What’s the best and easiest way to create a healthy lifestyle? It starts in the kitchen. Set yourself up for success by keeping healthy foods in your pantry and fridge.
Pantry Makeover: Foods that should stay.
Perhaps it’s a given, but worth saying anyway. If you have healthy foods on hand, you’re much more likely to eat healthy foods. What is ‘healthy’? Some call it ‘clean eating‘ and what that means is real, whole foods that are minimally processed and have as few ingredients as possible.
Suggested foods that fit the bill and are great healthy staples for the pantry include:
- whole grains – such as brown rice & quinoa
- whole grain pasta
- rolled and/or steel-cut oats
- legumes – such as dried beans and lentils, or no-salt-added canned beans
- raw nuts – such as almonds, cashews, or walnuts
- raw seeds – such as pumpkin, sunflower, flax or chia
- nut butters – such as peanut or almond butter with no added ingredients
- dried fruit – such as dates and raisins
- canned no-salt-added veggies – such as diced tomatoes
- oils – such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil or grapeseed oil
- cooking liquids – such as low-sodium vegetable broth and apple cider vinegar
- seasonings – such as cinnamon, ginger, oregano, etc.
- dark chocolate chips (of course!) #eatthechocolate
Pantry Makeover: Foods that should go.
It’s a tough day when you take a deep breath and go diving into your pantry to give some old favorites the boot. But purging the pantry will make everyday temptations go away and a healthier lifestyle within reach.
It all comes down to having the courage to read the labels. So what foods need to hit the road? Here’s are some guidelines:
- Foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce. If the label reads like a short story, it’s probably not something that’s good for you. Aim for 5 ingredients or less. Preferably one ingredient or no label at all!
- Anything with “artificial flavors” or artificial sweeteners. Particularly aspartame and sucralose. The research on the affects of these is just down right scary.
- Foods with dyes in them, particularly Red No. 40 or Yellow No. 5 or 6. These dyes can be found in everything from pickles to candy, so be sure to check all labels and steer clear.
- Be weary of foods that claim to be “low fat” or “fat free” as this is often an indication of some artificial ingredients. Check the label, as often the fat is replaced with sugar or something artificial, which does not fit the bill for a healthy pantry.
Still not sure? The Fooducate app is also a great resource for determining which foods can stay and which foods need to go.
How to organize your pantry.
Categorizing and organizing your pantry will not only help you be able to find food easily, but it will also save time and money. Knowing what you have will help you from doubling up and make cooking healthy a breeze.
Here are the main categories to help with organizing your pantry
- Whole Grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats, pasta)
- Legumes (dry/canned beans)
- Nuts & Seeds (whole & nut-butters)
- Cooking Liquids (oils, vinegars, broth, condiments)
- Seasonings (spices)
- Fruits & Veggies (fresh, dried, & canned)
- Chocolate (dark)
A final tip. For foods that are not-so-good-for-you that you want to keep on hand that are for treats or occasional eating, make them hard to access.
Keep baking supplies and other treats up high and in a hard to reach spot that requires extra effort to get to. Out of the line of sight will help keep them out of mind as well. And out of mind also means out of belly.
Have more tips for a pantry makeover? Post them in the comments below!