You don't have to invest a massive amount of money to give your portfolio a boost. If you have $1,000 to invest right now, you can snap up shares of companies that have proven themselves through the pandemic -- and will benefit well beyond.

Here, I'll talk about a company with brand strength, a retailer that's hit the bullseye when it comes to pleasing consumers, and a healthcare company selling the world's most-needed product. Even a small investment today in these names has the potential to bring you steady rewards well into the future. Let's check out the smartest stocks to buy with your cash today.

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Nike

Nike (NYSE:NKE) had to temporarily close stores during the pandemic. Like a lot of retailers. But the maker of athletic wear stayed connected to fans through its strong digital platform -- including apps that help fans stay fit and up-to-date on Nike news. The result? "We are even more deeply connected to consumers than before the pandemic," CFO Matthew Friend said during the last earnings call.

Now, the company is heading toward a major goal: It's highest level of annual revenue ever. Nike forecasts more than $50 billion in revenue for the 2022 fiscal year. We should get a few clues about how the company is doing during the first-quarter earnings report on Thursday. I'm optimistic, though. The most recent quarter was Nike's biggest ever. It brought in more than $12 billion in revenue.

Members of the Nike fidelity program like the personalized attention -- such as opportunities to get footwear not available to the general public. And they love the brand. Nike says it remains the favorite brand among consumers in all of its key markets.

Right now, Nike shares are trading at 37 times forward earnings estimates. That's lower than another company I like, lululemon athletica. So, this is a reasonable time to get in on a stock you'll want to hold onto for the long term.

NKE PE Ratio (Forward) Chart

NKE PE Ratio (Forward) data by YCharts

Target

Target (NYSE:TGT) posted record growth last year when people shopped online and used its contactless services to get their orders. But here's the great news: Target's growth has continued. And now customers also have returned to shopping in stores. So, the company is benefiting from online shopping and in-store shopping. And that's why I expect Target to get a boost from the upcoming holiday shopping season -- whether the pandemic worsens or not.

Here are a few other factors that should equal strength for Target in the months and years ahead. All five of the retailer's product categories are growing. And one of the higher-margin areas -- apparel -- grew the most. Target also is seeing success with its owned brands. This is key because it builds loyalty. People will come back specifically for brands they like. Target says its owned brands represent a big part of its sales and an even bigger part of its gross margin.

And finally, Target's use of its stores clearly is positive from financial and logistic perspectives. More than 95% of Target's total sales are fulfilled by its stores. This means Target prepares orders directly in its stores -- and doesn't have to ship items from a warehouse. This saves the company money and time.

Even without a comparison to others, Target's shares look like a bargain at less than 20 times forward earnings estimates. And by that measure, they're less expensive than those of rival Walmart.

TGT PE Ratio (Forward) Chart

TGT PE Ratio (Forward) data by YCharts

Pfizer

Now, let's look at a pharmaceutical player to join our list of stocks to snap up with $1,000... I'm talking about Pfizer (NYSE:PFE). When you think of Pfizer, you of course think of the coronavirus vaccine. That product is set to generate more than $33 billion this year alone. Pfizer splits profits with partner BioNTech. But the vaccine still represents a great contributor to growth.

Pfizer will continue to benefit from the vaccine program beyond this year. Opportunities for growth include eventual sales of a booster shot and sales of the vaccine to broader age groups -- such as children. Experts say the coronavirus is here to stay, so we can expect revenue to keep rolling in. Pfizer also has a shot at another huge coronavirus market: the treatment market. The company's investigational pill is involved in a phase 2/3 clinical trial right now. Pfizer expects to report data in the fourth quarter.

Beyond the coronavirus programs, Pfizer has a vast portfolio of commercialized products -- including six blockbusters.

In spite of all of this, Pfizer's shares haven't soared. For instance, they ended last year nearly unchanged. But this year, momentum seems to be picking up. The stock has climbed 19% and year-to-date performance is about even with the S&P 500. Now looks like the right time to get in on this stock that has plenty of fuel for long-term performance.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.