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

Oatmeal, milk, frozen fruit, and almonds
Jim Franco
Load your shelves with these delicious, nutritious foods, and we promise that your kids will stop begging you for junk food.
Alex Cao
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
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
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
Jim Franco

Fast Meal: Chicken & Rice

  • Brown rice + precut veggies + chicken
Jim Franco
Jim Franco

Fast Meal: Salad

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

Fast Meal: Pasta

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

Jim Franco
Jim Franco

Fast Meal: Healthy Oatmeal

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

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