The past year has taught us the value of keeping a well-stocked refrigerator and pantry. We’ve spent more time at home than ever, working, schooling, zooming, cooking, exercising, playing, and more. All these activities require energy or brainpower from nutritious foods, and because breakfast and healthy snacks have been the key to powering through these at-home days, we quickly learned the importance of keeping the fridge stocked.
Milk (of course!)
What would a family refrigerator be without milk? Growing kiddos drink tons of the stuff every week. We’ve heard stories of families who have to keep multiple gallons on hand at all times! And what about back when kids could invite their friends over? Boy howdy, the milk flowed.
With milk, organic really matters. Organic cows get more time outside than 95% of dairy cows in the United States, for one thing! Cows love wandering around out in the fresh air, grazing on green grasses, and lying in the sun to chew their cud. For us milk-lovers, organic milk doesn’t have residues from pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, or GMOs because organic doesn’t use them in the first place! With kids drinking a gallon or more a week, choosing organic milk is a super-simple way parents can feel good about what’s going into their kids’ bodies.
Yes, these are also on our list of pantry staples, and yes, they fit into the “milk” category above, but they’re worth noting because they’re so darned convenient, even while we’re all at home. We like to keep a few of these perfectly sized milks in the fridge so they’re ready to drink when little tummies are a bit grumbly. They’re just the right serving size for kids, and the single-serve packaging with a straw makes them low-mess. Most importantly, the protein and fat in milk are great for tying kids (or even adults) over until mealtime. The chocolate flavor is a healthy way to satisfy those afternoon cravings for something sweet after a day filled with virtual meetings and classes!
Good ol’ reliable eggs may seem obvious, but we always keep a couple dozen in the fridge. Since the whole family is home all day every day right now, we’ve gotten in the habit of hard-boiling six or eight (or even a dozen) every week. Hard-boiled eggs from happy organic hens are a gimme for quick breakfasts, green salads, grain bowls, and egg salad sandwiches. Our Meatless Monday dinners frequently use eggs as the protein, and of course, there’s all those home baking projects!
Eggs are versatile meals and snacks, but sometimes you still don’t feel like cooking them up. We’ve got you covered during those moments too. Our new Egg Bites are scrambled egg cups in delicious flavors that you (or the young’uns) can pop in the microwave for a quick high-protein breakfast or snack. They’re such an easy and nutritious breakfast option that they also make our list of refrigerator staples.
Shredded cheese may not be a top-of-mind staple on every family’s shopping list, but we think it should be. Facing a dinner pinch, with a package of Organic Valley shredded cheese plus some pantry staples, you can whip up cheesy pasta or rice, veggies with cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, savory omelets, gooey quesadillas, and more—no recipe needed. They’re so versatile that they’re worth always having on hand!
Organic Valley finely shredded cheeses sprinkle perfectly over tacos, eggs, and they melt smoothly into mac-n-cheese and soups. Our thick-cut shredded cheeses are ideal for maximum coverage like on pizzas and casseroles, and they even work well on sandwiches and grilled cheese if you want to skip the pre-sliced cheese. Hey, anything that trims minutes from grocery shopping, right?
In recent years, updated research has caused dietary guidelines to swing back toward real dairy butter rather than oil-based margarine and butter substitutes, and of course, we couldn’t be happier!
Organic Valley Butter comes from cows that spend a lot of time outside, which means more of that good outside-ness (green grass, sunshine, and fresh air) goes into the butter.
Ghee is also a fantastic option and is often tolerated by people who are lactose-free. It’s technically a pantry staple because it doesn’t need to be refrigerated even after it’s been opened, but we’re listing it here too because ghee is very similar to butter. Use it just like regular butter and oil. We love it for stovetop popcorn!
Stringles® String Cheese
String cheese is a parent’s dream at snacktime. They’re already packaged in kid-sized portions, and who can deny kids the fun of peeling the mozzarella strings? (Oh, let’s face it, adults love peeling string cheese too!)
We keep a box of Organic Valley’s classic stringy mozzarella Stringles® in the fridge where the kids can reach it for an easy self-serve snack if their adults are busy, and the cheese frequently makes an appearance at lunchtime.
Yep. We said it. Ketchup. Folks might be surprised to see this one on the list, but kids eat a lot of this stuff, so it’s a staple—and one whose ingredients really matter.
Ketchup can have lots of salt and sugar, and most non-organic tomatoes are grown with pesticides and fungicides. This means ketchup can still contain those residues. We recommend opting for organic ketchup to avoid those residues, and look for low-salt, low-sugar. Thankfully, organic ketchup is not hard to find in most supermarkets these days! We’re big fans of Annie’s Organic Ketchup because they’re a great company that shares Organic Valley’s values.
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