When it comes to feeding our kids, many of us parents tend to fixate on the big ideas: how to encourage mindful eating habits, how to model a positive relationship with food or how to navigate picky eating without losing our minds.
While these big-picture goals are definitely worth pursuing, it’s often helpful to remember that the little things matter too! In fact, you can make a big difference in what your family eats through just a few simple changes.
- Start by stocking your fridge, freezer and pantry with wholesome foods. To make it easier for you, Nurture Life’s registered dietitians have put together lists of their favorite staples for each area in the kitchen. You’ll find these lists just below.
- Once you’ve chosen some nutritious pantry essentials, check out the 6 organization tips that follow! These tips highlight how to organize your fridge, freezer and pantry to subtly (yet successfully) encourage healthier eating choices for the whole family.
Lists of Fridge, Freezer and Pantry Staples
Here’s what Nurture Life’s registered dietitians recommend for the fridge, freezer and pantry.
In the Fridge
For varied flavors and plenty of nutrients, fill your fridge with lean proteins, in-season produce and minimally processed dairy. You can mix and match these ingredients to create healthy, balanced meals.
If you’re looking for a quick, ready-to-serve fridge option rather than individual ingredients, browse the Nurture Life menu! Our kid-friendly meals are made with wholesome ingredients and a balance of the nutrients your little ones need to play and grow at every age.
Fridge Staples List
*Choose sustainable seafood as much as possible. To see what is available in your area, click here.
|Especially kid-friendly veggies:
*Select whole milk for children 12-24 months, and 1% or 2% for 2 years and up (based on your pediatrician’s recommendations)
In the Freezer
Frozen foods often get a reputation as “unhealthy” (or less healthy), but they’re actually a great way to boost the nutrition of your family’s meals. Since frozen foods are picked at peak ripeness and then flash-frozen, they maintain their nutrition and taste, even out of season.
Freezer Staples List
|Frozen Fruit||Frozen Veggies||Frozen Proteins|
Look for no added sugar.
If you order Nurture Life meals, you can also freeze them so that they last longer. Get tips on safely freezing our baby, toddler and kids meals here.
In the Pantry
The pantry is often where things get tricky, but you don’t have to settle for salty and sugary snacks! Below are some nutritious, palate-pleasing options for both meal prep and snacking.
Pantry Staples List
|Condiments, Cooking Oils and Fats||
*Select spice blends with no added salt.
|Starches and Whole Grains||
*Look for products with simple ingredients and 3+ grams of fiber per serving.
|Nuts, Nut Butters and Seeds||
Pick nuts and nut mixes that are raw, unsalted and unsweetened. Go for single-ingredient nut butters with no added palm oil, sugar or salt.
Choose dry beans or canned beans with no added salt.
|Miscellaneous Canned Goods||
*Choose “packed in water,” not oil.
6 Tips for Building a More Health-Conscious Fridge, Freezer and Pantry
You may have heard that the best diet is the one you’ll stick to—so make your family’s healthy eating habits stick by thoughtfully organizing your pantry, freezer and fridge essentials. More than just a new year’s resolution, these tips for revamping your kitchen are a great way to begin every season of the year!
- Start fresh.
You might be surprised just how much shelf space is wasted on expired condiments, sauces and other assorted “stuff.” Make it a family event to clean out your fridge, freezer and pantry together, pitching anything that’s past its prime and donating unexpired non-perishables that you no longer need.
- Stock up wisely.
As you’re refilling your kitchen with items from our pantry staples list, be selective with what you buy. An overstuffed fridge, freezer or pantry can quickly become overwhelming, and you may end up forgetting what you bought in the first place.
- Put healthy food first.
We don’t mean just in your mind, either! Make whole, non-processed foods the go-to choice for your family members by prominently displaying them at eye level and within easy reach.
- Use clear containers.
You’re more likely to feel inspired by nutritious ingredients when you can actually see them—so use clear storage bins as a quick visual cue! Feel free to add labels too, including both what’s inside and an “eat-by” date. In a similar way, store your more indulgent treats in opaque containers (and keep them hidden behind healthier options). Out of sight, out of mind!
- Organize food by category.
Instead of unloading groceries at whim, try placing them in “zones” according to their food group—for instance, dairy on the middle shelf, produce in drawers and proteins on the bottom. Categorizing foods in this way will help you prepare nutritious meals with less effort. By selecting nutritious pantry essentials from each zone, you’ll know that your meal is balanced!
- Give your kids space.
A kid-friendly kitchen is a family-friendly kitchen, and giving your children designated shelving will empower them to make healthy choices on their own. For their pantry, freezer and fridge shelves, just follow the same strategies as the rest of the kitchen, sorting foods by category and placing the healthiest options first.
By choosing nutritious pantry, freezer and fridge essentials and then organizing them mindfully, you’ll make healthy eating the easiest, most natural choice for your family. Commit to making these small kitchen changes over the course of a week, and in next to no time, your loved ones will be set up for a lifetime of wholesome food choices!
If you have any questions about incorporating Nurture Life meals into your family’s regular meal routine, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our child nutrition experts are always available at firstname.lastname@example.org.