10 Pantry Staples to Make Mealtime Easier
The grocery store struggle is real. With a busy schedule, coordinating all the kids’ activities and trying to make dinner, some weeks you can only manage to get the essentials at the store. But then you look in the fridge and still wonder: why don’t we have anything to eat?! With this tried and true list of essentials, you won’t have to reach for the takeout menu at 6 o’clock.
These 10 pantry staples, which don’t spoil quickly, allow you to whip up real, nutrient-rich meals and snacks in no time at all! Using just a few natural ingredients, you will have plenty of options to satisfy the whole family. So when you’re getting ready to hit the grocery store, don’t forget to make a list. And put these 10 pantry staples on it!
Whole Grain Bread and Tortillas
Stocking your pantry with a grain is important. It’s the base for so many meals. With whole grain bread, you can make all kinds of delicious sandwiches: PB&J, turkey club, grilled cheese or open-faced toasts. With tortillas, you can whip up quesadillas, tacos, burritos or wraps. So many options!
Apples and Bananas
With these fruits, you can build healthy snacks or side dishes quickly. Both apples and bananas are great with peanut butter to pack a protein punch! You can slice up apples and dip them into delicious honey. Topping your morning cereal or oatmeal with banana slices and a dollop of honey provides nutrients and sweetness.
Eggs go way beyond breakfast. (Don’t get us wrong, we do love a traditional with scrambled egg!) You can put a poached or fried egg on top of a salad or open-faced toast. You can make a quiche or frittata with a side salad. And you can also try baking eggs, like in this recipe for Sweet Potato and Pancetta Baked Eggs. Or have breakfast for dinner! With so many egg variations, the whole family will be satisfied!
Plain Greek Yogurt or Dairy-Free Alternative
Greek yogurt is a great, protein-filled snack or breakfast. Make sure to buy the real, natural yogurt to avoid processed sugars and added colors. Then you can sweeten your yogurt the natural way: with honey! Try these amazing yogurt bowls for a breakfast that keeps you going:
You can also use plain Greek yogurt as a sour cream substitute.
Raw & Unfiltered Honey
Honey is an incredibly versatile pantry staple. It sweetens meals and adds nutrients along the way. Packed with vitamins and enzymes, raw and unfiltered honey is a great processed sugar alternative. Just make sure you’re getting the real deal. To ensure this, buy honey that is labeled “raw and unfiltered,” like Nature Nate’s. You can use honey to replace sugar in recipes or in drinks like iced tea or coffee. It’s also perfect with chicken, fish or grilling out. Drizzle honey in your PB sandwiches or over your morning toast. It goes with so many things!
Trail Mix and Dried Fruit
Trail mix and dried fruit are a great, nutritious snack. Rather than reaching for the chips, grab a handful of trail mix full of nuts and grains instead. That way, you’ll be getting more protein with your snack and packing in nutrients too. The best way to ensure your trail mix is 100% natural with no added processed sugar is to make it at home. Try this trail mix recipe. Separate your trail mix into containers or baggies in order to toss in a bag and go!
Nut Butter or Nut-Free Alternative
Nut butter is a delicious source of protein. It fills you up and keep you going. Plus it’s yummy and kid-approved. Try loading it onto toast or fruit for a filling breakfast or snack-time. It pairs so well with fruit and honey too. Go for a PB, banana and honey sandwich or make nut butter pretzel sandwiches.
Carrots and Celery
Carrots and celery are a go-to veggie for a reason: kids will actually eat them! They’re easy to dip and load other ingredients onto. Try this super cute and super delicious Ants on a Log recipe
Also try making your own dips for carrots and celery featuring celery. Carrot and celery is a great duo to pack into lunchboxes or snack on while waiting for dinner. Convince the kids with honey to dip them into.
Hummus should be your friend. Dunk the carrots, celery or pita chips into it. Hummus—made from chickpeas—is full of protein, iron, phosphate and B vitamins. You can also drop a tablespoon into a salad or spread it over your whole grain toast. Try this recipe for Sunflower Seed Hummus.
Like most people, we love cheese. It goes on so many things from meals to snacks and it’s crazy delicious. Make sure you purchase real, natural cheese rather than processed options. Have some plain cheese as a snack, put it in salads or eggs, make a cheese board as an appetizer or use it in grilled cheeses and quesadillas! It dresses up so many meals.
When selecting ingredients for your family, it’s easy to grab the most familiar option. But with all kinds of hidden sugars and ingredients, you don’t always know what’s inside. It’s important to choose real, natural foods for your family that don’t break your budget. Check your labels and select natural, real foods!