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

By Sally Kuzemchak, RD
Updated April 08, 2020
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Do you want to stock your kitchen with nutritious items, but don’t know where to start? We rounded up a grocery list full of healthy foods to buy for your family, broken down by storage method (pantry, fridge, and freezer). Your kid might not even miss the potato chips and candy!

Healthy Foods for the Fridge

Combine these healthy items for lunch, dinner, or snacks. Keep in mind that refrigerated food is perishable, so don't buy more than your family will eat. 

Milk. Choose either skim milk, 1 percent milk, or fortified soy milk for your little one’s growing body.

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 or crackers into this chickpea spread.

Low-fat yogurt. Mix fresh fruit, granola, and raisins into yogurt for a DIY parfait. Choose Greek yogurt for extra health benefits. 

100 percent fruit juice. Dilute fruit juice with water or seltzer for a more nutritious beverage. 

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

Lunch meat. Ready-to-serve options like turkey and lean roast beef make excellent sandwiches.

Tortillas. They're a fun alternative to bread.

Fresh veggies. Buy your own fresh vegetables to wash and chop. Or pick up pre-washed, pre-cut veggies like broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, snow peas, and celery to serve as a snack, toss into salads, or steam.

Low-fat cheese. Stock up on reduced-fat block cheeses, and pair them with crackers for a healthy snack.

Healthy Foods for the Pantry

Pantry items generally have a longer shelf life. Stock up on these healthy foods to buy for your family, and you'll always have nutritious snacks on hand. 

Whole-grain crackers. Choose brands with at least 2 grams of fiber and no trans fats.

Whole-grain pasta. Whole grain pasta is better than its enriched counterpart. You can also choose brands with extra protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Dried meat. Bite-sized, shelf-stable beef ensures you always have a high-protein, low-carb snack at the ready.

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

Oatmeal. Choose whole oats or unflavored instant oatmeal. You can top it with fresh fruit for a filling breakfast.

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

Applesauce. Look for unsweetened applesauce. It still tastes like dessert, but it doesn’t have any added sugar!

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

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

Brown rice. Brown rice is a great source of whole grains, and it makes an excellent side dish for dinner.

Sweet potatoes. Eat these for an extra dose of beta carotene and 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. This condiment is a zesty way to sneak in more veggies. You can also use it as a dip for whole grain tortilla chips.

Canned fruit. Kids especially love canned fruit that's packed in juice.

Jarred pasta sauce. Add extra veggies like shredded zucchini when making pasta for your family

Dried fruit. A half-cup counts as a serving of fruit. Just be mindful of portion size, since dried fruit is loaded with sugar.

Salmon and light tuna. Mix with mayonnaise for salads and sandwiches.

Peanut butter. Put peanut butter on your kid’s sandwiches, or serve it as a healthy dip for apples, bananas, and pretzels. You can also opt for another kind of nut butter, such as almond butter. 

Healthy Foods for the Freezer

With a fully stocked freezer, you’ll never worry about running out of dinner ingredients. Frozen meats and produce generally last for several months. 

Boneless chicken breasts. After you defrost chicken breasts, you can add them to pasta, salads, and stir-fries.

Lean ground beef. Buy 90-percent lean meat for optimal nutrition. 

Salmon. Salmon and other low-mercury fish, such as cod and tilapia, are healthy, nutritious proteins for dinnertime.

Vegetarian chicken patties. Your little one probably won't realize these don't actually contain meat!

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

Ground turkey. Look for extra lean ground turkey for meatballs, burgers, tacos, and more.

Veggie burgers. These are usually made from soy protein.

Frozen fruit. Opt for fruit with no added sugar. Kids can eat it straight from the bag, or you can add it to smoothies.

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