Meal Prep

Here’s Your go-to Guide on How to Turn Canned Food into Healthy Meals

Hint — here’s your excuse to make taco night a regular thing in your house.

By: Rebecca Jacobs

If you’re like most of us, you have a pantry full of canned foods right now. This period of staying at home has led to many of us stocking up on non-perishables. But, if you’re not used to cooking with canned foods, you may be stumped as to what to even do with them. We got you covered. We’re sharing hacks to make healthy canned food meals that the whole family can enjoy. 

Get ready to become a canned food pro and know exactly what to do with all those black beans and rice. 

5 Healthy Canned Food Hacks 

#1 Make it Balanced

If you have a wide variety of canned and bagged foods sitting around, then try to make your meals as balanced as possible. 

Ideally, you’ll want a protein, fat, and a carb. Here are some easy and healthy canned food options that you can mix and match to create a healthy and balanced meal.  

Protein Options

  • Beans 
  • Chickpeas 
  • Canned salmon or tuna 

Fat Options

  • Olives
  • Full-fat unsweetened coconut milk  


  • Rice 
  • Quinoa 
  • Lentils 

Flavor Boosters 

  • Green chilies 
  • Pumpkin 
  • Diced tomatoes 

Pick one food from each category, add it to a bowl, and drizzle with whatever healthy dressing you have on hand. Viola! You just made a balanced and healthy canned food meal. 

#2 Mix & Match

Take your canned food selection and see what else you have sitting around your kitchen. Have a handful of sweet potatoes? Try pairing those canned chickpeas with a roasted sweet potato and a drizzle of melted coconut oil for a balanced lunch. 

Or, whip out those frozen veggies and saute them with some canned black beans, garlic, and a pinch of sea salt for a nourishing side dish. 

Mix and match what you have to add variety to your diet to prevent the same old food options from getting too boring. 

#3 Make Healthy Tacos 

While we’re all in self-isolation mode, it can totally be taco night, every night. And, canned foods happen to make great taco fillers! 

Saute some ground turkey and pair it with things like canned corn, beans, and steam up a bag of rice to go with it. If you like things spicy, you can even use some canned green chili peppers to add to your taco as well. 

Make it fun by getting the whole family involved in taco night all while making a healthy canned food recipe that tastes super yummy. 

#4 Blend up a Soup 

Many canned foods are also great for making a healthy, homemade soup. If you have some broth on hand, pair it with a mix of beans, canned pumpkin, and a can of full-fat unsweetened coconut milk. Blend it up to many a delish creamy pumpkin soup that’s packed full of plant-based protein. 

Add some frozen kale in there for an added boost, and you have yourself a nourishing side dish or light lunch. 

More of a tomato soup fan? Use all those canned diced tomatoes sitting in your pantry and blend it up with some broth, whatever herbs and spices you have sitting around, and some full-fat canned coconut milk for some added creaminess. 

#5 Use Canned Soups For Added Flavor 

If you have some cans of soup sitting around, try adding them to stews for an added flavor boost! Try using something like chicken noodle soup as your base for a chicken stew made with any frozen veggie you have stocked in your freezer. Or, add a veggie soup to a beef stew for some added fiber and flavor. 

Make The Most of Your Canned Food Pantry Stock 

While canned foods aren’t often viewed as the most nutritious picks, using these healthy canned food hacks is a great way to use up your stock and make healthy recipes during times where our usual cooking routine is a bit out of whack. 

Make the most of your canned food stock and use this time to get creative in the kitchen by making some nourishing meals you can feel good about enjoying.