Top expert tips for stocking the pantry at home

By Karla Gilbert

As an accredited Nutrition and Health Coach, Karla Gilbert knows how to keep families healthy – even in the most challenging, unprecedented times. A mum of two girls, Karla also shares her tips on stocking the pantry and stretching out time between supermarket trips.

These are unprecedented times. With no blueprint to follow concerning what the future holds, now is the perfect time to focus on the health of our families through nutrition, managing stress, regular exercise and mindset.

Here are my top tips for keeping the family healthy, happy and well-fed!

1. Less stress in the supermarket

When shopping, look for canned and frozen vegetables, tinned and frozen fish, legumes and beans. Where possible, pick up wholegrains such as bread, rice, quinoa and whole-wheat pasta. These are all ingredients that will enable you to mix and match to easily create healthy meals.

Having pizza bases, tortillas and taco kits on hand will also ensure that variety is maintained with meal planning, keeping children content!

Frozen fruits also make for great smoothies that children will love. Click here for my strawberry oats smoothie recipe that they can’t get enough of.


2. Cook batches & freeze for another meal

If you have been after a reason to brush up on your cooking skills, now is the perfect time. Meal ideas such as chilli con carne, pasta sauce, meatballs, Indian dahls and casseroles are ideal recipes to batch cook and freeze for another meal when you may

Utilize canned beans and halve the amount of meat used in a dish to extend the time between supermarket visits. Try a spaghetti bolognese sauce with veggies and lentils, tacos made from mince and black beans, chickpea falafel balls or meatballs simmered in tinned tomatoes and butter beans – all excellent ideas to use the canned pantry supplies.

3. Get the children involved in the kitchen

Children take a lot of pride in what they’ve created in the kitchen, and it’s an incredible learning opportunity!

Ask little ones with certain steps, such as counting ingredients out together or trying different methods such as stirring, tossing, grating and mashing. If children are too young to help, pop them on a highchair and ask them to name the ingredients going into the food.

Some great ideas are to help blend a smoothie with a cool name or make homemade pizzas with an array of colours.

4. Incorporate immune-boosting foods

Immune-boosting foods such as onions and garlic add lovely flavours to otherwise bland meals and have antibacterial properties. You can stock up on herbs and spices to jazz up meals.

The upcoming cooler months means citrus fruits will be plentiful with oranges and mandarins, offering immune support through vitamin C.


5. Be patient with fussy eaters

The times we are facing are certainly not ideal, so finding alternatives with a flexible mindset is going to help offload unnecessary stress while displaying resilience to our children.

If your child is showing signs of fussy eating, it may be a process of exposing the new food a certain amount of times. Offer new foods alongside a food they are already accustomed to; or try and reduce new food anxiety by allowing your child to experiment with vegetables in craft activities. Click here for more tips about fussy eaters.

As children interact with foods, they begin to form lifelong food associations that will affect their eating habits later. Our goal is to help children form positive associations with healthy foods regardless of what the outside world brings!