Healthy Lifestyle changes begin right in your kitchen pantry and taking stock of what’s hiding in there is the first step to building health. Here are 4 things to do this week to begin to build a healthy pantry.
- Sort through your non-perishable foods. Pull everything out and start sorting. Check the best-before dates on canned goods, packaged food like crackers, peanut butter and condiments. Get rid of anything outdated and then take a close look at what is left. Read the ingredients. Are there words on the packages you can’t read? Do you consider it real food? Ultimately it’s up to you to make the decision to ditch it and start fresh.
- Take a look at all your bottles of oils. Open them up and smell the contents. If any of them smell bad, throw them out – they are rancid and can do a lot of harm to your body.
- Do you have whole grains lingering in your cupboards that have been there for a while? Things like whole wheat flour needs to be refrigerated or it will go rancid. You can tell by the smell of it. Also, has your rice been hanging around your cupboard longer than you can remember? Give it a smell. If it’s off, throw it out. Find room in your refrigerator or in an airtight container in your freezer to store your grains.
- Start a list of things for your healthy pantry. Let’s start small to keep costs down. It can be built over time. Here’s a good guide to begin:
- Extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings
- Unrefined coconut oil as a substitute for baking and homemade granola
- Different vinegars like red and white-wine, balsamic, apple cider and rice vinegars can all be used in salad dressing and marinades so you can make your own instead of buying highly processed ones.
- Nut and seed butters are good to have on hand for snacks, smoothies and dips.
- Canned tomatoes, tomato paste, black beans, chick peas, kidney beans are great for convenience. I write the purchase date on top of my cans with a marker and use the oldest ones first.
- Dried fruit like apricots and dates are handy to have on hand. I like to stew them and spread on toast or to sweeten plain yogurt. I also dice them up and put in homemade granola. They add lots of fiber and minerals to food. Just be careful on the amounts you eat as they are very high in sugar.
- Large flake oatmeal is great for porridge, granola, to make oat flour, and for apple and berry crisps.
- Pastas, both whole wheat and white in moderation, as well as grains like brown rice, wild rice, and quinoa are a good start. They are great in soups, side dishes, for baking and for breakfast.
- Dried spices. Check out my post here.
Get a head-start on spring cleaning your pantry with these simple steps. To get more detailed information and help in planning yours, connect with me!