Young parent, what’s in YOUR fridge?

In January, who doesn’t have the urge to turn over a new dietary leaf? For inspiration, I’ve turned to the experts — young moms and dads — about what’s in their fridge, their plans for next year, and tips for getting dinner on the table fast.

Participants include Caroline Cook, Cathy Derus, Liz Heywood, Joshua Petru, and KT Speetzen.

What’s currently in your fridge that you’re proud of?

• Homemade chicken noodle soup, flaxseed plus leftover oatmeal that I will use to make oatmeal pancakes. — Cook

• Roasted veggie pasta, cheese sticks, beets. and a whole bunch of fruit. — Derus

• Fruit, veggies, hummus, whole grain bread, and wraps and leftovers. — Heywood

• Red wine-braised beef short ribs cooked in the slow cooker. It’s a tasty, limited effort meal with bonus points for having a simple shopping list (ribs, red wine, stock, mirepoix and herbs). — Petru

• I’m buying as much organic as possible — and grass-fed dairy. I just made the switch over to grass-fed butter. OMG. Yum. — Speetzen

What’s in your fridge that you’re not-so-proud of?

• A lot of fruits and vegetables that I’ve been intending to chop and cook. — Cook

• Too many expired leftovers. — Derus

• Juice boxes, kids’ yogurt tubes with more added sugar than I’d like, and string cheese that I use too often as a go-to snack. — Heywood

• The big bag of string cheese. It’s one of a few things my toddler will consistently eat, so we always have it handy for either snacks or to supplement the dinner he didn’t eat. — Petru

• There’s a Velveeta chili dip that was made in the slow cooker two weeks ago. I’m legit scared of it. To be fair, my husband is from Minnesota, and he made it. Yes, I’m totally throwing him under the bus, but I also ate it. — Speetzen

What do you plan to stock in your fridge in 2018?

• Almond meal, so I can make Superhero Muffins, which are secretly healthy muffins made with maple syrup, zucchini, and carrots that my preschoolers like to make and eat! — Cook

• More vegetables, even if it’s sneaking them in somehow. — Derus

• I’ve recently challenged myself to cooking less meat and more plant-based dinners. It has forced me to change the way I think about meal planning, but I’ve discovered that my kids often like these even more than meat. — Heywood

• A veggie that my 2-year-old son will eat. I don’t know what that is yet, but will hopefully find it! — Petru

• My goal is to start batch cooking, because so much of my weeknights turn into “What am I going to feed these people?” — Speetzen

Your best tip on getting dinner on the table on a busy weeknight?

• Chopping veggies on Sunday, so that everything is ready to go. — Cook

• Prepping on Sunday. That day we’ll do a big meal, then have our “planned ’overs” so we can eat those during the week. If we cook during the week, sometimes it’s something with the slow cooker. — Derus

• Meal planning! I plan five to six dinners per week and make my grocery list based off of that. Also, I try to do a few minutes of meal prep for the next day after the kids are in bed. It makes the next day’s meals so much easier when I know what I’m cooking for dinner and have some food prepped a bit already. — Heywood

• Only one cook in the kitchen. One of us will have a meal planned and focus on executing that, while the other parent occupies the kiddos. — Petru

• Scrambled eggs, Trader Joe’s frozen naan, and a quick steamed veggie. My kids only eat broccoli, so in my house it’s broccoli. — Speetzen

Christine Palumbo is a Naperville-registered dietitian nutritionist who is a new Fellow of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Follow her on Twitter @PalumboRD, Facebook at Christine Palumbo Nutrition, or

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