Spring Clean Your Kitchen Pantry
Out with the old, in with the new. Spring is the perfect time to get on board with healthy eating and do a little cleaning and dusting, but be sure not to overlook some important places like your kitchen pantry.
I’m not just talking about checking expiration dates on all products. I’m talking about taking a good look at your pantry and choosing to make healthier choices from the start. If there's an option, children and teens may choose snack and junk food over fruits and vegetables. It’s time to model healthy eating habits and set our children up for healthier food choices every day.
4 steps to a tidy, healthy pantry!
Junk the junk food!
Getting rid of the junk is probably the most difficult step of them all, but you will feel great after doing it because if you don’t have it in your house, you won’t be eating it. I don’t mean throwing out everything that is possibly unhealthy as this would be a giant waste of food. Instead, consider donating any unopened non-perishables to local food banks (be mindful though, as these clients are especially in need of healthy options) or just using them up and not repurchasing after.
Start by getting rid of the obvious, like cookies, cake mixes, chips, chocolate, candy, microwaveable popcorn, and high-sodium canned foods.
Restock those shelves
Purchase healthy non-perishables to replace what you got rid of. Don’t simply purchase something because it is healthy. Consider what you use and how often, so that you only buy things you will actually consume.
Some cleaner pantry essentials that most people can use:
- Coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil.
- Soups and canned goods–look for BPA-free lining and brands that are low in sodium.
- Gluten free flours such as rice, almond, and buckwheat.
- Honey, dates, or maple syrup as sweeteners.
- Popcorn kernels, raw nuts and seeds, dark organic chocolate
- Lentils, beans, rice, and organic or gluten-free pasta
- Spices like turmeric, cumin, fennel, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and parsley. I love these as they can benefit your health as much as they do your taste buds.
Choose glass over plastic
It is always best to choose glass over plastic for storage solutions so that we stay away from hormone disrupters such as BPA and phthalates. Mason jars are great for this as they can be sealed, labeled, stacked, come in many sizes, and are quite affordable.
Not only will putting everything in glass jars look nicer and more uniform (and easier to see what you have in your pantry), but also your dried goods will remain fresh for longer.
Organize your inventory
Does it ever happen to you that you purchase something thinking you need it, but then you get home and you realize that you already had it? And then the exact same scenario happens again the following week? Try to organize your pantry so that you can see what you have and can easily keep track of what you need to buy and reduce food waste. This will also prevent the opposite–reaching for an ingredient while in the middle of a recipe, only to realize you don’t have it.
In addition, try to label and date things so that you know when you need to refresh your spices. Labeling is important especially if you buy things in bulk and place them in mason jars because you may end up later not knowing what is in it.
Good luck with building a new and fresh healthy pantry!