained and flaked, defrosted frozen edamame, peeled and sliced oranges (if available), sliced fresh onion (if available), sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar. Top with toasted sesame seeds or sliced almonds.

Snack

Canned or jarred black or green olives

Dinner

Black Bean Soup: Omit onions and garlic if not available. Get the recipe.

Day 5

Breakfast

Tropical Island Rice Cakes: Brown rice cakes or corn cakes topped with sunflower seed butter and shredded coconut

Lunch

Roasted Pumpkin Soup: Omit onions and garlic if not available; use canned coconut milk. Get the recipe.

Snack

Frozen edamame, microwaved and topped with a pinch of coarse salt

Dinner

Eggs in Sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat 2 cups of prepared tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer and add 2 eggs per person. Poach eggs in tomato sauce. If eggs are not available, simmer canned chickpeas in tomato sauce. Serve with bread or whole-grain crackers.

Day 6

Breakfast

Cereal Mix-Up: Whole-grain cereal tossed with available nuts or seeds (peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.) and dried fruit (raisins, dried cranberries, etc). Top with shelf-stable milk.

Lunch

Zesty Tuna: Mix a can of drained, flaked tuna with a bit of mayonnaise and ½ cup jarred salsa. Serve with corn tortilla chips.

Snack

Drained no-sugar-added canned pineapple, mixed with shredded coconut

Dinner

Creamy Pea Risotto: Top with black pepper and parmesan cheese, if available. Get the recipe.

Day 7

Breakfast

Easy Apple Crisp: In a microwave-safe dish, heat 1 cup unsweetened applesauce. Top with rolled oats, ground flaxseeds, and nuts or seeds like walnuts or sunflower seeds.

Lunch

Crunchy Chickpea Burgers: Omit garlic and chives, if unavailable. Get the recipe.

Snack

Popcorn, popped on the stovetop with canola oil and topped with dried herbs like oregano and sage

Dinner

Creamy Cauliflower Soup: In a medium pot, heat 4 cups of water. Add 1 package frozen cauliflower and 1 drained and rinsed can of white cannellini beans. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Blend using an immersion or traditional blender. Season with garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper to taste.

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