The following guest post is written by Julie Revelant, founder of JulieRevelant.com, where she teaches parents how to raise healthy kids who crave healthy food.
If you spend a lot of time in your kitchen like I do preparing and cooking healthy meals for your family, you know that aside from your go-to cutting board, set of knives and some basic kitchen appliances, having a healthy organized pantry is a must-have.
While I don’t have my spices in alphabetical or size order (more power to you if you do!), when chaos starts to build in my pantry, I do take a few minutes to organize the shelves so I know what I have—and what I need to buy the next time I go to the grocery store. When everything is in plain sight, meal planning, sticking to a food budget, and eating healthy are so much easier.
The good news is that you don’t have to spend a ton of time getting things in order or be Marie Kondo to spark joy in your kitchen. With some simple, easy strategies, you can achieve a healthy, organized pantry for your family in no time. Here are 5 to consider.
What Can I Stock My Pantry with for Healthy Eating?
Creating a healthy pantry uses the same tips and steps used in meal planning. With just a bit of planning and sticking to your shopping list, it’s not difficult to keep your pantry stocked with healthy options. This is how I do it:
- Clean Eating Menu Planning Tips
- 5 Healthy Food I Buy Every Week
- Healthy Kids Snacks 101
- 7 Budget-Friendly Healthy Foods
- Clean Eating Food Storage Tips
How to Create a Healthy Organized Pantry
Clean and Purge Pantry Contents
The first step to create a healthy, organized pantry is to clear the shelves, clean up and purge. Pull out every single can, box, bag and stray item and place everything on your kitchen counter or table.
Clean out crumbs and wipe down all the shelves and containers. Toss anything that’s expired and set aside foods you either don’t plan to eat or don’t want in your pantry like refined sugars, cake mixes, and unhealthy snacks and donate them to your local food pantry, a non-profit organization or the firehouse.
Make Use of Mason Jars
A set of airtight, see-through mason jars is the ultimate tool to create a healthy, organized pantry because they keep food fresh and allow you to see what and how much you have. Mason jars are also an inexpensive, beautiful way to freshen up your pantry.
I use mason jars to store dried beans and lentils, rice, quinoa, farro, dried fruit, nuts and seeds and popcorn which makes pulling together healthy snacks for my kids a breeze.
Sort and Store Like Items Together
Clutter doesn’t mesh well with my type-A personality and so I try my best to follow the rule: everything has a place.
The same goes for the kitchen pantry. Sort and store like items together:
- Flours and baking essentials
- Nut butters
- Soups and stocks
- Canned beans, salmon, sardines and anchovies
- Coffees and teas
- Herbs and spices
If you have the space, also consider having designated shelves, bins, baskets, containers and canisters to corral like items.
Pre-printed kitchen labels or customizable chalkboard labels can help you and your family find items quickly. Add labels to individual shelves, mason jars, canisters and bins. The Printable Pantry Labels and the tips shared here on How to Make Your Own Pantry Labels will help you label your pantry today.
Put Healthy Food Front and Center
Want your kids to eat healthy? Put healthy food where they can see it.
According to the 2010 White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity report, “children’s choices depend on what is most visible and easily accessible.”
The same rings true for adults. According to an October 2015 study in the journal Health Education and Behavior, people who kept a fruit bowl on their kitchen counters were more likely to have a lower body mass index (BMI).
To create a healthy, organized pantry, put cookies, chips and candy on the highest shelf and reserve them for occasional treats.
While snack time is a a great opportunity for kids to get in fruits and vegetables in their diets, keeping healthy options like dried fruit, nuts and seeds, and fruit and nut bars where you kids can see them will make them more likely to grab for them.
It doesn’t take much time or money to create a healthy, organized pantry that will make healthier eating an easy part of your day.