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Fresh pancakes sit on a plate next to a jar of ghee and cooking spatula.


Organic Pantry Staples for Busy Families


This is the culture we live in today. Even now as we navigate physical distancing, many of us are still crazy-busy: working from home, educating and entertaining children, doing our best to stay healthy and active, and making time to connect with loved ones virtually.

What’s this have to do with food? Quite a lot, actually.

With more time at home, we're cooking more meals per day than we ever imagined, and frankly, cooking takes time and energy we don’t always have. Our busy-ness means that snacks are replacing meals more often, so we might be choosing less-than-ideal options to stave off the “hanger,” whether out of simple haste or because we aren’t aware of better options.

Thankfully, with a teensy bit of planning, you can keep healthful snacks on hand for any moment. And favoring pantry items means they keep for a long time and don’t require a cooler to take on the go.

Here are the pantry staples we never cross off our grocery lists because they’re convenient, right-sized, and always organic.

Young girl enjoys drinking single serve Organic Valley milk.

Case of Shelf-Stable, Single-Serving Milks

This white or chocolate milk is ultra-pasteurized and in special packaging so they can be kept in the pantry rather than taking up space in your fridge. We buy a couple cases at a time and pop enough into the fridge door for a week of packed lunches and snacks. They’re also perfect for independent Saturday mornings, when the kids make their own cereal so you can sleep in.

These never leave our list because they’re organic, perfectly sized for children (6.75 oz.), and shelf-stable, which means we can buy them in large quantities to always have on hand.

Young boy enjoys a bowl of milk and cereal for breakfast.

Organic Quick Oats

There’s no reason to skip breakfast when quick oats cook in less than five minutes in the microwave and work great for overnight oats. (Can you wake up just five minutes earlier? You Can! We believe in you.) We’re big fans of Bob’s Red Mill Organic Oatmeal, which comes in convenient cups too.

Make your oatmeal with our nutrient-filled organic milk, add in some fruit or nuts, or a dollop of grass-fed yogurt or peanut butter, and you’ve got a filling breakfast that is also great for digestion. And let’s be honest...this is something busy, stressed people often need a lil’ help with.

Bonus: In 2018, the Environmental Working Group found pesticide residue on every sample of oat-based cereals and other oat-based products they tested, including many marketed to children, so choosing organic will keep all that nonsense out of your bodies.

Two fried eggs sizzle in a pan with Organic Valley ghee.


Butter has been coming back into favor in recent years thanks to new research that showed the low-fat diet trend was misguided and butter is actually not linked to heart disease. We’re pretty happy about that because it’s absolutely more delicious than oil-based margarine.

Ghee, a type of clarified butter, is a fantastic pantry staple because it doesn’t have to be refrigerated like butter, even after it’s been opened. Plus, because most of the lactose and casein is filtered out, ghee is often tolerated by people who have dairy sensitivities. Use it just like regular butter and oil. We love it for stovetop popcorn! (Here’s everything you need to know about ghee.)

Meat snacks accompanied with cheese and crackers make a great snack.

Organic Beef Snacks

Meat snacks are easy to pick up from a gas station, but they’re filled with preservatives and you have no idea where the meat came from. Mighty Organic beef sticks are made from grass-fed beef from Organic Valley’s own family farms, where the cows led stress-free lives outside. They’re individually wrapped and lightweight, so we love tossing a few into our purses, gym bags and office desks for those low-energy moments during the day.

Homemade granola and grass-fed yogurt with fresh fruit on the side. Photo by Real Food Dietitians.

Granola and Granola Bars

There are so many brands of granola and bars out there, but most are more like sugary junk food than a wholesome food that will give you protein and energy to get you through to your next meal.

We like to recommend Clif Bars because they’re convenient and come in lots of options: adults and kids, women and men, calorie-burning activities or everyday snacking. Plus, most are certified organic, and Clif Bar is doing a lot of good in the world.

Nature’s Path paleo-friendly grain-free clusters are another pantry staple because they’re a crunchy on-the-go snack or good as cereal with our nutrient-filled organic milk.

All of these pantry staples are great options when you need convenience from a trustworthy source. Happy shopping!

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