By Tamara Paetsch | Food & Nutrition Coordinator
Tamara completed her nutrition degree and dietetics training at the University of Manitoba. She enjoys engaging with students through social media and outreach activities. Tamara is passionate about peanut butter, helping students build healthy lifestyles, and ensuring students have positive and safe dining experiences at UBC..

Ever catch yourself staring at your pantry for way too long wondering what to do next? I know I do; standing there waiting for an epiphany that never seems to come. For the times when you are feeling stuck, here are some tips and easy recipes to help get you fed and on your way:

1. Clean out your pantry

When things are messy, opening your pantry can feel intimidating. If you have a bit of time, cleaning and organizing your pantry is a game changer. Discard expired foods and donate anything you know you aren’t going to use. Organizing things by use (e.g. baking ingredients, canned/dry foods, spices, oils etc.) will help you find what you are looking for faster

2. Make sure you have the basics

Pantry foods are great because they can last a long time. Having some basic pantry staples on hand, like a can of tomato sauce or black beans, makes it easier to whip up recipes in a pinch. Here are some great ideas for kitchen staples to keep in your pantry.

3. Know your go-to recipes

Having a few go-to recipes in your mind is super helpful when you are feeling stuck. These can be easy recipes you have made before that you know you like, recipes from friends and family, or inspiration from online recipes. Here are some ideas to get you started finding your go-to recipes:

4. Have fun!

Cooking is pretty forgiving; no reason to stress if you don’t have exactly the right ingredients. Similar ingredients can easily be substituted in recipes – for example honey for maple syrup, peanut butter for almond butter, plain yogurt for sour cream, regular milk for almond milk – use what you have and get creative. Most flours, beans, vegetables, oils can also be swapped in similar amounts for what you have on hand. Let recipes be your guide, not the law!

Other posts you’ll love!

Chickpea Noodle Soup

Chickpea Noodle Soup

A plant-based spin on the classic dish, chicken noodle soup. This recipe uses one of my favourite pantry staples…CHICKPEAS!

read more
Supporting Your Health in Isolation

Supporting Your Health in Isolation

It feels like we are living in a strange dream where our daily routines have been flipped upside-down. As we all try to navigate these uncertain times, here are some ideas to help support yourself and others.

read more
DIY Trail Mix Recipe

DIY Trail Mix Recipe

Have you ever wished that a company would come out with a trail mix that contained only your favourite ingredients so you wouldn’t have to pick through it to find what you actually like? Well, the wait is over because this homemade trail mix recipe is totally customizable to your liking and has an endless number of flavour combinations!

read more
PB & J Overnight Oats

PB & J Overnight Oats

This is my breakfast spinoff of the classic combination, PB & J. These oats will leave you feeling satisfied and ready to tackle your day and perhaps nostalgic for the PB & J sandwiches you ate in the 2nd grade…or still eat, like me 🙂

read more
How to Make Cous Cous Salad

How to Make Cous Cous Salad

Looking for a satisfying, yummy salad recipe? This nutrient-packed cous cous salad will make your taste buds sing.   Tamara Paetsch Food & Nutrition Coordinator Tamara completed her nutrition degree and dietetics training at the University of...

read more
How to Check if your Eggs are Fresh

How to Check if your Eggs are Fresh

Not sure what to do about the carton of eggs sitting at the back of your fridge? In this ‘UBC Chef Tips’ video, Chef Brad demonstrates a trick that will help you figure out if your eggs are still fresh.

read more