The Picky Eaters Project: Melissa's Pantry List

This is a list of ingredients I always have available in my pantry, refrigerator and freezer.

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Here's the trick: Your ideal pantry is going to vary depending on where you are in transitioning recipes according to your kids. For example, your kids might not be ready for multigrain pasta, so you may stock whole-grain pasta instead.

Setting up a pantry is one of the first steps to a successful breakfast, lunch and dinner routine, and it'll also supply you with healthy go-to snack options (like trail mix with dried fruit, cereal, chocolate chips and nuts).


  • Flours: whole-wheat pastry, white whole-wheat and all-purpose
  • Baking soda and baking powder (by having these you're allowing yourself to be set up for baking)
  • Chicken and beef broth
  • Whole-wheat breadcrumbs and panko
  • Canned fruit (not in syrup, but in juice)
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • Dried and canned beans
  • Dried fruit (serve in lunches as a treat)
  • Dried herbs and spices
  • Jarred salsa (mild)
  • Brown and white rice (progressive swap)
  • Oils: olive, vegetable and coconut
  • Old-fashioned rolled oats
  • Pasta (whole-grain and multigrain)
  • Chocolate chips
  • Peanut butter and almond butter
  • Specialty grains: bulgur, couscous, quinoa, polenta
  • Sweeteners: confectioners' sugar, honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, agave
  • Vinegars: apple cider, balsamic, red wine
  • Seeds: flax, chia and hemp (things you can add into smoothies and muffins for easy nutrition)
  • Applesauce
  • Whole-grain, low-sugar cereals
  • Whole-grain snack foods: pretzels and crackers
  • Plain popcorn kernels


This section is a little trickier. It truly depends on what your kids will eat. The important takeaway is that you should include a good mix of hearty veggies, some leafy greens and fruit.

  • Hearty vegetables: broccoli, carrots, celery, cauliflower, squash, etc. 
  • Leafy greens: kale, spinach, etc.
  • Fresh fruit: apples, bananas, citrus
  • Potatoes and tomatoes


  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Cream cheese
  • Condiments (ketchup, mayo, mustard)
  • Eggs
  • Jam
  • Milk (I prefer low-fat)
  • Plain yogurt
  • Sour cream
  • Almonds


  • Bacon
  • Variety of meats: ground beef, large roasts, chicken, turkey, pork, etc.
  • Bread: baguettes and whole-grain sandwich bread
  • Nuts: pecans or walnuts
  • Puff pastry
  • Frozen veggies: peas and chopped spinach, particularly
  • Frozen fruit: berries, peaches, etc., for smoothies or muffins
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