Content provided by: Tiffani Ghere, Clinical Pediatric Dietitian

Many families want to make healthier choices at home but have a hard time getting started. One of the first things that should be addressed is the pantry. Parents have a strong influence on the developing palates of small children, because little ones can only eat what is made available to them.

As families learn more about cooking from scratch and fresh, whole foods, having a pantry stocked with staples is very useful. Here is a list of things that Chef Azmin advises us to to always have on hand so we can make wonderful dishes at home without having to run out to the store.

THE PANTRY LIST

GRAINS | BEANS
Farro
Brown rice
Cous cous
Quinoa
Barley
Dried beans
Polenta
Rolled oats
Wheat germ
Legumes
Lentils

NUTS | SEEDS
Almonds (raw and flavored)
Cashews
Pine nuts
Walnuts
Hazelnuts
Pistachio
Sunflower seeds

STAPLES (always on hand)
Canned tomatoes
Canned tuna (in water)
Capers
Citrus fruits
Dried spices
Garlic
Juice (lemon juice, pomegranate juice)
Local honey
Molasses
Mustard
Oil  (olive oil, grape seed oil)
Onions
Pure maple syrup
Shallots
Stock 
Soy sauce (low salt)
Sun-dried tomatoes
Vinegars (balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar)

PERISHABLES
Butter
Cheese  (parmesan, pecorino)
Eggs
Fresh herbs
Milk
Seasonal fruit
Seasonal vegetables
Yogurt

HEALTHY SNACKS
Have a list of healthy snacks to keep on hand at all times as “go to” foods.

Dried fruits
Nuts and seeds
String cheese
Whole grain granola bars
Seasonal fruits 
Seasonal vegetables
Dips and spreads for fruits and vegetables
Fresh salad dressings
Hummus
Bean dips
Guacamole
Salsa
Nut butters (almond, cashew, peanut, and sunflower seed)

SNACK TIP | 10 MINUTE PREP
Cut a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables for the day and keep in a bowl in the refrigerator. Have dips that complement the produce in small containers near the fresh bowl. When snack time comes, everything’s ready to put out so kids can access these treats on their own. This is especially useful before dinner, when kids are clamoring for something to eat while you're preparing the meal. It won’t spoil their appetite, but it’ll take the pressure off you!