Stocking your pantry with quality ingredients is the first step in becoming more organized at mealtimes, saving you time and energy in the kitchen. Having a variety of ready-to-use ingredients in your pantry will help inspire you to try new recipes and be more adventurous in the kitchen as well as reduce the inclination to serve processed and prepackaged foods to the family. Here are some tips to help you to maintain an organized, well-stocked pantry:
- Be mindful of foods that your family eats on a regular basis and stock up on those particular items so you always have them on-hand.
- Review your grocery list. If it’s a regular item on your grocery list and it can be stored for an extended period of time, it’s an ideal candidate for your pantry.
- Buy twice as many of a pantry item that you purchase on a regular basis then store the extras.
These 10 essential pantry items are all you need to be prepared and organized in the kitchen, and of course, they’re baby-friendly too. Every family’s pantry essentials may vary according to their personal preferences and dietary needs so remember to add your favourite items to the list.
- Canned legumes and beans
They are an easy way to incorporate fiber and protein into the family’s diet. Although dried legumes are more ideal when it comes to nutritional value and texture, canned legumes and beans are a quicker option.
- Extra virgin olive oil
A good quality olive oil adds flavour to meals, aids in digestion, and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Extra virgin coconut oil
This sweet, buttery and flavourful oil is rich in omega-3’s and is a great alternative to butter in baked goods.
- Quick-cooking grains (quinoa, couscous, millet)
They are quick and easy to prepare, lend well to a variety of condiments and some (i.e., quinoa) are ideal for people with gluten intolerances.
- Whole grain pastas and rice
Contrary to refined white pastas and rice, whole grains are loaded with protein and are more flavourful than refined options.
- Dried herbs and spices
They add depth and flavour and reduce the need for additional salt in recipes. Many spices, such as cinnamon and turmeric are loaded with health-boosting properties.
- Organic low-sodium broth
It can be used to make a simple soup or to add to defrosted foods for baby to rehydrate them and add flavour.
- Dried fruits, nuts and nut butters
They add texture to yogurt parfaits and granola, or can be served as a chewy, healthy finger food for kids. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals and are healthy add-ins to baked goods, salads, and more.
- Canned tomatoes
These are a must to make a healthy, quick and simple pasta sauce or bolognese sauce and can be added to a variety of recipes, such as chili, soups, and stews.
- Canned tuna
Canned tuna is an inexpensive alternative to fresh tuna. It is packed with protein and lends well to a variety of quick and easy recipes. To ensure you provide a balanced diet for your family, pair these staple pantry items with fresh ingredients such as fresh fruits and veggies, leafy greens, lean meats and fish.
Make these recipes with ingredients stocked in your pantry: