The Healthy Kitchen: 35 Best Foods to Stock in Your Fridge and Pantry

Load your shelves with these delicious, nutritious foods, and we promise that your kids will stop begging you for junk food.

  • Alex Cao

    In the Fridge

    Skim or 1 percent milk or fortified soy milk.

    Fresh fruit. Keep at least one kind of fruit washed, cut, and stored in a clear plastic container where your kids can see and grab it.

    Hummus. Dip carrots in this chickpea spread.

    Low-fat yogurt. Mix fresh fruit into vanilla or plain.

    100 percent fruit juice. Dilute it with water or seltzer. Try pre-diluted Wadda Juice single-serve bottles or Mott's for Tots boxes for car trips.

    Bagged salad. Look for darker greens like baby spinach or a mix of multicolored lettuces like mesclun or field greens.

    Lunch meats like turkey and lean roast beef.

    Tortillas. They're a fun alternative to bread.

    Fresh veggies. Buy your own to wash and chop. Or pick up prewashed, precut veggies like broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, snow peas, and celery to serve as a snack, toss into salads, or steam.

    Low-fat cheese. Stock reduced-fat block cheese such as Cracker Barrel 2 percent milk cheese, reduced-fat string cheese, Laughing Cow minis, and part-skim shredded cheese.

  • Alex Cao

    In the Pantry

    Whole-grain crackers. Choose brands with at least 2 grams of fiber (and no trans fats) like Ryvita, Wasa, Kashi TLC 7-Grain, and low-sodium Triscuit.

    Whole-grain pasta such as high-fiber Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Blend Pasta or Barilla Plus, which has extra protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

    Reduced-fat salad dressing. Low-fat ranch makes a great dip.

    Oatmeal. Choose whole oats or unflavored instant.

    Whole-grain bread. Check labels for brands that have at least 2 grams of fiber per slice.

    Applesauce. Look for an unsweetened brand.

    Dried or canned beans. Chickpeas, black beans, and fat-free refried beans are rich in protein.

    Whole wheat couscous cooks just as quickly as the regular kind.

    Brown rice. A great source of whole grains.

    Sweet potatoes have lots of vitamin A.

    Whole-grain breakfast cereal. Aim for at least 3 grams of fiber. Ones to try: Raisin Bran, Multi-Bran Chex, or Kashi Heart-to-Heart or Mighty Bites.

    Nuts and seeds. Go for almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.

    Salsa. A zesty way to sneak in more veggies.

    Canned fruit that's packed in juice.

    Jarred pasta sauce. Add extra veggies like shredded zucchini.

    Dried fruit. A half-cup counts as a serving of fruit.

    Salmon and light tuna for salads and sandwiches.

    Peanut butter or other nut butters.

  • Alex Cao

    In the Freezer

    Boneless chicken breasts. Add to pasta, salads, and stir-fries.

    Lean ground beef. Buy 90 percent lean.

    Salmon and other low-mercury fish such as cod and tilapia.

    Vegetarian chicken patties. One kid-friendly flavor is MorningStar Farms Parmesan Ranch.

    Frozen veggies. Besides the basics, pick up high-protein edamame.

    Ground turkey. Look for extra lean.

    Veggie burgers made from soy protein.

    Frozen fruit (no sugar added) to eat from the bag or add to smoothies.

  • Jim Franco

    Fast Meal: Chicken & Rice

    Brown rice + precut veggies + chicken

  • Jim Franco

    Fast Meal: Salad

    Bagged lettuce + canned salmon or tuna + veggies + dried cranberries + reduced-fat salad dressing

  • Jim Franco

    Fast Meal: Pasta

    Whole-grain pasta + ground-turkey meatballs + jarred pasta sauce

  • Jim Franco

    Fast Meal: Healthy Oatmeal

    Oatmeal + milk + frozen fruit + almonds (for kids 4 and up)



    Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the June 2008 issue of Parents magazine.


    All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.