This post is written in collaboration with Pamela’s Products. All opinions are my own.
Fall schedules are crazy! But stocking the pantry with healthy, kid-friendly snacks and staples can make surviving carpool and practice schedules easier!
School is back in session which means fall sports and activities are too, or are least about to be. This year we have a full and fun weekly schedule. There is school work of course, but also co-op, soccer for both girls, American Heritage Girls, TaeKwonDo for Kaitlyn and art for Hailey. While we are all excited, the burden to actually prepare and implement all this new fun falls on my shoulders. I’m not complaining though. I might (or might not?) be in the minority, but being needed brings out the best in me. I love being mom and devising the plan.
I have several rituals I do each year to set us up for fall season success.
First, it’s cleaning out the kids’ closets and making sure they have new sneakers (or “fast shoes” as we call them around here). Secondly, it’s organizing all our school materials and making a general plan for our school days. And lastly, it’s cleaning out the kitchen and pantry, then stocking it well to optimize our meal times.
Some of these things are simple, but something I somehow never get around to, like buying two more rimmed baking sheets. I use them almost daily and have been wanting two more (mostly for being able to roast enough veggies for our whole family).
Other things are more time consuming, like doing my annual full pantry clean out (links to my favorite organization items can be found here). Yes, I take every single thing out, give it a solid wipe down, then only put items back in that I’m actually going to use, and donate the rest.
This year is a little different for us in the fact that the girls will be going to co-op twice a week. That means I will be packing lunches twice a week. It also means that we will have a couple long days out of the house. Pair that with evening soccer practices and other commitments and suddenly it’s clear as to why I’m so reliant on a good kitchen clean out and restock.
My main goals for a solid back to school pantry are these:
- Have plenty of healthy snacks ready to grab and go. I want to be able to throw them in a soccer bag at a moment’s notice.
- Have plenty of products on hand that allow me to make a fast and kid-friendly dinner in a moment’s notice. For those nights when we get home late, the kids are starving, and I’m tired.
- Have plenty of the building blocks to my favorite meals (the ones I can make with my eyes closed) on hand. It’s so frustrating to be throwing together a meal and realizing you’re out of diced tomatoes.
Let’s start at goal number one- kid snacks!
Kid-Friendly Pantry Snacks
For throwing into a backpack or grabbing on the way to practice, I always keep these items on hand. I keep these on the lowest shelf so the kids can easily access them.
- Pamela’s Honey Grahams: hands down the best graham crackers you’ll ever eat and a lunchbox celebrity
- Pamela’s Whenever Bars: gluten AND dairy free, yet taste like a healthy oatmeal cookie that kids love
- Nut and fruit trail mix: with yogurt chips for added appeal
- Applesauce squeeze pouches: still a hit
- Pamela’s Big Figs: an upgraded Newton and also Kaitlyn’s favorite
- Seaweed: my girls pretend they are mermaids. Whatever works.
- Pure Organic fruit bars: like a healthier fruit snack
Pantry Staples for Quick and Easy Dinners
- Pamela’s Mac ‘n Cheese: all made with organic, gluten-free pasta
- Seeds of Change Brown Rice (in the pouch): perfect for curries or stir fries
- Canned chickpeas: easy addition for salads or curries
- Canned black beans: for quesadillas or to mix with rice
- Wild Planet chicken and fish: quick chicken or tuna salads for protein
- Mild salsa: because it goes on everything
- Rao’s marinara: the best marinara by taste and ingredients
- Pamela’s Pancake Mix: because the kids will always choose breakfast for dinner if they can
- Roasted red peppers: to layer on sandwiches or blend into a sauce
- Raw cashews and walnuts: to add healthy fats and crunch. Also makes great, creamy sauces.
Kid-Friendly Meals Made from Pantry Staples
- Three Ingredient Black Bean Soup
- Roasted Red Pepper Pasta and Sauce
- Pancakes with Toasted Walnuts and Maple Syrup
- Curried Chickpeas over Coconut Rice
- Mac ‘n Cheese with Peas
- Wild salmon bites with sliced apples
A note on Pamela’s
You are probably already familiar with my love for Pamela’s Products. She’s been an industry leader for delicious gluten-free foods since she started in 1988. You might notice I say “she” instead of “they” when talking about her products because Pamela still is an integral part of the company today, ensuring that all the food they make is of the highest quality and taste. Whether you are gluten-free or not, her products are going to be some of the most delicious products you can find, made with ingredients you can recognize.
Share with me-
Are you ready to be back into the swing of a fall schedule? Are you already there?
If I peeked into your pantry, what favorite items would I find?
Share your favorites with me below!