Build a Healthy Plate
Do the best you can with what you’ve got! Build healthy meals with what is already in your pantry, fridge, and freezer with the plate method. Visually break up your plate into three sections. Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables (canned, fresh, or frozen). Fill one quarter with protein, and the remaining one quarter with whole grains or starchy vegetables. Incorporate a serving of healthy fat by cooking your food in heart-healthy olive oil or adding a little cheese or nuts/seeds to your plate.
5 Simple “Non-Recipe” Recipes
Breakfast for Dinner
VEGGIE: Bag of frozen peppers and onion blend
GRAIN/STARCH: Whole grain bread
- Cook eggs to preference (scrambled, fried, poached, etc.).
- Sauté a bag of frozen pepper/onion mix until heated through, season to taste.
- Toast bread and spread with a little bit of butter.
- Serve eggs with toast and sautéed veggies on the side.
PROTEIN: Canned chili
VEGGIE: Frozen broccoli or other veggie of choice
GRAIN/STARCH: Whole potatoes
OTHER: Shredded cheese
- Bake potatoes until soft (or microwave on potato setting).
- Heat chili and broccoli according to package directions.
- Serve potatoes with chili, shredded cheese, and broccoli.
Curry in a Hurry
PROTEIN: Leftover protein of choice (chicken, pork, beef, or tofu)
VEGGIE: Bag of frozen veggies (Normandy, California, or stir fry blends)
GRAIN/STARCH: Rice or quinoa
OTHER: Curry paste and canned coconut milk
- Sauté frozen vegetables until heated through. Cook rice or quinoa according to package directions.
- Mix canned coconut milk with curry paste (read directions on curry, add to taste).
- Combine cooked vegetables, leftover protein choice, and coconut/curry mixture over medium heat until warm.
- Serve over cooked rice or quinoa.
PROTEIN: Dried lentils
VEGGIE: Tomato sauce and green beans (canned or frozen)
GRAIN/STARCH: Spaghetti or other pasta shape
OTHER: Parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta and lentils separately according to package directions.
- Add cooked lentils to jarred spaghetti sauce, heat, and season to taste.
- Serve lentil sauce over cooked pasta with green beans on the side. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (optional).
Tuna Melt Quesadilla
PROTEIN: Canned tuna
VEGGIE: Baby carrots or other veggie of choice
OTHER: Mayonnaise, mustard, favorite tuna salad fixings, and cheese
- Mix tuna with mayonnaise, mustard, and other favorite tuna salad fixings (pickles, chopped celery, dill, salt, pepper, etc.).
- Spread tuna salad mix on a tortilla, top with cheese, heat in skillet until tortilla is toasted and cheese is melty.
- Serve with baby carrots (or other veggie of choice) on the side.
Easy and Inexpensive Meal Ideas
- 17 Easy Pantry Meals
- 5-Ingredient Chicken Recipes
- Healthy Pantry Meal Ideas
- Pantry Soup Recipes
- Tips for Keeping Produce Fresh for Longer
Idaho Preferred Recipes
Tips for Making Ends “Meat” from Idaho Beef Council
- Recipes for meals under $15
- Affordable Beef Cuts for Families
- Kid-Friendly Fare: How to Engage Kids in the Kitchen
- So Long Leftovers: Turn your leftovers into something new and satisfying
Healthy Meal Component Examples
- Chicken, canned
- Tuna fish
- Cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt
- Ground beef
- Ground turkey
Non-Starchy Veggie Examples
Canned, fresh, or frozen
- Bell peppers
- Green beans
- Tomatoes (crushed, sauce, puree, etc.)
Grains & Starchy Examples
- Beets, canned
- Corn, canned
- Peas, canned
Healthy Fats & Flavor Examples
- Avocado oil
- Olive oil
- Peanut butter