Spring Cleaning in the Pantry: What you Should Toss and What You Should Keep for a Healthy Diet
It’s spring time! It’s the best time to tidy up the homestead, and it’s the best time to clean your pantry, so we might as well use it as an excuse to jumpstart a healthier diet for ourselves. A healthier lifestyle would be so much easier if we have clean and organized shelves filled with nutritious nourishments. Here are some useful tips to help you establish a healthy pantry packed with everything you need:
What to Toss
Expired goods. If you haven’t checked your pantry for a while now, chances are you’ve been stocking up on expired goods. Healthy or not, these spoiled foods may bring harm and it’s time to toss them in the trash can—unless you think you can recycle the packages. Regularly check the expiration dates of your goods, and throw out the ones that are about to go bad. Plan your meals so that you use them up by the week’s end.
Bye, bad fats. Foods with trans fats are bad for your health. Check the ingredient list and look for “partially hydrogenated” ingredients; if it’s listed, then the food has trans fats. While not all nutritional labels indicate that the food product contains bad fats-especially when the product has less than 0.5g per serving-it doesn’t mean they’re clean from trans fats. Typical items that contain trans fats are the following:
- Microwave popcorn
- Cake mixes and frosting
- Pancake and waffle mixes
- Non-dairy creamer
- Packaged cookies, crackers, processed meat sticks
- Canned chili
- Packaged pudding
Sugary snacks. Foods that contain high amount of sugars won’t just add additional lines to your scale, it can also amplify your cravings. If you aim to start living clean and achieve a fit body, you may want to eliminate the sugary snacks in your pantry. Common foods that are high in sucrose are the following:
- Breakfast cereal and pastries
- Packaged desserts
- Baking mixes
- Packaged pudding
- Granola bars
- Dried fruit snacks
- Canned fruits
Packaged processed snacks. Items like potato chips, pretzels, and instant noodles contain minimal nutrition, and they are extremely high in sodium. They’re just crunchy and tasty enough to satiate your craving for salty foods, but they’re definitely not good for the body.
Refined grains. Some grain-based items have their nutritional value depleted. Most of these goods include white rice, white pasta, even white bread. Thanks to processing, these products contain refined carbohydrates, which are very unhealthy. You can donate these foods or use them up—but incorporate them into a meal with plenty of vegetables and legumes.
Salty instant goods. Salty instant soups or sauces not only contain a ton of sodium, but a handful of preservatives too. These ingredients are not good for the body, especially if you are hypertensive. Thus, you should examine your instant goods and read the ingredients list carefully, and remove those items that are high in salt and contain preservatives.
What to Keep
Beans. Canned beans are healthy, but you may want to prioritize the dried ones because they’re packed with nutritious fibers and protein. Beans also taste great in dips or spreads, bean burger patties, vegetarian chili, soups, and a whole lot more.
Whole grains. Whole grains are the preferred carbohydrates of health enthusiasts. Stock a pile of whole wheat pasta, brown rice, barley, and whole wheat couscous for your daily nutritious meals. A healthy whole-grain breakfast is always good to start the day with, and it’s better if paired with fruits and yogurt.
Bone broth or meat broth. Bone broth is one of the most nutritious storable foods that you can keep in your pantry. Instead of consuming instant soups, use bone, chicken, pork, or beef broth, which are healthier than processed foods. These broths also come in handy for soups, and you can try cooking it with whole grain couscous or quinoa. Make sure to keep the broth in the refrigerator after opening.
A quick source of protein. Canned goods like tuna and salmon are high in protein and calcium, which are good for the heart. They can be a reliable, quick snack during busy days, and they’re handy during emergencies.
Nuts and seeds. These tiny bits of deliciousness are packed with an incredible amount of nutrients, and they’re all good sources of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Vacuumed packages of nuts are better because they have longer shelf life. When buying flavored nuts and seeds, read the label and choose those with the least amount of ingredients. Organic or raw nuts are even better. You can even prepare them yourself by roasting them and adding a bit of salt.
Healthy herbs and spices. Herbs and spices like turmeric and cardamom won’t just help make your meals tastier, these ingredients are filled with nutrients, too! Herbs and spices are powerful anti-oxidants and they’re suggested to have anti-cancer properties.
Cleaning out your pantry is the very first step towards a healthy lifestyle. For a chance to keep moving forward, visit Total Body for more nutritional tips and the chance to join a customized weight loss program.