Healthy meal and snack ideas during lockdown from Health Canada

During the COVID-19 pandemic, your food options at home may be limited. Get creative with the items you have at home for meals, snacks and leftovers.


Adjusting recipes

Use ingredients you already have at home or change a recipe to use ingredients that are on sale. For example:

  • If a pasta sauce calls for fresh tomatoes, but all you have are canned diced tomatoes, use the canned tomatoes instead.
  • If a recipe calls for chicken, and you already have canned tuna at home, try the recipe using canned tuna.
  • If you usually use noodles for a stir-fry, but don’t have any at home, try using brown rice, quinoa or bulgur instead.
  • If a recipe calls for fresh fruits, and you have frozen fruits, use the frozen fruits instead.
  • If you usually add diced chicken to your salad, but want to save it for another day, try using canned chickpeas or beans instead.
  • If a taco recipe calls for lean ground beef, but you have frozen shrimp at home, try the recipe using shrimp instead.

Healthy snack ideas

Try different snack combinations with what you have at home:

  • Vegetable + fruit + nuts or seeds
  • Lower fat yogurt + fruit + nuts or seeds
  • Lower fat cheese + whole grain crackers or an English muffin + vegetable or fruit

Find recipes online or learn more about healthy meal and snack ideas using staple ingredients.

Using leftovers

To save time on food preparation, use leftover ingredients to make a whole new meal. For example:

  • Add leftover steamed, roasted or sautéed vegetables to a variety of meals. Try making this Fun Flatbread Pizza with leftover roasted vegetables as a topping. Or add your leftover steamed or sautéed vegetables to pasta, such as this Mac and Cheese with a Veggie Twist, or to this Eat Your Greens Frittata recipe.
  • Use leftover meat like chicken, beef or turkey in wraps, salads or sandwiches for a simple home-made lunch. Try this Turkey Veggie Stuffed Pita recipe and use any meat you have leftover for the filling.
  • Add leftover cooked or canned beans, chickpeas or lentils to salads or wraps for a simple lunch or combine with rice, fresh tomatoes, avocado, salsa and hot sauce for a quick and easy burrito bowl. Try mixing in leftover beans or lentils to your next meal with ground meat, like in this Shepherd’s Pie recipe.
  • Shred leftover cooked fish such as salmon into fillets and make into salmon cakes or burgers. You can also try serving it with rice and vegetables for a balanced meal, or make salmon sandwiches on whole grain bread. Leftover fish can also be used to make cold salads or sandwiches. Try this Lunch Box Tuna Salad Wrap recipe and substitute any leftover fish you have.
  • Add leftover potato to a frittata or salad. Or you can slice and sauté it in a pan with a small amount of oil to use as a side dish.
  • Reheat leftover whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa and whole wheat pasta to use in a stir-fry or as a side dish at your next meal.


You can also freeze leftover cooked ingredients like vegetables, rice, pasta, chicken and beans to use at a later date.

Source: Health Canada

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