10 Best Canned Items to Keep on Hand


Complete Meals in a Can

You probably loved canned spaghetti as a kid, and it's likely that you have a can of chili or stew in the cupboard today. There's nothing like the convenience of a complete meal in an easy open, reliable can. If you want to prepare a fast, effortless lunch or dinner, this is it. Heck, with pull tops on many canned goods, you probably won't even need a can opener.

There are more complete-meal options available in cans today than ever before, and keeping a few of these little gems handy will insure that you never go hungry. Many are comfort foods too, like mac and cheese, which makes them a satisfying choice in more ways than one.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Alt, Tracy. "10 Pantry Staples to Make Quick Cooking Taste Like All Day Cooking." Undated. 2009.http://www.menus4moms.com/articles/10_pantry_staples_for_quick_cooking.php
  • Brain, Marshall. "How Food Preservation Works. HowStuffWorks.com. Undated. 7/20/09.https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/food-preservation2.htm
  • Bryant, Charles W. "Top Five Foods for a Heart Healthy Diet." HowStuffWorks.com. Undated. 7/20/09.https://health.howstuffworks.com/5-foods-for-a-heart-healthy-diet5.htm
  • Campbell's Soup Company. "History." Undated. 7/18/09.http://www.campbellsoup.com.au/about/history.aspx
  • CDC. "Eat a Variety of Fruits and Vegetables Every Day." Centers for Disease Control. Undated. 7/17/09http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/qa/index.html#9
  • CDC. "Healthy Eating Tips." Centers for Disease Control. Undated. 7/17/09.http://www.turnoffyourtv.com/healtheducation/eathealthytips.html
  • Davis, Linda. "Stocking Your Pantry - Basic Foods for Quick and Easy Meals." AZFamily. 8/13/08. 9/19/08.http://www.azfamily.com/yourlife/learn/stories/phoenix-basic-foods-quick-easy-meals.3d6dcbe7.html
  • Food Reference. "The History of Food Canning." Undated. 7/20/09.http://www.foodreference.com/html/artcanninghistory.html
  • Grabianowski, Ed "How Spam Works." HowStuffWorks.com. Undated. 7/22/09.https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/spam-food2.htm
  • Hitti, Miranda. "Canned Fruits, Veggies Healthy, Too." WebMD.com. 3/16/07. 7/18/09.http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20070316/canned-fruits-veggies-healthy-too
  • Idahoe Bean Commission. "Bean Nutritional Facts." Undated. 7/20/09.http://www2.state.id.us/bean/nutrition/value.htm
  • K-state. "January is National Soup Month." Undated. 7/15/09http://www.housing.k-state.edu/dining/FitCourse/justforfun/01-soupmonth.html
  • Kurtzweil, Paula. "Fruits and Vegetables: Eating Your Way to 5 A Day." U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 3/97. 7/17/09.http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/fda5aday.html
  • MealsMatter. "Pantry Staples List." Undated. 718/09.http://www.mealsmatter.org/MealPlanning/Pantry/
  • Mealtime. "History of the Canning Process." Undated. 7/15/09.http://www.mealtime.org/content.aspx?id=156
  • Sennebogen, Emilie. "10 Must-have Pantry Staples." HowStuffWorks.com. Undated. 7/18/09.https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/10-must-have-pantry-staples.htm
  • Shulman, Martha Rose. " Recipes for Health: 12 Foods for Every Pantry." The New York Times. 4/29/09. 7/20/09.http://consults.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/29/recipes-for-health-12-foods-for-every-pantry/
  • USDA. "Food Safety and Food Security: What Consumers Need to Know." 9/03. 7/20/09.http://www.fsis.usda.gov/oa/topics/foodsec_cons.pdf


Does Canned Food Really Deserve a Bad Rap?

Does Canned Food Really Deserve a Bad Rap?

Canned foods are super convenient, but there's often a stigma attached to serving them. Is that warranted? HowStuffWorks takes a look.