WORDS: Deanna Zacharia, Professional Organiser & Declutter Expert – Platinum Marie Kondo Certified
If you are tired of the constant struggle to get your kids to make healthy food choices, organising a kid-friendly pantry can make a world of difference in fostering good eating habits and encouraging independence in meal choices.
By creatively arranging your pantry and involving your little ones in the process, you can turn snack time into an exciting adventure while promoting a balanced diet.
Here are some tips and tricks to make your pantry both kid-friendly and nutritious!
Elevate the ‘sometimes’ foods
We all love a treat now and then, but let’s keep those ‘sometimes’ foods like cookies, chips, and lollies on the top shelf. Placing them higher up makes it clear that they are occasional treats, not everyday staples. This makes them a bit less accessible and encourages moderation.
Healthy options at eye level
Make the healthier choices the most accessible ones by keeping them at eye level on lower shelves. Stock up on nutritious options like whole-grain crackers, dried fruits, and nuts. This makes it easier for your kids to grab a nutritious snack when hunger strikes.
Create a ‘school snacks’ zone
Dedicate a section of the pantry to school-friendly snacks, perfect for their lunch boxes. Keep it organised by using clear tubs with single-serving packets of their favourite and nutritious snacks like popcorn, pretzels, and crackers. This makes it easier for them to grab and pack their own snacks for their lunchboxes, instilling a sense of responsibility and independence. Having these items grouped together not only makes packing school lunches easier, but also empowers your kids to take charge of their meal choices.
Mornings can be chaotic, especially when you’re trying to get the kids ready for school. Streamline the breakfast routine by dedicating a shelf to easy-to-grab breakfast options. Place cereals, oats, and breakfast bars in this section.
Kids will feel empowered as they choose their breakfast options, and it sets a positive tone for their day.
Label and educate
Add some colourful signs or simple labels to guide your kids through the pantry. You can create playful drawings or use pictures to illustrate where each category of food belongs. This makes pantry navigation easy and fun, especially for younger children who can’t read yet.
Get your kids involved in the pantry reorganisation! Make it a family affair.
Turn it into a fun activity by involving your kids in the process. Start by explaining the importance of a well-organised pantry and how it helps everyone find their favourite snacks easily. Then, let your kids take the lead in sorting items into different categories or placing labels on bins. You can even turn it into a game by timing how fast they can categorise items correctly. They’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and ownership, which will motivate them to make better choices when snacking.
Fridge and freezer integration
Don’t limit the organisation to just the pantry! Extend the concept to your fridge and freezer as well. Keep washed and pre-cut fruits and veggies at eye level in clear containers for easy access. Freeze yoghurt, homemade fruit ice blocks, and frozen fruit cups for a cool treat option. When kids see the same organisation principles applied throughout the kitchen, it reinforces healthy eating habits.
Include a bowl for fresh produce in your pantry design. Fill it with seasonal fruits like apples, oranges, and bananas, which are great grab-and-go options for kids. Having fresh and healthy choices readily available encourages healthy snacking habits.
Go for clear, airtight containers to store snacks like pretzels, popcorn, and rice cakes. Not only do they keep food fresh, but they also allow your kids to see what’s inside, making snack time more exciting.
Customise for each child
Remember that every child is different, with unique tastes and preferences. Allow each child to personalise a small section of the pantry with their favourite snacks and treats. This personal touch will make them more invested in maintaining the pantry’s organisation.
Make it a routine to check the pantry together every few weeks. Use this time to discuss what snacks are running low, which ones they enjoyed the most, and any new items they would like to try. This keeps the pantry dynamic and adaptable to their changing preferences.
Creating a kid-friendly pantry is a fun journey that not only brings organisation to your kitchen, but also empowers your children to make healthier choices and embrace responsibility. By strategically arranging items, involving your kids in the process, and fostering independence, you’re setting the stage for a lifetime of smart eating habits and confident decision-making.
So roll up those sleeves, gather your little sous-chefs, and take on this pantry transformation together – the result will be a healthier and more harmonious family life.
For more of Deanna’s home organising tips: